Optimizing underwear on trips


Or, you could pack a tiny container of soap/detergent (which takes up less room than 16 pairs of underwear) or use the free bottles of shampoo if you’re staying in a hotel (and if you’re staying in someone’s home, for heavens’ sakes, they have laundry soap) to, you know, WASH said underwear between wearings. :wink:

edit: and now I’ve RTFA. Washing was included in the process. So much for snarkiness first thing in the morning. In my defense: no caffeine yet!

This is wrong. Even if you are traveling for just a day or two you should bring more underwear and socks then you might strictly require – they are light and don’t wrinkle, and permit you to shower and freshen up once you get to the hotel, after working out, or before going out to dinner.


Three is the magic number, regardless of the length of trip (unless someone else is carrying all your luggage).

Not strictly related, or even on topic, but it made me think of another chart by Mr. Munroe.

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Is this so hard to figure out that it requires a chart? My small vintage suitcase dictates no more than five days between wash days, and some simple division (plus a safety pair) yields an acceptable result.

I typically pack enough underwear for a long road trip so that I’m staying at the house of a friend when the laundry days occur. This makes laundry easier, as we can use their machine instead of having extra change to run the hotel equipment.


That table is the obsessive’s retro solution.

The Geek solution is to buy two pair of high-tech travel underwear, such as the Ex-Officio brand of travel undergarments.

Each day, wear one pair. At the end of day, rinse that day’s underwear in a sink and let air dry over night. The next day, wear the other pair.

Rinse. Don’t Lather. Repeat.

(works for up to three months)

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right now, in a shared apartment in oakland, some brogrammer is starting Air BvD.


And for women who are on their periods, it’s always a good idea to bring a couple extra pairs.

If I am staying one night somewhere, I bring 3-4 pairs, although if I don’t, I will wash in the sink, which is no big deal. The only time this is a big deal is if I’m sharing a room and don’t necessarily want my underwear hanging in plain sight.

That works ok if you’re somewhere that the underwear will actually dry overnight. Synthetics work better for that, and women’s underwear tends to be thinner material even if cotton, but I’ve been on trips where the humidity and lack of heat conspired to make none of the clothing I was carrying ever actually get dry. Eventually I ended up having to stay in a hotel because there weren’t any hostels or pensions available from the tourist-accommodations folks at the train station, but the consolation prize was that there was a washer and dryer there (yay!)


I typically take n+1 or n+2 days worth of clothing, depending on the overall length of the trip, and do laundry or dry cleaning half or two-thirds of the way through my clothing usage. Seems to be working okay so far.

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