It’s not as gross as it sounds
Around 35 years ago, I checked my bag onto a flight to somewhere. I don’t remember exactly where I was going, but am pretty sure it was for a three-day training class, so with travel time, I was packing for five days or so.
I suspect I checked my bag because I didn’t want to haul it around during a layover–standard operating procedure at the time.
Despite the number of intervening years, I’ll never forget standing around that baggage carousel. Bag after bag was unloaded and when the bags stopped coming, there were about 50 passengers standing there, wondering where the hell their bags were.
As we were all milling about, with no one wanting to admit that it appeared we were experiencing some mass baggage massacre, some weary looking airline employee shuffles up and tells the small crowd that our luggage was put on the wrong plane. It was, literally, now somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
ETA: Three days.
ACTUAL Time of Arrival: Six days. Yes, after the trip had concluded.
I bought clothes to wear, and washed stuff out in the hotel sink — using shitty hotel shampoo as laundry detergent.
I can count the number of times I’ve checked a bag since on two hands. I loathe checking bags.
Enter the miracle underwear
So I’ve been on this, “Pack Light,” kick for the last 35+ years. There’s something liberating about walking off a plane, and skipping right by baggage claim.
I can go on a week-long trip with nothing more than a carry-on roller bag. Throw in a backpack and I can do two-weeks with relative ease. When the day-count pushes past 14 though that means either checking a bag, or doing laundry during the trip.
While building a list, and checking it twice, for a seventeen day journey to Italy, I noticed two items were taking up a disproportionate portion of my luggage space.
That being socks and underwear.
Listen. If needed, I can wear a pair of pants for a few days without washing them (this is an especially viable tactic if you have multiple pairs of pants which will allow some “breathing time” between wearings).
I refuse, under every circumstance, however to don my boxer briefs more than once between launderings. It’s not that my nether regions are ripe. In fact I think you’d find them minty-fresh if you were so compelled (and disturbed) to check. It’s just that wearing underwear twice is…. gross.
There was this travel forum I once read, that recommended cutting your underwear consumption in half — by turning them inside out on the second wearing.
THAT is just nasty. No. There will be no multiple wearings of any form of under garment.
So there you have it. My conundrum. I don’t want to pack 8, 10, 17 pairs of underwear into a small carry on, and I sure as hell don’t want to check a bag, especially on half-full of cotton boxer briefs.
This underwear to be exact.
Besides being a ridiculously comfortable undergarment, what these miracles offer is quick drying. And I mean lightning fast!
Take along a little container of liquid laundry detergent (under 3 ounces to avoid TSA screening hassles and confiscation!) and you can hand-wash one of these babies in a hotel sink in just a couple of minutes. Twist it up in a towel to accelerate the drying process, hang it over a towel rack and in 15 – 30 minutes, they’re dry and smelling as fresh as a spring day.
I bought two pairs, just so I wouldn’t HAVE to wash out out every night. For this recent Italy trip, I wanted to experiment a little and see if I could get by on one lonely set of boxer briefs..
It really wasn’t that hard. Oh, there were a couple of days when it was late, I was tired and really wanted to just say, “F it, I’m not washing out my drawers tonight.” But I sucked it up in the name of travel science.
Yes, I wore the same pair of underwear for 17 days. Washed every night mind you, but one pair, seventeen days.
Yeah, it was a bit of a hassle being tied to hand-washing something nightly. At this very moment in time I’m in a plane on my way to Barcelona or 11 days. There are three sets of quick-drying boxers in the bag above my head. That will just make things easier, and keep me from having to wash nightly.
Those three pieces of underwear though do highlight the second drawback with this pack ultra-light process….
The damn things cost $30 each. Yep, I’ve got $90 worth of underwear in my bag. That’s just hard to accept.
It would be worth it at twice the price.
Seriously. Take 10 – 17 pairs of underwear out of your drawer and ponder just how much space that would consume in your luggage. Now compare that to 2 – 3 pieces of quick-drying undies.
It’s not even close.
Ditto for socks, another thing I don’t care to wear multiple times between washings.
Socks, that will be the “experiment” for this trip to Barcelona. I’ve got two pairs to last 11 days…
A few images from the Italy trip. More here.