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How Many Clothing Items Do You Need?

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  • carrot
    I pack in one of two ways depending on the trip: doing laundry, and not doing laundry.

    If I'm planning on doing laundry, I pack exactly the same every time: two shirts, three underwear, one pants/shorts, one socks, one windbreaker (the Patagonia Houdini).

    If it's warm, I will also add sandals or flips as well. If it's cold, I bring a lightweight down jacket appropriate to the climate. If I expect rain I include a lightweight rain jacket or umbrella.

    On the other hand, if I'm not doing laundry, I pack one bottom per three days and one top per day. One underwear, obviously, per day.

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  • Bogiesan
    You can spend hours researching packing lists for gender, climate, season, local customs, and other criteria but not number of days. That’s often three days of clothing, four days of underwear, and some outerwear. That’s all.

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  • Ms. Ferret
    I guess if being in lockdown for the last 9+ weeks has taught me anything, it's that I will happily wear the same two wool tops for several weeks without blinking an eye. My packing list for future trips is probably going to be whatever I need for weather/activities, an extra shirt, and underwear.

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  • robburdtt
    ^ That is also how I went for so long, unless I have to travel for more than a week.
    The computation is actually a neat idea. Typically I would have gone searching for packing lists like this one and then pick out the things I would personally use/have, cut down to the number I'm comfortable with. I saw the suggestion for a two-week vacation and I like that there is room for adjustment. My tolerance for repeating clothes might be more just because I assume people would be understanding of a traveler/wouldn't care/wouldn't notice.

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  • onebag
    I pack as if I'm trying to go a week without doing laundry; if I'm ever anywhere > one week-ish I plan on doing laundry.

    What I've found is this saves me on how much I need to pack, which saves weight and space. It also means I never have a pile of dirty clothes with me (unless it's the final day of the trip). Anyway, it's an inevitable thing that when you travel for a longer period of time there is going to come a day where you just want to veg out. This day is perfect to do some laundry!!

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  • nessagr
    I've spent the afternoon playing around with my packing list for an upcoming 10-day trip to Peru, where I'll be attending an academic conference then doing touristy stuff. This is what I've settled on:
    3 dresses
    2 pairs of pants
    2 tank tops
    1 long sleeve tee
    1 cashmere cardigan
    1 silk cardigan
    1 pair of leggings (mostly for sleeping, but can also double as tights under dresses for chilly mountain nights)
    = 10 items of clothing
    For the rest I have:
    3 pairs of shoes: birkenstock sandals, oxfords and heeled clogs (I need of mix of comfy for lots of walking/ waterproof/ dressy)
    1 tee for sleeping only
    1 windbreaker
    1 pair of wool socks for the plane
    4 pairs of underwear: 2 cotton and 2 ex-officio super fast drying mesh. I could probably get by with just the ex-officio ones, but I like having back up in case I don't feel like washing them every night.
    Edited to add: these will all fit in my WF with room for toiletries in my CQPC

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  • Vecturist
    I found this article on Carryology: https://www.carryology.com/travel/ho...sule-wardrobe/

    While I am not quite ready to pack only an extra shirt and pair of underwear, I've been trying to see how minimalist (and light) I can go. Right now it's 3-4 tees, an extra pair of jeans, 3-4 pairs of underwear, an extra bra, an old tee and pair of boxers for sleeping in, and an extra pair of shoes like sandals, in addition to my travel outfit - jeans, tee, sweater, sneakers/doc martens. Most of my travel of late has been vacation travel to warmer climates.

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  • Lia
    I realized I unconsciously work from a formula calculated based on the number of days I'll be away. I might need to just pack outfit by outfit if I have a specific event in mind, but I try to build an event outfit out of stuff from the basic list.

    underwear: days + 1, maximum of 7

    socks = days/2 +1, maximum of 5

    undershirts/tanks AKA base layer = days/2, maximum of 4

    shirts = days/3, maximum of 3

    completers (sweaters, blazers) = days/3, maximum of 2

    pants/skirts = days/3, maximum 3

    dresses = 1 and only if absolutely necessary

    pajamas = 1

    shoes = 3 (1 shower shoes, 1 sneakers, 1 nicer)

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  • DWSeattle
    I use an Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid for a travel raincoat. It has breathable stretch panels on the sides and is breathable enough for Fall/Winter/Spring replacement of a wind shell for travel. It weighs 8.8oz. I don't use it for wilderness travel as the side panels aren't fully waterproof.

    A wind shell should be very light and breathable. I prefer the term wind shirt and that's how I think of it. I have a Cotopaxi shell that is just 4.4oz and packs down to nothing. It layers perfectly with a fleece or just with a base layer tee to block wind (or sun amd bugs too). I've worn it like a shirt on laundry day. It is so light and packs so small that it is a "why not" decision to take along in my day bag. The Arcteryx Squamish and Patagonia Houdini are classic wind shells. Uniqlo makes a super breathable and light shell called a Pocketable Parka that is a great bargain.

    There is another class of light jacket that is usually classed as a soft shell. They are light, very stretchy and breathable. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi and Eddie Bauer Sandstone are examples. My hoodless Sandstone jacket is 12oz. It is tougher than a ultralight shell and looks pretty good.
    Last edited by DWSeattle; 01-18-2020, 12:41 PM.

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  • sarah_atx
    Tops - The absolute minimum number of shirts would be 4 (including the one I'm wearing) so there's time to dry in between washes. In practice I take 6-7 shirts (1 or 2 long sleeve, the rest short sleeve).
    Pants - Usually 2, but I have done 1 (so just the pair I'm wearing) pair of jeans, which can be spot cleaned or washed in the middle of the trip in a washing machine.
    Sweaters - Usually 2, for cold weather 3 plus a water resistant jacket.
    Scarves - 0 - 2, depending on destination and weather.

    My last trip was one week at the in laws' house. So I brought 2 pairs of pajama/lounge pants and 2 pajama t shirts too. That adds quite a bit of bulk, so if you bring any pajamas I'd count those too?

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  • AlaskaGirl
    Originally posted by DWSeattle View Post
    For outerwear, it is layering with a fleece, wind shell and rainshell.
    When my windshell wore out, I never replaced it. I've been using my rain jacket, layered with a fleece or down depending on the time of year. I'm looking to replace my rain jacket now, but haven't found anything light and compact that is also long enough to cover my upper legs. Waterproof is essential, as water-resistant limits my activities too much. I can enjoy the outdoors while it's raining if I'm dry.

    Do you find a wind shell valuable? Should I consider replacing mine? I'd appreciate your suggestions. Thank you! elisa

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  • DWSeattle
    For outerwear, it is layering with a fleece, wind shell and rainshell. I add a down vest or jacket for colder weather. I also take light gloves and a knit cap.

    For my other clothing, I like the Rule of Three: one worn, ine dirty one clean and wash as you go. I'm not above tweaking that to suit weather and activities.

    The main thing is washing and drying as you go vs trying to take a clean outfit for each day. Following this technique it doesn't take any more clothing to go for months than it does for a few days. Of course you can add or delete things as you like.

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  • Rei
    Hi there,

    interesting question

    For a month (31 days) in South-East Asia, I had with me arround 28 (clothes) items (shoes and accessories included) :
    - 2 dresses
    - 2 bottoms
    - 4 tops (camisoles/light tops)
    - 3 shirts/sweater (1 of the shirts was superfluous)
    BTW : 1 light coat, 2 pairs of shoes (flip-flop included), 25L bag + 1L purse, total weight ~10kg (I'm tiny, don't sweat too much and have easily washable underwears ... but I have a bridge camera and drawing stuff, it's heavy ;-;...)

    with @AlaskaGirl calculation (as I understood it) : 31 x 1 x 5 / 6 (avg total wears, as I remember...) = 25.83
    with @Traveltech calculation : 31 x 1 x 3 (w/o underwears) / 3 (avg wears between washing) = 31

    as @Buffalonian, I don't think I would bring more for longer trips (but likely less for shorter trips)
    Last edited by Rei; 01-16-2020, 01:02 AM.

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  • Buffalonian
    How many do you NEED? That's a fascinating question. Here's what I carried for three weeks in Europe last August, with three days in Iceland; five in Istanbul; and the rest in Denmark:

    On the plane, I wore a merino wool long-sleeve henley and a pair of travel pants (Prana Stretch Zion), with underwear, socks, and low-cut shoes (SOM Trailhead). I packed:

    -- A merino button-down shirt (the trip included presenting at an academic conference)
    -- A heavy sweater-like long-sleeve merino shirt
    -- Two merino t-shirts
    -- A second pair of travel pants
    -- A pair of board shorts (Prana; they doubled as a bathing suit)
    -- Four pair each travel underwear (Ex Officio) and 1/4 length merino socks (Smart Wool)
    -- A packable rain jacket (Eddie Bauer)
    -- A pair of minimalist sandals (Xero)

    The merino tops were all from Wool & Prince, in a mix of black, dark blue, and burgundy. Any of the tops worked with any of the bottoms, which were taupe or dark grey.

    The shoes were charcoal grey with black laces and water resistant. They were presentable enough for business casual but had enough grip for scrambling over rocks in Iceland.

    All of this (and other things) fit comfortably in a Shadow Guide with packing cubes. I assume they'd fit an A30 as well. (The SG is 31 liters.)

    The combination of the jacket and two merino layers (the sweater and a t-shirt) was warm enough for Iceland in August, which included a fair bit of walking outdoors. In Istanbul, I alternated between the two t-shirts. In Denmark, I wore one layer of merino, alternating between stuff depending on the circumstances. (Days were warmer; evenings cooler.)

    For a different three week trip, I'd carry the same number of things but swap out stuff depending on weather -- more heavy layers if it were consistently colder; more t-shirts and another pair of shorts instead of long pants if it were consistently warm. And I'd ditch the button-down if I wasn't working.

    I washed underwear & socks twice in a sink. I wouldn't take more stuff for a longer trip; just do more laundry.
    Last edited by Buffalonian; 01-15-2020, 01:27 PM.

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  • AlaskaGirl
    Originally posted by Traveltech View Post
    ... (days worn between washings)
    Oh, this is an excellent update to the calculator! Thank you!

    I've been thinking. What other calculations would be helpful?

    • How many pairs of shoes to bring.
    • The ideal size bag and/or piece of luggage.

    Of course, I would need help to figure out how to create the calculations. elisa

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