Clean clothes are always a bonus when you’re touring. There’s nothing worse than pulling into a restaurant and having the waitress look you over with disgust while children in the next booth cry, all because you stink. It gets really bad when the flies start circling you …
Of course, it’s also a hassle to pack bagfuls of clean clothes on your bike when you’re touring. It’s always better to travel light.
The solution is to go out and find clothes that are specifically made for travel – stuff like the products from ExOfficio. Before I went to Arizona last spring, I called the Seattle-based company and asked them to send along some clothes to try out.
The idea behind these clothes was that I could wash them every evening. They’re designed to drip-dry quickly, meaning you don’t need a washer and dryer to do laundry – as long as you have a motel room sink, or even a stream, and a dry place to hang the clothes up overnight, you’ve got clean duds the next day.
While it sounds a bit nasty to go on a four-week trip with only two pairs of undies, it worked out just fine. I was able to wash everything I needed before I hit the sack at night, and have clean clothes every morning. Nobody called me a dirty hippy, and I wasn’t kicked out of any roadside diners. Also, it meant I was able to really cut down on the amount of stuff I had to pack every day.
Through the month of touring, there were only a couple times when my clothes weren’t dried overnight, usually because I’d only slept a few short hours, or because of humidity in the air. If that happened, I simply bungeed the clothes down on top of my luggage, and after a couple hours on the road, they were dry.
Another nice bonus – the shirts were fairly light and breathable, which made for a much more comfortable ride when I was touring the hot areas of the southern States.
Now, these clothes aren’t cheap – the underwear is $26 a pair, the short-sleeve shirt is $38 and the long-sleeve T-shirt is $50. For that kind of money, some folks are likely going to just decide to pack more spare clothes on the bike.
However – if you want to pack light, check this stuff out. They’re designed for travelers, and they work. I’ve got other friends using them for motorcycle touring, and they’re happy with them as well, and ExOfficio even had a tent down at Overland Expo, selling their clothes (they sell pants, collared shirts, and all sorts of other clothes. If you’ve got the money to buy them, they really can make life easier and more comfortable on the road.
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