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A Delicate Subject -- Travel Undies

Would any guys out there like to give me a recommendation for "travel boxers" that aren't $18-20 per pair? The first 16 days of our three week trip this fall we will be washing undies in the sink. Even though we in theory travel light, on past trips we've always had access to laundry facilities (either in a timeshare or a laundromat down the street from one) and tend to travel with 8 pairs of undies and we do wash once a week. This time we are in 3 hotels and a Viking stateroom before we get to a friend's home in Berlin, so for the first time we are going to take 3 pairs each, washing daily in most cases. I think my husband's usual cotton/poly boxers will wash up and dry just fine (think of the Seinfeld routine where "poof" the remnants of the underwear just blow away like dandelions in the wind), but he's been eying some of the mesh knits that to me are exorbitantly priced even before we get to the shipping costs. I'm sorry, but for $20 I expect 3 or 4 sets of boxers! Any suggestions?

Posted by
3685 posts

After a long association with tidy whiteys, my husband finally switched to Champion knit boxers. I don't know if they are the "double dry active fit moisture wicking" kind, but I do know that they dry much faster than my supposedly super quick drying panties do. And they are a lot cheaper at about $8 per pair.

At first he curled his lip at the brand (not Jockey or Hanes), but now they are all he wears. An experimental pair or two might be worth the investment.

BTW, there might be laundry facilities on your boat or near your hotel(s). Although my mother always said you only need 3 of anything: 1 on your body, 1 ready to be worn and 1 in the wash, we still pack for a week plus a day, that day being a travel or laundry break day.

Posted by
1179 posts

The Champion C9 aren't bad. Available at Target.

FWIW, I have worn my Ex-Officio undies on a daily basis for over 10 years and they are still comfy and look almost the same. The color has faded a bit, but the waist band is still fine. While they are expensive they are a very good value when you look at cost per wear.

Posted by
106 posts

I'll add a vote for the Ex-Officio's. Easily got through a two-month trip rotating five pair.

You're right-- as underwear, they aren't cheap. But I compared it to the dollars we spent on trip, and the convenience was worth it.

(What's the "cost" of an extra hour in Europe? ;)

Enjoy!

Posted by
9716 posts

Reporting from my brother who has tried the Ex Officio and the REI brand and says he likes the Ibex, IceBreaker or Smartwool brands of wool undies better. They are about $30-$40 a pr but he says he far prefers the wool over the synthetic for comfort. He took the woolies plus a pr of Ex Officio to Ireland this June and says the synthetics dry faster, but the woolies dried overnight as well. You need to know he is a frugal individual and it is shocking he would spend this much for underwear. We now call him wool boy. (Don't get me started on his collection of wool tee shirts!)

Posted by
186 posts

I get itchy just thinking about wool underwear! Thanks for the suggestions -- I guess if the darn things are going to last forever it's ok to shell out the money now. Will have Hubby check out all your suggestions.

Posted by
65 posts

My husband wears the ExOfficio boxers every day. He loves them. They dry quickly and so for travel, we usually take 3-4 pair depending on the length of the trip and the washing facilities. He has not yet tried the Icebreaker wool underwear, but we do have some of the Icebreaker and Smartwool socks and t-shirts. In fact, I wear the Icebreaker villa skirt (have it in 5 colors) and numerous merino wool scoop and v-neck tops that I wear all summer here in middle TN where it is usually in the mid to upper 90s often with 90-100% humidity. Merino wool works wonderfully in the heat because when you sweat because it will use the sweat to cool down your body. In the cold weather, it will help keep your body heat in. You can wear a merino wool t-shirt for days without it stinking through whatever work out you put it through so I cannot imagine that the underwear would not be just as good as that. Merino wool clothing is soft not scratchy and makes wonderful travel clothing as it rolls tight and does not wrinkle. My suggestion is to get your husband a pair of the ExOfficio's and a pair of the Icebreaker's boxers and see which he likes better. Good luck!

Posted by
2081 posts

Faith,

Ive been trying some different undies for my travels. Normally and when at home i wear cotton briefs and tees.

For my travel tees I've been trying some marion wool ones that are about the same weight as my cottons. Ive been wearing the marino wool tee shirts to work under a sweat shirt since i work in an air-conditioned room. but i also wear it on my drive home too. To me it doesnt make me "warmer" as you would think but i feel it keeps me at an even temperature. One thing nice is that i can wear it for several days and it doenst smell. I also tried washing it in my bathroom sink. I then wrapped it in a towel to wring dry without tearing it apart. I then hung it up to dry for about 1 hour in my room. Low humidity in our neck of the woods and it was dry enough to wear. One thing too is that wool doesnt feel cold when you first put it on when the morning is cool.

I havent got any marino wool briefs yet but I'm still looking. For what i wear, the ones I've seen have a high waist which i dont care for.

I also just picked up some Columbia Sportswear "omni freeze" tees. I was able to get them at 1/2 price. Im still trying them and under my sweat shirts. At this time they dont feel as "even temp" as my wools, but they are suppose to enhance cooling which i havent felt, yet.

just my opinion, unless you're willing to try some things you may end up paying more. Also, if you're going to make travel a habit, think of the undies and anything else as an "investment" in your travels.

a comment. I usually wear cotton sox 24/7/365 at home. On my travels, i wear again, marino wool sox. They keep my feet dry and even when wet, it doesnt feel like it. Other than traveling, those wool sox stay in the drawers.

what you can do since you're still at home is to try washing your husbands undies in your bathroom sink and do what you're going to do to dry them. to me, cotton is nice, but doesnt dry fast.

by the way, i got some "synthetic" undies to try and i wasn't impressed. they made me feel more damp.

also, if you have time, watch for sales at your local travel/hiking/outdoor stores. Our REI has sales alto and will email you when they are to happen.

happy trails.

Posted by
507 posts

Just a thought . . . I noticed disposable underpants for women on www.minimus. biz. You might check ( if interested) for the same for men.

Posted by
31471 posts

Faith,

You could also try just taking a couple of pairs of the boxers he wears at home. I've been packing along some of my cotton underwear on recent trips and have found that if you wring them out in a towel after washing, they don't really take that long to dry. In warmer climates (ie: Greece), drying only took a few hours if I put them out on the balcony.

I've looked at Ex-Officio but they're far too expensive for my budget. I do use a few Tilley items, but I bought those long ago, when I could afford things like that.

Posted by
186 posts

"what you can do since you're still at home is to try washing your husbands undies in your bathroom sink"
-- like THAT is going to happen!! (I'm smiling as I type).

But I will get him to try washing in the sink. We were kicking ourselves earlier this evening because we'd talked about sticking our heads in at REI sometime soon, and we were 3/4 of the way there when we went out for a late lunch. I bought Hanes panties several trips ago because someone here recommended them. They seem a little lighter weight than my regulars, but this will be the first time we're doing laundry in the room.

I found the Tide travel sink soap packets at Bed Bath Beyond yesterday since they jumped out at me, even though I'd planned to track down the "paper" soap sheets I've seen people mention. And I guess I'm about to bite the bullet and buy one of Steve's $10 clothes lines unless they have something that looks good at REI.

Posted by
796 posts

My husband wears cotton/knit briefs (not boxers) and they are easy to wash and dry and comfy too and are great to travel with. Hotels and ships always have laundry facilities. We just carry along his regular underwear bought at Kohl's, Target, or WalMart.

Posted by
724 posts

I have been slowly switching hubby over to a Jockey microfiber boxer and he loves them! I tried just a couple pairs at first and now it's his "go to" undies. :) I tried hand washing in the sink and they dry up super fast, quicker than overnight. Plus, as an added benefit, he thinks they make him slimmer. :) I think the first pair was close to $16 but I think they sell them in a pack of 3 (I could be wrong about that)......

Posted by
935 posts

This is one area where you definitely get what you pay for! The ExOfficio underwear are my go to for travel, they are comfortable, they wash and dry in 4 hrs, they last for years, I could travel Europe for a month on three pairs. Search the internet and you will find these on sale (I have never paid $20 for a pair), I usually get them for $10-$14 depending on the sales going on and if you don't mind unusual colors). I would cut costs somewhere else than on something I wear everyday, please don't take cotton underwear, it just does'nt work if your going to wash often.

Posted by
715 posts

What Donald said. Wash at night, dry in the morning.

Posted by
12 posts

Yes, make sure he tries before you travel
Presently on the road and I have been very pleased with my Icebreaker travel shirts
I could have cut my packing by two thirds if I had known how easy these would be to wash and keep clean
My tip is to take a micro fibre towel for drying, much better than the hotel ones and blow up hangers are great

Posted by
68 posts

Another vote for Ex Officio (men's and women's!). Check Sierra Trading Post; they are often on sale for under $10.00 and you can usually find a coupon online.

Posted by
9716 posts

Cracking up at the "washing his undies" comment!

I did not like the travel clothes line. I tried it at home and could not get the hang of it without having a wad of fabric pooching out after items dried. I have settled on a plastic coat hanger (like you get in a 10 or 12 pack anywhere) in a bright color so I don't forget it plus a couple of clothes pins. I can dry a shirt, a pr of unders on the bottom bar with my socks clothespinned to the top at the same time.

Good to know about Sierra Trading Post and the ExOfficio. I just bought myself some of this underwear from the website, but I owe Ex Officio some good will business. The folks in their store in SEATAC helped my SIL cut off a small cable lock that had jammed on her suitcase during a layover in June. They were awesome. They've got my business.

Posted by
260 posts

Magellan has good ones, although not cheap. Actually, if you can find them, silk boxers would dry quickly too and feel much softer (well, I suppose they do, not speaking from actual experience)

Posted by
2353 posts

Who knew there could be this much discussion about underwear! I have a few of the inflatable hangers - take up no room in the suit case but they do help stuff dry faster by keeping the 2 sides separate so air can flow from both sides. I've hung everything from jeans to underwear on them.

Posted by
9363 posts

When I use the braided rubber clothesline, I hang shirts OVER it. I don't poke the fabric into the clothesline, though I know that's what it's meant for. For underwear, etc., I do poke the fabric into the line. I have never regretted spending the money on the clothesline, though.

Posted by
186 posts

Speaking for my hubby, he has worn the Ex Officio briefs for travel and is very pleased. Easy to hand wash and dry quickly.
couple of tips for laundry, we have found that shampoo is a great substitute and is usually available in the room. Nice smell too. Also, we found clips at the grocery that we use to hang items, a plastic hook attached to a clothes pin. Really good for hanging anywhere in the room. Towel roll and squeeze removes an incredible amount of water to speed drying. Happy travels

Posted by
68 posts

I bought these: Clip and Drip Add on Hangers

I took one of the last trip. It is a hanger with 8 small, strong clothespins attached to it. It is very lightweight and one hanger held a shirt, bra, underwear, and a pair of socks.

Posted by
186 posts

I've added that hanger with clips to my Amazon shopping cart -- looks like it would be very useful. Have been wondering if we'll be ducking under the clothesline in every bathroom this trip. I like the hanger idea since we generally leave the suitcase packed and hang very few things in the closet, and assuming we wring undies out well the closet sounds like a good place to hang them to dry to avoid playing limbo in the bathroom!

Posted by
2526 posts

We 're beta testing very lightweight merino wool briefs (both sexes). I love my lightweight merino wool t-shirt. Go wool!

Posted by
67 posts

Another vote for ExOfficio and Icebreaker. Expensive, yes, but as others mentioned - look for sales. We use both brands for every day wear as well as for travel. I've seen other manufacturers making microfiber undies too and will try them if my ExOfficios ever wear out. Ours are years (YEARS!!) old and are still in excellent shape. As someone else mentioned you should think in terms of cost per wear when buying any item. We don't generally buy clothing that is travel-specific; we search for things that are easy to travel with but that we also use at home so when we factor that in, quality undergarments (and other clothing) really are a bargain. I tried the Icebreaker brand a couple of years ago just to see what it was like. Like ExOfficio, it is comfortable, easy care, and promises to be just as long-lasting.

Posted by
186 posts

Thanks everyone! Hubby is 76 so I told him to plan on wearing his ExOfficios for the rest of his life! Ordered him four pair and will have him try them out, including washing in the sink at home to see how long they take to dry. Have to find something else to fret about now!!

Posted by
1747 posts

After reading the responses to this post, I bought my husband the Champion C9 boxers at Target ($14.00 for 4 pair on sale). He finds them very comfortable. I hand washed a pair, wrung them out and then squeezed them dry in a towel to get out any remaining water. I hung them to dry and they were dry in 4 hours. I would highly recommend these.

Posted by
18310 posts

I'm with Lynda. Those hanger with clothespin are call "Drip dry hangers" or Laundry Hooks. I take four, two for shorts and one each for socks. Hang on towel rack overnight.

That and a couple of inflatable hangers for shirts (keeps sides apart) is what I take.

Posted by
18310 posts

My underwear and shirts are cotton/polyester blend and have never failed to dry overnight, but I do carry two sets in addition to what I wear and sometime don't wash at a one-night stand if I know the next stay will be longer. I also carry a plastic bag in case items are still damp when I leave.

It helps to do the final rinse in very hot water and wring the item out in a towel (I use the bath mat so my towel is dry in the morning).

Posted by
208 posts

We first got my husband ex-officio briefs for a trip and he loved them so much he bought more and more. Now, they're the ONLY ones he wears, travelling AND at home! I always line-dry all "intimates", so the elastic has stayed in great shape over time. He travels with 3 pairs (perhaps 4?) and we launder in the sink almost nightly.

Posted by
186 posts

Note to the clueless (you men know who you are!): I don't care how much your undershirt cost or what it's made out of, it will not dry out for days if you hang it dripping wet! Had to slap my husband around a bit the first two times we washed undies in the sink because he'd leave things literally dripping wet. I actually launched an ex-Officio T-shirt across the room at him where it landed splat in his lap the second time he left stuff dripping!

Hubby was very happy with his properly wrung out ex-Officio T's -- we took two of those and two cheap Target shirts, and he now wants two more ex-Officios before we travel again. And he's put away his four pair of ex-Officio boxers to "save" them for use only when we travel.

We traveled with a suction cup type clothes line and used it several times with great success, but several of our stops had those pull-out-of-the-wall type lines. Used packets of Tide liquid for washing; never needed the large flat drain stopper. We carried two blow up hangers (because that's what fit in the pouch I had laundry stuff in), but hubby would like us to pack a third blowup hanger next time so that each undershirt has one (assuming we always have one clean dry set of undies and are washing three). Also found that the plastic clothes pins and hanger/clips we brought made it easy to secure things to the clothes line. We'd take our showers first, then use our damp towels to wring extra water out of the items we were washing.

Our one unfortunate surprise was to find out that our friends in Berlin, with a huge two story house and full basement, had only a teeny tiny washing machine the size of a two drawer file, and no dryer! So there we were with slacks and shirts we'd looked forward to washing and drying spread out all over drying racks in their guest bathroom -- took over two days for items to dry thoroughly.

Posted by
27742 posts

our friends in Berlin, with a huge two story house and full basement, had only a teeny tiny washing machine the size of a two drawer file, and no dryer!

That's what the very high price of electricity will do....

Posted by
8116 posts

It isn't so much the cost of electricity that keeps Germans from buying dryers, it is more that they prefer not to use them on an ecological basis and to save their clothing. Drying racks are seen to be a better way to dry your clothing and if they have an outdoor area, they will hang their clothing outside. Personally, I have lived for 28 years here without a dryer, using only a drying rack and haven't found it to take that long to dry clothes. Jeans just one day, everything else a few hours or overnight.

I just got back from visiting mom in the US and was sad that all of the clothing that I took not only faded, but shrunk during my 2 weeks of using their high tech washer and dryer. Not the first time this has happened either. We washed on cold, so it must be the dryer. Thus, I will keep my drying rack thank you very much.

Posted by
715 posts

Two things i discovered about using the washer (very small) in the apartment I rented in Assisi, one, they spin a lot faster then US front load washers so the clothes as quit wrung out, and two, they have a heating element in them and only cold water feed so the hottest temp literally nukes a stain out of a quick dry shirt.

Posted by
186 posts

Oh, so it's not just that our friends have a "weird" way of handling laundry, it's a "German thing" -- good to know! Several years ago we discovered that washing machines in France, at least the ones we've run into, run forever and ever. We were thankful we were doing laundry the day before we left rather than the next morning because I swear it took the washer that then turned into a dryer four hours to do a load. We freaked out at about the 2.5 hour mark and called the front desk who came up to take a look and couldn't figure out what our problem was. I had mint green and lavender nylon Hanes undies that came out extremely faded. Same underwear, now about 8 years old and only used a couple times a year for travel, still looks great and color fast except for the four pair washed that day.

Posted by
5697 posts

Another reason for wool socks -- I let my Costco socks dry on top of the washer at home to test them out -- and they were SOFT when dry the next day versus the stiff air-dried cotton ones. Maybe it's time to get out the drying rack that Mom used before clothes dryers became the American standard.

Posted by
715 posts

I am still stuck on the fact that some men don't do their own laundry :).

Posted by
2580 posts

Just back from a 2 week romp through Europe with Ex Officio, Calvin Klein and no-name polyester undies. My highly scientific conclusion - they're all the same! Perhaps there was a time when Ex Officio had some secret, hard to find formula but hell now you can find all manner and type of microfiber undies everywhere, and they all dried the same amount by morning. I did use the roll them in a towel trick and for some last minute touchups, my wife took the hair dryer and baked them for a while.

One recommendation - I've been using those rubber travel clotheslines for 20+ years and finally found a new one with a useful twist. It's sold on Amazon as Lewis and Clark and in addition to suction cups, it has 2 long, strong Velcro straps on each end. It's really the bee's knees, it will work everywhere on everything. They also sell packets of Woolite if you'd rather not use Tide. Beware the soap sheets, they are not well reviewed.

Posted by
87 posts

Ex-Oficio's are great! I ended up throwing out all my others. you can find them cheapest on Amazon if you aren't worried about color.
They are super comfortable. great waistband. They dry quickly. perfect for travel, but I have them for everyday now.

Posted by
28 posts

Nylon running shorts work great, dry fast, and if he's ever caught with his pants down, it only appears as if he's going for a run. They are also good for swimming. Slightly more expensive than boxers, but last forever.
(76 years old and worried about boxers? By the time I'm that old, I'll be IN a box - or cremated, probably).