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Laundry

Now that that many places are reopening and travel is more prevalent, I'm curious about laundry and how may times you might wear one clothing item before you wash.
Assuming "normal" conditions (it's not crazy hot so you're perspiring a lot, or you haven't spilled on an item) how often do you wash clothes when traveling? After one wear? Two? Does it depend on the clothing item?
Do you primarily wash clothes in a sink? Go to a laundromat?
Do you have a favorite laundry soap? Bring powder or liquid or pods?
Thanks!

Posted by
9034 posts

A shirt might get a 2nd use, but only rarely.

Trousers or shorts get several days.

Sox and 'unders' are 'one and done'

Use powder in a sink. Liquid laundry soap has the issue of the 3-1-1 limits

Pods are designed for a full load in a machine, so not practical for sink laundry. ( no idea how TSA classifies a pod)

Posted by
19 posts

I’ll wear a shirt twice - usually first time in evening to dinner and then a day. I’m a female.
I take Woolite packets to wash items in sink - make sure undies are material that dries quickly.
We use laundromats when traveling for several weeks. Drop off in morning and get clothes later that day or next day - they charge by the pound. Be sure to check their hours carefully

Posted by
11749 posts

I wear shirts and undies once before washing. Pants a few times. Socks 1-2.

I carry the following items to do laundry:

--8 liter dry sack (I'm finding some sinks too small to wash clothes in) It weighs one ounce. (Sea to Summit)

--Laundry Soap Sheets (Travelon or Sea to Summit--they come in little packs of 50.)

I will wash in the sink, dry sack, go to a laundromat, or even let the hotel do my shirts or pants (if it isn't too expensive.) I don't wash pants in the sink or dry sack. They are always either done at a laundromat or the hotel will do them.

My socks and undies are quick drying. (Socks are merino wool). Shirts are a cotton blend so they dry overnight without wrinkles. I carry a small 2 oz spray bottle so if a shirt comes out of my bag wrinkled, I just have to spray it with water and when it dries the wrinkles are gone.

One caveat.....if I'm somewhere that my shoes come off numerous times during the day--like Japan--the socks get washed after one use.

Posted by
13875 posts

Undies are 1 & done.
Shirts are usually a 1 & done but might get a 2nd wearing if only lightly used: ours are of lighter-weight, quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant blends
Pants can go 4-5 days unless spilled on or otherwise visibly soiled, we travel almost exclusively in tidy jeans; no rips or tears, mine are lighter-weight with some stretch.
Outerwear: lightweight fleece vest and rain-resistant jacket or warmer shell, depending on season/destination

We try to get by with sink washes (not the jeans) for week and 1/2 or so then hit a coin laundry for thorough wash/dry. Sometimes where/when we do a coin wash depends on where it's easiest to do it + when we'll have the most down time. I pack powdered Oxyclean for sink-washing light colors and stains, and travel-sized bottles of Dr. Bonners for darks. I've also used the soap sheets Frank does but can't always find them, and Bonners is a multiple-duty product for dang near everything - if needed, can wash people as well as laundry - and is easy to find at Target. If we go to a laundromat, we use the soap they sell in the dispensers there.

Posted by
6988 posts

Nowadays, I splurge and have a hotel do it if convenient schedule-wise, but you have to plan ahead to know your target date. Socks and undies may get a sink wash depending on how many I have relative to days before convenient laundry stop. But I don't bring any detergent - they have plenty there. They also have plenty of clothes there, if running low and no convenient laundry stop. I've seen people who believe a 14-day trip requires packing 15 pairs of underwear, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

Tips: wearing t-shirts under a shirt, can extend the days you can use the shirt to three days under normal conditions. Also, getting the shirts laundered with starch (something only old people seem to be familiar with) before travel will keep a better appearance for multiple wears. In a pinch, just about any soap/detergent will work for sink duty (shampoo, hand soap, etc.). The water does most of the cleaning work and the soap mostly provides masking fragrance.

Posted by
1116 posts

I'm a sink washer. Bring dissolvable soap sheets as another poster mentioned. I also bring along a line to hang things on if needed, but it really depends on the place we are staying if I have to use it or not. Underwear and shirts are one and done, pants usually 2-3 days though mine dry overnight so if it was a particularly sweaty day they'll be ready for the next day. I usually wash my stuff the first night of a multi night stay and that seems to work well for everything being dry to pack up for the next place.

Posted by
21525 posts

I travel with a small amount of powdered detergent in a plastic bottle and supplement that with leftover shampoo from the little bottles some hotels give you. However, more and more budget hotels are using mounted dispensers, so there's not any leftover shampoo. I'll need to take more powdered detergent on my next trip; I may have to order something from Amazon, because I don't remember seeing powder in the supermarket recently. I also take a small bottle into which I've decanted liquid spot remover.

The biggest issue I've had has definitely been the sink itself. As previously noted, some are too small. Many others (again--budget hotels) have either no stopper or an ill-fitting stopper. I carry a couple of large Zip-Lock bags for emergency laundry duty. I think they're either 2-1/2 or 3 gallons.

I consider how quickly things will dry when I choose my travel wardrobe. I use the roll-it-in-a-towel-and-step-on-it technique (learned on this forum) to speed drying. I take two inflatable hangers with me. They promote quicker drying and also help reduce wrinkles. I also take one small pants hanger (plastic and lightweight) and one of the tiny hangers bras are sold on for socks and underwear. I throw a couple of plastic-coasted metal clothes pins into my bag, though they're used more often to clip curtains closed than for laundry.

I've been doing my laundry this way while traveling since I started back in 1972 and don't really mind it. It's tougher when you travel with someone else because of limited drying space and needing to share bathroom time. I think looking for local laundromats is a good idea when you have a roommate.

Posted by
3789 posts

Thanks for the dry bag tip Frank II. I was thinking of that for my future travel plans, because, as mentioned sinks are not always conducive to laundry. I know there is the Scrubba travel laundry bag, but they seem heavy and expensive. The dry bag, with some good soaking time, can do the trick.
I use a laundry bar and found out if you cut it up a bit, soak in water, it can be used in the washing machine.
Amazon also sells eco, low packaging laundry soap sheets Tru Earth is the original brand. I had no luck with the dry options for travel in those little plastic dispensers. I find you need many. These detergent sheets can be cut for sink washing and full size for washing machine.

Posted by
1069 posts

Suggest you practice your methods before hitting the road. You need a soap that will both rinse completely and not cause a skin reaction. You don’t need much soap. Travel clothing is chosen for its ease of care and rapid drying. You will need a drying system that is lightweight and manageable. Hotel laundry is a nice luxury but not often available at the smaller hotels that RS books and who has time to find a laundromat?

When I was bicycle touring, I picked up a habit from an experienced tourer: step into the shower wearing your bike jersey, shorts, and sox. A few scrubs with soap in the nasty parts, peel everything off, rinse, wring, laundry’s done.

Posted by
1114 posts

I've been known to throw my undies and socks into the shower before I step into it in the morning. (Did I learn that from someone on this forum?) During the shower, I push them around with my feet, making sure that the soapy rinse water flows through them. Then I hold them up and rinse them under the shower before getting out. Voila!

Posted by
13875 posts

The biggest issue I've had has definitely been the sink itself. As
previously noted, some are too small. Many others (again--budget
hotels) have either no stopper or an ill-fitting stopper.

Oh, right! We travel with a flexible drain cover that does just well enough. I also pack a couple of lightweight plastic hangers for neatly drying shirts + some clips for hanging socks from them if needed. Travel laundry lines haven't worked especially well for us; the hangers can be hung from the shower nozzle until the garment gets to the non-drip point, then moved to open closet, wardrobe, a door handle, curtain rod, etc.

who has time to find a laundromat?

LOL. We think doing a wash-up is just part of the cultural experience; have met some interesting people in the laundromats! It's been interesting trying to figure some of the instructions out too. Thank goodness for helpful (and amused) locals, or other been-there-done-that travelers!

Posted by
1718 posts

Another sink washer here. Since I don't want most of my travel clothes washed in hot water and dried on hot by someone else, I prefer to do laundry myself. Wash in cold water with Forever New (it's also available in packets), rinse, roll in a towel, stomp the water out, shake wrinkles out, hang to dry on folding hangers. I allow two days drying time, just in case, so I don't have to pack damp clothes. Clothes line didn't work for me since I didn't always have a place to stretch and attach it.

Wearing times: socks and undies 1 day; blouses and tops, 1 day or evening and next day; leggings usually 2 days.

As someone mentioned above, I take a flexible drain stopper and added a drain screen to my packing list so things don't fall down the drain.

Posted by
10242 posts

Wow....I can tell no one is going to want to travel with or meet up with me!

Wear time:
Shirts - if it's not hot I go 3 days on shirts. Sometimes I'll air one out for a day and give it another go. I banned a shirt from the "travel team" a few years ago because it got smelly after 1 wearing even when I was not (it was an athletic shirt from Lands End). A few years ago when I was trying to convince myself that the Merino Wool tees didn't make me itch (they do), I wore one for 6 days during a Paris Heatwave. Even that grossed me out, lol, so I washed it even though it absolutely had no odor at all.
Pants - 3-5 days. I do wash my travel jeans the day I arrive. Something about that long travel day that does them in!
Unders - once and done
Socks - I use cool-max or smartwool and they are fine for several days

I'm definitely a sink-wash person - using the 2 gal ziplocks that I've reinforced at the seams. I just got back from a couple of weeks in Yellowstone although since I drive I have room to take plenty of clothes. Still, I wound up doing underwear a few times and a shirt or two (it was blazing hot). My ziplock sprung a leak so I decided I might need to start packing 2 ziplocks or a small roll of mailing tape for repairs. The ziplock gives you way more room than most hotel sinks!

I just use hotel shampoo or if they've got liquid soap in the shower I use that. It's formulated to take care of body/hair oils so seems like it works fine on clothing. When I first started back with International travel a number of years ago I packed my own detergent but really, the hotel stuff works as well for me.

Over the years I've moved to having all my clothing be poly/cotton blends so they'll dry overnight. If I do have a new item I'll test it at home to check the drying time. One of the Moscow ID travel meet up members had us rolling on the floor laughing about his fight with a new shirt which would. NOT. dry, lol. I think he wound up throwing it away.

Posted by
876 posts

Mostly a sink washer using the hotel soap, shampoo, body wash. On trips of more than 2 weeks and traveling with the whole family I've left things at a local laundry service or have gotten apartments with a washing machine, in which case I'll also pack some powder laundry soap. Undies and socks are one and done as are T-shirts or camis. Overshirts and pants/shorts/skirts are worn multiple times. I love the idea of the dry bag, Frank II. I'll have to dig mine out and weigh them.

Posted by
4788 posts

Typically 3-week trips. Everything is sink washed. I either bring the travel packet Woolite detergent or more commonly just use the hotel shampoo or shower gel. (I bring a bar of soap for me.)

Underwear & shirts: after each wearing
Pants: 2-3 wearings unless it’s sweaty
Sleeveless cotton dresses: 1-3 wearings
Socks: I don’t bring any. I wear Keens Rose sandals and a ballet flat for dinner.

If I use regular deodorant, I need to wash the dresses after each wearing, but if I use the Crystal Mineral Stick deodorant, they don’t have any bad scent after a few wearings. Being sleeveless and pairing with a lightweight scarf helps, too.

I bring four outfits including the one I wear on the plane. Sink wash most evenings for 5 minutes and squeeze and step on rolled up towel to be dry by morning. Since I wash often, I don’t bring a special clothesline anymore - just use the towel racks or hangers.

Posted by
2243 posts

I love the warm towel racks in so many European hotels- makes clothes drying overnight possible!

Posted by
1002 posts

I didn't want Pam to think she's alone :) I basically do what she does. I wear smartwool socks and those things are good for several days without washing. Shirts at least two days. I'll hang them overnight to air out but unless it's a very warm climate (and we try to avoid those during hot season), 2-3 days is the norm.
I have washed undies and socks in the sink but we typically try to find a laundromat near a cafe or someplace where we can hang out while we wait for a load to wash. If I expect to do that, I'll bring a bit of my own powered detergent because have sensitive skin and I don't want any unexpected rashes on vaca.

The type fabric you select makes a world of difference. My husband sweats more than I do so we get him shirts and shorts that are designed for outdoor activities - very lightweight and dry super fast - which he wears when not traveling, too. They don't hold odor and even if we need to run one under the shower, it's gonna be dry by morning.

Posted by
3332 posts

I sink wash every time we have a two night hotel stay. Rohan has jeans that dry relatively quickly. I carry the Tide liquid packets that are available from Amazon, but also have some of the dry "Forever New" soap I got at Macy's. If the weather isn't sweaty, I'm with pam and celeste on wearing shirts several days before washing.

Posted by
2190 posts

Wash items when you take a shower - -just use the shower soap/gel

Posted by
4788 posts

Be a bit careful with the warm towel racks - love them for towels! But, one started to melt the fabric of one of my synthetic dresses in a Paris hotel.

Posted by
10242 posts

So happy that I'm not a total outcast, lol!

I find the same thing as Jean with deodorant. I don't like to use the crystal sticks for my normal daily deodo as I try to avoid aluminum but I do use it on vacation. For me it means no odor at all.

Jean! Yikes to the melted dress!

Posted by
5697 posts

We go on longer, slower non-tour trips (6 weeks in winter for our last one) and I plan for a several-night apartment stay with washing machine or laundromat access about once every 7 nights. Carry 4 plastic coathangers and 2 pants hangers for drying. Laundromat usually has detergent available, but since we check (shocker!!) one bag each the pods are also workable. Sink washing with hotel shampoo only as a last resort between laundry days or to keep stains from setting.
One advantage of independent travel over tours is that the only person who will notice you wearing the same shirt 2 or 3 days is your travel companion (and who will have no problem letting you know if/when the shirt has reached its limit.) Costco wool socks are good for several days wear. Sweaters get washed when we get home (except for spot cleaning for spills.)

Posted by
446 posts

How often - undies one and done. Socks - usually 2 wears before washing. I don't wear the same pair two days in a row. I wear one pair, let them air out for a day, wear again before washing. Shirts - usually 2-3 wears unless really sweaty. Hang them to air out between wearings. Trousers/jeans/shorts - 3 or more wears.
Where I wash - the sink or shower unless I have access to a washer. I've never used a laundromat, but not against the idea. Would definitely consider splurging and let the hotel do it.
I use either shampoo or body wash for the clothes. The time I spent a week in an apartment in Florence with a washer, I brought a few small individual Tide packets. There was no dryer, but a drying rack was provided and it worked fine. I bring some foldable plastic hangers, which came in really handy in the smaller hotels with minimal places to hang clothes.

Posted by
1116 posts

Underwear is one and done, socks 2 days. Shirts one and done but pants, depending on how hot it is, anywhere from 2-4 days. I have pants that dry overnight so if it is hot its not a big deal to wash more often. We do sink laundry either bringing along those sheets that dissolve in water or using shampoo or hand soap. We also bring a rolled up laundry line for when our rooms don't have hangers/balcony/or much bathroom space for things to dry. We always do laundry the first night of multiple night stays and then as needed. I'm not necessarily opposed to letting a hotel do it for us, but I wouldn't want to waste my time seeking out a laundromat and the hassle associated with it when 20 minutes in some evenings before bed will do it.

Posted by
3745 posts

Over the years, I've done all the options people have listed. Every. Single. One. For me, it's always situational.

How do I keep my clothes clean? These are my ranked choices from favorite to not.

  1. Rental apartment washer. Dry in dryer or on rack. Very convenient. Every rental apartment I've been in has provided laundry soap.
  2. Self wash at a laundromat. Fun, local experience. Love laughing at myself when I struggle with the directions in the local language, then realize that the 2nd language is English.
  3. Done by the hotel or lodging, free or at a low per-kilo rate. Usually cheap and clothes come back dry and folded.
  4. Done by a local laundry service. Again usually priced by the kilo. Often cheap. Returned dry, folded and often wrapped.
  5. Sink wash in the hotel room. Wrap in towel and stomp to get most of the water out. Hang to dry using whatever's available from hotel hangers to towel rack to the braided clothesline I always take. Naturally, this least favorite is what I end up doing most often. 😁

What laundry soap? I've done all the things others have listed.

But, many years ago I got a large supply of Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets. I've taken some with me on every trip. Sometimes I've used them all, sometimes not.

The full sheet size is for a whole load of laundry and drying. I cut them in half or in thirds for sink laundry. I was surprised that they were still listed on Amazon.

What and how often? I pack for a week plus a day and travel for 3+. In fact, 3 weeks is a short trip for me.

Including what I have on, the basics are 8 pairs of panties, 2-3 bras, 2 shapewear camis, 2-3 pairs of Sockwell Compression socks, 1 step into money belt, 3 pairs of pants, <=8 tops, 1-2 scarves, 1 pajama top (which might be a long underwear top), 1 pajama bottom (which might be a pair of long underwear bottoms).

The panties are the only garments that I wear only once before washing. Everything else has a maximum wear life of 3 times before washing.

I frequently wear a scarf and often use it as the basis for my travel clothes choices. The scarf can protect a top from any number of eating errors and washing it is much easier than washing most tops.

Posted by
1679 posts

Definitely test out whatever laundry solution you choose BEFORE you leave. Nothing like finding out your skin is allergic to the travel laundry soap you thought would be amazing (as I did on a trip using the Purex 3-in-one sheets). I now use Life Dissolving Laundry Sheets (they used to come in fragrance free option, but those are out of stock). They work in hot or cold water. They come in packages of 10 sheets, but I cut them in smaller strips before I leave for sink washing. I also use Dr. Bronners liquid soap on myself and that works fine for laundry as well. Pre-packaged Shout wipes have saved many an outfit.

Posted by
891 posts

PandaBear, where in NorCal are you from?

There is a small chain of "dollar-like" stores called Daiso selling knickknacks of all sorts. Buy some laundry nets and some lightweight sock hanger racks (also called hanging dryer racks). The quality of their goods is definitely higher than that from Amazon or even Bed Bath and Beyond. There are several of them in the Bay Area, including SF.

Posted by
155 posts

When traveling domestically, I try to choose hotels with self service laundry facilities. I bring a bunch of quarters and some detergent pods and do laundry in the hotel if needed. I’ve found that the sink/hang dry method is time consuming and inefficient.

Abroad, we usually pop for a hotel’s laundry service. Ditto for the river cruise ships we’ve traveled on.

Posted by
509 posts

I book apartments with washing machines…. But have done sink wash in emergencies (whoops, Switzerland, heat wave, what do you mean the apartment doesn’t have a washer???).

I have used WashEZE Unscented Sheets for years now on trips. We have many skin allergies in my family (my husband’s fault!!). They are easy to pack, wash out the gross stuff, and handle either washing machines or the sink (cut a sheet down). No skin reactions. Love them!!

Posted by
329 posts

Fels-naphtha laundry bars are another good way to do sink/ziplock laundry. Slice a bit off and swish it around in the bag, or rub on the clothes and soak. No security issues since it’s a solid bar.

Posted by
1638 posts

Well, I’m a bit odd because I’m not crazy about using laundry mats. I have a thing about washing my clothes after someone else has just washed their undies. I take Clorox tablets and fill the sink with water and add part of the tablet and let it sit for 15 minutes then rinse before I wash my clothes. I take thin, dark shirts and thin dark skirts. Both dry over night. I’ll wear shirts 2-3 days unless it’s very hot then only once. The skirts are usually good for 3 days and I travel with 4 skirts, and 6 very thin shirts. Undies are one and done and I take four very thin undies.
On occasion I do a shower laundry. It depends on my mood.
I’m not familiar with the dry bag so I’ll have to check that out. The sink stopper I take is small but a bit heavy.
I’ve also used the hair dryer to help with drying. I find that it’s better to hand wash before dinner to ensure my clothes dry. I don’t ring or roll in a towel to prevent wrinkles. A combination of hangers clipped together allows for my clothes to hang in the shower. Hubby and I try and alternate days for laundry because of limited space. He does his own laundry at home (yay) too.

Posted by
1 posts

We have done 2 week trips with only carryon size suitcases.
Most items have multiple purposes. Zip lock gallon bags, Plastic hangers and clips, Large microfiber towel, Dr. Bronners liquid soap., A small spray bottle from the dollar store.
I pack my undies and socks in a gallon size ziplock bag to keep everything organized and in case TSA feels the need to paw through my luggage.They become the bag i use as my “washing machine.” The Dr. Bronners soap can be used for washing my face, in the shower and rinsing out clothes.
The somewhat large microfiber towel can be used for laundry (I don’t have to use a damp hotel towel in the morning), cushioning souvenirs, a day at the beach or wrapping your hair after a shower.
Add a few tops or undies, water, some soap, seal it and shake it around a bit. Rinse the soap out, squeeze the excess water out, roll in the microfiber towel, hang up and smooth the item. Let it dry overnight. If it’s wrinkled in the morning, i spray with some water and wrinkles go away.

Posted by
11749 posts

itsdi4334--why don't you just ask your hotel for an extra towel? I've never known a hotel to refuse an extra towel.

I do self-service laundry at hotel laundry machines or laundromats. There have been times when my family and I dropped off our laundry and paid the laundromat to wash it for us (when staying in a location for more than 1 night). Then, just pick it up before the facility closes or the next day. Hotel laundry services will cost an arm and a leg. Honestly, when spending thousands of dollars on plane tickets, hotels, etc. - what’s an extra $35 - $60 for a large load of family laundry. We can enjoy our day while a business does our laundry for us. It’s a win-win.

Posted by
1978 posts

I always book vacation apartments with a washing machine.
It's always an adventure figuring out how to use the European ones.
Some take up to two hours to wash a small load, and the best one we ever had took 29 minutes!
That was in a lovely apartment in Rome.
I used to take gel detergent-pods with me to use, as European detergent is too strongly fragranced for me.
Now we can get detergent sheets (Tru-Earth brand here in Canada).
They do a fantastic job, and are like small sheets of paper that just dissolve.
No more using up my liquids allowance on pods.

Easier to pack lighter too.

Posted by
400 posts

I subscribe to the wall method. I throw the article of clothing against the wall, and if it sticks, I wash it in the sink. If not, it's good for another day.

Warren,
I have heard of “the wall method” being used to determine whether or not the spaghetti was cooked long enough. (Lidia Bastianich joked in a pasta demonstration.)

Not sure I want my undies sticking to the wall under any circumstances. Not fair to the cleaning staff.
Thanks for your joke.

Posted by
2308 posts

In reading this thread, I am surprised at the number of sink washers. JUST. NO. I don’t want to look back on my trip and remember that I had to wash my clothes in the sink! I’m on vacation. No laundry, cooking, cleaning allowed! Good memories only.

Posted by
374 posts

I only travel with merino or lycocell clothing now (depends on the weather which). I can go a week wearking bottoms - more for skirts - and about 3x for tops. Packing for a winter 6 day trip now - and know the place we are staying has a washer/dryer in the unit - so will take 2 spare tops and change of bottoms - and only because its spring so the weather could be all over the place

Posted by
4788 posts

Diveloonie aka Tammy, just like everything else about travel, each person does what works for them.

I’ve been to Europe a dozen times for 3-week trips. I’ve always just used a carry-on suitcase and sink wash my clothes for 5 minutes max. every night or every other night - no big deal for me. My preference is to stay a short time in several locations, traveling by train, so keeping the suitcase light is very important to me. I purchase dresses or nice-looking pants/tops that wash easily and dry overnight if I wrap them in a towel before hanging to dry.

Posted by
1069 posts

Washing in a sink is tedious and oh-so-old-fashioned.
I do my laundry in the shower.
Trick I learned from an expert bicycle tourist.

Posted by
2762 posts

Pants, especially jeans, I will rewear several times under normal conditions. Shirts I’ll wash after every all-day wear. If I just put it on for dinner then I’ll rewear it but if I wear it all day running around, then it will be washed. This doesn’t apply to shirts I wear over others - like sweaters with a t-shirt under. I’ll rewear the sweater but wash the t-shirt. Underwear and socks are washed every wear

I’ll wash underwear and socks in the sink with a liquid camping soap I got from rei. I have done actual clothes this way but prefer not to. I’ll take clothes to a drop off laundry service, go to a laundromat, or have an Airbnb with a washer depending. I try to book an apartment with washer at least once in the middle of a trip, for this exact purpose, but that isn’t always possible.

Posted by
1117 posts

Depends. I'm with diveloony aka Tammie on this:

I’m on vacation. No laundry, cooking, cleaning allowed!

... and, let me add: no ironing!! So, I will stuff underwear into every nook and cranny of my suitcase so that, if at all possible, I can avoid doing laundry altogether. Or, if it's a longer trip and I really can't avoid it, I'll spend two hours of my valuable vacation time in a public laundry to get all my laundry done at once.

Also, I am perfectly willing to travel with Pam (not sure if she is willing to travel with me!), risking all the rest of you to sigh with relief that I am no closer to you than via an internet connection. General rule of thumb: the closer a piece of clothing is to my skin, the more often it needs to get washed. Underwear after each wear, coats or jackets once a season (unless soiled, of course).

Heed the wise words of consumer agencies, they will give you a good excuse for this: Washing a garment too often will ruin it prematurely. Also, it's much more environmentally friendly not to dump so much detergent into the water. So there you go!

For shirts etc., the answer, as always, is: "It depends". Sure, it is nice to be able to put on a fresh shirt in the morning, but if we are going on just another strenuous hike... come on. Everything is going to be sweaty after half an hour anyway, no matter how fresh things were when I started.

Also, I have three or four absolutely and truly non-iron outdoor shirts that will dry overnight. So, if I really want to wear a fresh shirt every day, I can just give these a quick rinse at night, and they will last me the whole vacation.

The only thing I am really sick and tired of is the pattern of these shirts. These outdoor companies are so unimaginative, and have been so for years! There is an infinite number of possible patterns, but the only thing they seem to be able to come up with is checkered, checkered, checkered. I am checkered yellow the first day, checkered blue the second, checkered green the third ... and starting over.