I used to take a complete set of underwear consisting of a T-shirt, underpants and socks with me for every day of travel.
In the meantime I can make this much more comfortable and efficient, regardless of whether I am on the road for two days, a week or several weeks. I have found a way to always travel with the same set of basic clothes.
This set consists of:
From a suitcase trip to a small cube of a few clothes. What has changed?
- I have discovered Merino clan moths for myself, which are suitable for a much longer wearing time because of their odour-inhibiting property. They also dry incredibly quickly and are a perfect companion in summer and winter. Compared to cotton clothes, merino clothes are extremely light and thin, so they hardly wear in your luggage. If you value really fast drying, make sure you get 150g/m² of fabric. The warmer version is the 200g/m² fabric, which needs a few hours more to dry.
- Similar to merino wool, anti-odour socks can be worn longer without smelling and are very space-saving due to their low sneaker profile.
- Hand wash! The real trick is that every day I wash a few clothes with hand detergent in the sink.
I used to shy away from washing my clothes on the way. I always had the picture in front of my eyes of clothes that have to dry on the leash for a long time, but with merino wool it’s not like that anymore.
Now that I have done this for the first time, I have to say that it is super pleasantly simple and doesn’t cost me 5 minutes a day. Meanwhile it just goes along with it:
- Fill a sink with warm water and add a few ml of detergent.
- Press the clothes under the water and soak for 10 minutes. Move a little from time to time but do not knead or walk.
- Then just drain off the water and squeeze the clothes slightly to get the coarsest water out. Do not rinse the clothes with Eucalan detergent! It is a “leave in detergent”.
- Roll the clothes into a towel and let them lie briefly so that the water can be sucked out of the clothes.
- Lay out the clothes flat to dry.
Watch it! Merino clothes require a special detergent. No sharp detergents that break down the odour-inhibiting enzymes of wool. After some research I came across Eucalan, which works for merino clothes and also cotton. I have also no problems with the skin what is important with a “leave in” detergent, because parts of the detergent should remain in the clothes so that the lanolin in the detergent can care for the fibers of the wool.
I personally expect about 4ml detergent for each day of travel. So you can fill the appropriate amount into a container before the trip.
How “durable” are merino clothes?
Merino clothes are expensive, no question. The price in relation to the function fits me because of the low weight and the fast drying time. What about the service life?
I can’t say much about that yet. My first Merino T-shirts are just 3 years old, are worn practically daily and are in top condition. They have never seen a washing machine from the inside and neither the colours nor the shape have suffered. So far everything still fits for me.
Pilling? There are definitely differences in quality. I’ve never seen pilling with Icebreaker clothes before. I have a Quechua top, which I hardly wear, but I have quite strong pilling despite washing it by hand.
How low can you go?
If you want to do extreme Ultralight Traveling you can theoretically travel with only one set of shirt, underwear and socks. With the parts you wear on your body. Depending on the climatic conditions, all parts dry overnight. So if you express your clothes in the evening with two towels and hang them up well, you will have a set of fresh and dry clothes the next morning. Unfortunately I don’t trust the theory completely yet. The critical parts are the socks and the Merino clothes with more than 150g/m² material thickness.Ultralight Theory