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Here at HPL, we love to pack light. That’s why we are obsessed with quick-drying clothes.
One outfit that can be washed and worn multiple times on a trip…yes, please!
But we know that specialty quick dry travel items don’t always come cheap. That’s why we’ve shared some of our favorite tips and tricks for finding affordable quick-drying travel clothes.
Why We Love Quick-Drying Clothing at HPL
Reason #1: It ensures you have clean AND dry clothes when you need them
Quick-dry materials allow you to wash your clothes when you get back to your hotel from a day of exploring and they will be dry and ready for you to wear the next morning. You can rely on fewer items of clothing when you know they can dry quickly.
Not only is this perfect for packing light, but it’s also great if you unexpectedly run out of clothes or something gets lost or damaged. It’s easy and stress-free to wash quick-dry clothing and know that you will be able to wear it again soon.
I wear many of my items more than once without washing but sometimes things just need a wash and there are also some non-negotiables like my travel underwear.
Not all hotels have laundry facilities and even if they do have a washing facility, they may not have a dryer available. Having quick-dry clothing means that you can still get your washing done and not have to stress about it drying in time.
Reason #2: Unexpected downpours won’t ruin your day
Quick-dry clothing is also perfect for if there’s a lot of unexpected rain at your destination. A little bit of rain never stopped any of us from exploring a new destination. Although, we can all agree that being stuck in wet clothes for hours is less than ideal.
Clothing made of quick-drying fabric will literally dry while it is on your body which means you won’t be stuck in soggy clothes while trying to enjoy the rest of your day.
Reason #3: Chafing and blisters are less of an issue
Often quick-dry clothing is also moisture-wicking. Moisture-wicking fabric pulls moisture away from your skin into the top layer of fabric, where it can quickly evaporate.
This means that even if you’re sweating in a hot and humid climate, you can avoid the dreaded chafing because your clothes won’t stay damp for long. This is also great for preventing blisters.
Reader Question: Where can I find affordable quick-drying clothes?
I received an email from Emily, a reader in the planning stages of a very long trip. Like many of us here, she was trying to find the right clothing for her travels, but also not trying to spend an arm and a leg. This is what she asked me:
“I’m looking for clothes for my very long-term trip (probably over 3 years). I’ll be in all sorts of climates over those three years so I’m planning on doing lots of layering. However travel-specific clothes are pretty darn expensive and not always the most attractive/flattering. Are there certain types of fabrics that are quick-drying that I could search for at say Old Navy or other cheaper stores like that?”
It’s all in the fabric
I think the key here is to look at the fabrics in your favorite quick-drying gear and try to find comparative pieces.
For example, Exofficio underwear is made of 94% nylon and 6% lycra/spandex, which is a quick-drying combination. You could find some of these materials in the sports section at Walmart, Old Navy, or Target. The kicker is that it might not be treated with the same anti-microbe shield material. So, it won’t be as good but it will still be quick-drying.
Some quick-drying pants are made from nylon, which you could find anywhere, but the travel gear version might also be treated with extra sun protection, for example.
Many sports clothes are made from moisture-wicking materials. If you’re looking for quick-dry leggings and t-shirts for your trip, consider buying activewear instead. This not only serves a dual function but there are many activewear brands that are more reasonably priced than specialty travel brands.
You can get a FULLSOFT three-pack of moisture-wicking polyester/spandex leggings for under $23 on Amazon. Bonus, they have pockets!
Seek out cheaper travel-specific clothing
Don’t be afraid to purchase pre-loved travel gear. One of the perks of travel-specific clothes is that they are often made from materials that wear better than normal fabrics.
They stay looking new for longer no matter how many times they have been worn and washed. You’ll likely receive the item looking almost brand new.
If you have booked your trip in advance, a great idea to find affordable quick-drying clothes is at seasonal sales both online and in-store. You’ll be able to get good quality travel pieces at a much more affordable price. Monitor your favorite shops often to see when their sales are.
You can also shop at outlet stores for your favorite travel brands at a much more reasonable price.
- Check out this post on where to find bargain travel gear.
It’s more affordable if you need less of it
The great thing about quick-drying clothing is that one item can be worn and washed multiple times on a trip. This means you don’t need to stock your whole travel wardrobe with quick-drying clothing.
Invest in a few key pieces that are in a higher price range and fill the rest of your travel wardrobe with bits and bobs that can be replaced on the go.
If you need some tips for packing the perfect travel wardrobe check out the Handbag Packing Masterclass.
Fabrics to Look Out For
There are specific fabrics that we love at HPL for traveling. When shopping for clothes that are quick-drying, some fabrics you want to look out for are merino wool, nylon, polyester, rayon, and fleece.
Not only is merino wool quick drying, but it is also odor-resistant which means you may not even need to wash it while you are away.
Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are moisture-wicking – they pull moisture away from your skin and allow it to evaporate quickly. Not only is this helpful when you’re wearing the item to keep you fresh, but it also makes these materials quick to dry.
Rayon although not as good at wicking moisture like nylon and polyester, is quick-drying and wrinkle-resistant.
Fleece absorbs much less water than other materials. You can wash your fleece clothing before you go to sleep and it will easily be ready for you to wear the next day.
Bamboo, although not quick-drying, is still one of our fav travel fabrics. This is because it is odor-resistant. So although you might not be able to wash this while you are on holiday, you can wear it multiple times before it starts to smell.
Have any of you traveling ladies been successful at finding cheaper clothing that can take the place of expensive technical gear?