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Reader Question: Southeast Asia + Sweat + Bras

bras to pack for Southeast Asia

I love it when readers email us questions that we are then able to take to the community for a well-rounded response. Jennifer got in touch and was asking about tips for her upcoming trip to Southeast Asia.

I am traveling in SEA for 2 months and I am having trouble choosing what bras to bring – I am a C cup and want something with support that will not leave me drenched in sweat. Any advice?

When I did South East Asia I LIVED IN cotton sports bras.

I am an E cup and I found that they were supportive but are designed to breath and absorb the sweat away from the skin to keep you pretty cool.

-Rachel Price

For hot field work consider a non cotton regular bra (not sports) . . . . Go with a nylon or mesh material.

Beyond that I’ve found three things have made a difference: 1) don’t go with pushup; the added material is added heat. 2) choose a bra that minimises cleavage – “lift and separate”. Close really adds temperature and can make one very conscious of sweat 3) a small container of witch hazel and a bandanna in the pack or car are wonderful instant refreshers when things do become too warm.

-Stacy L. Carpenter

I’m with the other ladies…

A good cotton sports bra then use baby powder for underneath your breasts when you get a bit hot and sweaty to prevent ‘sweat rash’…it will help you to no end!

-Toni of Reclaiming My Future

What about you ladies? Any additional tips to add for bras to pack for Southeast Asia (and not get sweaty)?

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Sal says

    I bought Isis’ Chantilly Lace underwire bra. It worked great. Dried overnight when washed and managed sweat no problem. I am small framed and a 34d/36c and a large fit good. They are pricey though.

  2. Joanne says

    I would definitely say no to lace unless it’s nice expensive lace, otherwise it becomes really itchy when you sweat. Microfiber or wicking fabric, minimal if any, padding, thinner straps that can be seen under tank tops. If you are going to be really active sports bras would be ok but wearing them all day they can also get itchy!

  3. Lori says

    I went to Burma recently and packed one non-cotton (sweat wicking) sports bra and two cotton t-shirt bras. All could be washed out in the sink and dry overnight, none made me any hotter than I already was. Also, a couple of the shirts I packed were bra-tops from Athleta, so I didn’t need a separate bra. Especially good for the days we sent out laundry since I could have all my bras washed.

  4. Denise says

    Be careful if you choose to go with a sports bra. They can be thick and heavy, which translates to- holds alot of sweat and doesn’t dry fast. The sports type with sweat wicking fabric in a traditional style is my vote. Faster drying and no uniboob

  5. kristy says

    when i went to southeast asia last year i brought two cotton bras- one was a basic tshirt bra, and one was convertible (great for racerback shirts). however next time i will also bring a cotton sports bra along. they are super comfortable and moisture wicking.

  6. Eliza says

    Can anyone recommend some of these cotton bras you are talking about? Especially if they are pullover style. The hooks and clasps decrease comfort especially in the heat.

      • Susan says

        That’s what I was going to recommend, my boyfriend is obsessed with Ice Breaker Merino wool because i guess it holds off excess sweat so he ordered me a sports bra, socks and underwear from them. I must agree that the material does the job it promises

  7. Alex says

    Living is South Florida, I can vouch that for hot humid weather cotton is a TERRIBLE choice, especially if you sweat a lot; cotton absorbs and HOLDS moisture, and when you wash it it is very slow to dry because it holds so much moisture; great for towels, bad for bras.

    For bras in hot humid weather, I like all-lace underwire bras. They breath extremely well, the lace is synthetic and does not hold moisture, and they dry fast and weigh very little. If the lace doesn’t bother you (like, scratchy, which doesn’t bother me), they are the –perfect– travel bra for hot and/or wet weather.

  8. Erana says

    I wore a nice, unlined, wired, bra in a 4 week trip to Southeast Asia. It was made from some synthetic fabric. I couldn’t have made a better choice. It was lightweight, kept me dry, and was easy to wash by hand and quick to dry.


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