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ExOfficio produces some very sturdy and specialized travel clothing, one such popular item being the travel underwear.
Yes, you read that right. There is, in fact, a market for travel underwear, especially for those that want to travel light and have the best quality underwear in their backpacks. However, it seems that many travelers are turned off by these items because the female versions can run anywhere from $16 to $20 each, and that’s not cheap. The real issue at hand is deciding whether or not this price is worth it.
>> Check out our full travel underwear guide.
Why the Price?
You see these aren’t just any panties; these panties have been produced using a super quick-drying material and treated with Aegis Microbe Shield, which means they dry faster and stay un-smelly longer.
It also means you should be able to travel with less underwear. If you’re one of those people that is looking for any way to make your backpack lighter (like cutting the ends off your toothbrushes), then these might be for you. They might even be for those that just want to keep it simple, like myself.
How Many Do You Need?
How light and simple you can travel with these underwear is another question, though. The original tag line for these underwear (I believe) said something like:
“17 countries. 6 weeks. One pair of underwear.”
I never really understood this tag line since I could never get my head around what you are supposed to do when you’re actually washing them. Or, were you not supposed to wash them at all? No, one pair just didn’t seem like enough, no matter how quick-drying they are, which is why I was happy to see the addition of this line to the website:
“Okay, maybe two.”
Well, that’s better… but is that really all you need?
Several years ago I couldn’t let myself wonder any longer. I was curious, so when I found some online at sale prices, I bought four (two really didn’t sound like enough). Two and a half years later, they were still kickin’.
In short: yes, they’re worth it. In depth: they have some faults, but not enough to concern the traveler that is after function over style.
- Durability. After 2.5 years, of casual use, they are still in great condition.
- Texture. The meshy texture helps you build up a lather when hand-washing clothes in hostel sinks.
- Comfort. The bikini briefs give full coverage and are great for exercise, walking, hiking, and other activities where wedgies are a problem.
- Style. They lack style, and may even resemble granny panties. Looking to hook-up on the road? Hmm… maybe think again. (They have updated the look to be a little cuter these days.)
- Thickness. The string bikini versions have very thick trim. You can often see the lines under your clothes, which is annoying.
- Drying. Sometimes, they dried quickly while others they seemed to take a bit longer. This obviously depends on climate and air flow where they are hung. Would I say that you could definitely wash them in the evening and expect them to be dry by morning? No, don’t expect it.
- Liners. The material isn’t the best for sticking panty liners and pads to. Sometimes they stay put, and others they get a little off-guard. Anyone else have experience?
On the original posting of this video back on Brooke vs. the World, I got a response from Erica at ExOfficio. Of particular interest was her note of upcoming improvements in the area of style:
You’ll be happy to know that this spring, we did a bit of revamping to the women’s underwear, which included making the waistband elastic less thick. Hopefully, that will eliminate all the problems of lines on your skin from the string bikini’s band.
Also, this Summer — exclusively starting at REI* — we’re launching a new line of women’s underwear, made from the same fabric, but with a sexier twist.
I haven’t personally tried the new versions out, but I would be interested in hearing your own reviews of these “sexier” undergarments.
UPDATED: The sexier version are the Give-n-Go Lacey underwear. Read more about them here.
Well, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking about making a purchase. You can always try out a pair and then buy more if you think they will work with your travel style. Optimally, I would shoot for a minimum of 3 pairs, but 4 is better as it gives you more time to wash in between wears.
Be sure to read our Ultimate Travel Underwear Guide to get more info on Exofficio and other travel underwear brands.