To which I respond that it is, in fact, a valid concern, but one that shouldn’t be major if you plan ahead accordingly.
And that plan should always include packing one outfit of quick dry fabric.
Because, let’s face it, sometimes travel plans mold and shape themselves as you go and turn out to be nothing like what you had in your head. What you thought might be a relaxed, short day on the town with plenty of time to seek out laundry in the evening, serendipitously turns into a nice dinner, a show, or other fun event running late into the night.
Or, you might just come back from sightseeing all day too tired to give your laundry a second thought. I’ve been there!
In any case, packing that one quick dry outfit can save the day. Instead of being forced to wear that ripe shirt for the 3rd time, you now have the option to toss your special outfit into a sink wash and have it ready and rarin’ for you the very next day.
What You Need
If you can’t invest in the whole quick dry outfit, I find having the base layer as something I can quickly wash and wear to be a help. At a bare minimum, a pair of quick dry underwear is essential, but a base layer tank or t-shirt that can be worn between your skin and outer clothing is even better when it comes to feeling clean.
Test the items in advance so you have an idea of how long they take to dry in various situations (humid, cold, low airflow, etc.).
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Why You Need a Quick Dry Outfit
As mentioned before, this outfit will ensure you are easily able to have clean clothes when traveling light. It will be your fallback outfit if time gets away from you and you need an option for clothes that can be washed and dried (or at least close to it) before your next wear.
How to Wash Your Fast Drying Clothes
We have full instructions for hand-washing your clothes on the road right here. The quick and dirty guide is that you plug a sink, add some travel laundry wash, submerge soiled clothing in the sink, scrub, rinse, wring and hang.
- Before hanging, it is best to remove as much water as possible from the clothing. We do this by rolling the wet clothes in a towel and then squeezing and stepping on the roll. This helps to pull the water into the towel. A small microfiber towel works perfectly for this, and you can just wring the water out of that towel before moving on to the next item!
- Hang the clothing in the most ventilated part of a room if you can’t put them outside. Close to a heating unit (but not too close!) is great, as is near a fan. If all else fails, give the most possible space for each item. For example, one reader mentioned using inflatable hangers for this task since it provides air flow space between the front and back of the top for faster drying time.
Extra Notes: If you have access to a washing machine but no dryer, this quick dry outfit will be the first to be ready for wear. Also, if you find your clothes aren’t completely dry the next day, a quick blast of a hair dryer will usually do the trick.
Put Your Packing Light Worries to Bed
Since starting Her Packing List, I’ve become focused on putting people’s packing worries at ease. Yes, packing super light is not the easiest thing to wrap your head around if you haven’t done it, so with that I leave you with these final thoughts:
It’s not the end of the world if you wear the same few outfits over and over again. It’s not going to rain fire if your clothes aren’t as clean as you’d like. And rest assured, that one outfit of quick dry fabric will be a godsend when time is of the essence.
If this helps to at least alleviate one person’s worry, then I know I’ve done my job. Happy packing!