Packing Part 1 – Clothes

My destination is tropical, with occasional blasts of AC and frequent downpours. To best accommodate the climate, my aversion to dirt, and to make it possible for me to carry everything with me on my bike, I need two things in my travel clothes:

  1. Lightweight, and
  2. Quick-drying

Some other things I’ve been looking for are:

  • UV protection
  • Anti-odor
  • Machine-washable (for when I get back; once I’m home, it all needs to go in the machine)
  • Non-wrinkling
  • Simple, so that everything matches everything else

Here’s what I packed* in three jumbo Hefty plastic bags.

Bag 1 – Tops:

  • 1 long sleeve shirt (I splurged and finally purchased a real – not a blend – Merino wool shirt. It’s lightweight, but warm.)
  • 3 t-shirts (synthetic, no cotton. All are quick-drying and very plain)
  • 2 tank tops (same as t-shirts; again, no cotton)
  • 1 cloud airshell waterproof jacket
  • 3 bike jerseys

Bag 2 – Pants/Skirt:

  • 4 pairs of shorts (no cotton pattern continues. I recently went to Ecuador, got some of my cotton-blend shorts wet and they never dried! I brought them home, convinced they’ll be mildewed beyond repair. They survived, but I’ve decided to never again take any cotton with me on a trip where I may be getting wet and things will need to dry FAST)
  • 1 pair of long pants (ultra-light)
  • 1 skirt (good old 92% polyester/8% spandex blend)

Bag 3 – Other:

  • 5 pairs of underwear (2 of those are fancy pants, from Ex-Officio; since I’ll have to hand-wash them for three weeks, they better be quick-drying!)
  • 5 pairs of socks (4 are Merino wool; the fifth is a random pair I found in my drawer)
  • 2 bras (one sports bra, one regular)
  • 1 swim suit
  • 3 bandanas (these are cotton. That’s all the cotton I’ll allow on this trip. When they invent a synthetic material that won’t slip off my head, I’ll go with that)
  • 2 pairs of pajama shorts to sleep in (polyester/spandex blend), because there was still room in the bag
  • 1 set of chamois (I really hope I won’t need to wear it. I’m bringing one pair, just in case. However, I’m deciding not to rely on chamois for every single ride. I’m afraid of how long it would take to dry after it’s washed. And it MUST be washed. Every day. Chamois is a breeding ground for bacteria and the last thing I need on a bike tour is an UTI)

And last, but not least:

  • 1 pair of extra shoes, which in my case will be plastic Crocs. These are great! Extremely comfortable, easily washable, waterproof and they look pretty cute. This is the only pair of shoes I’m brining, other than my bike shoes.

How much does this weigh? 8 lbs even.

* this list does not include the clothes I’ll be wearing on the plane (there and back), and the clothes I’ll be wearing for the initial couple of days in Havana. The above list includes only things I’ll be bringing in my panniers.


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