“How do you pack three weeks worth of clothes in your pack?” And acquaintances asked me recently.

Its a mildly awkward answer, with a dash of amusement.

“I wear the same articles of clothing every day, and switch into my camp clothes once I’ve decided to hit the hay.” It’s awkward because I always seem to forget to add that I rotate two pairs of underwear and socks, so people think I essentially stay in my own filth for a solid three weeks (Crustyville, Population: Every Backpacker). It’s amusing because every person has the exact same reaction (think deer in headlights and a dash of disgust).

Although things to get a tad crusty (dirt, mud, dried salt from all the sweating you do, skid marks if you’ve neglected to filter your water and you’re experiencing some “digestive inconvience), backpackers are a resourceful breed; we do sink laundry when we reach a trail town, or pack extra water into camp if clothes need a rinse during a long section of trail. We also be sure to wear wool or synthetic clothing so it’s quick drying and naturally antibacterial. Plus, the sun’s UVA rays zap and destroy a massive amount of bacterial which is the source of the aroma our clothes eventually build up.

Some backpackers even pack “town clothes” so they don’t have to run around town naked or wear garbage bags while their clothes are in the process of being washed ¬†(it’s usually the latter. True story).

For myself, I keep my underwear and socks on a daily rotation: one pair is being worn, and the other is attached to my pack drying and getting zapped by the sun. The third pair of underwear and socks are deamed camp clothes only, so they stay (relatively) fresh…. or I just become nose blind to my own stink.


“What if it rains?” Is usually the next question.

“Well, then I get wet, and I stay that way until I’m ready to pack it in for the evening.”


My camp clothes are dedicated for sleeping in only, but if I got into a situation where hypothermia was a threat, I’d put them in under my hiking clothes. I just long underwear as my camp clothes (some call this cheating, I personally think it’s smart to have “duel purpose” items… huge weight savings!).


Of course I have a rain jacket, puffy, wool beanie, buff, and gloves in my collection. I’ve also added the luxury of “town clothes” this year: mesh running shorts and an extra polyester ¬†tshirt. It’s not what most backpackers do…. but since when do I ever follow what other people do? #beyoncemode #minusthediva

In related news: regardless of how much effort you put into keeping your clothes and body clean (there’s clean, and then there’s “trail clean”), you’sa gunna stink real good

  1. odLo Long Underwear- top
  2. odLo Ling Underwear- bottom
  3. helley Hansen Mesh Run Shorts
  4. Generic Polyster T-Shirt
  5. Pantagonia Brief X3
  6. Darn Tough Socks- Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion X3
  7. Enell Sports Bra X2
  8. Smartwool T-Shirt
  9. Lululemon Pace Rival Crop
  10. REI Screenline Quarter Zip Hoodie
  11. NorthFace Stretch Thermoball
  12. Columbia Arcadia II 2L Shell
  13. Buff Headwear
  14. Buff Merino Wool Headwear (beanie)
  15. REI Light Gloves