12.05.11

Travel gear reviews: smelly parts

Posted in Reviews, Travel at 12:10 by RjZ

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a gear whore. I’m too cheap to constantly buy every new piece of outdoor clothing or backpack, but I do give a lot of thought to the gear I travel with. The trip to Patagonia offered up some new challenges, so I thought I’d provide a review of how well some things worked and others didn’t.

Everyone will have different demands on what they bring with them, and how well something is judged to have performed is obviously dependant on our expectations. For years I’ve aspired to pack very light but these days I’ve added a few more requirements. For example, I’ve decided that just because I am a hostel living traveler doesn’t mean I have to look like a hippie the whole time. No one doubts I’m a tourist (the big camera and ever present book bag are dead giveaways) but, as handy has hiking boots and zip-off pants are, I now try to look like a normal human when visiting a museum or going out for a bite to eat. The goal then, is to travel light, with little extra anything, and somehow actually be able to look half normal sometimes.

Ex-officio makes a line of travel underwear billed as a revolution. They claim 40 countries, one pair of underwear, or something like that. The idea is that these packable, wicking, odor preventing garments are so easy to wash in the sink every night that you go your whole trip with just two pair. I went with three pair. They do pack small, so three wasn’t much more than two of my usual, but fact is, washing and drying clothes isn’t always as convenient as their advertising claims it is. Sometimes you’re on a night train, to a city you stay in for one night with a shared bathroom, and then on another night train to your next hostel. That’s three nights and no convenient place to wash and dry—I don’t care how easy they are to launder, you’re gonna be wearing your clothes longer than you might have hoped or planned.

The ex-officio are very comfortable and they are, indeed, incredibly easy to wash and fast to dry. The problem: um, they stink. And they make you stink. I found myself feeling like a needed a thorough showering of the manly parts even after a few hours of wearing. A whiff of the undergarments after even one day assured me that they would absolutely require washing TONIGHT, and I’d have to switch to a new pair before even going out for an evening meal. Clothes that make you have to shower more often (in places where showering extra may be particularly inconvenient) don’t seem like a good idea to me. Great underwear for home use, but I doubt I’ll be taking them along on another trip.

Stay tuned, I packed a lot of different gear for Patagonia and tried a few new things, several more reviews to come!

1 Comment »

  1. Katy O'Kennedy said,

    September 17, 2012 at 15:53

    At the risk of sounding too commercial, I just wanted to share a new invention of ours designed to stop the stink of stinky gear – its called Silver Edge Gear and the secret is in the silver. Silver prevents the growth of bacteria and bacteria is what causes the odor! I have created a line of silver lined products to do just that. You can check us out at silveredgegear.com. Our nags are great for travel, to keep your stinky stuff away from your clean stuff, so your whole suitcase does not get stinky!

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