Sunday, 6 September 2015

Buying a pair of underpants for £30

Today I was trying to buy stuff I'll need for my trip to see Mauser next month. I looked into washing my waterproof stuff, and found that quite a few people recommend soap flakes for washing waterproof clothes. Apparently standard detergent can mess up the waterproofing, so it doesn't work properly. So you need to use soap flakes instead, and there doesn't seem to be any benefit (based on people's reports) of using Nikwax Tech Wash over soap flakes.

Soap flakes (or the Dripak Liquid Soap Flakes mentioned in that thread) are quite a bit cheaper than Nikwax Tech Wash. Another thing that thread taught me is that while washing in soap / Nikwax Tech Wash won't do any harm to the waterproofing, you still need to use a proofer as well every so often to add water repelency back into a fabric's surface.

Thinking about washing my clothes while away, I thought maybe it might make sense to take a box of soap flakes with me. After all, some of my clothes are wool, and others waterproof, so it makes sense to be able to wash them 'properly' while away.

Then, thinking about it more, I wondered if you could just wash your clothes (or at least some of them) in the sink at the hotel using standard soap. And according to this thread: Is there any reason not to do laundry with bar soap? you can. In the thread are mentioned two general purpose soaps, which the posters say are good for washing yourself and your clothes - Aleppo soap and Marseilles soap.

I thought that if I could take a bar of soap instead of a can of shaving foam, that would save some space. I also hadn't thought previously of bringing soap to wash with, but that likely will be needed in at least one of the places where I'll be staying. So I looked into whether Aleppo and Marseilles are any good for shaving with. I found a few threads where people said they were very smooth and good for your skin, but didn't give a good lather. A few people seemed to like them, but most didn't due to the lack of lather.

The best thing then, seemed to buy some and try it out to see how it works. If it works well, then I can take it with me instead of the shaving gel, if not, then I'm out a few quid compared to a bar of standard soap. I found a seller on eBay selling Aleppo and a range of other soaps at a reasonable price. But they didn't give any weights or sizes on the page, so it's difficult to tell how big the bars are. So I'm waiting for them to get back to me.

I decided that even with a bar of all purpose soap, I'll still need some laundry soap flakes for when I need to do a larger laundry load (or if something gets quite dirty). Looking at the dimensions of a box of soap flakes, it seemed that the volume was much more than the liquid soap flakes for the same number of washes. (Even after taking a couple of inches off the box dimensions to allow for oversized packaging).

The liquid soap flakes were also cheaper than the boxed, so I decided to go for the liquid. I'll see what it's like when it arrives, but I may well decide to put some of it in an old coke bottle for taking with me. It depends how sturdy the bottle it comes in seems (on Amazon some people had left reviews saying their's arrived with a broken cap and a small amount leaked out).

With regard to the title of this post, I bought some stupidly expensive boxers for £25 + £5 P&P. Unfortunately that seems the cheapest this particular 'model' is available in the UK. According to the reviews they are extremely comfy, breathable, and you can wash them in the sink before you go to bed and they'll be dry in the morning.

Ideally then, you'd have a couple of pairs, and you can just keep swapping between them every day. I can't afford to spend that kind of money for two pairs, and I'm not going to risk taking only one pair and trying to wash them overnight every day. But hopefully it should mean the need to take less underwear, and free up some more space and weight in my bag.

When I'd got my shopping done (actually I still have quite a few more things left I need to buy, but they need to wait), I had a look at buying a korail pass. I was thinking of a 7 day pass, but when I was trying to decide the dates, I realised that doesn't leave me many days of 'local' exploration. (No point having a 7 day rail pass and not using it). The 7 day pass, however, costs about 1 more day than the 5 day pass. So I can't really decide which one to go for, and what dates to go for.

I think I'm going to have to try and plan my trip a bit more so I have ideas on what / where I'm going to go each day. Then I can find out how much train / bus tickets would be without the pass, and how long / what dates it should be (and even if it's worth getting one at all). And I'll also need to do the same for my Japan rail pass.

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