How many pairs of pants should I bring to college?

When packing for college, you should bring ten days’ worth of pants for each type of weather you’ll encounter at school. That means that if you go to college in a climate that has hot springs/falls and cold winters, you should bring ten days’ worth of long pants and ten days’ worth of shorts.

Not interested in putting up with inclement weather at college? Check out Best College Reviews’ ranking of the 25 colleges with the best weather.

You will want to bring ten days’ worth of pants for one simple reason: You don’t want to run out of clothes between laundry cycles. Most college students do laundry once per week. Having enough pants for one week is technically all you need to get by—but what happens if you spill a drink on yourself? Or if you trip and get your pants dirty? or one of your favorite pairs of jeans rip?

Trust us: You’ll be glad to have some backups.

Additionally, college students pay $1-3 per load to do their laundry. This adds up. At Tufts, where laundry costs students an average of $3/week, this adds up to $90 per year. While this might not sound like a lot, $90 is a lot to the average college student.

The Point: You don’t want to waste your money running half-full loads of laundry. Bringing more clothes than you need to get through a week will allow you to make the most of your laundry money.

What kinds of pants should I bring to college?

Use the table below to determine how many of each type of pant you should pack for college:

Pant TypeNumber of Pairs to Pack
JeansBring 2-4 pairs of jeans to college (assuming you wear jeans for 1-2 days per wash cycle)
Dress pants (khakis, slacks, etc.)Bring 2-3 pairs of dress pants to college (4-5 pairs if you have an internship or white collar job)
Dress shortsBring 5-6 pairs of dress shorts, such as Bermuda shorts, to college
Athletic shortsBring 5-6 pairs of athletic shorts to college (7-10 pairs if you’re an athlete)
Casual shortsBring 1-2 pairs of casual shorts to college (to use as pajamas, esp. on hot nights)
Sweatpants/LeggingsBring 3-5 pairs of sweatpants and/or leggings to college
Of course, these guidelines are weather dependent. Pack based on your school’s weather.

Want more advice on packing for college? Check out our guides below:

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