What, and How Much, to BringObviously we don't have 8 weeks worth of clothes. We also weren't going to have either the time or the desire to visit a laundromat with any frequency while we were on the road. The solution - wear the same clothes multiple days in a row.
This modern American habit of a new outfit for every day (and sometimes multiple outfits for every day if you have a preteen or teenage girl in your house) is really not a necessity from a cleanliness standpoint, unless maybe you're under three years old, or you're a particularly sweaty person. We change daily because of the strong social conventions that make us either 1) worry about what others will think, or 2) feel uncomfortable because we're breaking a taboo.
Now that I've returned home, this practice feels wasteful from an environmental standpoint. Since I work in an air conditioned building where my physical work is very limited, there is no practical reason to need a new outfit daily. And yet, if I practiced the same habits in my professional life that I do when traveling I'd be a social pariah. Don't get me wrong- cleanliness is a good thing. I don't want us all to start having to carry nosegays and have to burn incense in church since we can't handle the stench, but we could probably stand to waste a little bit less water and electricity by increasing the number of times we wear an outfit before it lands in the dirty laundry. We could also stand to reduce the overall amount of clothing we own. I don't know about your family, but even though most of my kid's clothes are hand me downs they both have more than either of them need. I'm guilty too - both my closet and dresser are over packed. We could stand to consume less.
However, when you're traveling with your family cross country, and no one else knows you, you can break these mores without worry. We averaged about three days for a shirt, and five to seven days for shorts. Pants and sweatshirts could last for several weeks since they were usually only worn in the early morning and later evening. East of the Mississippi (where humidity rules supreme) we had to change more frequently. Underwear and socks got changed daily - we did have some standards.
Everyone also had hiking socks, a rain jacket, a baseball cap, a warm hat, a fleece, long underwear, two pairs of p.j.s , two extra pairs of long pants, two long sleeve shirts, and one nicer outfit.
For shoes everyone had tenners, hiking boots, flip flops and heavy duty sandals (Chacos or Tevas).