Long-term travel packing: clothes
Setting off for a long trip might make you think that you need to take a full wardrobe, as you will be travelling in different weather conditions in various seasons. In fact, packing for a year-long trip is not that different to packing for a several days hiking trip and if you are smart about it, all your clothes won’t take up more space than a small head of cabbage would.
There are a few rules you need to stick to if you want your clothes to be light and practical:
1) Take light, breathable and quick-drying clothes
Modern technology comes in handy and there are plenty of clothes on the outdoor market that meet these conditions. Forget about jeans! Denim is heavy and takes ages to dry. Polyamide and polyester are your best friends as clothes made of these materials are ultra-light and can be compressed into a small bundle.
2) 4-5 changes of clothes is enough
You really don’t need more than that. Take a bar of soap with you, so you can wash your clothes in the sink if needs be.
3) Be versatile
Take clothes that you can wear all the time. Forget about clothes that are unsuitable for certain weather conditions or cultures. For example, take zip-off trousers that can be worn as long trousers or shorts. Don’t take tops showing your shoulders, as they are only good to wear in summer in liberal countries.
4) Wear dark colours
This point doesn’t need much explanation, I hope. When you’re travelling you are more exposed to dust and dirt, so any bright clothes will quickly look dirty.
5) Use compression sacks
Roll all your clothes and put them into a sleeping bag compressions sacks. Pull the straps to reduce the volume of your clothing.
My packing list
This list covers all the clothes that I have, so take into account that not all of them are packed in my rucksack – I’m wearing one change of clothes/shoes.
– 5x t-shirts – If you are looking for light, comfortable and quick-drying ones, check out Brubeck.
– 2x zip-off trousers – We use Quechua. They are light and durable.
– 1x fleece hoody – I’ve got an ultra-light and warm, compressible R3 Patagonia Hoody, it’s perfect for both cold winter days as well as chilly spring/autumn conditions.
– 1x fleece jacket – I’m very happy with my Lulu Icepeak jacket. It’s warm, light and comfy and the colours are vibrant which is an extra advantage for a hitchhiker – you are visible from far away on the road.
– 1x softshell jacket – Softshell will protect you from wind and snow, it’s a perfect second jacket layer worn on top of a fleece. I use the Kitty Icepeak jacket and I’m super happy with it.
– 1x rain jacket – Make sure your jacket is small and compact and can be rolled into a small bag or pocket.
– 1x hiking boots – Boots are not just good for hiking. They are perfect for snow or rainy days and ideal for off-road walking. I recommend Quechua boots. We’ve had them for several years now, they are light and tough at the same time.
– 1x sandals – Make sure you’ve got sandals with straps, in which you can run and walk up hill. Forget about flip-flop. We’ve got Source Stream sandals, they are tough and comfortable.
– 1x thermal long-sleeve top – A second skin thermal top is worth more than a thick jumper. We use Brubeck as their products are seamless, anti-bacterial and they help maintain optimal body temperature.
– 2x thermal leggings – Worn under your zip-off trousers will make you warm even in winter.
– 5x changes of underwear (+ bra)
– 1x trekking socks – They are ideal for really cold days
– 1x headscarf – Perfect for both cold and hot weather, as well as covering your head and shoulders in temples.
– 1x beanie – You lose most your heat through your head, so make sure you’ve got one in winter.
Watch this short video to learn how to pack efficiently.
written by: Ania