Every time you are about to go on a trip often comes a struggle of what to pack or rather what should you sacrifice! Packing for colder regions is a whole new challenge as you envision yourself not to be bickering in damp and cold situations as you pack away numerous warm articles of clothing.
So, how do you pack light altogether?
Less is more, well at least in your mind.
To begin with, it is more of a frame of mind than the actual weight of the package. The entire ‘what if ‘ notion will only prevent you from enjoying your trip. You have to decide that you can get by the entire length of the trip with limited gear. This only means you will rely more on your judgment and master the art of layering to keep yourself warm, safe and comfortable while on the trail.
Packing is a logical skill.
A smart traveller will through due course of making numerous trips will have in-built themselves a sense of packing. Here are a few tips and hacks you can apply to go light on your bags:
a) Choosing Your Base Gear
While you think packing less is the key to packing light, another important aspect is to lighten your overall base gear i.e. bag itself. Here are a few tips for starters:
Weighing your gear:
Though it varies airline-to-airline, most regular or low-cost airlines have a baggage restriction up to 7-10 kg as a carry-on and most international flights will have less baggage allowance than domestic ones. So it is worthwhile to make sure before you begin packing to know how much your bag weighs does, this will help you establish a base weight and add items without overdoing it.
Opt for a bag or suitcase that does not exceed the standard dimensions of a carry on baggage and should be a hard case so it does not fluff especially when bulky winter items are added. Advantages of doing so will help you breeze through the terminal without having to wait to check-in – ideal for multiple transits.
Typically, the standard dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9” x 14” x 22” including handles and wheels. However, do refer to your airlines’ website for its baggage policy. Be aware of the PROHIBITED Items on a carry on and never include explosive or flammable products, spare lithium batteries, blades or razors, sharp objects like knives to keep your journey smooth.
Travellers back in the 70s were known to sew their own bags to travel light! While you may get the best lightweight duffel bags or backpacks, in the long run, they may not be used as conventional gear. Invest in a good bag paved with technology suitable for the nature of the trip or trail that can handle a variety of terrains.
b) Winter Checklist
A winter check-list is not your usual packing check-list. Consider writing down the number of clothing items such as pants, shirts or jacket you will mix and match but also depending on the number of days you are away while keeping in account the changing climate of your destination.
If you feel making a check-list will leave you with OCD, then simply grab your required items and lay them out on your bed or floor. Before all of these items make it into your bag, it is worthwhile to sift through even further to filter and then pack.
While you do compile the necessary items, one must think of the multi-functionality of them. Ideally, your day will involve a series of activities from being dressed formally to trekking or a casual day out in the town.
Versatile Clothing is Key to Packing Light
Easily fold-able and washable material clothing
While you may pack 5 different pairs of socks and 3 t-shirts, you can simply work with fabrics like merino wool. The fibres of this wool are known to naturally absorb sweat and odour so it can be worn multiple times. Plus they are super light-weight that keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in warmer conditions.
Woollen sweaters are easily foldable and lightweight yet trendy to team up with formals or sported on casual days. Carry neutral colours tops and bottoms or shoes (whites, browns and blacks). If you are travelling for work, bring along a crisp, white-collared shirt. It will be easy to mix and match pieces on the road also you will have more room for casual clothing or heavy shoes.
You can wear the same set of t-shirts underneath your sweater which can be worn to dinner or also hiking!
Kosha’s Classic Merino Wool Pullover
Made from 100% merino wool, this classic sweater compliments well with formal shirts and casual t-shirts. When layered it can keep you warm up to -5° C and weighs only 259 grams! Keeping your bag light and not bloated.
Ladies trendy Merino Wool Pullover:
Ladies, you can always choose a trendy sweater and can accessorize yourself with cute caps, gloves or a Dual Reversible Scarf.
Weighing at barely 292 grams, this Kosha’s woollen shawl combats freezing temperatures from 15° C up-to subzero temperatures!
Simply reverse this to sport a bright purple-coffee striped design that doubles up for a casual outing as well.
Match up with the very essential merino wool socks that barely weigh 53 grams, ideal not only for packing but also easy for your feet.
If you are going away on a longer trip, you can carry detergent in a sealable bag to wash clothing and voila! Fresh pair of clothes back to use again.
Compact Yet Weather Appropriate Gear
Do you know the famous cheat by travellers who would wear all the possible heavy clothing before boarding a flight? While it is important to pack base layers like thermal wear and fleece jackets, technology now has certainly made it easier to carry a warm jacket in a pouch!
Good Things Come in Small Packages
Puffer Light-Weight Jacket by Kosha
This is a very travel-friendly jacket in a packet! It can be packed into a nine-inch multi-functional pouch. At 420 grams, this jacket protects you in temperatures as low as -5° C when layered and keep you dry in light showers too. Also, comes with a cinch cord in the bottom and at the hood to seal the warmth. Made from 20D Nylon, Polyester and Polyfill. Click here to get one.
Yes, this can also be hung with a carabiner on your backpack.
P.S: will also make you look like a pro backpacker.
Multi-functional Travel Item Hacks
Sarong – This is an ideal piece of clothing that can serve you at so many occasions as a scarf, skirt, head tie, beach blanket, towel, cover-up or even double up as a hand-shift bag if you are being a hobo traveller!
Shopping bag – a multipurpose foldable shopping bag can be used after your security check-in for carrying any extra items like food or water. You do not need an additional handbag if you choose to go local shopping or on walks while on your trip.
Frisbee – As odd as it may sound, a frisbee can be used to not only enjoy on picnics but provide a hard shield for your bag by placing it strategically outside the bag. Some other uses could include it doubling by as a tray, pan, cutting board or even a snow shovel for your snowman.
A stretchable cord – This will help you in strapping up together extra items to your backup or double up as clothes drying line!
c) Packing Techniques
Make a roll of your clothing rather than folding it or laying it flat. This technique actually works better to keep your clothes wrinkle-free and for fair weight distribution. Make sure you first place bulky items like sweaters or shoes in the corners of the bag unto the centre of the bag with smaller rolls. All the items should be tightly placed beside each other. Hack: Keep a tissue-paper in between each of your clothing to prevent creasing.
Compress to conserve using cube packs
If you want more compartmentalized packing, consider packing into cube bags or compression bags which work very well if you are travelling with a backpack.
No cubes? Then use rubber bands. While rubber bands won’t make your bag lighter, you can tie up each piece of clothing with a band to not fall out of its fold which helps it keep organized while saving up some space. Serves up as a dual purpose!
Roll up gloves, caps, make balls of socks by turning it inside out halfway and store it within shoes, making most of the space within the bulky shoes.
Lower-body base layer
If you are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors in the cold, consider packing yourself long underwear to keep your legs warm. This will not take much of space considering its functionality, perfect for sub-zero temperatures or winter sports activities.
d) Save the Lightest Items for the Last
Unlikely travel accessories for the winter
- Polarized sunglasses: A must-have, especially if you are travelling to a snow terrain. Even the slightest sun can leave you with clinching eyes due to the reflecting sunlight off the snow.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen in winter? Reflecting sun-rays from the snow or ice can leave a sunburn or even windburn on you.
- Swimwear: While you do not know when you might get an opportunity to dive in, carry a swimsuit to experience some freezing water thrills or if you are lucky to end up at thermal pools.
Ditch too many electronics, carry virtual objects
Do you love to read while on a flight, train or on a mountain? Your phone is much smarter than you think. Certain objects can be simply replaced by apps on your phone. Needless to say, now virtual maps and guidebooks have replaced the hard-copies of the same or even maintain travel journals on apps.
Unless you are an avid photographer, your phone camera should be good enough to capture your journey without having the worries of carrying too many electronic accessories. Switching to apps will drastically reduce the weight of your overall luggage and limit you from carrying multiple cables, simply carry a three-pin world adapter with the concerned USB cord.
Almost everywhere you travel, you can easily purchase travel-pack toiletries unless it is in the remote areas or if you require exceptional products. This will also help in easier security check-outs at the airport without having to carry through liquids separately in clear plastics. Also bear in mind that one can carry a maximum of 100ml of liquids on a piece of carry-on baggage.
Do not forget to carry moisturizing lotion and a chapstick 🙂
Packing Requires Practicality:
As you carefully pick your items to pack for the trip, make sure to use these tips to strategically organize your carry-on. Winter wear tends to be bulky and often experienced globetrotters suggest stripping down to the absolute essentials to take advantage of smart, minimalist packing. Ensure you carry the utmost basics you require be it only one pair of pants and toothbrush keeping the journey hassle-free.
Let us know, what are your tips for travelling light? Have you ever packed light for a winter?