Sunday, October 23, 2011

Road Trip: How to Pack Light

Going on just one long hike with a painfully heavy backpack convinced me to start packing light. Whether it's on a hiking trail or a city sidewalk, it's never pleasant to lug a really heavy bag (and sweat from the effort). Aside from toiletries, the biggest burden for most traveling women is clothing.

The key is picking just a few multifunctional items that keep you dry, keep you warm, and feel comfortable. 

For my four-day road trip, I'm packing:

  • 1 pair of jeans. I'll be wearing them when we first hit the road, so they don't even take up space in my suitcase! 
  • 1 pair of comfortable hiking pants. Last spring, I invested in a pair of well-fitting hiking pants made from a water-resistant, breathable, comfortable material. They look good even after many wears, on and off the trail. A looser fit on the legs is better for circulation when sitting for hours on end 
  • 1 warm base layer. A base layer is a thin shirt that you can wear under other clothing to a) keep you warm and b) keep you dry if you do start to sweat. Think soft polyester, which feels cozy and wicks moisture away from the body. 
  • 1 short-sleeved top. For either warmer weather or a burst of color on top of the base layer. 
  • 1 fleece sweater. Warm, cozy, comfortable, and stink-resistant. Enough said. 
  • 1 waterproof jacket. This jacket should be relatively thin. With the fleece or alone, it acts a windbreaker for extra warmth and stays dry in an unexpected rainstorm. 
  • 1 cute blouse. Just in case I do decide to swap the camping gear for a nice dinner or night on the town. 
  • Minimal travel cosmetics. The airline won't hate me when I fly back to New York City, and I won't loose my overpriced face cleanser. If you can't be without your best toiletries, however, invest in a few reusable travel containers. Nalgene and Coghlan make small toiletry bottles with leakproof tops.  
  • A few necessities, of course. With so few items of clothing, I had plenty of room for socks, underwear, a camera, and a notebook (for my scribblings).

Everything fit in my favorite piece of "luggage," a messenger bag!

Though I can't speak for everyone on this trip...

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