Traveling in the winter is extremely rewarding – nothing beats off-peak travel prices or lack of crowds, and destinations and ski slopes become all the more exciting glinting in the snow. For some travelers, though, winter can mean luggage weighed down with bulky parkas, hats, socks and scarves. But travelers hoping to combat the ball-and-chain of a bulky suitcase have many strategies available to them, starting with the fabric they bring. The benefits of packing light are never more evident than in the winter.
Choose the Right Fabric
Wool is the quintessential winter material, featured in everything from Scottish fisherman sweaters to ancient Roman cloaks. However, it also has a reputation of being scratchy, bulky, and heavy, especially when wet. The solution here is merino wool.
Merino wool is the hardiest travel fabric around; traditionally used for athletic wear, this fabric is quick-drying, anti-odour, and wrinkle-free, to name just a few of its awesome qualities. And merino wool clothing for travellers is especially useful for the winter months because of its temperature-regulating properties. Since merino wool clothing doesn’t need to be washed as often as traditional cotton, it is perfect for the space-minded traveler, freeing you from the need to bring seven pairs of socks and shirts for every day of the trip.
Leave the Bulky Coat
Bulky outerwear takes up valuable space in a backpack and can also restrict movement, hindering the best winter adventures, and wise winter travelers know to rely on layers rather than a huge parka to keep them warm. When layering up for the cold weather, the most important part is the base layer, which, basically, includes all the clothing touching your skin– socks, underwear, and shirt. The base layer should be soft, conform to your movements, moisture wicking, and insulating (hint: the above mentioned merino wool works perfectly as a base layer!).
Next, chose a looser middle layer that keeps the heat in, and a top layer that is waterproof and windproof to protect you from the elements. Hats, boots, gloves, and face protection are the final barrier between you and the winter freeze.
Find the Perfect Bag
Hundreds of travelers concerned about rising luggage prices and unwieldy suitcases have switched to an ultra-light, one-bag travel policy – however, your minimalistic packing is only as good as your bag– so choose wisely.
Backpacks are the best option for mobility while traveling, but bulky hiking backpacks tend to weigh travelers down and can quickly bowl someone over. Instead, opt for a streamlined design that opens up like a suitcase (panel-loading). Backpacks with multiple compartments will keep your stuff organized, and some digital nomads will want a laptop pocket to protect their electronics. Finally, choose a water-resistant bag that can be protected with zippers that lock together.
Winter travelers will find the freedom to experience the most thrilling winter adventures by bringing merino wool, layering effectively, and taking the perfect bag. If you love hiking, then don’t forget to pack your trekking poles. Travel smart by traveling light this winter, and enjoy the lower prices, pristine scenery and fresh air.