It’s not always easy to pick the right clothes to wear when you’re traveling on your vacation. Some part of your mind wishes that you can just bring your entire closet. Some people even do try this approach, which is why they’re stressed when traveling due to the numerous pieces of luggage they need to bring.
But you can just pack lightweight clothes instead, and you can have a few pieces of clothing that can work for many types of adventure. So whether you’re going into the wilderness to camp or you’re outgoing to a new city, here are some tips that can help when it’s time to pack your clothes.
The basic principle of packing for traveling is to pack a few pieces that you can use for any time of day and for any place you might visit.
- Go with fabrics that easy to care for. They ought to be breathable and moisture-wicking.
- Leave the bright colors at home. Instead, concentrate on clothes with neutral colors, such as black, brown or khaki. These are the colors you want for your skirts, shorts, and trousers. The point of having these colors on your legs is that whatever you’re wearing on your lower half, it will match well with what you’re wearing up top.
- Try to bring clothes that don’t wrinkle easily. While not all your clothes will be wrinkle-free, you can at least find the ones that are more wrinkle resistant.
- Leave short shorts, extreme miniskirts, sheer shirts, and tight clothes. You may find yourself in a more conservative country that frowns on such getups. Even if you’re in a “liberal” country, these clothes just aren’t all that appropriate for places such as churches.
- Bring clothes made with fabrics that come with inherent UV-ray protection. It’s true that all fabrics can block UV rays to some degree, but it’s also true that some fabrics are better at this than others.
- Pack clothes that come with pockets. Shirt pockets can carry small items like tickets and sunglasses. Pockets on your pants also help in carrying your wallet and other items. You may even think about zippered pockets for extra security.
Which Fabrics to Pick?
As we’ve mentioned, the fabrics of your clothes should be breathable and should wick moisture away. If they get wet, they should dry quickly. All this means that cotton may not be your best option when it comes to your clothes when you’re traveling. Instead, consider these alternatives:
- Cotton. This is the most common fabric, especially for shirts. It’s not really bad, because it’s breathable, durable and soft. It looks nice, and it’s easy to care for. It’s just that it doesn’t really wick moisture away. When you wet your cotton shirt with sweat, it also doesn’t dry very quickly.
- Polyester and nylon. These are the fabrics that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. They’re also resistant to abrasion and pilling. The drawback though is that cotton feels better on your skin.
- Cotton/polyester blend. The aim is to get the best of both fabrics. It’s true that a blend like this can feel nice on your skin and it is more breathable. But while it can wick moisture and dry more quickly than just plain cotton, its performance in these factors doesn’t compare to plain nylon or polyester.
- Tencel and polynosic rayon fabrics. These fabrics are as comfy as cotton, and they drape on your body just as well. You can also machine wash/dry them. They dry quickly, and they don’t wrinkle easily. But they’re not as able to wick moisture as nylon and polyester.
- Silk. This is great for warm climates, as it’s breathable and lightweight. It’s also very soft and luxurious, which makes it a great option for women’s underwear. It’s just that some materials are more durable.
If you’re going to places where the weather is often wet, go with jackets that are both breathable and waterproof. However, if that’s not possible you can go with water-resistant fabrics, as long as they’re still breathable.
You can have waterproof/breathable shells with laminates (with laminate brands like REI Elements, eVent, and Gore-Tex). These are the best for a wide range of activities and weather conditions. The downside to these fabrics is that they can be quite pricey.
Still, if you want waterproof-breathable shells that are a bit more affordable, you can go with fabric coatings instead of laminates.
If you’re going to a place where the rains aren’t all that severe, then the water-resistant jackets will do. They will keep out the wind and the light rain, and still be breathable when you’re actively moving around. They’re not as bulky, and certainly not as expensive.
Dresses, Skirts, Trousers, Shorts
If you’re going somewhere warm, then dresses, skirts, and shorts will be your friends. However, the trousers will be better against the sun and the rain and against bugs too. In some conservative places, they may be better options too.
You should have a shirt with long sleeves, even if you’re going somewhere warm. They’re better for rain, sun, and mosquitos.
Wool Sweaters and Fleece Tops
The problem with wool and fleece is that they can be bulky. They just don’t compress in your luggage bag very well. Wool, however, can keep you warm even when it rains and it smells better compared to synthetic fabrics. Fleece also insulates very well, and it wicks away moisture.
We include this here because the rule of traveling clothes is that you should always pack a hat. This can be a casual type, like a ball cap. But you can get a sun hat especially if you’re going to the tropics or to the beach. A rain hat is best, as it also doubles as protection against the sun.
Go with synthetic fabrics rather than cotton. Synthetic is easier to care for. Wool is also a good choice, as it’s breathable and comfortable. Synthetic and wool socks also keep your feet drier, and that means you’re able to prevent blisters.
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