Packing Lite: Choosing the Right Clothes


3. Clothing

  • Underwear?  Well what can you really say about that?  It needs to be cool if traveling in warm climates and be easily washable and quick drying.  If you’re only going to be staying in places for 2-3 days clothes washing facilities may be restricted to the bathroom, so quick drying is essential.
  • Socks?  Good walking socks and trainer/leisure socks.  Get your walking socks early and give them a thorough testing with your boots/shoes. If they give you grief such as causing blisters at least you’ll have time to get some different ones.
  • Shirts? Personally. On this trip I will probably only be taking two.  1) That is a lightweight long sleeve traveling shirt made by Peter Storm . Arlene has a similar one for ladies. 2) A lightweight long sleeved white shirt that is smarter for going out.
  • Trousers? Trousers are a very personal choice and people have different reasons for a particular type or make.  I have chosen 3 pairs, a light travel pair, a light travel pair with single zip off style legs so they double up as shorts and the third pair with double zip off legs giving the choice of ¾ length or ordinary length shorts. Two pairs are green/khaki and the double zippers are navy so can look quite smart with a long sleeve shirt.  Watch what material type you choose. Something that is wicking is good along with quick drying capabilities.
  • T-shirts? Now, wherever possible we have gone for Marino Wool when it comes to things worn next to the skin for several reasons. Marino wool is warm when it is cold, so makes a great base layer, but it is also very cool when the temperatures rise, I tried mine in the heat this summer and was pleasantly surprised.  The other thing is that Marino wool appears to shrug off odours.  That doesn’t mean we have bought it so we don’t have to shower for the whole 5 months, but you shouldn’t end up with a smelly bag of washing either if you have to cart it around for a day or two.  You can find quite a few places that sell Marino wool clothing and the are also some outlets on, yes you’ve guessed it ‘The Net’.
  • Hat or hats?  It’s the shoe thing again, I hear you say! No, but seriously, you need to consider at least one hat, after all they don’t weigh that much.  Earlier in the year I bought a Tilley hat from Go Outdoors, not cheap but guaranteed for life, and to top it off the information that comes with it tells you about a zoo keeper who had his hat whipped off his head and eaten by an Elephant, not once but twice! Now that’s what I call recycling. He’s still using it!  Not having any hair left now I need good protection from the sun and the Tilley caters for that and has been vigorously tested in the Egyptian sun for 9 weeks this year and passed.  Should it get blown into the water, it also floats.  You could also consider taking a neck tube, ‘Buff’ or whatever other name they masquerade as. If you don’t own one, they are a great low cost investment and take up less room than a handkerchief.  Uses vary.  The video on Youtube is the best way to see them all.   Don’t forget to have something for the colder climes as well, Tiera Del Fuego can be a tad nippy!
  • Fleece? Think about your traveling wardrobe in layers.  If you keep everything thin, well thin’ish, it is easy to layer up to keep warm and vice versa to keep cool. When considering a fleece, combine it with the coat you’re going to buy.
  • Coat/poncho?  When buying a traveling coat, look at a multi-purpose garment that will cover several occasions.  After carrying out the research, yes again, and seeing what is about, try several on to see which will best suit your needs.  Remember you may be layering up underneath if you’re ‘Going Cold’, so allow a little room without ending up buying a wind tunnel!  I chose a Peter Storm ‘Performance’ anorak in green, must be a hang over from my military years. It is described as a 3 in 1, meaning worn with fleece zipped inside, worn with no fleece or just wear the fleece on its own. The fleece only has two outside pockets in the normal waist position, but funnily enough, the way these pockets have been sown into the fleece, actually means they have created two rather nice pockets on the inside of the fleece.  Intentional or not I don’t know, but they are quite large and rather handy for keeping things out of site!  The jacket itself has two pockets on the inside; one on the left side which will take things of a reasonable size, but is also nicely shaped for taking your glasses when not wearing them, handy for me then, and the other pocket is on the right hand side and has a label on the zip pull which says ‘Phone’, no explanation needed there then.  On the outside there are three pockets; one either side on the waist band and the third at mid-chest height running vertically next to the main zip, which again is handy for smaller items or your glasses.  The jacket has a good concealed hood, but the great thing and one of the features that really drew it to my attention is that there are zipped vent flaps under each arm pit, great for ventilation if being worn in rainy conditions in warm climates. What more can I say, SOLD!  Arlene was so impressed that she has also ordered one for herself.
  • Now you can’t beat a good multi-purpose anorak, except in a very warm climate that is prone to downpours at a second’s notice.  The anorak may be too much to haul around with you, so a good quality but inexpensive poncho in your day pack could be a godsend.
  • Gloves?  You may need them on your trip, you may not, but as they don’t weigh much stuff a pair in the bag, or your pocket for that matter if you’re struggling for weight.  We are going to be in places as far south as Ushuaia and as far north as, well up around the Equator and maybe further north.
  • Fishing jacket or similar?  What is he on about I hear you say, I thought he was going trekking?  Well yes, but I have learned from the past and my airline experiences that you can not have enough pocket space on you to stuff things in if the check in hasn’t had its weighing scales calibrated recently and they disagree with yours.  As we are doing the 10kg carry on tango, there won’t be much to play with weight-wise, so small heavy articles can be carried in your pockets and put in your bag when you either get on the plane or when you get off the other end. Anyway, a fishing jacket armed with all its pockets is just the thing.  I’ve got a really light one and the waist pockets are big enough to take my i-pad!  Another alternative, and one that links into the security aspect of your trip, is the Scotte Vest  Check em out, they do some great stuff.  Arlene has bought one and it is good.
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