For some avid travellers, winter is the best season for exploring. But packing for a winter trip can seem quite daunting, especially if your winter gear is a little on the bulky side. Packing three pairs of sandals for a summer trip won’t add as much weight to your luggage as three pairs of winter boots would, so how do we downscale our luggage while still ticking off all the essential boxes of what to pack? The trick is simple – less is more!
Popular travel-blogging couple Lia and Jeremy from Practical Wanderlust advises travellers to wear their bulkiest clothing on travel days in order to keep luggage soft and lightweight. In following their advice, you’ll avoid having to forcefully squish an oversized raincoat into that last nook of space left in your bag. The couple also make the bold suggestion of only packing one pair of shoes – yes, only one! The ideal choice here would be something like a pair of weatherproof sneakers or boots in a neutral colour that could easily match any outfit.
We’ve put together a simple list you could follow to help keep your luggage as light as a feather. Remember, sticking to the essentials is key.
Trekking through chilly weather leaves you susceptible to all sorts of unpleasant ailments like a runny nose, an irritating cough, or headaches and fever. Outwit these pesky afflictions by being prepared with a ready-to-go medicine kit. This should include a trusty cough syrup, throat lozenges, a nasal spray, and sinus and headache tablets. Separate everything into zip seal bags for further precaution in the event something leaks.
A thermal vest is an ideal clothing companion while travelling through stormy weather. They’re specifically designed to retain and regenerate heat, ensuring your body is protected by an ultra-cosy layer. A pair of long johns and a long-sleeve vest will make the perfect combo for ultimate insulation. Just be weary of not layering up too much over your thermal undergarments so as not to run the risk of overheating.
Lip balm and moisturisers
The one thing cold weather almost immediately targets is our skin and lips. Harsh temperatures and dry air often makes our lips crack and skin turn flaky, so it’s important to keep these areas hydrated. If you’re able to, apply cream to your hands, neck, and face, as well as lip balm to your lips to help keep any flaky skin at bay.
In winter the nights are longer and if you’re travelling by car or going camping then a flashlight might just come in handy. These days, most smartphones have a built-in torchlight function, but we’d suggest getting your hands on a battery-operated torch. It’s not an exceptionally heavy item, and if you do find yourself in a tricky spot with no light you’ll at least have some sense of security with a source of light to guide you.
That one pair of shoes and gloves
The urge to pack your entire collection of winter boots will be difficult to resist, but resist you must! In this case, less truly is more. Your one pair of weatherproof sneakers or boots will most likely be the only heavy item in your luggage, so be sure to choose wisely. For gloves, we’d recommend something made from light, breathable, and weatherproof material. We’d also recommend a neutral colour like brown, black, grey or beige when choosing your one pair of shoes and gloves.
Sunburn isn’t something people normally take note of during winter, especially given the cold weather outside. But recent studies have found that applying sunscreen to the areas of your skin exposed to sunlight in summer should be an equally important task in winter. Low temperatures may lead you to believe that your skin won’t burn, but this is simply not true. It is just as likely to suffer from sunburn in winter as it is in summer.
In icy places, you might just feel like your ears are about to freeze off. To combat this chilly feeling, we’d suggest packing one hat and one beanie. Make sure that your chosen hat or beanie covers your ears and the back of your neck. A stylish hat can also be a great addition to your outfit if you’re looking for a practical accessory that will jazz it up a notch.
A chunky scarf is a gorgeous accessory for most winter outfits, but not a very practical item when travelling as it takes up a lot of room. A thin scarf will keep your neck warm, while also not taking up a quarter of the space in your bag. In fact, you might just be able to pack two!
Like the flashlight, we recommend taking a few portable devices with just in case stormy weather cuts out your power source. This includes items like a portable power bank to charge your phone and a handful of candles with matches for if the power at a hotel you’re staying at is unexpectedly cut.
That one coat
You’ll easily be able to fit two jackets and a jersey in your bag, but there will only be room for one large coat. This clothing item should hopefully keep you warm and protect you from rainy weather, while also making you look and feel phenomenal. These three points of achievement are incredibly important and if the coat you planned on packing doesn’t tick all three boxes, we’d suggest you pack an item that potentially could.
By Features Writer Marike Watson
Features writer by trade, music lover and fine-line illustrator by nature. As an expert on the ’70s era, Marike will happily introduce you to her record collection. She’s passionate about African art and culture. And if she’s not off on an adventure, you’ll most likely find her making coffee.