It's warm and sunny in the land Down Under but our friends above the equator are reeling under sub-zero temperatures and perhaps dreaming of the sunny and warm Down Under :). And also of travel packs that can accommodate their larger-than-life furs, fleeces and fluffed up jackets so that their holidays are comfy, cosy and not spoilt by bouts of uncalled runny noses and fever-stricken bodies.
A traveller's spirit is very tough to break. Notwithstanding the impossibility of getting out of the house, the not-happening take offs and train cancellations, neither snow nor hail will deter a traveller from going on his or her impending journey. But can we say the same about travel luggage that accompanies these mighty adventurers?
Uh-mm not quite. When it comes to winter packing, there's actually no end-all solution to packing woes. The woollen clothes, the fleeces are almost always stuffed; suitcases and travel bags overloaded to accommodate enough layers for their icy-destinations.
This may be one reason why travelling during winter days may only be the privilege of the few daredevils and the ones with enough suitcases to carry and enough people to carry them along.
It's still January and the respite from winter is still a few breezes away. So if you are in no mood to scrap your holiday and you are audacious enough for the 'Save Space Mission' vis-a-vis the luggage, then read the tips below for an efficient winter packing.
Always Pack for the Need and never for fashion: If winter teaches us anything, it teaches us to conserve, recycle and not to indulge. Apply this simple principle to your packing efforts and you will be lighter and much happier even away from home. Which means shop (or pack?) less for fluffy but more warm clothes. Get layers such as under-clothes warmers and full-sleeved warm tees, thin sweaters which keep you warm even in sub-zero temperatures and carry only one big warm coat or jacket instead of 2 or 3. Opt for modern textiles which are less mass and more warmth.
Never forget the woolly accessories: We get obsessed with big jackets and fluffy warm coats so much that we forget about the little ones which in fact work so much better in keeping us warm. Don't forget to take along socks, gloves, scarves and the cosy caps that take much less space and are amazingly effective in keeping you warm. There are thin, breathable and waterproof gloves available and thin scarves and mufflers as well, which have negligible weight but serve the end-purpose very well.
Boots and Shoes: Ah, the catch-22 essentials! Leave them or take them? Of course, take them! Big hiking/ snow boots are essential to keep you active and moving about in ankle or knee-deep snowy blankets. So don't leave them at home, thinking they take a lot of space. Take less clothes but do not compromise on winter boots and shoes. In case these are too big to pack, wear them through the airport. This way you will space and also get used to wearing heavy boots.
Weatherproof/ Rainproof clothing – Winter packing doesn't have to be only about combating snow. You are sure to encounter some damp winds and there may be hail or rain at your frosty destination. So do pack in windcheater jackets and weatherproof fleeces so that you can manage with one or two rather than your whole wardrobe.
Pick dark over lighter tones: Since the luxury of washing and drying clothes has to be forgone during winters. Taking darker clothes and accessories such as shoes, gloves, scarves and socks that do not look filthy or stained further decreases the pressure of washing. Also, darker clothes absorb more heat than light coloured ones. Thus, not only, you save on washing labour but can also keep yourself toasty.
So the key is: Keep it simple, light and less fluffy. Pack in all purpose fulfilling clothes and let your big woolly fur coats stay at home and welcome you when you come back. Because over-weight bags and sneaky soft suitcases will be stopped and asked to be emptied out at the airports. But not yours!
On a 'save some space mission' when packing for winter journeys? A Cakewalk.