Winter is here and with it comes the opportunity for some adventures. Ski trips and winter city breaks are beckoning, but how can you fit all the stuff you need to stay warm into one bag? These packing hacks will help keep you warm, dry and back-pain free whether you’re up in the mountains or ice-skating in Central Park.
Wear whatever you can for the journey
Airports and planes don’t usually have arctic conditions but for travel days we’re going to pretend they do. It might be annoying but wearing your heavy coat, big boots and wool jumper enroute can save you some serious space and weight when packing. Sure, you’ll look like you’re wearing a suitcase full of clothes (because you are) but you’ll be the one smiling smugly, (and maybe just a tad sweatily) as you breeze out the airport with just your carry-on luggage.
Smart fabrics are indispensable in winter. Start with a few under layers of merino wool, a super lightweight insulator that won't crease much and will keep its shape after being rolled up in your bag. A packable down jacket is also an essential space saver. Traditional down jackets are insulated with the soft under feathers of geese, their fluffiness creating thousands of air pockets that trap warm air and retain heat, keeping us toasty warm in winter. If the idea of wearing a gooses undergarments makes you feel squeamish there are lots of great eco and bird friendly alternatives. Try Northface, Patagonia and Rab.
Layer, layer, layer
Yes it’s winter but we can't always guarantee it's going to be freezing cold as weather these days is a little unpredictable. Temperatures in the French Alps this January are the warmest on record and in London the temperature switched from 20 F to 50 F in one day! What this means (apart from the drastic need for governments to act on the climate crisis) is that we need to be prepared with layers for all winter eventualities. Start with a vest or tank top, add a long sleeved tee, and top that off with a sweater. This is where your merino wool or moisture wicking materials come in handy as cotton absorbs and holds on to moisture which can be uncomfortable.
Take a Solgaard Carry-on Closet
We may be biased but our Carry-on Closet comes into its own when packing for winter. Not only does the six shelf system keep all your layers and accessories organized but a compression strap means bulky items can easily fit in too. The polycarbonate shell is totally waterproof and virtually unbreakable so even up a mountain your clothes will stay warm and dry inside. The frictionless wheels can take on all terrain, including icy streets or snow-covered paths and there’s even a USB charging port for on-the-go power. Temperature changes can affect battery life so this is especially useful in winter.
Chuck in some shower caps
Winter weather means slush and mud and sometimes it's hard to clean your shoes before having to pack up again. Throw two shower caps in your bag and you’ll be able to cover the soles of your boots and keep the rest of your stuff clean and dry. Taking a few ziploc bags for any dirty or wet clothes is also a great tip.
Pack a thermos
Some might see it as a luxury but having a hot tea, coffee or even a hot toddy you can carry around with you during the day can make all the difference to a cozy winter experience. It can also keep you warm if you put it in your pocket and keeps liquids hot for up to eight hours. If you’re heading somewhere really cold, hand warmers can also save your fingers and are small and light to pack.
Change up your accessories
An easy way to add different looks without giving up space is by packing multiple small items like hats and scarves that are also essential to keeping warm. Choose wool or acrylic fabrics for extra warmth and stuff them into shoes to save space.
Streamline your toiletries
Decanting your shampoo and moisturizer can save a lot of weight or you could buy toiletries when you arrive unless you’re heading off to Antarctica. One pro tip is to always pack a lip salve in winter, the cold and dry air often contrasted with dry heated indoors can cause major sore lips. Don’t forget tissues and cold and flu medication just in case you catch a winter bug as an unwelcome souvenir.
The most important thing when packing is organization and planning ahead- think about what activities you’ll be doing and double check you haven’t forgotten anything. Plan ahead, layer up, and put comfort first during winter. Wherever you’re headed we hope these tips lead to a less stressful and comfortably warm trip.
Written by Laura Sedlak