Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"What's in your suitcase?" Wednesday: Layers!

The days have been getting colder, so my limited wardrobe is being put to the test! My secret to staying warm even without a heavy coat is lots and lots of layers. As you know from my travel wardrobe post, I only have a few long sleeve shirts, though, so I had to be selective about my few cold-weather pieces. Here are some of the most helpful ones in my suitcase:

Columbia Fleece

I'm convinced that this article of clothing is the reason I've kept warm so far. You get a lot of insulation out of a relatively thin jacket. That's important when needing to pack light! I made sure to get it loose enough to fit a sweater (or two) underneath. Like I've already said, it all comes down to how you layer!

This and similar products can be found at Sierra Trading Post for very reasonable prices.

Columbia Packable Rain Jacket

The fleece is great, but it doesn't do much to keep out the wind or rain. If you're going to research any purchase, research this one. A rain jacket can be a lifesaver or a frustrating disappointment. If it isn't actually waterproof, you will end up colder than you would be without it, and if it's not light or breathable enough, you will get extremely annoyed having to lug it through airports and train stations.


The best part about this rain jacket is that it's packable! You just fold it into its own pocket, zip it up, and squeeze it into any remaining space in a suitcase or backpack.

To make sure you're getting the highest quality rain jacket, I recommend getting it straight from Columbia. They no longer seem to carry the women's version, but keep checking back! They update their line a lot. Find a men's version for $100 here.


My circle scarf, which I've already featured here, has been so helpful for keeping warm. For anyone who hasn't lived in a cold climate, you will be amazed by how much warmth you can retain with a scarf. The outfit you see to the right is my go to travel outfit. The scarf can keep me warm when I need it, but can easily be removed if I'm in a stuffy metro or train compartment.


A good pair of leggings is a great investment. I saw a recommendation on a travel blog for Old Navy leggings (very affordable at $10 per pair or less), and I've been mostly satisfied. They are thick, comfortable, and don't stretch out too much when you're wearing them on an overnight train or bus. However, they take a very long time to dry - mostly because of the double waistband. I gave up the fast-drying feature for the sake of price, and I definitely regret it when this important piece of my wardrobe is air drying for two days. If you think that would be a problem for you, check out the other leggings described on the blog post I originally used for my research. Travel Fashion Girl lists the top 10 travel leggings here. Also, anything labelled "smartwool" is a good bet for quick drying purposes, as well as warmth.


I've discovered a great use for my headbands as well! If a headband is thick and comfortable enough, it can easily keep your ears warm. Still pretty cute, too!



What I've picked up along the way

(more like: "What I wish I had packed originally")

  • tights - they take up no room and fit under jeans, a skirt, or a dress to add warmth
  • gloves - also take up no room and warm you up well... really scratching my head as to why I didn't think to pack them from the beginning

Hope that helps you pack light for your next cold-weather adventure! Comment with any questions or tips you have. Keep an eye out for my country overview of Bulgaria coming soon!


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