How to Keep Your Packing to a Minimum, Even in Winter

December 05, 2017

If there’s one thing that connects travel and Buddhism, it’s minimalism. Having a light backpack will ensure you stay mobile, while also giving you an appreciation of the simple things and focusing the mind. Maybe you’ve cut your stuff back to the bare minimum, but still your bag feels a bit too heavy. Here are some tips to help you strip back yet further and still have enough warm clothes for a holiday in winter.

Use Thermal Base Layers

There is some great thermal clothing out there, generally found in sports shops, which have a number of benefits. Firstly, these are designed to adjust to the right temperature. Unlike a thick coat, a thermal base layer will keep you cool as you warm up, but lock in heat when the temperature drops. They are also lightweight and pack up small.

By wearing antimicrobial thermal shirts and pair of long johns, you will be wicking away sweat, keeping the rest of your clothes clean for longer, which means you can pack less. A single pair of jeans and a t-shirt will rarely need to be washed with thermals underneath.


Pick the Right Materials

When designing an ultra-minimalist winter packing list, materials are everything. Your usual cotton clothes won’t do. Cotton will absorb your sweat and therefore can’t be worn for too long. It also takes forever to dry.

By only packing clothes which are polyester, nylon or merino wool – you will find that you can wear the same thing for much longer. Merino wool prevents the build up of odour-causing microbes and dries fast after washing. Two pairs of underwear will be fine because you can sink wash one pair and they will dry overnight, giving you clean underwear everyday.

Use Technology

So this might be a bit more expensive, but you ultimately save money by buying less stuff, less often. Anything that can be digitized, should be. This means audiobooks, ebooks, MP3s and Google maps. Invest in a good quality tablet which can replace a laptop. There are also dedicated travel gadgets including the Hydralight and the Life Straw which provide support using the natural resource of a river or lake.

You’ll be surprised how little you need when you have the right stuff. Thermal base layers provide not just warmth with little weight, but also help to keep the rest of your clothes clean. This means you can pack less outerwear, especially if you choose your materials wisely. Finally, technology is making everything increasingly streamlined and there are products designed for traveling that will serve you better than traditional products made for the home.