Packing for long-term multi-climate travel can be hard, especially if you have issues packing light. You want 15 bikinis, 7 sweaters and 5 different pairs of shoes and boots. Plus you have to fit a coat somewhere and what about your 4 new pairs of jeans and 2 new pairs of leggings. Stop right now!
You simply can’t do it. Upsizing your backpack will only slow you down and make the trip less enjoyable and besides, you need to do laundry often anyways to keep everything from getting smelly. The trick to packing 4 seasons in 1 backpack is curating a perfect capsule wardrobe with items that can be layered!
Where to start:
Pick a colour palette that you wear often and feel comfortable in, I love blacks, greys, beiges and light pinks. Make sure all the colours you pack can be worn together. I also recommend you leave the white at home, it tends not to hold up so well on long-term trips.
- Black one-piece bathing suit (doubles as a bodysuit)
- Black Leggings
- Black Jeans
- Blue Jeans
- Black Long Sleeve
- Black Tank Top
- Cream Tank Top
- Black Shorts
- Running Shoes
- Waterproof boots (that look nice and can be versatile)
- Rain jacket
- Socks (bring a few warm pairs for in your boots)
- nice shirt
- Thermal top
- Merino leggings
- Purse/shoulder bag
Once you have made your list, cut it in half. Take as little as you can, your back will thank you and you will have space for the new things you collect along the way. If you don’t need some things immediately, such as mitts, hats and scarves, consider buying them when you get to the country that you will need them in so you can save space and weight. Anything you ‘may’ wear, or will only wear once gets left behind, you can buy something if you need it later.
What NOT to pack:
- Accessories, you will lose them, they will break, and overall they will just take up too much space.
- High Heels, they are great, I love them, I have a bedroom in my house dedicated to them. They don’t belong in a backpack. If you need a pair that bad you can buy them in the country you need them in. If you really want a nice pair of going out shoes just bring some collapsible flats!
How to pack:
Use packing cubes.
You can organise however you like, but they will help massively. I pack by category. Shirts go together, pants go together etc. You could also pack by season, thermals can go together as you won’t need them in warm countries and bathing suits and sundresses in others etc.
Get shoe bags or shower caps.
Shoes are bulky and take up so much space but unfortunately, are necessary. Shoe bags or shower caps are great for keeping dirty shoes off other things in your luggage. If you have absolutely no space, you could also attach your shoe bag to your day bag with a clip.
Roll some clothes and fold others.
Most of my clothes get rolled, it saves space and prevents wrinkles. That being said, rolling jackets and wetsuits aren’t the best options. They become more bulk than just laying them flat in your bag.
No one said it’s easy, in fact, that initial pack is hard. You want 300 outfits to take photos in, you want to have endless shoes, but you just can’t. The longer you travel for the easier living with less becomes, eventually you will be a pro and know exactly what you need and if you do end up needing something, not packing it gives you a good excuse to go shopping.