Not all at-home clothing takes to a life on the road all that well. That polyester shirt you love for lounging around at home will not take kindly to the heat and humidity of a Southeast Asian destination, for example. Those light cotton socks, likewise, will be no match for the frigid climate of Northern Europe in the winter.
And it’s not just climate you need to worry about; “packability” is also a key concern, since you’re obviously working with a finite amount of space in your bag. You want clothing that can be worn often, without getting smelly or grungy, therefore allowing you to pack lighter. Finally, you want your clothes to look good, because, after all, you’re only human.
With those criteria in mind, this article will go through the main travel clothing pieces, making broad recommendations for each. Let’s get dressed, starting from the bottom up!
With insulating and breathable capabilities, undoubtedly the best socks to take travelling are merino wool socks (you’ll start to notice a theme pretty soon here). They’re everything a sock ought to be, and they’re comfy as hell, to boot.
It greatly depends on the climate you’re visiting, as well as the social norms, but two main bottoms you can’t go wrong with are a) the humble denim jeans or b) a good pair of khaki shorts.
Again, as with socks, this one has to go to merino wool. Anything that clings to your skin should be soft and comfortable, but, more importantly, merino wool has anti-microbial properties that prevent it from smelling bad. You can potentially wear a pair of merino underwear for days and stay fresh – it seems like witchcraft, but it really works.
T-Shirt & Sweatshirt
Let’s save some time by amalgamating these two, since, you guessed it: merino wool again. It might sound like a broken record at this point, but shirts catch a lot of sweat (especially around the armpits) so it’s important to have breathability. And having an insulating sweatshirt can be a godsend when a cold front hits.
Because of its effectiveness, breathability and ubiquity, Gore Tex is still the best bet when shopping for rain jackets. It offers good protection from the rain and wind, without completely sealing in your body heat. Whereas other materials can leave your skin feeling swampy inside the jacket, Gore Tex is a breath of fresh air.
The best mixture for maximum winter protection is some kind of weather barrier (like Gore Tex or DWR) on the outside, with a fill on the inside. The fill can be down, synthetic fleece or fibres.
To each their own with this one, but in general: for colder climates, go with desert style boots; for a versatile, temperate climate, go with runners or trainers; and for hot weather (culture permitting) just rock your flip flops or sandals.
With these choices, you’re pretty much guaranteed to greet every travel experience with ease, comfort and unfailing freshness. Happy travels.