So now that you have the bag which meets your aim, what goes in it.
Like many other bloggers, I have run up against the reality that hiking and camping gear seems to now be considered travel gear. Ugh. I admit I was a zippered pants (shants), built in belt, cargo pant short, hiking shoe wearing traveller and there was good reason for that. Hiking clothes are durable and incorporate many desirable traits for the light traveller. They are light, moisture wicking, quick drying, UV blocking marvels of technology, and they look good on the trail, but they look out of place anywhere else and identify you quickly as a tourist in most major cities. So this time I decided to minimize hiking gear and seek out travel gear and guess what? Unless I wanted to look like I was on safari even in Rome, the pickings were slim to none.
From the Bottom up.
I love day hikers, they are comfortable, durable, but they can be out of place in restaurants or night clubs. My criteria are comfortable shoes that I can wear all day and won’t be too conspicuous at dinner or at a club. For this trip, I wanted shoes that could handle the trails of Cinque Terre in Italy but don’t look like I am about to tackle Everest. I also need two pairs, one for the day and one for the evening. This allows the shoes to dry if they become wet. I know travellers who do the one pair thing, but if my feet are uncomfortable, might as well stay home. My choices are-
For travelling and day wear:
Still day hikers but not too obvious.
For nights out:
Comfortable and can be dressed up or down.
Wet, sore feet will make travel a pain. Being miserable means missing opportunities, a la ” would love to see the really cool market where the locals shop but just can’t walk another step, I think I’ll just sit and eat my overpriced gelato near the Spanish steps” you need comfortable socks. I pack 3 pairs, all made from merino wool. Comfy and quick to dry.
This is where the lack of true travelling clothing really gets noticed. Cargo pants and Shants (pants that can become shorts with zippers) have the advantage of having lots of storage and flexibility, some are made of lightweight fabric that dries quickly (important if you are doing wash on the road) but they can be really really ugly. They also scream ” I am tourist”.
Now a lot of folks swear by jeans, durable, can be dressed up or down, and a classic. But once wet and dirty, they are heavy and need you time to dry them. If you must bring jeans, wear them on flights to save space and weight in your luggage.
After some research and trial and error I settled on pants by a company called Bluffworks out of New York. The pants fit well, are light weight, wrinkle resistant and have zippered pockets. They can be dressed up or down and will dry overnight. I pack these.
I wear Under Armour Performance Chinos during flights. They look great, are comfortable during 20 hour travel periods. The Under Armour logo is subtle and the pants do not look like athletic pants even though they are. They don’t dry as quick but keep their look between washings.
The next entry will deal with shirts and then technology.