By now, I’m sure you might have heard this phrase a thousand time. It is the golden rule almost every backpacker or seasoned traveler will tell anyone who will embark on a journey. It is always convenient to travel with a lighter baggage (be it literally or figuratively…and I mean your emotional baggage).
Maybe it is a lot easier to practice when you travel during summer or during those warmer months. But how will you try packing light during winter? I asked myself this same question over and over as while I was preparing for my recent trip to Georgia. Although I have been traveling for quite a while now, I haven’t really experienced backpacking during the winter season as I personally choose to travel on warmer months for the lame reason that I don’t want to invest in winter clothes. I am from the Philippines and I am living in Qatar—both countries known for its warm weather. It just doesn’t make sense to buy those expensive winter garments for a short trip and end up straight to closet after.
While it was challenging at first knowing that winter clothes are bulky and I only have my 35-liter backpack (The North Face Stormbreak 35), it ended up as my lightest travel to date. I managed to fit everything for about 6kg tops.
WHAT DID I PACK:
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 thermal long johns
- 2 thermal long sleeves
- 2 Under Armor Compression Pants
- Waterproof Jacket
- 1 packable windbreaker hoodie
- 1 pull over
- 2 shirts
- 2 pairs of underwear
- 4 pairs of thermal socks
- toiletries: quick dry towel, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair cream, bar soap, lotion, moisturizer, chapstick (it’s a must even for guys especially for winter), perfume (in travalo atomiser)
- flip flops (yes, I still brought them)
- beanie hat
Another rule of thumb when traveling is that you should wear or at least carry your heaviest clothing item and never pack them (to save space and weight). Prior to my flight, I was already wearing my waterproof shoes, a thermal long john, thermal shirt and my pull over. I brought my reversible puffer hoodie (I got on sale) and wrapped around backpack so I can still have both of my hands-free.
I packed my electronics (phone, camera, chargers, spare batteries, battery pack, tablet) on my drawstring day pack.
My trip was relatively short (5 days) but I believe I have covered the basic items needed to survive even longer than that. You can always wash your clothes as often as needed or just repeat wearing them. It’s not illegal.
So how did I manage?
It was -4 degrees when I landed in Tbilisi and immediately, I knew that I have to start layering up. While having my city tour, I was wearing three layers for bottoms and 4 on top. I was wearing two layers of socks and of course, scarf, gloves, and beanie.
On the latter part of the trip, I added more layers to withstand that epic -20 degree weather in Bakuriani. I found myself wearing 5 layers for my bottom; 6 layers for my top and 3 layers of socks. Quite an experience.
Overall, I managed to survive that trip with what I had. The only major item I bought for this trip was the puffer jacket which I got for cheap anyway and the scarf, beanies, and gloves. Who would have thought that the compression pants I use for running would be handy on a winter trip?
If I have to revise something on my packing list, I think next time I should invest in waterproof pants so playing with snow won’t be that much wet of an experience and perhaps a less bulky type of puffer as mine was on the bulky type.
Pack light for now. Pack lighter next time.
Do you have any winter hacks you can share?