Packing carry on really does make travel easier, but the idea of cramming a ton of clothing in a tiny bag can be daunting. Living in sunny and (usually) warm California, packing up for a trip to freezing Beijing certainly flexed my carry on packing muscles. I wasn’t staying long enough to really need that much stuff, and as a standby traveler, checking a bag can be a real problem if you end up not getting on a flight.
So that’s that, packing a carry on for a winter trip was the challenge. My secret? Layers. Ok, it’s really not a secret anymore if EVERYONE tells you to wear layers, is it? Probably not. Here are a few other tips for packing and staying warm.
- Long-sleeved shirts that can be used as base layers: I like Athleta’s Chi shirts as a layer, because it’s not cotton, and it wicks and warms.
- A chambray/denim shirt is nice, thick, and easy to layer: It goes with almost everything.
- A thin cashmere sweater is a great layering item: At a few points, I was almost too warm in it!
- Thick denim: I wore a pair of black Paige skinnies–they were perfect for keeping the wind out.
- Leggings/thermals: Uniqlo has HeatTech garments that generate heat–and they work!
- Wool socks: mine were medium thickness so I could wear them comfortably with sneakers, but you could go thick if you’re wearing boots and going somewhere REALLY cold.
- A warm hat: I enjoyed one with a puffball on top, because that’s how I roll. I also bought a hat there that I couldn’t resist (panda!)
- A wool Buff: less bulky than a scarf, you can pull it up to cover your neck and face if needed.
- Gloves: lightweight and depending on how cold, you can get away with fleece, but go waterproof if you’re going somewhere super cold.
- Lightweight, packable down puffy: get a LONG puffer that covers to your knees if you get cold, as well as one with a hood (Uniqlo has a great one). It packs down easily, and I wore it over another lighter jacket on a cold evening.
- A swimsuit: our hotel had a sauna, spa, and hot tub, which are SO NICE when you’ve been freezing all day.
- Packing cubes: help compress down clothes and keep it all tidy.
It’s really about being creative and getting some warm layers on. And stopping for hot drinks regularly as you go!