Welcome to my What to Pack guide. If you’ve jumped in here on this page then I recommend you first read:What to Pack – Part 1, Introduction What to Pack – Part 2, My Pack’s, Organising Packing & Security. What to Pack – Part 3, For a Great Night’s Sleep What to Pack – Part 4, My Gadget List
Clothing is often the section of your packing that will be subject to the greatest quandry.
You are about to embark upon an extended trip abroad, so how many clothes should you take? The answer, in my opinion, is not many and certainly not as much as you think. Clothing along with toiletries are generally the most overpacked constituent.
As I mention in my introduction to this guide, I tend to pack very few items of clothing, as I prefer to leave space in my pack for other things. I do so safe in the knowledge that, if I need to, I can buy often amazing clothes cheaply on the road.
Did you know for example that in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa you can choose wonderful fabric at local markets and employ a seamstress to make you a dress, a pair of trousers, shorts, a shirt, etc. all for £10. The items will be tailored to fit you perfectly. Oh and when I say all for £10, I do mean all four items!
If you don’t have time to wait for clothes to be made for you then finished goods are always available at local markets.
By travelling light and buying items en-route you are also, in a small way, giving something back to the communities you pass through and helping to sustain them.
Most of the clothing that I pack and that I believe you should pack too, should be from your existing wardrobe, so there is no need for me to provide links to all of the items on the list. In this section I will only provide them for what I consider to be essential items that meet the following criteria: they are super comfortable or they may be difficult to obtain on the road.
Without further ado, onto my packing recommendations and as I’m a guy I should state that this is a guys list.
You’ll need a fleece, to keep you warm around the camp fire, on the beach, or when hiking at altitude. I pack a Berghaus Men’s Arnside Half Zip Fleece, it’s lightweight, doesn’t take up too much valuable space and as an additional layer it keeps me warm.
5 No. T-shirts – always pack good quality mid range cotton shirts. If you want to take you expensive designer tee then Im not going to stop you, but be aware that on an extended trip it won’t last the journey. If you are travelling to tropical parts and need to buy some t-shirts then I’d recommend the Under Armour Men’s T-Shirt, these are exceptional in humid conditions as they lift sweat away from the body keeping you cool and dry.
Formal collared shirt – for that unexpected night out.
A hoddie – for chilly nights and protecting your face from desert storms
Briefs are always handy, pack a few pairs for the days when you’re not going commando!
A coupe of pairs of shorts, that’ll double up as swim trunks.
A pair of everyday trousers
A pair of good ‘going-out’ trousers.
Sometimes I’ll pack a pair of jeans other times not. An alternative is a pair of Fleece Joggers. The choice is yours, but they are weighty items in your pack.
Selecting footwear must be a nightmare for women, but for me it’s easy. I take my pair of Merrell Mens Chameleon 5 Gore Tex Trekking and Hiking Shoes which weigh in at 490grams, are very comfortable, keep my feet supported, dry and a breathable mesh means no sweaty feet after a long days walk.
Alongside my walking shoes I take a pair of Chaco Men’s Kolb Flip-flops. At around £50, these are expensive as flip flops go, but they are one of my favourite items. With an arched sole, this is footwear you’ll be comfortable wearing all day long without any aches or blisters . They are also durable and will last you so long that the money spent will be a comfortable investment. The weigh 299 grams.
The only other thing I take with me in this section is a pair of regular cheap Flip Flops, weighing around 75 grams, these are essential for wearing in showers and toilets when you’re camping and overlanding.
Lastly, I pack 3 pairs of socks, lightweight hiking socks and a regular pair.
No pack is complete without a set of thermal underwear, for those unexpected, but guaranteed, cold nights. I pack the Octave Mens All In One Thermal Suit. Id never worn thermals before in my life and I was anti them, on grounds of appearance, but I now wouldn’t be without them and very comfortable and cosy they are too!
I take a safari hat with a wide brim and velcro side fasteners.
Baggage allowance watch:
This section is more difficult to judge in terms of weight as it will depend on the individual items you choose. That said my guidance would be to keep the weight of your clothing below 7.5 kilos and preferrably down to 5 kilos out of a potential checked airline allowance of 22 Kilos.