10 Things to Pack in the Winter for Backpack Only Travel
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It’s no secret that I travel with only what I can carry on my back. I left my roller bag behind about two years ago and never looked back! Typically, we are headed to warm climates so packing two weeks worth of tank tops isn’t too difficult. So, packing in the winter is the ultimate challenge! Here are the top 10 things I bring with me when traveling in cold climates!
If you haven’t had the pleasure of pulling on a pair of fleece lined leggings, you are missing out! Forget the days of long johns! They are so much warmer than your typical pair of leggings and yet they don’t take up much more room than a regular pair! I can also manage to squeeze them on under most of my jeans so they can be worn on their own or under jeans for extra warmth!
I’m a little bit obsessed with puffer coats right now. I had trouble getting on board at first but, they’re heavily trending and with good reason! These great little coats squeeze into tiny pouches and fit so easily in a backpack! Since they’re filled with down, they’re incredibly warm. After all, it’s like wrapping yourself in a down blanket. They’ve come out with so many now that are thinner and fit well while still keeping you warm! There are lots of puffer coats out there that are poly fill and while it may be cheaper (and more animal friendly), it will not be nearly as warm.
This is not the first time I’ve talked about my blanket scarf. And it will not be the last! I bought mine about 6 months ago and I can’t imagine ever traveling without it again. I wear it as a scarf most often but I’ve also worn it more like a shawl, a poncho and a vest. It came in handy while traveling on the trains in Italy. I could snuggle up with it like a blanket until we reached a warmer city and then I wrapped it around the handles on the outside of my bag.
Cold weather often means your phone and tablet has to work harder. My phone battery drained quite a bit faster because we were outside all day in colder temperatures. The thousands of photos I took may have also had something to do with it! There are a ton of great portable battery options out there that come in all shapes and sizes. I really love the way our Anker batteries have held up over the years. Just make sure you purchase one under 10,000 mAh or else it may be confiscated by TSA. I’ve never had an issue domestically within the US but we did have one taken away when traveling internationally. It is a lithium ion battery after all.
Wear boots- pack sneakers! Ankle boots will take up less room in your bag if you need to pack them but they will keep you much warmer than a pair of sneakers. Instead of knee high boots, you can wear long socks under ankle boots for extra warmth! Lightweight walking boots are an amazing staple to have in any wardrobe but especially while traveling. I learned this the hard way when grabbing my cute boots that were covered in buckles and then tried to book it across three terminals in an airport to catch my connecting flight!
Fabrics have come such a long way. There are tons of awesome warm socks out there that are thin and still super warm. Stay away from things that say “dress socks” or “trouser socks” as these are very thin and will not keep you warm.
I don’t know about you but if my ears are warm and my head is warm, the rest of me will generally stay warm. I love the look and feel of knitted beanies but all it took was one cold wind to chill me. It never occurred to me that there are warmer options that still offer the look of a knit without the draft! Enter the fleece lined beanie! I have a few of these now and I grab them any time I plan on being outside.
There is nothing worse than being cold AND wet. So keep yourself nice and dry with a pocket umbrella! Rain is inevitable in the winter (unless it’s snow) and they’ve gotten umbrellas down to the size of your hand so there really is no reason NOT to bring one.
I have a few thin thermal long sleeve shirts that I always love to bring along. They’re versatile and can be used on their own for a casual day of sightseeing or as a base layer underneath a sweater for additional warmth! They don’t take up any more room than a regular shirt but keep you as warm as a sweater!
Winter is known for drying out skin and lips so I always bring along chapstick and lotion. I’m one of those people that buys chapstick in bulk so I can keep one in my car, my purse and in every room in the house. It’s also a great idea to bring lotion and not depend on freebies from your hotel. I don’t know about you but those hotel lotions always dry my hands out! Lollia lotions are my absolute favorite for keeping my hands soft in the winter and this great little tube is travel sized and perfect for backpack travel!
Wearing your bulkiest items on travel days rather than trying to pack them will help keep you roller bag free! I also have a backpack with bungees on the outside that work great for corralling a scarf, sweatshirt, or anything else that may not fit. But, keeping warm in the winter doesn’t always mean bulky items. Pack a few warm choice pieces you can wear day after day and you will stay warm for your entire trip!
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