Three season packing list
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Jun 28, 2013 1:35 PM Last Post By: Thunderballs
Dec 4, 2012 8:41 AM
Three season packing listWhat is with this branch? I have started a new post on this topic twice and it has disappeared both times. Here is the third attempt.
What to pack is a topic that comes up regularly here on the Thorn Tree. Packing too much is one of the two commonest mistakes that travellers make, along with trying to see too much in too little time.
Over time, my wife and I have refined our packing list to reach a balance between comfort/safety and weight.
So here is my packing list:
Pack: Vaude Triset 25+4. I’ve had this pack for a few years now and the fit for me is excellent. I like the Aeroflex back and find that with a wicking t-shirt my back stays dry (sweat free) all day. Since I won’t be carrying a tent, stove, sleeping bag, etc. it’s more than big enough.
3 wicking T-shirts Columbia Omni-Wick. 2 short sleeve and one long sleeve. I may try one of Columbia’s new Omni-Freeze instead of the standard Omni-Wick I’m used to.
2 long sleeve shirts Royal Robbins Expedition Light. Light weight, wicking, UV protection, low wrinkle and smart enough looking for anywhere.
3 pair pants North Face Paramount Peak. These are convertible to shorts (zip-off legs) and easy to wash and dry overnight.
1 rain jacket North Face Venture. Packable into one of it’s own pockets.
1 down vest Ralph Lauren. A lightweight down vest that can pack into it’s own pocket. Don’t ask, it was a gift but I have to say at least it doesn’t have a big RL logo on it anywhere.
3 pr. Underwear Icebreaker 150 merino wool. Keep you cool, don’t smell, feel great and dry quite quickly.
3 pr. Socks Rohner original merino wool medium weight. I’ve worn this brand for many years. Arguably the best hiking sock made.
1 pr. Hiking boots New Balance H710 Very light, breathable and fit like my skin. These were the first light weight hiking boots made. In 1984, Lou Whittaker wore one of the first pair to the top of the North Col of Mt. Everest. They’ll take you anywhere you are likely to go.
1 first aid kit My own assembly of items.
1 toiletry kit The usual but only smaller quantities ie. Toothpaste. A 4 oz. bottle of Couglan’s concentrated camp soap will wash anything you can wash in water. You, your clothes, your hair, dishes, etc. You use a very small amount so it will usually last around 3 months.
Miscellaneous A swiss army knife (never leave home without it), compass, map, baseball hat, 2 – 1 litre plastic water bottles, bandana, small LED flashlight, space blanket, sunglasses, matches, a couple of energy bars. The ‘ten essentials of backpacking’ are covered. Also passport,tickets, money, bank cards, etc. (no wallet, I use my pockets).
Here is my weight chart. Pounds rounded up to 2 decimal places.
Pack: 1200 grams/2.64 lbs.
T-shirts: (4.8oz. x 2, 6.2oz. x 1= 15.8 oz.) 448 grams/0.99 lbs.
Shirts: (5.0 oz. x 2 = 10.0 oz.) 284 grams/0.63 lbs.
Pants: (17.6 oz. x 3 = 52.8 oz.) 1500 grams/3.30 lbs.
Rain Jacket: 400 grams/0.88 lbs.
Down Vest: 284 grams/0.63 lbs.
Underwear: (3.0oz. x 3 = 9.0 oz.) 85 grams/0.56 lbs.
Socks: (2.82 oz. x 3 = 8.46 oz.) 80 grams/0.53 lbs.
Hiking boots: 454 grams/1.00 lbs.
First aid kit: 354 grams/0.78 lbs.
Toiletry kit: 340 grams/0.75 lbs.
Miscellaneous: (approximate) 454 grams/1.00 lbs.
Total all items: 6.21 kg./13.69 lbs.
Off course you have to add the weight of water carried, 1 or 2 litres at 1kg/2.2lbs. per litre as well as a ‘picnic lunch’ when hiking usually. Say another .5kg/1.1 lbs. But then you have to subtract what I am wearing and therefore not carrying in the pack. That can be as low as 1.15 kg./2.54 lbs. (shorts, t-shirt, socks, underwear, boots).
Total carried (dry weight): 5.06kg./11.16 lbs.
Maximum load carried (wet weight): 7 .56 kg./16.67 lbs.
I’d love to break that 7 kg. maximum but just can’t see how to get there without sacrificing comfort or safety. Of course I am well under it when in a town or on the plane.
My wife’s weights are slightly less primarily due to smaller clothes sizes and therefore slight weight reductions on each item. She carries a small make-up kit instead of a first aid kit and her miscellaneous items differ as well. On our next trip she will carry her Ipad 3 for taking photos, making calls (Skype) and internet access. It’s relatively heavy at 652 grams/1.44 lbs. but she feels it’s worth it. Overall her list is basically the same for clothing. Her total dry weight is just under 5 kg./11 lbs. Her wet weight is almost right on the 7 kg. mark.
I call this the 3 for 3 pack. Good for three seasons and any number of days from 3 to infinity. Whether on a city break or in the country; whether travelling for 7 days or 7 months, on streets or hiking trails, it makes no difference.
The only other item sometimes added is a pair of Teva sandals. They are only added if it will be really hot weather or we plan on visiting beaches. They weigh 680 grams/1.50 lbs. but generally when we need them we don't need a rain jacket or down vest and so the overall weight remains the same. If travelling alone, some items that are shared would have to be carried by the individual and would increase overall weight by perhaps 7-8%.
The key to successful packing is to always take the lowest weight item you can find that will do the job. Look for multiple use items (like camp soap) that can replace several individual items. My wife adds, colour co-ordinate everything to look good. Pack smart, not heavy.
This may provide a specific list for those new to backpacking to compare their own lists to and see where they could save some weight and add to their comfort. Feel free to question or comment.
(cross-posted on Gap Year and W. Europe branches)
Dec 5, 2012 12:29 PM
1Solid advice. Only thing I wonder about is 3 pairs of similar zip-off pants? Would 2 not be enough? I have a pair of capris and a pair of light outdoor pants. ( I do not like zip-offs) Once I took part in a 7 week expedition and had only ONE pair of pants. Washed them when we got back to the first hotel after wearing them non-stop for 6 weeks. I figured that if something goes awry I will survive with long johns... Or just buy something locally, something most over packers forget.
Old fashioned solid soap lasts 8 times longer than liquid, could save another 20g...
Some time back I made a 2 week photography trip to the Middle-East with everything fitting in a 24 liter pack, 7.5 kg. That includes a messenger/camera back, camera body, 3 lenses and a flash which were stuffed in the pack during the flights (did not want to pay 60€ for check-in luggage...). I repeated the same for a 2+ week trip to Burma, with 2 camera bodies this time.
Dec 5, 2012 12:36 PM
Dec 6, 2012 8:43 AM
3If you are happy with 2 pair of pants that's fine Petrus. It's my list, not a definitive list for everyone. The objective was to give people and particularly first time travellers, a way to compare what they are thinking of taking. To indicate to them that they do not need a 70L backpack or fill it with 50lbs. of 'stuff'. I use 3 t-shirts, 3 pants, 3 shorts (included with zip-offs) 3 underwear and 3 socks based on the 'Rule of 3s'. That says, One to wear, one to wash and one to spare.
Many ultralight backpackers (wilderness) use only one pair of bicycle tights with a pair of shorts over top if they are bashful. That replaces the 3 pair in my list and drops nearly 3 lbs. of weight. But while that might be OK when backpacking in the Grand Canyon, off trail, it is not likely to be very popular with the average poster here doing a summer in Europe.
Some 'ultralights' go 'commando', no underwear at all. Again, a personal choice that won't appeal to everyone. The point is to come up with a list that you personally are comfortable with but at the same time, find the lightest weight for that item to keep your total pack weight down.
Solid soap does not do as good a job of washing your clothes or dishes. Camp soap is intended to wash everything. If you like solid soap however I would suggest Ivory. Note the old ad to the right at the top of the page on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_(soap)
In it's favour, the average weight of a bar of soap is 100 grams which is coincidentally a common airline limit for carry-on items. The question would be which does more washes, liquid or solid. I don't know. You say solid is 8 times longer lasting. Any references to indicate that? Going simply on personal experience I know the liquid listed, lasts me a couple of months for body, hair and clothes.
Zip-offs were invented for hiking/climbing in the early 90s. They have become more widely used like most outdoor clothing. Objections on looks are subjective, not objective. It is possible to find nylon hiking pants at around 12 oz. and add a pair of light shorts to come up to a total for the 2 that is near or equal to the zip-off weight. You add more bulk though. But if someone really can't get over their fashion hang up then they could go that route. Zip-offs are about function, not looks. While I likek to look my best like most people, I do not base decisions on what to carry, based on looks. I make my decisions based on function.
It is a 3 Season List. When travel in colder climates is involved in the same trip I advocate buying at a local charity shop and donating the items back when you are moving on to warmer weather again.
Again, it is not intended to be a definitive list but more of a guideline/comparison/indication of what is possible. Everyone is free to add/subtract/change/etc. as they wish.
Dec 10, 2012 7:31 PM
4I love my zip offs (but I did hunt long and hard for a pair that I liked).
Buying locally is often not an option for me - especially in countries full of short people. Even finding a t-shirt in South America was a bit of a struggle. I very much doubt I am the only person in this boat.
You buy quality gear travelinstyle - that;s important when trying to pack light.
I agree with your wife about the iPad. Once you factor in all the things you don't need to take as you have it with you, the weight balances out. Also, they're fun!
You don't take a second pair of shoes? Something to give your hiking boots a break? or to wear when they're wet? Or something that can double as a nice pair of shoes to wear out (probably more important for women).
Dec 11, 2012 8:45 AM
5Nope, no second pair if I can avoid it hereandtherenz. Shoes/boots are one of the heaviest items in anyone's pack.
As for looks, I have two thoughts on that. First, it is possible to have a pair that are not that conspicuous when worn under a pair of long pants. They basically look like runners/trainers. See here for example: http://www.nicekicks.com/2012/08/new-balance-h710-2/ If you are wearing grey pants and grey boots like these, they more or less become invisible unless someone is really paying attention. Not many people spend a lot of time checking what footwear you have on. Worrying about 'how it looks' is something the person does to themself, if you see what I mean.
Second, travellers need to get their head around the fact that they are travellers. They cannot possibly carry something that they consider the best fit for every single situation. If you decide you need to carry a pair of 'dress' shoes, what about dress pants, a dress shirt, tie, dress jacket? Where do you draw the line? The size and number of pieces of luggage you see some people with at airports tells you that some people don't seem to be able to draw the line at all ! LOL
When I am travelling, I am a traveller and limited as to how much I can pack. I simply accept that and let weight be my primary factor, not looks. If I did not feel comfortable going somewhere because I did not feel appropriately dressed then I would not go there when travelling. But that is a very rare occurence indeed. I think it has more to do with self-confidence than what you wear.
I have been in MIchelin starred restaurants in zip-offs and hiking boots. When I discuss with the somelier whether to go with a Bordeaux or Burgundy with my meal choice, the somelier has no difficulty deciding whether I 'belong' there or not.
I won't argue the iPad with my wife. I know who'll win that argument. If travelling alone however I would never take one. I simply don't feel the need to 'keep in touch' or take 'memories' (photos) or 'surf the net'. I'll see them when I get home; my memories are in my head; surfing is for beaches.
Dec 11, 2012 10:48 AM
6I like to dress up and look pretty. At home and when I'm travelling. Doesn't make me less of traveller (or lacking in self confidence). It just makes me different from you. I can do that and travel light because I buy good gear - a nice pair of black comfortable sandals are perfect for the beach, walking around the city or out to a nice restaurant. My nice walking skirt is equally useful.
Yes, I also travel with walking shoes like those you mention. They don't give the same ankle support as full hiking boots but I've always found then fine on the hikes I've done. And at the end of a day hiking, I and most of the other hikers in the hut pull out flip flops or the like.
I like to keep in touch. Several people at home worry about me when I'm travelling. I also love photos. They prompt my memories. And surfing the net is very useful when you're trying to book accommodation, find the train station etc.
Dec 11, 2012 12:52 PM
7Ah but that is not inconsistent with my list at all hereandtherenz. My wife substitutes a 'skort' for a pair of zip-offs and while I take more functional Tevas when I take them, she takes Teva Pretty Rugged which look quite dressy yet are quite functional.
I never said I or my wife don't like to look good. It's a question of looking as good as POSSIBLE within a given packing list. In other words, not 6 pair of shoes, etc. Nor am I saying everyone who feels they need to take 3 pair of shoes and one ultra-light little black dress is not confident. What I said was the 'how will I look' is often not about how others will see you but how you will see yourself and for some people that is directly related to self-confidence.
As for flip flops at the end of the day, why? I pull out bare or sock feet, why would I need flip flops in a hut?
Again, I won't argue the iPod. That's a personal choice. I don't need one for anything, that's all.
Dec 11, 2012 1:39 PM
Dec 12, 2012 8:48 AM
9I don't know what you are 'reading into' what I have written hereandtherenz but I didn't write that YOU suggested 6 pair of shoes. YOU are not the only reader and some comments are general comments for other readers.
I've answered re a second pair of shoes but here it is again as a direct response to your question. I carry a second pair only when I expect to be in really hot weather. In other words I try not to mix my travel between extremes of weather or terrain.
So I might (as we will this coming September) plan a month hiking and sightseeing in Switzerland for example. In which case there is no need for my Tevas. Or I might plan a month on a Greek island in June, in which case there is no need for my hiking boots, down vest or rain jacket and I would only wear my Tevas.
But the list I have provided here is as the title suggests intended for 3 seasons. So the Tevas are an option. The list is not meant to be definitive for everyone but to act perhaps as a base line to compare their own packing lists against. The main point is the importance of weight, pack size and comfort.
Dec 20, 2012 7:30 PM
Dec 21, 2012 6:44 AM
11Yeah, the mini has some definite advantages, weight, bulk, but I actually find the screen a bit too small. I even find the iPad3 screen a tad too small but bearable. Then there is the fact that my wife's iPad3 is less than a year old. For anyone contemplating a new purchase however the mini is worth considering.
Feb 7, 2013 1:34 PM
Feb 10, 2013 1:06 PM
13Travelinstyle, would you say your travelling is more minmalist/controlled and less shoestring ? To me travelling on a shoestring means making do with less $. After reading your packing list it is an expensive kit to be sure. I can buy clothes at offprice outlets made by good quality names, that are light and easy to wash by hand and will dry over night with no ironing needed. These are also clothes that I wear year round so I don't have to buy an entire wardrobe of special clothes to go away for a month or so. Your user name is TravelinStyle which conflicts a bit with Shoestring.
Feb 10, 2013 1:25 PM
14Reasonable questions to ask marichel.
My name is Travelin - style. As in 'travelling style'. A purposely picked name I knew would be misinterpreted. At the same time, it is true I am not usually a shoestring traveller (at least not if my wife is with me). I would say I am a lightweight traveller rather than a minimalist though. That is my travelling style. I don't believe in going without comforts which I think a minimalist would probably do. I believe in finding the lightest weight answer to whatever you feel you need to take to be comfortable.
I believe in buying quality if you can afford it. Quality usually outlasts several cheaper answers. For example, I haven't bought a cotton t-shirt in several decades now. First because they don't perform as well as wicking t-shirts and second because they don't last long before the collar starts getting saggy and the bottom stretched out of shape. A good wicking t-shirt can be bought as cheaply as a cotton one if you find some on sale. I have some that I wear year round including in winter as undershirts, that are 15 years old and still look nearly as good as new.
I agree what I have listed is often expensive but you can find them as you say at an outlet sometimes for far less. I don't consider any of them special clothes. I wear all of them often, even at home.
Finally, although I cross-posted this thread on the shoestring branch as well and have linked to it on several threads on various branches, this is the Gear branch you are responding on. ;-)
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