Planning What To Wear Backpacking
To me one of the most exciting things to think about when I consider mine and Ben’s backpacking adventure is what will we take? What will we pack? What camera and other travel accessories? And what I’m currently fixating on, what clothes? I consider this important enough and so exciting to think about because our location will be continually changing as we move from place to place, but our bags and their contents won’t much. I don’t throw to subscribe to a throw-away culture by buying a couple of items that I don’t mind losing to then replace with new buys as I go along because this isn’t very Eco-friendly or economical.
No, I want to buy a few items of clothes that I’m really happy that I can re-use again and again in varying places and situations and will still be happy with them at the end of my trip. I am Hoping to pack a small bag that can go on hand luggage and so I only want a few basic items to take with me that I could supplement with accessories that I may purchase along the way as souvenirs. But then, being a typical fussy girl, I got myself in a confusion over what exactly was appropriate minimal basics? Ben didn’t seem to worry too much about what he’d pack, “shorts and t-shirts, sorted”, but I didn’t want to waste money on buying the wrong thing and being stuck with it so I googled it obsessively.
The Clothing Dilemma
This dilemma would be more easily answered if I wasn’t so stubborn in my opinions against traditional traveling and hiking clothes. I’ve worn them before and I can honestly say, for the type of casual backpacking that we are planning, there is absolutely no need for those clothes. Sure they are full of pockets to hide things in and made of amazing tough, light, sweat wicking fabrics. But you look like a plonker when you aren’t on a remote trail on the side of a mountain. And speaking from personal experience, despite all that technical fabric wizardry, no matter how much you wash them whilst on the move they will still smell. And people will spray air fresher in your face.
We’re not planning to spend the majority of our time hiking or camping, so clothes catered for these activities are therefore not necessary. We are mostly planning to travel through SE Asia cities and towns, taking day trips to visit the local landmarks and temples, and maybe tackle some mountain foothills. If we decide to spend some time doing more adventurous treks however, we can pick up the bare minimum from whatever town we’re in to use before stuffing it in the bottom of our bags, storing it somewhere, sending it home or passing it on. It is much more important that we initially spend money on clothes that we’ll spend the majority of our time in. Clothes that we are comfortable in, are durable and versatile, can be used for mild excursions and as a base to be supplemented with more hi-tech gear for the possible more adventurous treks.
The Infinity Dress
So what to get? Good quality clothing made from bamboo, silk, wool, cotton and a bit of Lycra will be temperature regulating, comfortable and readily available. Buying clothes made of these in cuts and styles that are suitable to travelling is easy to do, but I wanted something extremely versatile to work for all occasions and wouldn’t scream I’m a backpacker. This post solved it for me with The Infinity Dress. All I needed was a convertible dress as the staple of travel wardrobe. It can be worn alone in an infinite amount of ways on the beach, in cities or on a light travail, on a night out dressed up with jewellery, as a skirt with a top and as a base with a jumper and leggings for when it’s colder or when more conservative attire is required. One dress, and a million possibilities and the joy of packing less in my bag.
After reading the above mentioned article I immediately wanted to get one. I knew it was the perfect solution to my clothing dilemma, and I wanted to order one soon to try it out and make sure I have the right one before heading off with my backpack. But looking online the major manufacturers of the convertible/infinity dress sell it for an extortionate price (this post here summed up the main ones of the infinite style I liked). Admittedly the original dress is beautiful and looks of excellent quality, and when you consider it the cost per style it isn’t that badly priced. But I still feel that it’s too much for a simple traveling dress for what it is – a circle with a hole in it, a waist band and two long strips of material.
My Final Clothing Decision
Other people have thought so too it seems, and patterns to make your own are all over the web. Perfect! Stretch jersey is relatively cheap, easy to find and comes in other mixes such as with bamboo, resulting in the perfect dress material. It will hang effortlessly, be comfortable, crease-resistant, quick drying and thermal regulating through the addition of bamboo. Using material I’ll buy for around £20-30 and this walk-through and collection of patterns, I hope to make my own perfect dress – or rather ask for help in making it because I don’t have a sewing machine or skills enough to work with stretchy material yet!
I’ll test it out travelling Gibraltar and Spain in the remaining Summer and approaching Winter and see if it really is the perfect clothing item for me to take. Perhaps after wearing one continuously for months I’ll change my mind and see the value in the designer ones instead of my home-made one. Perhaps I’ll decide that a dress isn’t the way forward and find a better capsule traveling wardrobe. I’ll let you know. In the mean time I’ll turn back to planning the more important things – where are we are going and when!