A few weeks ago, we wrote about packing for cold weather destinations. We thought we’d continue along those lines and write about packing for other climates, so this post will be number two of the series and discuss packing advice for Medium Climates.
Medium = lots of variety
Following Goldilocks’ guidance, you are traveling to a place that isn’t too hot and isn’t too cold, it is just right. You’d think that it would be easy to pack for the ideal temperature, right? Well, not so fast. It turns out packing for medium climates can be the most challenging packing of the three. Why? Because medium places tend to be cold in the morning and then warm to that perfect temperature. At night, temperatures can drop down quite a bit, so your t-shirt just won’t cut it when the sun goes down.
And just when you think you’ve got it nailed, Mother Nature steps in and throws an unseasonably cold/warm curve ball your way, right when you are on your trip. Last October when B and I ventured to the Azores Islands, it was supposed to be in the 60s. Turns out it was much warmer than that so we had to adjust our outfits mid-trip. Using that week long trip as model, here is what we packed and will serve you well for a week in a medium climate.
The key to medium-climate packing is adaptability.
We knew hiking was going to be one of our main activities in the Azores, so we both packed a trusty pair of hiking sandals. Chacos have officially hit the mainstream (sadly, at the expense of quality…but that’s another story), but they do a very good job of combining grip and traction with a cool sandal. Cool as in not hot.
I like to mix up sandal days/non-sandal days, so I added a pair of cross trainer hikers also. There are a lot of good quality brands that offer great stability and traction without the bulk of full on hiking boots. My favorite brand is Vasque, but I am currently rocking a pair of Patagonias. These type of shoes are meant to be less rigid than a hiking boot, but it is still a good idea to break them in before you leave on your trip. Before we left, I purchased a pair of Ahnus that I thought would be good because they were waterproof. When I took them on an inaugural walk, I realized I wasn’t going to have enough time to break them in fully, so they didn’t make the bag to the Azores.
For a week-long trip you only really need three or four bottoms that you can rotate through. I like variety, so I opted for a skirt, a pair of pants I could roll up if I got hot, and a pair of shorts. Material and color are important when you are only bringing along a few items, so make sure the material is good quality and won’t start to smell and will repel dirt and stains. Lighter colors can show dirt easier, so it is safest to stick to a darker palette.
Four tops should do you on a weeklong trip. Since it isn’t going to be terribly hot, you won’t need tank tops so you can stick to four short sleeved shirts. You’ll want to pack a long sleeve for those morning hikes or evening strolls along the beach and to round things out, make sure to bring a sweatshirt or warmer long sleeved shirt in case it gets really cold. Material is especially important when it comes to tops because they have to live right next to our armpits and come away unscathed.
If you don’t feel like bringing along four shirts, you can cut this down and wash along the way. B had to use this method as she had packed for a cooler climate than what we experienced in the Azores. This wasn’t really a big deal though, because her shirts were made of quick drying material that held their shape when washed in a sink and air dried overnight. We’ve said this before, but the return on investment really is worth it to buy high quality and pricier pieces.
Part of the appeal of traveling to a place that doesn’t get cold is that you don’t have to pack a lot of outerwear. For the Azores, we left our parkas at home and instead brought light jackets and rain jackets. We also brought along rain pants, but luckily we didn’t have to bust these out and they stayed scrunched up in the bottom of our bags.
- Quality, quality, quality. We’ve talked about the brand, Icebreaker, many times before. Maybe someone at their company will decide to endorse up (#bloggoals) but until then, you can rest assured that we are not being paid to tell you how much we love this brand. We really just love it. It seems counter-intuitive that you would want to wear merino wool when it is warm outside, but you can wear pieces that are thin material so the wool doesn’t cause you to overheat. In fact, it does the opposite and wicks moisture away, keeping you cool. As a bonus, when you do have to wear the same shirt three days in a row, the wool keeps odors down so you don’t smell. Much to the appreciation of travel companions.
- Layers are gonna be your friend. As the day gets warmer or cooler, you’ll be ready for it if you dress in layers. It’s really easy to throw a long sleeve shirt in your daypack. It won’t take up a lot of space but will really make the difference in your comfort level.
- Convertible clothes can be cool. I’ll admit it, I rocked a pair of zip off Northface pants for years. You know the ones…tan and kind of baggy. Were these guys attractive? Nope. Were they practical? You bet! Luckily, these days you can find some pieces that are practical but have bit of style built in. One of my favorite travel items is a pair of linen Prana pants. These look good down but then have cute straps that allow you to roll them up and secure them if your ankles get a little too hot.
Traveling to medium climates is great! You won’t sweat or freeze and if you bring a nice mix of adaptable clothing you will be well-suited for whatever weather craziness happens.