My tip is to limit your palette to colours that work across a wide range of countries – this may seem like a grand statement but black, for example, doesn’t work in India because of the heat and the preference for bright colours. I like navy and cream – cream is a perfect day or evening colour and navy works in every country I have ever visited. I wear them top-to-toe or in combination. I like to roll up my clothes – it’s an efficient use of space and I feel like you get less obvious crease marks. I also use clear plastic garment bags to cover my clothes and group them either by style or particular fabrication. I always pack my suitcase, then pull one-third out – it’s all about editing down. You never wear everything and you’ll always shop while away! To take full advantage of space, I recommend placing small items like socks and electrics into your shoes and stuffing underwear into your hats – this also helps them keep shape during travels.
The best backpacks – the ones that last the longest and stay in good condition no matter how much you abuse it – have all the following characteristics that make them durable, long-lasting, and will protect your stuff from the rain. Don’t get a backpack that doesn’t check off all the boxes on this list.
While your pack does not need to be 100% waterproof (that is unless you are going on some long multi-day hike), make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get wet in a drizzle (most travel backpacks come with tarps you can put over them in case of a severe downpour). Moreover, make sure the material won’t stay wet long and thereby get musty. I look for material that is thick but lightweight. Treated nylon fiber is really good. You should be able to pour a cup of water over it without the insides getting wet. I’m not traveling a lot during torrential downpours or monsoons, but I have been caught in small rainstorms before, and because my backpack is made out of a good material, I’ve never opened my bag to find wet clothes.
Hiking gear : Waterproofing: Despite downs dominance in terms of weight and warmth, it does have a major flaw – it is much more susceptible to moisture. When down jackets get wet they lose their loft and insulation capacities. This is not to say that a light downpour or even all day snow is going to destroy the insulating qualities of your down jacket, but in similar conditions or very wet conditions, a synthetic jacket will perform better. The key thing to look for, therefore, is a jacket (down or synthetic) that has an outer fabric that has a high water-resistant capacity. Pertex Shield fabric is the best for down jackets and nylon is great on synthetic jackets. If you are looking to trek in a region susceptible to rain we suggest a high water-resistant synthetic jacket.
Backpacking Essentials : When buying a sleeping bag, decide which climates you’ll most often be camping in, and purchase a bag to suit your needs. 35 Degree bags tend to work great for most of the year, with a 20 degree or 0-degree bag for really cold weather. It’s hard to get away with just one sleeping bag if you want to backpack in all seasons. On most trips I use the Mountain Hardware Lamina 35 Degree Bag. If it’s really cold I use the Kelty Cosmic Down 0 Degree. Hiking shoes : Backpacking boots: These are designed to carry heavier loads on multiday trips deep into the backcountry. Most have a high cut that wraps above the ankles for excellent support. Durable and supportive, with stiffer midsoles than lighter footwear, they are suitable for on- or off-trail travel. Materials impact a boot’s weight, breathability, durability and water resistance. Synthetics: Polyester, nylon and so-called “synthetic leather” are all commonly found in modern boots. They are lighter than leather, break in more quickly, dry faster and usually cost less. Downside: They may show wear sooner due to more stitching on the outside of the boot.
Forget anything strappy or full of buckles. Like I said before, simplicity is key. By avoiding anything superfluous like strappy sandals and triple-buckle boots, you can cut down on the time you spend preparing for security and up your in-flight comfort factor too!
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