Clothing is one of the most critical components of your travels and can make or break your experience! If you don't dress warm enough in Iceland, you might be miserable, or you might go broke if you have to buy a jacket in the country! Generally speaking you will want to make sure the clothing and shoes you bring with you on your travels are:
- Fashionable & Versatile - You will want clothes that you can wear in multiple situations; whether you are going out for a hike, exploring a city, going out to a nicer dinner or going out for a night on the town. Ideally, you should feel comfortable wearing each shirt, jacket, pair of shoes or item you bring with you in multiple contexts.
- Lightweight and Compact - Suitcases and backpacks only have so much room, so I generally avoid bringing very bulky clothing like sweatshirts or heavy jackets. To do this, I generally recommend that you bring multiple light layers that you can wear together if needed. to keep warm. While this advice may be harder to follow when you travel to winter climates, you can still try to minimize bulk as much as possible.
- Comfortable - You'll want to make sure that your clothes are comfy and don't chafe or scrape you. Nothing is worse than having a nice looking pair of shoes that are either too tight, or scrape your heel.
- Durable - You'll want to avoid cheaply made products that might fall apart while you are travelling. Trust me, you don't want the bottom of your shoes to fall off in Japan from walking too much; I learned that the hard way! As a result, I try to wear reputable brands of clothing that I know will not just fall apart and will stand up to the abuse of travelling for weeks on end.
- Stretchy, Quick Drying & Anti-Stink - Whether you travel in the summer or the winter it is great to have clothes that are quick drying and stretchy, so when I buy clothing I always look for materials like polyester, nylon, spandex and elastene. When you are out for a hike, you are going to get sweaty! Having a t-shirt that can dry quickly will prevent chafing and help you avoid photos with loads of sweat stains; don't ruin your beautiful memories with sweat stains! Having ripped many pair of pants in my life ( I'll spare you the other details), I cannot recommend enough how important it is to have stretchy pants and other stretchy clothing. Materials like Merino wool and others can also help to prevent your clothes from being stinky, which is certainly helpful when you are travelling for several weeks or months at a time.
SHOES & SANDALS
- DANNER EXPLORER, LIGHT II HIKING BOOTS OR DANNER RIDGE BOOTS - After a massive rainstorm on my trip to Japan left me with soaking wet shoes for days, I knew I had to invest in a pair of waterproof shoes that I could wear with me on my travels. After a lot of research and consideration I ultimately ended up purchasing a pair of Danner Explorer Leather Boots and they have been my go to travel shoes for the last 6 years. Danner Boots are extremely rugged, comfortable, lightweight, and are made fully waterproof and breathable with their Gore-Tex lining. I love the classic all leather look of the boots because it allows them to be dressed up or dressed down. The ankle support and rugged Vibram sole also provide great stability and grip whether in the city or out on a mountain trail. You might think that your feet would get hot or uncomfortable in boots, but these boots are very breathable and with time actually mold to conform to your foot. I have brought these boots with me everywhere and have hiked on Icelandic glaciers, sand boarded in the Sahara desert and explored the jungles of Costa Rica. These are versatile, comfortable and rugged boots that are built to last a lifetime.
- HOKA ONE SNEAKERS - In addition to my boots I always pack a pair of basic sneakers with me. I do this in case I decide I want to go to a gym, go for a run, wear shorts or want to go out for the night; I find that HOKA shoes are extremely versatile in this regard. The shoes are well padded and comfy, have a rugged sole for hiking, and come in a wide assortment of colors that you can dress up or dress down. Whether you are in the city or on the trail these shoes will not let you down.
- TEVA HIKING SANDALS - In the past I used to always travel with a pair of flip-flops, but then I realized that they were not that versatile or useful overall. I never found flip-flops to be that comfortable and they weren't practical for anywhere other than the beach or relaxing. While travelling in Costa Rica on a study abroad trip, one of my students had a pair of hiking sandals and I was amazed; she wore them hiking on trails, to the beach, and out to dinner! When I got home I actually found a pair of rugged hiking TEVAS in my size on the sale rack at REI; it was destiny. I have found that the TEVAs are comfortable, rugged, and very versatile; I have worn them as water shoes while jet skiing and on rocky beaches, I have worn them walking around a city, and I have worn them on hikes where I thought I might go swimming. In all honesty, if you are travelling in the summer these could be the only pair of shoes you need to pack!
SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR
- UNDERARMOUR & SAXX BOXERS - Having good underwear is an important part of travelling! These pairs are quick drying, stretchy, comfortable and lightweight. Easy to pack and easy to wear.
- UNIQLO AIRISM UNDERSHIRT - The Airism undershirt by UNIQLO is fantastic. It is extremely lightweight, stretchy, quick drying and very comfortable. They come in multiple different colors so you can mix and match. The shirts are quite lightweight though, so other than as a pajama top I personally do not wear them as a stand alone T-Shirt.
- DARN TOUGH MERINO WOOL HIKING SOCKS - Darn Tough Socks are the best and I have paired these with my Danner boots for years! They are made of Merino Wool so they keep your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer; I can attest to this personally. They are extremely comfortable, durable and generally lightweight as well. As an added bonus, merino wool is naturally odor resistant so you can wear these socks multiple times in between washes without having to worry about stinky feet. Trust me these socks are amazing and will last you a lifetime and help protect your feet! I also have a few pair for sneakers similar to the UNIQLO Sport Short Socks as well and these have also been great and have lasted many years.
- UNQILO SPORT SHORT SOCKS - When you are picking socks to wear with your sneakers, I strongly recommend that you get socks with a heel tab to prevent rubbing in the back. These socks from UNIQLO are lightweight, stretchy, anti-stink and quite inexpensive! All in all these are a great sock for travelling that will help you go for miles and miles.