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How Much Clothing Do You Pack?

I hear a lot of talk about the 5-4-3 rule for packing, which often, but not always, calls for five sets of underwear and socks, four tops and three bottoms. To what extent do you adhere to that rule? What are your basic rules for how much clothing to pack? For now, I am concerned only with clothing, not with toiletries and electronics and such.

To get the ball rolling, here is what I shoot for:

  • 2-3 bottoms - includes pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, or leggings. On rare occasions, I stretch it to four.
  • 3-5 tops - includes long or short sleeve tees or tanks. The exact mix depends on where and when I am traveling. I have been known to pack as few as two tops, but that's unusual. For hot destinations, I pack more tops, but the tops are smaller (short sleeves or tanks); for cold destinations, I pack fewer tops.
  • up to 5 outer layers - Anything that I layer over a top. Includes anything to deal with weather (jackets, rain gear, cardigans, fleece, sweaters, coats, sun protection) or cultural appropriateness (dressy occasions or religious sites).
  • 3-4 socks -- always merino wool; one pair is dressy; the others are light hiking weight.
  • 5 underwear (or thereabouts)
  • 1-2 or more merino base layers.
  • 2 pairs of shoes -- never more and never less. One casual and one dressier; both suitable for substantial walking.

There are no right or wrong answers. I am just curious.

Posted by
6483 posts

Hi Marie,

Here’s what I’ve been packing for the last several trips to Europe - each 3 weeks long.

4 outfits, plus a warmer travel top, black cardigan sweater, lightweight Columbia raincoat

The 4 outfits are typically 2 washable dresses, a pair of capris, a pair of long pants and 2-3 tops.
I don’t take any socks. I wear the Keen Rose black sandal - goes for hiking, in the city, anywhere. Sometimes I also pack a dressier pair of shoes for evenings if we’re going to a special music event. Then I also wear them to dinner.
5 underwear, 3 bras
2 scarves

I wash clothes in the sink about every other night.

I know lots of people advise making sure everything matches all of the other clothes. I’m the exception. With only 4 outfits, I like some variety in color, and I’m only layering with the black cardigan or coat, so a dress doesn’t need to be in the same color family as a top, etc.

Posted by
2766 posts

7 underwear, 2 bras
1-7 socks (in summer I wear sandals so only have 1 socks for if my feet are cold in the hotel, in winter I wear socks every day),
1 swimsuit if needed,
1 jacket, weather specific. A very light rain jacket in summer, a warmer coat in winter
2 shoes
and 10-12 clothing items (pants, skirts, dresses, tops, fashion blazers/jackets/cardigans)

Breaking down the 10-12 clothing items is tough. Everything will mix and match to make multiple outfits, and also layer. I try not to think in outfits but in items that can make a variety of outfits. But I’ll know that these pants and this top look dressier and will be good for dinner, while that top is more a all-day sweaty sightseeing too.

In summer it might be 5-6 dresses, 2 pants, 2-3 tops, 1 lightweight cardigan or denim jacket. I like casual sundresses when it’s hot out. In winter it’s more like 3 pants, 6-8 tops that layer, and a blazer.

In general - significantly fewer bottoms than tops. I would wear jeans many times before washing, but a shirt only once, more if it’s a top layer or only worn for a little bit.
So logically I’d need more shirts.

Posted by
7903 posts

Let me stay out of specifics, especially on what a lady would carry. For my wife, it's still wearing predominantly dark pants and tops in coordinating colors.
But we're trying now to stay in apartments that have washing machines. That allows us to carry half as many clothes. On June's trip, we actually came home with all clean clothes.
And I still have my khaki pants and jeans heavily starched at the laundry before leaving. They shed dirt, and look good after many days' wear.

Posted by
4100 posts

3 pr pants plus the leggings I wear on the plane. Rohan jeans that dry quickly. Except for hot destinations, silk long underwear for an easily packable layer. I definitely pack more tops(short sleeved and sleeveless for hot destinations. Water-resistant Magellan Voyager II jacket with many pockets-separate rain jacket only if I'm going to the UK. LL Bean light jacket to layer under the Voyager unless it's a hot destination. I make a habit of reminding myself that unlike the Southeastern US, not every destination in Europe is perpetually hot in the summer-I have a collection of jackets and sweatshirts that I've had to buy when I've forgotten that.

Posted by
6107 posts

Counting what I wear on the plane: three pants, four tops, four underpants, two bras, three pair of socks, two pair of shoes.

Outerwear: one cardigan, one nylon windbreaker (sprayed with waterproofing), one very light cotton jacket that goes with any outfit - more like a shrug, really. But it has pockets (a plus) and adds a light layer. One hat - currently a white fedora style. Sometimes a straw hat.

If cold weather is expected: one set silk long underwear. On our most recent trip - cold and rainy - I did buy a hooded rain jacket, but I don't think I'll pack it as a regular thing. It served its purpose well, and I can use it here as a lighter winter coat, but it's too heavy and bulky to fit my "pack light" sensibilities.

Posted by
1737 posts

My plan isn't so much 'by the numbers.' No matter how long I will be gone I pack for a week, wash some things in the sink, send out or do laundry once a week and try to pack coordinating colors and things that I can mix and match to make different outfits. I love to travel with at least one skirt as it is so versatile and can be worn for several days with different tops and scarves. I lay things out on my bed and switch around until I come up with the right combination.

Posted by
2766 posts

I think a lot of this is travel-style and place specific. I see a lot of talk on this board about waterproof gear, fleece, base layers, all that. I've brought that kind of stuff to Iceland, but 90% of my travel is to southern Europe in the spring/summer/early fall. I don't do much winter travel, not a lot of rainy climates, and not a ton of hiking. So that's a whole different set of concerns than someone going to Scotland in March, or hiking the Alps. Swimsuits, water shoes (mediterranean beaches are ROCKY!), walking sandals, clothes that hold up to hot, dusty ancient ruins, and things that look nice enough for good restaurants in fashionable cities is the name of the game for me.

Posted by
1259 posts

Your list is perfect.

But if you want to compare with seasoned travelers, visit the reddit called “onebag” and then search for “packing lists”. Or just put “packing list” into google. It won’t take long to eliminate the absurdists and hardcore minimalists from the casually competent travelers.

Also try and The advice covers a huge variety of experience, budgets, competence, and conditions; take only what you like.

Posted by
2993 posts

We go with travel undies. These are lightweight, washable undies that can be washed out in the shower or sink. They dry quickly. They are more expensive than cotton undies, but a much more practical choice. I usually take 3-4 pairs.

Posted by
1221 posts

My underpants are tiny enough to take up almost no space, so since we keep trips to three weeks or less, I bring number of overnights +1. As long as there's clean underwear, I can figure out how to put off worrying about laundry and such for another day.

Posted by
5828 posts

I use a 3-2-1 plan.

3 X Base (next to skin) layer - Socks, underwear and moisture transport base layer items. Wear one, wash and drying second and third layer just in case. Base layer items do not take up a lot of volume and are light.

2 X Mid-layer covering base layers - Shirt and pants. Wear one, one clean and dry for going out and about after a day in the field.

1X Outer shell and insulation layers - Wind/rain jacket, fleece jacket, wind/rain pants.

When possible I wash/rinse base layers to start the day with clean items next to skin. Mid-layers are washed less frequently as needed. Outer layer would normally not need washing.

Posted by
3501 posts

I pack enough for 8 days or the length of the trip, whichever is shorter. How many actual items makes up 8 days of course depends on where I am going, what the weather will be like, how active I will be, and what time of year. Going somewhere warm in the summer means I will pack extra shirts. Norway in the winter means an extra set or two of long underwear. No matter, it will always fit into my carry-on which passes any airline checks for weight and size..

I never carry extra shoes. Just take up room and I have not found any reason for dressier shoes on my trips even if I am going to the Opera or something similar. I have a nice looking pair of boat shoes that handle getting wet without issue and look dressy enough.

Posted by
22987 posts

We keep it simple -- three complete changes -- wear one, pack two. Add a three extra tops. Everything cross matches so we have a ten to fifteen different looks. Time of year determines the mix of long and short sleeves and long underwear with the additional of a light sweater and fleece vest. But it actually changes very little.

Posted by
12154 posts

Including what I'm wearing: 3 bottoms and five tops plus a warming layer (two if I know it's cold weather) and a waterproof rain shell. I've traveled with 3 pairs underwear and socks but lately feel like it's worth the splurge to add another pair or two of each.

I only travel with one pair of shoes. I pack a pair that will work for lots of walking but doesn't look too bad for going out to a restaurant. My first trip to France I decided on some black leather tennis type shoes. I was amazed when I arrived in Paris that more men were wearing similar shoes than anything else. For Ireland in May, I wore a pair of black leather Rockport walking shoes primarily because I planned a boat to Skellig Michael and I thought it might grip better. The tennis shoes would have been fine. I wouldn't do suede or canvas (and avoid light colored shoes) as they can look bad when dirty and might not be easy to clean.

Posted by
6113 posts

It depends on the type and length of holiday and which season.

For an average 3 week holiday, I take c8 vest tops, 3 short sleeved t-shirts, depending on where I am going and when, possibly a couple of long sleeved t-shirts, 1-2 pairs of jeans, a pair of cropped trousers (certainly no Lycra leggings, as they are hideous things), 2+ pairs of shorts, at least one smarter dress for evenings, possibly another for casual daytime wear, a couple of smarter tops for evenings, possibly a skirt, a smarter cardigan for evenings, a pair of jogging pants for wearing in the apartment, one pair of flip flops, sandals, a pair of trainers (sneakers) and possibly a pair of dock shoes. Depending on the season, possibly a scarf, fleece, waterproof coat, thermals and possibly socks. I’m on holiday and don’t want to have the hassle of washing clothes unless I have to. My husband and I always check one bag between us.

Posted by
641 posts

Thanks, everyone, for all the great responses. It has been interesting and informative. Some of us count the number of outfits, some the number of days, and some the number items, but most of us wind up in the same general ballpark.

Mira, I especially love your idea of capping things 10-12 regular clothing items, which simplifies the process considerably. I think I will incorporate that idea into my packing in the future.

Cala, like you, I live in the hot and humid Southeast. I, however, tend to my overestimate how cold it's going to be during the shoulder seasons in which I usually travel. I will look up the historical averages at my destination. 55 degrees, or whatever, seems absolutely frigid when I am sweltering in 90+ degree Southern heat. :-)

Posted by
2560 posts

For my typical 2 week trips in May I feel comfortable with the following, includes what's worn on the plane:
2 pairs shoes--usually Ecco sneaker/oxfords and Pikolinos boots
2 pairs jeans
7 tops--at least 1 long or 3/4 sleeve, and depending on where I'm going the rest are a mix of short or sleeveless
Light outer layer like a thin sweater
Jacket to suit where I'm going
4 pair each Smartwool socks and undies, 2 bras and a nightie

When I had 2 theatre events in one trip I brought a dress, tights and heels, but going forward I just wear a dressy top and that's been fine.

Posted by
3134 posts

Including what I am wearing and with any trip 4 days or longer: 8 tops to include short sleeve, long sleeve tees, 1 blouse, and 1 dressier top; 3 slacks, 8 socks and unders, 3-4 bras, one Nontravel vest. I love hotel laundry services. I seldom bring more than one pair of shoes other than shower flip flops. 1 scarf and 1 pashmina. I don’t do foreign travel in the summer. 1 jacket, gloves and earmuffs...if winter. Whoops, forgot the pjs and lounge pants.

Posted by
996 posts

This is a good thread!

I always pack as follows (no specific numbers, although I think the 5-4-3 ratio sounds good) -

Underwear - Enough for the entire trip + the emergency pair in case I'm delayed somewhere.

Socks - I don't mind washing those since they dry quickly. I can travel with far less there.
Tops & bottoms - I always travel with extra tops as I tend to spill things. And laundry takes awhile to dry, especially in certain climates.
Shoes - I wear the heaviest pair (usually tennis shoes) on the plane. I may pack one pair of flip flops and/or ballet flats in my bag. It depends on the travel plans.
Outerwear - this is destination dependent. If I know I'm headed to a rainy place, I pack a soft, floppy hat + a lightweight rain jacket. I wear a medium weight sweater on the plane. I have an emergency pashmina. This usually takes care of me as I tend to run hot. If desperate, I have purchased an extra sweater abroad.

Posted by
9144 posts

I pack enough for 8 days or the length of the trip, whichever is shorter.

This is fascinating to me for some reason and thought-provoking.

For a trip 8 days or longer — what for you is enough for 8 days? (I mean do you pack 8 pants and 8 shirts, or something less — rewearing items — or something more — I.e. hiking during the day and a show at night?

(This is not meant with any snark. I am very curious as it seems you have hit on something here.)

Posted by
641 posts

Kim, I interpreted the "pack for 8 days" comment to mean packing the same amount whether you are traveling for eight days or eight weeks. If you are traveling for less than a week, then you would pack less. A good rule, I think.

Posted by
302 posts

I go by planned activities, domestic or international. Hiking will have specific needs, for example, but the advent of " athleisure" as a both concept and the fabric has been a game changer. (I like Athleta.) Last summer I packed for " a week" for a 3 + week trip and only washed underwear and bras overnight. My black full- length leggings with a cell phone thigh pocket worked really well for a rugged Midnight Sun hike in Finland but I also wore them in Copenhagen for city touring and museum days. So those as a "bottom" covered me, literally, for 5 days...I first make sure I am well- prepared for specific activities and then add the rest.

Posted by
3041 posts

I pack as much as my carry on size luggage will hold. I don’t mind if it weighs over 21lbs as I lift weights and I’m strong!

Posted by
5697 posts

Sadly, my actual packing is more like diveloonie's no matter what I intend -- but I know where there will be laundry facilities about every 7-10 days. And we check the rollaboards on flights.

Carry-on personal item contains two days of underwear, slip-on Sketchers for use as slippers, extra top, sweater for the flight as well as medications, earphones.

Posted by
1991 posts

I like to travel to warm places, am small and pack light. I take 4 thin skirts, 2 thin tops for each skirt. 1 capri pants, 10 thin undies, 2 bras, very light, thin waterproof jacket, tiny umbrella, light sweater, short nightgown, 1 bathing suit, thin coverup and two light pair of shoes.
I pack the same for any trip over 1 week. All rolled and in a RS rolling carryon.

It works because I am small and lucky to have found thin clothes. I have the same clothes on in travel photos every year for the past five years. It’s time to shop!

Posted by
6107 posts

Diane, it works even for those of us who aren't small! And yes, I have worn the same travel clothes for many years. My beloved favorite black pants finally fell apart last year - in Florence, on our 20 Day Best of Europe tour. As near as I can figure, they were only about 23 years old. I guess you just can't trust K-Mart quality. :-)

Posted by
1620 posts

I also carry as much as I can between my carryon case and large personal item. Personal item also carries toiletries, jewelry, makeup, medicine, electronics, "on the ground purse" and my precious itinerary folder that has all tickets, hotel res, envelopes of needed cash etc.
4 bottoms ( 1 pair long Jeans, 2-Cotton crop pants, boyfriend crop jean, maxi skirt) black Leggings on the plane.
8 tops (4 knit Tanks, 2 long sleeve knit pullovers, 2 rayon type tanks)- Long tunic on the plane.
2 Caridgan (knit lightweight)
1 Sweater (worn on the plane)
10 underwear
2 bras
2 sock (1 no show for the sneaker and 1 ankle for the bootie)
3 shoes (2 sandals, 1 bootie) Adidas pull on worn on the plane
1 scarfs (viscose only)- 1 scarf worn on plane (usually my Lululemon one because it can be used as a blanket also)
I use packing cubes and carry on only and YES this all fits and is underweight. My case expands for the trip home and is big enough to pack all my treasures I collect on the trip.

Posted by
16618 posts

I tend to want to do at least one special thing each trip so the formulas dont work. Then there is the seasonal issue. But it always involves a sports coat, nice shirt and proper trousers. Other trips have included tuxedos and the one in 3 weeks involves hip waders and boots. Bulgaria will be more cargo pants, Budapest more nicer stuff. Yet, I rarely travel with more than carryon (tuxedo trip was an exception). But I'm not an extremist some folks need more to feel good, others less. I dont wash stuff in sinks, I find a laundry service, and I will do that about every 4 days.

Posted by
404 posts

For a 10-14 day trip Spring-Fall my standard:

1 rain jacket (usually a 2.5L or, 3L shell)(leave behind for Summer and early Fall trips)
1 soft-shell, sport coat (Bluffworks), vest, or, windbreaker (usually a combination of 2)
2 shoes (pack one either Salomon XA Pro and leather boot or, Clark chukka)
1 slipper/flip-flops for hotel/rental (disposable hotel slippers are great)
2 pants (dark denim and chino)(1 packed, 1 wearing)
2 shorts (1 nice hike shorts, 1 athletic for gym & lounging)
4-5 combination of button down/polo style shirts (2ea of L/S and S/S)
3 t-shirts
4 socks (Merino wool, usually Darn Tough or, SmartWool)(wash every third day)
3-4 underwear (ExOfficio Sport Mesh)(wash every other day or, beginning of 3-day stay)
all packed in Eagle Creek Specter Pack-It Garment Folder and two cubes
smaller pouches for toiletry kit, electronics, xtra meds (traveling w/seniors or, kids), sewing/tool kit.

That's the base, I'll alter or, scale off of that depending on duration, location and if we know what specific events to plan ahead; winter of course add a few mid-layers, appropriate footwear and such. We include a few splurge meals so, the sport/travel jkt or just a dress shirt and chino paired with the leather footwear works for the majority of locations. If you look put-together, you'll be fine.

Posted by
1451 posts

I am about to go on my third international trip that is between 2 and 3 weeks and carry on only. (My first trip I took a 50 inch suitcase). My plan is to take less stuff each trip until I miss something or am uncomfortable. This trip I am flying on Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. They both limit the carry on bag to 8 kg and Pegasus limits the size of the personal item to 35 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm.
I am taking 3 pants, 5 tops, 4 undies/socks, 2 night shirts, one lounge pant, Eddie Bauer rain jacket with hood, phone is only electronic, limited toiletries, microfiber towel. I wear ankle high Teva de la vina lace up boots. Once this is packed I will see if my second pair of shoes will make the cut.

Posted by
6483 posts

I just finished packing today for a trip beginning Monday. I highly recommend using a packing list you personally create because it’s amazing how many items each year suddenly want to come along for the ride!! ; )

Posted by
713 posts

I highly recommend using a packing list you personally create because
it’s amazing how many items each year suddenly want to come along for
the ride!! ; )

Good point!

For clothing I usually sit down with a list and draft up outfits for each day using the items I think I'll take, which helps finalize the list.

But when it comes to the crunch? As I just disclosed over on the "fun/luxury/indulgence" discussion, I pack whatever amount of clothing will fit in after I've got my electronics packed. I pack clothing that's appropriate for the expected weather conditions, and I don't fret about running out of clean duds. Undies can be washed in the hotel bathroom, and there are laundry services and launderettes for everything else.

For shoes I wear the biggest pair en route. I like to bring flip-flops for hotel room wear, and if possible an alternate pair of everyday walking shoes. If the latter's not possible I pack an extra pair of insoles for swapping out if the shoes get damp, etc.

Posted by
6107 posts

I just finished packing today for a trip beginning Monday. I highly recommend using a packing list you personally create because it’s amazing how many items each year suddenly want to come along for the ride!! ; )

That's an advantage of taking the same clothes every trip! I just say, where's that striped shirt, where are my linen pants...

I do make some minor modifications for weather, but very few.

Posted by
5828 posts

The need for multiple tops and for mix and match different looks is interesting. The opposite approach would be the school uniform look where every combination looked alike with the only test being the smell test. The school uniform allows for a minimalist clothing approach.

Summer - 2 tops + 2 bottoms. Wear one with other in reserve or drying after a wash.

Spring, Fall - 2 short sleeves tops + 1 long sleeve top + 2 bottoms. Or go bold and do only 1 short + 1 long sleeve top. If you long sleeve is still drying wear your fleece with the short sleeve shirt.

Winter - 2 long sleeve tops + 2 bottoms. Alternative for mild temperature countries is 1 long + 1 short sleeve top. Alternative for very mild winter environments (e.g. Hawaii), same as summer.

Posted by
641 posts

Suz, I just read your post over on the "Travel Indulgence" thread.

I pack whatever amount of clothing will fit in after I've got my
electronics packed

I hear you. That's about how it works for me, too. I figure that in a pinch I can buy my way out of any clothing deficit.

Posted by
13253 posts

"I just finished packing today for a trip beginning Monday. I highly recommend using a packing list you personally create because it’s amazing how many items each year suddenly want to come along for the ride!! ; )"

Jean! This made me laugh. I just got back from Yellowstone where I go at least once a year, sometimes twice. I have a master list for my Yellowstone travels. The first morning I was dressing to head out just before 6A to catch some geysers and dang....forgot to pack long pants! Whaat? How could I forget a pair of jeans? I managed with capris in the 40 degree temps because I had remembered to bring some long sleeves and a puffy vest. The next morning I sat at the geyser in question with the blanket I always keep in the car wrapped around my legs.

As to packing for Europe - I go for 3 bottoms. A forum member did a trip report a couple of years ago and revealed a zipper broke on one of her 2 pr of pants early on in the trip so she only had one. I'm risk averse so I decided then that 3 was my minimum!

I take 3 pr unders. I could probably get by with 2 but that means you HAVE to do wash every night. I do manage with 2 bras and 1 set of nightwear.

I have settled on 4 SS tees. If I am in a transitional season I'll pack one long-sleeved Tee. A couple of years ago I left out the long sleeve tee at the last minute to save weight and it was 32F when I landed in Paris and I froze for a few days so...lesson learned.

I always bring a waterproof jacket. From the first RS tour I took where we got drenched in Florence in May, the waterproof has gone in every time. If it's early or late season I'll add the 32 degree puffy vest plus a long-sleeve Dri-Fit quarter zip. Last spring I just used this and left out my usual cardigan. It worked fine. I also throw in my Smartwool glove liners.

I also make sure all my tops go with all my pants go with my cardie/dri-fit. Three pants X 4 tops = 12 basic outfits. The drifit or cardie adds another 12.

Posted by
1259 posts

Male observations: all but one of my tops are long sleeved. I can always pull or roll up the sleeves. The quintess Nita last sunshirt (or fishing shirt) has those neato tabs on the sleeves to hold them rolled up.

Posted by
17 posts

...5-4-3...for a male traveler. I have been traveling in Europe in June, July and August during the last few years. I try and travel as a minimalist, carrying only a small day pack and a 21" carry-on. My stylish daughter packed for a 5.5 month study abroad (three seasons) in Rome with essentially the same set up. She left a few sweaters & jeans there because she got sick of wearing them and needed to bring some acquisitions home.

Carry-on- (Day pack, Carry-on)
1. 5 exofficio underwear/sock sets. I tend to wear Smart Wool footies.
2. 4-7 quick dry tops. 2 Dry Tec polos, 2 Merino t-shirts/base layers, 3 Columbia Taimiami quick-dry button-up shirts (somewhat dressy). A long sleeve fleece that I wear on the plane.
3. 3 bottoms. I pair of Rail Riders travel pants/trousers for the flights. 1-2 pair of khaki quick-dry shorts and sometimes, one additional pair of trousers.
4. Two pair of shoes. I wear my heavy hikers. I pack some light weights Nike trainers.
5. Clothes line, soap packs, Scrubba wash bag.
Day Pack- (One set of clothes, two underwear, sleep shorts/swimsuit)
6. Rain jacket. Whether its going to rain or not. My jacket has 7-8 pockets and I load it up (phone, umbrella, camera, buff, money clip, etc).
In my day pack I carry my journal, pens, dop kit, phone/tech charger, adapters/cords,

A fantastic thread. Happy travels!

Posted by
16 posts

My packing is on the minimalist side, because I must carry-on my instrument. That means I must fit everything into my carry-on bag. Lost luggage is a problem on business trips, so I don't usually check a bag when I leave home. I might check a bag on the return.

Here's my outfit strategy:
Wear one, pack one, buy one!
Yes, I actually plan to buy an outfit at my destination. This is usually planned in advance and fills a need in my wardrobe. If I'm not planning to buy an outfit, then I might "wear one, pack two."

Tops are merino wool. Bottoms are skirts worn with tights.

3 pair merino socks
3 or 4 quick dry underwear
2 bras

1 or 2 real Pashmina scarves
1 merino or cashmere sweater
1 set silk base layer (long underwear), doubles as pajamas

flip flops for the shower and as slippers in the room
hiking boots for everyday
Tieks for when I need to dress up

water-proof rain jacket and rain hat
merino buff scarf
merino reversible hat
fleece or LL Bean waterproof down jacket
merino gloves (in winter)

Sea to Summit Pocket Laundry Wash (soap leaves)
travel towel, to roll laundry before hanging to dry
Ziplock bag

This strategy works because the merino tops can be worn multiple times before washing. With the travel towel, everything has always been dry overnight.

I'm always looking for better ways to pack for travel, so I enjoy this type of discussion. Thank you everyone, for sharing your ideas and lists! elisa

Posted by
1259 posts

The less stuff I take, the less i need to keep track of. These days, For me, the junk I haul around has to be 100% useful and used. Minimum electronics. Decades of backpacking and bicycle touring honed my wardrobe to the bare essentials: three days with some spares, skin layer, insulation layer, rain layer, minimum toiletries, no toys. It all fits in a lot less than 40 liters, one reasonably sized carryon bag, Easy. These day, I loves me some easy.

Posted by
1006 posts

We go once a year to Europe and are gone 3-4 weeks at a time. This past May , we were gone about 23 days. One rolling RS suitcase or convertible backpack and one smaller backpack.

I packed for 5 days of clothes (mixture of leggings, dress, jeans, cargo type pants, capris - dry fit type shirts, 10-12 unders(taking old ones to toss thru out the trip, also hand wash in sink), two bras, slept in shorts and t-shirt( sometimes I discard those at end of the trip), rain/windbreakers, light jacket, scarf, safari type hat. Gloves/warm hat if cold weather. Generally take two pair of shoes but last trip I only took 1 pair and had no issues. All clothes can generally mix and match.

Posted by
4088 posts

No matter how long the trip, or where I go or when I go there, I pack for a week and do laundry along the way. With a few adjustments for rain or cold weather, my list is very similar to those already posted and almost everything on it goes with almost everything else.

For me that means, from the inside out:

• 2 bras
• 2 shapewear camisoles
• 6-8 panties
• 2 pair Sockwell Circulator socks
• 1 pair cropped pj pants
• long underwear pants and top as needed for destination

• 3 pair pants
• 2 sleeveless tees, never worn alone, also used as sleep tops
• 2 longsleeve tees, worn alone or with a shirt
• 4 longsleeve shirts, worn alone or with a tee
• 1 scarf that goes with almost everything

• 1-2 pair shoes (1 lace-up, water resistant pair of booties high enough to support ankles and maybe 1 pair flats or sandals to change into)
• 1 pair non-slip shower shoes

• 1 rain jacket suitable for the location
• 1 warm Primaloft jacket as needed
• 1 fleece hat and 1 pair fleece gloves as needed

Wearing one combination of things and the booties and using Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cubes, I'm able to fit all this into my 36L, 4 lb 8 oz, Eagle Creek International 20 (20.25" x 14" x 8") roller bag.

Posted by
176 posts

On our most recent trip to Italy I rewrote my packing list about 4 times before I settled on the following. Unless otherwise noted everything was black. My criteria was that everything (except the skirt) could be hand washed and since we do carry on only my roller had to come in under 8kg for SAS airlines.

4 pair ex-officio underwear
2 bras (1 beige, 1 black strapless)
1 pair Spanx
2 pair socks, 1 multi-colored, 1 grey (Darn Tough are washable and dry fast)
1 pair tights

1 pair capris (Columbia)
1 pair ankle pants
1 knit skirt
2 dresses ( one was Athleta Santorini (blue), the other was for a black tie event) Not something I normally pack but it was lightweight.

2 short sleeve shirts (one burgundy, one stripped)
1 lightweight tunic length t-shirt
1 tank top (lavender)
1 long sleeve cotton blouse (cream)

1 light weight cotton slip for sleeping (tan)
1 bathing suit

2 pair of earrings, 3 necklaces
1 cotton bandana (blue)

keen sandals (tan)
sneakers (these were washable too)
dressy sandals for black tie event

1 light weight cardigan
1 waterproof rain jacket with hood (blue)
1 patterned pashmina scarf that goes with everything
1 baseball cap

3 packing cubes (3 for 10.00 at TJ Maxx)
1 plastic laundry bag
Forever New wash powder in 1 ounce container
toiletries, first aid kit, sewing kit, cosmetics
phone and charging cable
fold away day pack

Next time I am bringing jeans. That was the only thing I missed not having on this trip.

Posted by
5697 posts

How much clothing do I pack ? TOO MUCH ! Every time !!

Note that I do NOT travel in summer. This is for 3-6 weeks.
( expansion of my posting above)
•Two pair of shoes plus slip-on Sketchers as hotel slippers.
•Sleeveless tops plus t-shirts plus warmer tops (I am very sensitive to heat changes) -- about 6-8 total
•Three bottoms
•Packable down jacket (plus parka, knit hat, gloves, muffler, sweaters in winter)
•Brimmed hat (and sunglasses)
•Underwear, wool socks, thermal leggings for winter
And yes, I check a 22" bag in addition to carrying on a Euro tote.

Posted by
4100 posts

5(3 bras, 3 socks)-5-5 I don't take pajamas but use a long sleeve t-shirt and leggings(included in the 5-4) that I could also wear outside the hotel if needed.

Posted by
69 posts

If we are talking about temperate non-beach climates that will mostly be cities and countryside, but not heavy-duty hiking:

2 pairs of slacks, sometimes three.
5 shirts
1 sportcoat
1 tie (which I rarely end up using, but it's light and compact)
1 light rain jacket that packs down really small
1 thin merino sweater
5 boxer shorts
5 undershirts
5 pair socks (lightweight merino wool)
2 cotton handkerchiefs
I pair of shoes that can pass for dress shoes but are comfortable walking shoes with a good tread.

In winter I add my wool car coat, leather gloves, a scarf (amazing how much warmth it adds), fleece hat, and one set of silk long underwear.