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.