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Hey, Janis and other light packers -- need help!

Hey, Janis and other light packers -- need help!

Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:50 PM
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Hey, Janis and other light packers -- need help!

I need to pack all my clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc. in a 22" roll-a-board for a 30-day trip to Europe next September. Will spend 2 weeks in Switzerland -- cities and mountains -- one week in France and one week in Germany. My packing list so far includes one pair of lined wool slacks, 2 pair microfiber slacks (drip-dry in the hotel sink), 2 pair jeans for hiking, one pair waterproof low-top hiking shoes, cashmere v-neck pullover, 2 silk turtlenecks, poly-suede vest, 2 poly long sleeved blouses, silk longjohns, 1 pair waterproof rain pants, waterproof jacket, cardigan sweater, 2 nylon gowns, 1 robe, flipflops for houseshoes, underwear. I'll probably wear a pair of twill slacks, a leather jacket, and a pair of comfortable shoes that I can walk in but will look ok to go to dinner. I think I can get my cosmetics and hair products into a small leakproof cube and I will take a curling iron. Assuming all this will fit (I haven't actually tried to pack yet), is the wardrobe adequate? We won't be going to elegant restaurants but want to look civilized in cities. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 08:53 PM
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I'm not Janis, but I'll take a stab at this You might have trouble fitting everything on your list in the 22" suitcase. Definitely do a dry run with your suitcase well in advance of the trip. Rolling the clothes will help.

You have 6 pairs of slacks; seven if you count the waterproof ones. This is the first place I'd cut back. You won't need more than 1 "nice" outfit, and I'd have a maximum of 3 other pairs of slacks. If you're not going to wear the jeans in the cities, I'd cut them out. They will take a lot of room in the suitcase.

Experts would tell you that jeans aren't really recommended for hiking because, being cotton, they are much more conducive to hypothermia if you get them wet. They are heavy and don't dry quickly or insulate when wet. I know that you are bringing waterproof rain pants, but I wouldn't want to hike in waterproof pants over jeans. Most hiking clothes are synthetic now. I think I would try to find some pants solution that you can wear on the trail as well as walking around cities. Or bring some synthetic hiking tights to wear under the waterproof rain pants.

I'd also suggest a fleece jacket or a microfleece shirt for hiking, to wear under your waterproof jacket, as you will need a warmth layer. A solid dark colored fleece can be an attractive jacket or sweater alternative for your days in the cities as well. (Never underestimate the power of a beautiful scarf - a lot of style for small amount of space.) I often use my fleece as a robe.

I might also consider one or two microfiber crew neck long sleeve tops. These can be work by themselves, under a fleece for hiking, under the turtlenecks or blouses, or directly under the cardigan or the cashmere (with or without the silk layer).
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:35 AM
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Hi

I agree w/ most of what noe87 says. I think your list is too "bottom heavy" and not enough tops.

The flexibility comes w/ having several tops that mix/match with a few bottoms. No need for that many pair of slacks.

Lined wool slacks - OK, good to have one nice basic that all of your tops will go w/

2 pair of jeans - probably 1 too many. I often don't take jeans at all. Not for any fashion statement but because they are heavy, take days to dry, and aren't all that warm. But if you "live" in jeans - take one pair. Otherwise take a pair of casual slacks instead.

2 pair microfiber slacks - again probably one too many.

You could manage w/ three pair of slacks total - but really you don't have to cut back that much. Pack the three (wool/jeans/microfiber) and wear another pair on the plane. 4 pair is very generous. I'd probably wear jeans on the flight and pack the waterproof in the suitcase - still only 4 pair total.

2 nightgowns - not necessary. Take 1 - they dry fast so you can rinse it out in the a.m. if by chance it isn't dry you can always sleep in the silk long underwear or a tee shirt.

3 "bottoms" combined with 6 to 8 tops plus your jacket will make more than 30 different outfits. Just make sure everything coordinates so you can wear any pants w/ any/all of the tops. I'd probably also include an additional jacket besides (or instead of) the leather. Unless it is lined, most leather isn't all that warm. A wool blend jacket - sort of blazer-ish - will be OK w/ jeans, for dressy, for casual - and warm.

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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:45 AM
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just a small comment that France and Germany won't (usually) be very cold in September, so your 'warm wear' will be mostly applicable for Switzerland/highlands.

We traveled thru the Rhine area during an October timeframe, and went to Paris last September. Needed s/s shirt both times on a couple days, and l/s shirt the rest of the time, with a light jacket necessary only in the evening or early morning.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 07:29 AM
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Hi there,
I also echo the other comments re the jeans. I haven't taken or worn jeans on my last three trips, I find they aren't versatile with regard to dressing up or down like regular slacks are, and they are heavy, take up a huge amount of space, and lastly I am one of those people who won't wear jeans more than once because they stretch out and look sloppy after one wearing (IMHO). Taking many tops and neutral bottoms is definitely the way to go, and I also take at least one cardigan for layering. I also use packing cubes for organization and it really allows you to get more clothes in as it scrunches down the stacks without wrinkling the clothes. I can get more clothes and items in using cubes than I can with the rolling method, personally, but some people swear by it. My husband used to roll until he saw the cube method and now I have converted him.

The other items I would cut are the one of the nightgowns, and the robe. Unless you are staying in hostels or in someone's home and will have no privacy, that is just extra stuff to take up space that you can get by without.

I would throw in a tiny umbrella if you haven't thought of that already.

The other thing I pack is a silk pillow slip. Sometimes hotels use so much bleach on their sheets that it makes the pillow cases feel like sandpaper and I can't stand the feel on my skin, so I have a silk pillow case that is easy to wash/dry and feels soft against my face if I am faced with that rough pillow issue.

One last comment: if you can substitute a cotton sweater instead of the cashmere, your laundering options will be easier and the cashmere needs blocking when you wash it. On a trip I wouldn't mess with that, but that is just me. Cotton or even ramie or another fabric is more forgiving, less stain proned, and much easier to wash and dry. Again, in my humble...

Through my many trips I have also cut back to basically two pair of shoes, one I wear which is usually my Timberland hiking boots, and one pair of dark leather for regular occasions and dressing up. Shoes are heavy and take up too much room to take too many pairs, for me anyway.

Have a grand adventure and we all look forward to hearing about it when you return!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 07:43 AM
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I agree with the posters above. I have done 2+ week trips to Italy and Germany with taking just 4 bottoms and probably about 7-8 tops and being able to fit all my belongs in a 22". (and I might add, looking quite fashionable to boot)

One thing I would check is the voltage on your curling iron and make sure that it will be combatible with European voltage. I have had several curling irons explode on me and my friend also had her bangs fried off in France. She came back from her honeymoon with really bad hair. It may not be worth the space in your luggage.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 10:20 AM
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My first suggestion is right now go put it all in the suitcase and see how close you are. My bet is it doesn't fit.

Secondly, I echo all above, too many pants (7 if I'm counting correctly) and not enough tops. You can wear the same pants for a week without washing, not true of tops. Also I don't know why you'd need 2 nightgowns and a robe.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 10:28 AM
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I am a light packer, but would 2 pairs of shoes be enough? Maybe I'm missing something, but you'll have 1 pair on, 1 waterproof for hiking in the luggage.

For me, feet are the most important body part to take care of while on a trip. I would add one more pair of broken into, comfortable shoes.

Who cares how many tops and bottoms you have if your blisters won't allow you to enjoy them?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 10:45 AM
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OOps, I missed that. 3 pairs of footwear is my personal minimum, for exactly the reasons Faina mentions above (that's the bulkiest one on my feet on the plane and 2 in the suitcase). Especially traveling when it sounds like you could get into some weather (all that mention of waterproof stuff).
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Maybe instead of flip-flops you can pack comfortable sandals or loafers to wear during the day which can double as houseshoes? So you'll have 3 pairs total after all.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 11:42 AM
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The same pair of pants for a week without washing them???

Couldn't do it.

Can manage with only 2 pair of shoes.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 11:57 AM
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OK, so that was a slight exaggeration for effect and humor but I sure don't need 7 pair, I don't care how long the trip is. Plus she's planning to wash at least two of them in the hotel sink along the way.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 12:08 PM
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If you will be hiking in Switzerland, don't take jeans. Nylon hiking pants (you can get simple ones that are not cargo pants or zip-offs) are much more compact to pack and more suitable for hiking. You only need one pair. With rain pants over, you will be warm enough down to 40 degrees or so. You need a capilene or polypro long-sleeve shirt for hiking---it will dry overnight after washing. Layer with a cardigan (microfleece?) and waterproof/windproof jacket. Consider taking lightweight fleece gloves.

We generally go for two weeks for everything from serious hiking to city walks and fine dining. It is quite possible to fit it all into a 22" roller bag (I wear my bulkiest shoes and clothing on the plane).

Have fun--sounds like a great trip!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 12:23 PM
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I agree with what everyone has said about getting rid of the jeans and cutting down on the number of pairs of trousers.

Here are a couple of other suggestions.

1) Colour. Pick a combo and stick to it. I like heathery colours because they don't show the dirt as much. Avoid white.

2) A fleece zip jacket in a neutral colour, not too sporty, is a great layering piece that won't look out of place in towns but will get you through a hike.

3) Pack some old undies - you can toss them out if necessary.

4) Replace some of your long-sleeved tops with short-sleeved or sleeveless ones, combined with maybe another cardigan. It could be hotter than you think. You can always add a layer.

5) Pashmina scarf for warmth, use as a lightweight throw and to dress up your clothes (or cover stains). Great for the plane, packs down to nothing.

6) A lightweight pair of micro-fleece gloves. If you think it might be cool, it's always a good idea to keep extremities toasty.

7) You've forgotten to account for outdoor trekking personal stuff (sunscreen, bug spray, some first aid stuff, etc). It's going to add weight and it takes up a lot more space than you think. And don't forget Compeed blister bandaids.

8) Photocopy the relevant bits of guidebooks, so that you can throw out the pages along the way instead of schlepping the book around.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 01:05 PM
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You're travelling in September which is still summer for the most part. I'd leave the lined wool slacks at home. If you are cold, you have your silk long-johns to layer. Unless your jeans are made of tencel material, they are too heavy to tote. One pair would be enough anyhow. I would add a sweater set to the tops. If you are planning to hike, even in the rain, then the rainpants are good. I'd substitue a black polartec jacket for the cardigan (assuming that black is your anchor color). One modest nightgown that you can wear down the hall to the bathroom if necessary would be sufficient. Flipflops are good for both houseshoes and shower shoes if you are staying in hostels.

I don't think the leather jacket will be very useful. A wool blazer is more practical but even that is not necessary. For dress, black slacks and a black turtleneck with a scarf or interesting piece of inexpensive jewelry and you are good to go.

What about a camera, medications, toothbrush, picnic kit? You need a little room for souvenirs.

The Swiss, Germans, and French all do laundry and the laundramat is a great place to meet some of them. Rotate your wardrobe, air out your sweaters and do a little hand laundry each night.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 01:26 PM
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I usually carry my guidebooks and camera in my carry on bag (along with snacks, water bottle, change of clothing). I wear the bulkiest shoes and clothing pieces. A few fewer things to have to fit in the 22" suitcase! I also fold a nylon duffle bag into the outer pocket of the rolling suitcase for souvenirs and clothing aquired on the trip. Check both bags for the return.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 04:04 PM
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Thanks, thanks, thanks! I never dreamed I'd get this much response and such wonderful tips. I'm really nervous about cutting back on the slacks, but you've done it, so I guess I can too. About the hiking slacks, I have a pair of nylon travel slacks but wonder if they're heavy enough even with longjohns under or waterproofs over. Glad to be reminded to take a short sleeved top and somewhere I might can unearth an old black fleece jacket. I'm not familiar with capilene or polypro shirts but will look into it. I think a sweater set is another great idea. It will take me a while to digest all of this. Thanks again. Fodorites are just great!!!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 04:27 PM
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You're welcome
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:08 PM
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For capilene--try REI.com or Patagonia.com for Patagonia brand "silkweight" capilene. The fabric is tightly knit, smooth and silky, and very warm as a base layer for hiking. It packs down to about the size of a pair of panties (briefs, not thong!), washes in the sink and dries in hours (faster than real silk knits). The fabric and neckline are "dressy" enough that you can also wear it under a cardigan or v-neck for dinner, etc. I usually take one long-sleeve and one short-sleeve in different colors so I have one to wear hiking by day and one to wear to dinner.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:18 PM
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I agree with cutting down the bottoms, but disagree about the jeans. I read advice on not packing jeans for my trip, and TRIED to do it, but at the last minute decided to wear black jeans with a bit of stretch in them on the plane. I like them because there are pockets for ID, a bit of cash, debit card (just in case) and chapstick.

Fast forward - other pants in my suitcase went unworn, but not those jeans. They became my uniform - easy to dress up or down, comfortable, and plenty of pockets for $, map, etc.

I'd want a pair of jeans for a month long trip. I could easily do without several of the other pair of pants.

My two cents.
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