Tips on How to Pack Light

Tips on packing light for travelling from Dave Parker of Orvis Travel.
Dave Parker of Orvis Travel gives tips for packing light.

Here at Orvis, we put our travel clothing and luggage to the real-life test every day. Our Orvis Travel staff and product developers log thousands of miles a year to bring you the very best, most authentic travel experiences and gear.

With new airline regulations and fees, it’s more important than ever to pack wisely. We asked our own Dave Parker -- Managing Director of our in-house travel agency – for tips on how to pack to ensure you get the most out of your travels:

  1. Cotton/synthetic-blend fabrics are easy to wash and dry on the road.  If laundry service is a given, our pure cotton wrinkle-free shirts are a great choice for travel too. If you pack enough shirts for three days, you have enough for a week.  Also, plan to buy a shirt or two at your destination. It's one way to take home a practical souvenir.
  2. Choose a bag made of ballistic nylon cloth. They are strong, yet light in weight. If you start with a heavy bag, it's all downhill from there.
  3. Think about color schemes when you pack. Make sure everything you bring is in the same palette, so it all matches.
  4. Think layers. Instead of a single heavy jacket, for example, take light layers that can be added and subtracted according to the weather. For cool climes, take a breathable layer of Thermaclime fabric, then a synthetic/cotton-blend shirt, a fleece vest, and then an outer layer shell to stop rain and wind.  For cold climates, use a warmer base layer and a thicker fleece with long sleeves.
  5. Ship ahead. It sounds extravagant, but if you're going to a single place where you need a lot of gear (e.g., waders, fly rods, skis, etc.), it’s wise to ship it. The parcel services all have good tracking systems, and you'll know where your bag is ahead of time. (I'm doing this for an Alaska trip in August. Who wants to carry waders?)
  6. Think ounces. Take the smallest container/amount of toiletries possible, especially if you can replenish at your destination. There’s no need to take 16 oz. of shampoo for a one-week trip. Get a couple of small, refillable plastic bottles, and fill them at home before you go.
  7. Stay organized. Use nylon bags or large, clear freezer bags to compartmentalize. Put all the socks in one bag, etc. Knowing what you have helps you avoid over-packing.
  8. Download a book to your mp3 player.
  9. Unless you're a professional photographer, take the smallest digital camera you can. The picture quality will still be excellent.
  10. Wear your biggest/heaviest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones.
  11. Don't forget to ask about rental gear before you pack. Some fishing lodges have everything you need, especially if they're Orvis-endorsed.

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