I’m stepping up my efforts to pack my travel bag with gear to feel good, look good and do good. I’ve set a criteria for entry to my bag. I’m giving myself a gold heart for hitting any of these goals:
♥ Active Travel – helps us stay healthy and active ♥ Simple Luxury – makes us happy in a simple way ♥ Culturally Cool – considerate of local cultural expectations ♥ Eco Friendly – minimises harm to our planet, reduces waste ♥ Versatile – does more than one job ♥ Lives On – useful in daily life (doesn’t get stashed away until the next trip).
On my Sharing The French Alps trip we get to hike, cycle, kayak, workout, stretch out, and chill out every day. I’ve mastered packing activewear like a pro to get me from hiking trail to café to pilates with ease. Everything in my bag is carefully chosen, considerate of where I’m going, what I’m doing because….
‘when you love everything you have, you have everything you need’
I have a few rules…
Lightweight – Less weight makes getting through the airport a breeze, no scrounging for coins for trolleys, no working up a sweat heaving bags around. There’s a wonderful sense of freedom when travelling light.
Versatile – How many uses does it have? Can I wear it on the plane, at breakfast, to a workout, on a hike, chilling out over drinks? Does it work as a layer? No single use pieces are allowed in my bag.
Comfortable – Every piece has to be worn in, a good fit and comfortable. Travelling is not the time to discover seams that rub skin raw or new pretty sandals leave you crippled with nasty blisters.
Reliable – I’m all for wearing gear until it’s worn out, but there’s a line not to cross. For example… wondering if the sole is going to leave your shoes in the middle of a hike! Or torches with near death batteries.
I don’t pack outfits. That’s way too complicated and limiting. I have a pile of gear that works anywhere anytime, from workout to hiking to cycling to pilates and yoga. By sticking to simple colours and minimal patterns, everything goes together. The trick is layering.
For a hike in The Alps I layer up until I get warm with light weight compression knee-length leggings, a wide shoulder singlet or t-shirt and a light weight wind jacket. I throw a long sleeve t-shirt and sarong/scarf in my daypack in the event of a cool change in weather. I always advise against short gym shorts. There’s less sun exposure with leggings or hiking shorts and you’re more protected if you should trip over.
Hiking poles will become your best friends.They save a lot of leg power, help with balance and descents, especially if you have dodgy knees. Check they fit in your luggage once adjusted down. Buy the hiking socks with all the science built in. Ouch they are expensive, but your feet will love you for the investment. Thin, nasty socks can lead to pain after a few hours of hiking. A bandanna or a tubular Buff is a hard-working piece of cloth that can be worn many ways. Use it to keep your hair off your face, to catch the sweat before it runs into your eyes, or to ward off a chill breeze. The good quality ones have UV protection and the designs are seriously cool. Dipping it into a spring or river is the best way to cool down on a hot day.
The right hiking boots or shoes is a must. You need traction and support. Boots vs shoes? Depends on how much ankle support you need. Sport shoes are ok for soft surface trails, but once you’re on rocks or harder surfaces you need more cushioning underfoot or you’ll end up with bruised feet after a long hike. #BIG TIP. Wear them in before your trip!
A day pack needs to be comfortable and the right size. Once I warm up and take off layers, my day pack holds the following: windjacket, t-shirt, sarong/scarf, first aid kit, snack, camera (phone), hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and a small journal and pen because I like to write my thoughts on the day. A small dry sac works for money, credit card and phone if it should rain. It MUST have outside pockets big enough for water bottles or a built-in hydration bladder giving you easy access to hydration.
Drinking water makes us feel so refreshed that it actually improves our state of mind. Even mild dehydration can result in a significant drop-off in energy and mood, headaches and fatigue. The investment in a durable, no drips, eco-friendly, gorgeous water bottle is worth every $. Have a hydration plan for every activity. You know your body. Possibly 1500ml for a hike in hot conditions. 500ml for a quick workout. (Refill your bottle at village springs and mountain refuge huts on our hikes in The French Alps).There’s endless water bottle choices. Try the eco-friendly, non-toxic and gorgeous bottles at Biome .You may prefer a hydration bladder for you backpack if you’re a big drinker. Make sure it has no leaks before you leave home. Personally, I’ve given up on bladders as they’re a bacteria bomb when you live in the tropics. But if they work for you, here’s some good cleaning tips. Travelling with a refillable water bottle is super smart. Maintaining hydration is oh so easy and it cuts out the scourge of plastic bottles. Don’t leave home without one.
Be sun smart. Thanks to savvy, planet loving folk we can now buy an all-day Zinc Cream and a delicious Coconut Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ free of chemical nasties. Decant your sunscreen into a travel friendly GOTOOB, leave the big bottles at home. Choosing sunnies is very personal, so rather than make a recommendation I’m sharing two innovative eco-friendly brands that both get rave reviews. Dresden sunglasses is a modular frame system in a riot of colours at amazingly affordable prices. For a bigger range of hipster style choices try Proof Eyewear, the pioneers in wooden sunglasses. Hat or cap? I love a small straw hat because I can toss it on with a dress for a stroll to the market and wear it on a hike in the alps. It rolls up, taking little space. Pack a sport cap if you prefer.
For morning runs, pilates, yoga, a gentle walk or a sweaty workout I reach for the same pile of workout gear, layering and adding sportshoes as needed.
It’s really uncomplicated.
For a cruisy day out cycling on E-bikes (that’s electronic bikes that power you up the famous Alpe d’Huez mountain like a champion without the effort of the pros) I wear the same gear and pack the day pack as I do for hiking. Swap the hiking poles and boots for a bike and sportshoes and you’re good to go. # Planning on a more serious ride? Pack your full lycra kit and bike shoes. Get into Tour de France Mode.
#SIMPLE LUXURY TIP As much as I love my hiking boots for the hard work they do on the trail, I can’t wait to kick them off as soon as I get back to the van.
Slipping into sandals and dusting off my activewear, makes it oh so easy to ease from hiking trail to café for a coffee or possibly a wine.
This is Active Travel + Simple Luxury.
By the way… I want you to know I receive a commission for any purchases from my links to Biome.I’m happy to be collaborating with such a great company. Not only do they have amazing products, they’re environmentally sustainable and delve into the whole story of a product from human rights, cruelty free, zero waste, to supporting local. I love that they are so educational, helping every one of us take small steps to do less harm to our world. They really are a one stop shop so you can get some savings on shipping.
And they are sooo friendly. They have a Refer a Friend Offer – Give $5, Get $5.
* I have no affiliations with other products in this post. I’ll always let you know if I have affiliate benefits happening.