Rule number one for travelers: pack as lightly and efficiently as possible. Some of the new travel gear makes this rule easier to follow. On the top of my list is a head lamp. Worn on a band around your head with the light on your forehead, it puts light where your eyes are looking, and frees your hands. When traveling, I use mine for reading, to light a path at night, and, in areas with no electricity, to wear while getting ready for bed. It is much easier than carrying a flashlight in one hand and trying to brush your teeth with the other! It’s also great at home, for seeing into dark corners or under furniture, or shedding extra light on a needlework project in your lap! There are many different models, but I find that the LED models that use standard batteries last the longest. Halogen models are a little brighter, but bulbs need to be changed more often.
“Performance” clothing is also great for the traveler. Investing
in just a few articles of clothing, which you can wash and dry overnight,
lightens your load considerably! Look for shirts, pants, socks and even
underwear with the CoolMax® logo, or with a label showing any of
the new “wicking” fabrics. These special fabrics move sweat
or other moisture away from your body to the outer layer of the fabric,
which then dries fast. Less energy is spent keeping your body cool, and
the fabrics are very comfortable to wear. In hot climates, they are much
more comfortable than cottons and polyesters. A fleece jacket, especially
Polartec 200, keeps you nice and warm when the weather is cold. These
jackets are lightweight and layer easily. They breathe, wick away moisture,
and are water-resistant to boot!
Another clothing item that I find useful for travel is a pair of convertible
pants. These are long pants that have legs that zip off to shorts—perfect
for changing weather, or climates with warm days and cool mornings and
evenings. These pants are also lightweight, and dry quickly.
Moving on down to your feet, a good pair of low hiking boots or shoes
are a step up from running (or walking) shoes, and a step down from hiking
boots. They have the low rise, of a regular shoe, or sneaker, but they
are more heavy-duty, often waterproof with lug soles for hiking. Although
they cannot compare with a hiking boot for serious hiking, they are perfect
for city walking and light hiking.
I look for these items at my local sporting goods stores in the sections
for hiking, running or performance gear, and I find many of them on the
internet, at websites such as rei.com, sierratradingpost.com, campmor.com,
landsend.com, and llbean.com. So, take a little time to shop, and lighten