I have kicked into full blown planning mode this week. Our trip to South America looms. And I am researching climate details and sketching out lists of activities with an eye to planning my trip wardrobe. We haven't been on an adventure this extensive for years. Three and a half weeks in Argentina, and two and a half weeks in Peru. We'll be in big cities some of the time, tiny villages some of the time, and everything in between the rest of the time. We'll visit bustling Buenos Aires. See Machu Picchu and Lake Titikaka. Hike in Patagonia, surrounded by mountains and glaciers. And drive a scenic, narrow, and often unpaved section of the famous Ruta 40, in northern Salta Province. So I will need a flexible and... ah... diverse wardrobe. Ha. You think?
|Checking out my lists from previous trips, and perusing old photos to see what I actually wore.|
I've been checking out packing lists from previous trips. Like the one below from our trip to Costa Rica in 2013. As you can see, I was just as concerned about planning a first aid kit as I was about what to wear. We always carry a travel first aid kit, especially when we go camping, particularly canoe camping when we'll be in the bush far from... well... far from anything at all, actually. For our Costa Rica first aid kit, I used a great resource on the Government of Canada website.
|Planning lists for Costa Rica 2013|
|On the road between Quepos and Monteverde, Costa Rica 2013|
|Planning lists for Florida 2014, and France 2015|
|Paris near Notre Dame, May 2015|
|At the beach at Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, Provence, 2015|
Many of the trips we take regularly almost seem to pack themselves. Like our semi-annual trip to L'Anse-Saint-Jean in Quebec, or our summer camping trips. I have a check list in my head and certain items I always reach for: cycling shorts, hiking boots, jeans, one decent outfit for a dinner out. Plus old shorts and a "bug shirt" for fishing and canoeing. There is a certain ease about packing for trips you've done before.
That's exactly what Rosie, who reads this blog, told me in an e-mail recently. That her "Swiss wardrobe" as she calls it, Switzerland is a frequent destination for her family, "has evolved into an easy capsule wardrobe without any intentional planning." She says she originally based the colour scheme around the colours in her favourite hat, and now most things she packs, "ski trousers, fleece, jacket, a few tees and cashmere sweaters," are black, grey, or a shade of mauve or plum. Throw in a "pair of skinny jeans, smarter black jeans, a couple of scarves and I'm sorted," she says. I asked Rosie to send me a shot of herself in her Swiss togs. Looking good Rosie. You are clearly having an awesome hair day in this shot.
|Rosie in Switzerland in her mauve and white tee, and plum cashmere sweater.|
Our South America trip, at six weeks, is going to be longer and more complex than the trips we've taken in recent years. More along the lines of our New Zealand-Australia trips in 2003 and 2008. Both of these adventures lasted three months. Well, the second trip was cut short because of the unexpected death of my step-father, but let's not go there now. And both trips took us from hiking in the mountains of New Zealand's south island, to sweating on the beaches of northern Australia. From activities like hiking around Uluru and King's Canyon in Australia's "red centre", to walking on Fox Glacier in New Zealand. From fishing to shopping to dining out. And that wide variety of activity, not to mention weather and temperature, required a lot of wardrobe planning for me.
|Numurakah, in Victoria, Australia 2003|
|Overlooking Emerald Lakes while doing the "Tongariro Crossing" in New Zealand 2003|
So, let's recap. South America trip wardrobe planning so far. I've done my research. I've taken note of the lessons I've learned over the years on previous trips. I've made a list of activities for which I will need outfits. And the possible temperatures and weather we will encounter. I've reminded myself of previous trips and what I wore, what I packed but didn't wear, and why. I've surveyed my closet, and drawers, and made a list of possible items I might take.
Next... comes the trying on, the keeping or casting aside, and the making of an "I still need" shopping list. Then I'll draw up my final list of items to pack and possible outfits. Oooooh... such fun. I do love to plan.
I know it's anal. I can't help myself.
By the way, I hope you didn't find the title of the post misleading. I'm beginning to have second thoughts about using the term "capsule wardrobe" for a trip like this... hot weather, cool weather, active wear, urban wear. Maybe two capsules would be more accurate? Cross-over capsules? Hmmm. I'll think about that.
I also hope that you weren't expecting to see my final packing list here. That's a couple of weeks down the road yet.
Down the road... get it? Ha. Travel pun.
So how about you my friends? How do you go about planning a travel wardrobe?
P.S. I know I said that I don't find prescriptive packing lists helpful. But that doesn't mean I don't love to read blog posts about travel and packing. Like this one on Sue's blog and this one on Mater's.