If a traveler is planning to travel in winter, to climb a high mountain or to go to an arctic region he knows what to expect and simply has to bring proper equipment. But if you can’t be sure about what weather to expect, luggages tend to get exceedingly heavy as you need to provide for hot and dry or humid weather as well as for cold and rainy days or even snow. This is especially relevant in springtime or autumn or in destinations with different climes or changeable weather. In regions with high differences in altitude one can get beautiful and sunny weather at sea-level while there is snow up in the mountains. Some countries like Argentina or Chile have very different climes from tropical weather in the north to arctic regions in the very south.
But how can you prepare for cold weather without jamming your luggage? Again the secret lies in the principle of modularity. Instead of bringing tons of clothing you need to combine. Here you’ll find some useful pieces of advice:
1. Bring a scarf or shawl and a cap! Your neck and head are particularly exposed to the cold and wind so you need to protect them. A scarf and cap don’t weight a lot but can a add a lot of comfort. This holds also true when you are using a sleeping bag. Your body is well protected but your head needs to stick out. If you put a scarf and cap when sleeping, your sleeping bag doesn’t need to be so very heavy.
2. Combine a water repellent windbreaker with several layers of “underwear”! A water repellent wind breaker will protect you from wind and moderate rain. In combination with warm layers of underwear it can replace a warm but heavy coat. In the meantime you can find very good windbreakers on the market which are very small and light and fit easily in every daypack.
3. Bring a down vest or fleece jacket! A down vest is very light and can be packed very tightly. It can be worn under a wind breaker or over a suit and adds a lot of comfort for only a few additional grams of luggage. A fleece jacket is also working very well and is much cheaper but can’t be compressed so very tightly. On the other hand fleece isn’t sensitive to rain and moisture.
4. Use warmers! Our grandfather still knew the value of good warmers. Sure there might be more sexy underwear but you don’t need to show it
5. Use clothes in your sleeping bag when necessary! There are some sleeping bags on the market which can be used as a coat at the same time. I think it is working much better the other way round. If you wear some clothes (which of course need to be dry) while sleeping, your sleeping bag can be much lighter without loss of comfort. In this way you can also use the same sleeping bag when it’s much warmer without sweating.