Finally, finally… I’ve finished planning what to pack for our South America trip. I think. At least I’m pretty sure that I’m finished. As I said in my last post, this will be a complex trip. Six weeks on the road. Several different modes of transport: planes, trains, buses, and automobiles. Lots of activities, a few tours, some hiking, and walking, walking, walking. Two countries, three different climates. And according to my way of thinking, outfits suitable for three seasons.
|Research is done, bookings are done… now for the packing
Let me explain that last remark. Hubby researched the climate and average temperatures for all of our destinations. But I just can’t wrap my head around how cool or hot 17°C actually is. And it’s especially hard when it’s winter here, and anything above freezing seems warm. I learned this lesson when we travelled to Australia in 2003. Because I was packing in -20°C typical ‘Ottawa in January’ weather, the idea of +15° in Australia seemed heavenly, balmy, sandal weather even. Ha. After two days of cool, rainy 15° in Sydney, I finally gave up on the sandals, and wore my hiking boots out for dinner because I was sick to death of having cold feet.
So for this trip, I tried comparing the average temperatures of our destinations with seasonal averages here. And came to the conclusion that it will be “summer” in Buenos Aires, with temperatures comparable to our July and August, “spring” in Patagonia, where it will feel like early May, and “fall” in Peru, where the highs and lows read like our October temperatures. Ok-ay. Now, that I can understand. Outfit wise I mean. When I added up the days and nights over the course of the trip, it turns out that roughly 1/3 of our time I will need summer duds, 1/3 of the time I’ll be dressing for spring, and 1/3 of the time I’ll need fall-ish outfits. And luckily there shouldn’t be much of a difference between spring and fall, save for an added layer or two. Easy peasy. Ha. I say that now… but last week… Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll explain that later. For now, back to the planning.
|My planning… a work in progress
Here’s what I’ve decided to pack. The tops you can see laid out on our spare room bed, below. On the left, summer. Three tank tops, two nice ones (one black and one grey striped), and my old yellow tank for active wear. One gingham sleeveless blouse. My blue Tory Burch tunic for wearing out to dinner. My cool weather items are in the middle: a blue fleece, and two light T-necks (one pink and one black.) Plus, two short-sleeved tee shirts (one black and one white), good for layering. And on the right. A striped cotton sweater, and three long-sleeved tee shirts. Black/white striped, black, and periwinkle blue/white striped. All the long-sleeved tee shirts look good with either jeans or leggings. And can be layered under the blue fleece, or my fleece vest which I will be wearing on the plane. I’ll also pack two pairs of jeans and one pair of black pants (my Aritzia crepe joggers.) Plus a pair of cotton, cargo pants for hiking. My black leggings I’ll wear on the plane. I’ll pack a pair of sandals, my Stan Smith Adidas, and wear my hiking boots to travel. Add to that my Hot Chillys long underwear, my Gortex jacket, rain pants, a toque and gloves, and a sun hat, and two scarves.
|The tops that made the final cut.
So with the list finished. I began to check outfit combinations today. This is what I will wear hiking. A layering tee shirt, or one of my turtlenecks depending on the temperatures. A fleece for warmth. My Gortex jacket. These old black cargo pants and, if needed, my ski underwear bottoms. And my new Salomon hiking boots, bought in November. Well, I call them boots, but they’re “hiking shoes”, apparently. Recommended by Carol in a comment on a post last fall. Thanks, Carol. I’ve test driven them a few times and they are very comfortable, and so much lighter than my old boots. They feel like running shoes. I’ll have my toque and a light pair of gloves stuffed into my pockets. And my rain pants in the back pack… which Hubby will carry… I should add. Ha. Like you ever doubted that.
For those days when we’re not hiking, but may be driving, catching buses, taking boat rides, or just walking about town, I’ll need comfy outfits that will take me through spring and fall-ish weather. Outfits like this one: jeans, my new periwinkle blue and white striped long-sleeved tee
from Massimo Dutti (bought last week), my blue fleece, and my Stan Smith sneakers. Or this one: jeans, striped sweater
(also from Massimo Dutti), my fleece vest, and my hiking boots.
And for warmer temperatures, maybe this combination: jeans, sandals, and a light long-sleeved tee
, again from Massimo Dutti. This black tee is much nicer that it looks here. It’s really light and most importantly… not of the clingy, mid-riff adhering variety. I plan to wear jeans and one of my tee shirts most days. With or without a jacket. With sandals or my Stan Smith sneakers.
For hot weather evenings, in Buenos Aires or Lima, I’ll wear my Vince leggings and my black Aritzia tank, or my crepe joggers and my grey striped tank. I can always use a light scarf as a wrap if I feel chilly, or bring a light jacket. I’ll also pack my blue Tory Burch tunic to wear with either the leggings or joggers. Obviously nothing I’m bringing is very dressy, but for even more casual evenings I’ll just swap out the black pants for jeans.
Yep. It all seemed so simple when I finished making my lists last week. Three tanks, a few long-sleeved tee shirts, two short-sleeved tees. Throw in some jeans, my leggings, a pair of dressier pants. My hiking pants. Easy peasy. Right?
All I needed were a couple of new long-sleeved tee shirts. Relatively inexpensive tee shirts that could be worn alone with jeans, if need be, or layered under jackets or a fleece. Tee shirts which were not skin tight. Which did not cling to my middle, but which fell away from the body much like the ALC tee that I bought to take to France in 2015. I tried Aritzia. I tried J Crew. I tried Gap. I tried everywhere. I finally found what I was looking for at Massimo Dutti, where I bought two long-sleeved tees, and a light sweater. Success, finally.
Then I discovered that my hiking pants from our Costa Rica trip in 2013 were NOT destined to make it into the suitcase. They are, I’m sad to admit, too tight. Actually, they were a bit too tight when I bought them. And that was after looking, and looking. And freaking looking. The sales clerk at Mountain Equipment Co-op finally agreed with me that my body is not made for women’s sporting clothes. I tried to tell her that from the first, but she was determined to prove me wrong. No chance. My legs are too long, my butt too flat, my waist too big, and I don’t have hips to speak of. Every pair of pants that fit in the waist, looked like a tent on me, and were often too short in the legs at the same time. So, too big and too small in one go. I eventually bought a pair of men’s trekking pants, that day. The only way I could get a long enough leg. And now they don’t fit me anymore. But, I am not up for a repeat of that shopping adventure, folks. So, I dug out my old cotton cargo pants which will have to suffice. If it’s warm they’ll be great, and I can wear them over my long underwear if I need to, and they will wash and dry quickly. And I don’t care what they look like. Really… I don’t.
Sigh. I don’t know why it always has to be so hard to find decent, well-fitting, flattering clothing. Can’t sporty clothing manufacturers make at least one style of pant that suits women with long legs and no butt? Must tee shirts be made so small, and so clingy? Sigh. I think I must be suffering from planning fatigue. Or outfit trying on fatigue. I’m not usually this cranky about shopping. Or so easily frustrated over trying on outfits.
Ahhhh… this is what I felt like earlier this afternoon. My version of Munch’s “The Scream.” Except I’m calling it… “I simply can not try on one more outfit!”
|No more trying on… no more!
So that’s pretty much it for my packing, folks. As you can see I ran out of steam before I could try on all the possible outfit combinations. But you get the idea. Three seasons, one suitcase. Now I just have to see how everything fits into that suitcase.
Later this week, I will lay out all of Hubby’s clothes. All three things. Ha. Just kidding. I may have to go tee shirt shopping for him. Which will take all of five minutes. Gad. Men have it so easy!
We’ve still lots of things to do before we leave. House-sitting arrangements. Finalizing all of our bookings. Trial packing. And repacking. Final hair appointment… for the “trip cut.”
I’m starting to get excited now.
So how about you, my friends? What do you find most frustrating about planning and packing for a big trip? Ever suffer from outfit trying on fatigue?