This post might be all over the place, but bear with me. I have a lot of thoughts on things happening as well as future happenings. And who are we kidding, when aren’t my posts all over the place? Open, but everywhere for sure. But also, I want to make this post as useful for you guys and so I thought it would be helpful to answer one of my more frequent travel questions within the post. You know, how to pack… well, everything.

In general you guys want to know how we manage to pack for trips in the most practical, space efficient way to travel with less. And so I’m going to try to answer that. And no, this post does not involve packing cubes. No matter how much people rave about them, I still haven’t tried them. (I’m just a great folder, haha).

Anddddd while we’re talking about clothes, I thought I should discuss some of our favorite sustainable brands. Since this post is less about travel clothing, but more about lifestyle clothing (that you happen to travel with). You know, because all travel (with the exception of your feet and maybe your bike) wears on the environment, so trying to offset that in any way possible is a great idea, right? Right! And in general, sustainable brands are great for offsetting a few things outside of travel too– they are truly the future of fashion.

So yeah! Three different topics in one post!

  1. personal thoughts and winter plans
  2. a guide on creating the perfect packing strategy for winter colder travel
  3. awesome sustainable clothing that’ll last through the years (and most seasons too).

And yes, this is totally a sponsored post, but I don’t think it’s something to skip over because you see the one “sponsored” glaring at you.  I have to tell you, I hadn’t heard of Backcountry until this last year. And now that I have, that will be where we shop for many of winter travel needs, but also, all season, life items. I truly think you guys will be super impressed with them, no matter what your lifestyle it. I’m truly super impressed by Backcountry. And I think you will be too— and I do think this post will be helpful too 😉 We’ll see, but I don’t think I’m wrong this one!

So winter plans:

Backcountry asked me, What are my goals were for the impeding winter season. Well, as you know, our winter season is widely different that many others. Our winter travel plans are still in the air. As in, I’m still figuring out if I’m going to brave the cold or not. As of now: No. (sorry mom, Lisa, Christine, Katie, anyone else). I’m hoping for a more temperate winter with a few cold drops.

And while I totally joined a gym this month (only went once due to my  health problems). My goals isn’t necessarily to make it more to the gym or to yoga classes (though I will aim to do both, if I can). My goal is self-love and to take advantage of tropical winter to be outside more. This is the time where we can finally open our windows and take in some non “conditioned” air.  I just want to be outside more with the people I love. South Floridians complain about the weather here until about November. Now it’s time to get outside, and fully take advantage of it.

I want to use this time to take care of myself. Focus fully on myself (and my family, but duh, that’s a given). And I think that might even mean just making it a point to suck it up, no matter how uncomfortable it feels, to make myself get up, sit outside, and meditate. (WHY is starting meditation so uncomfortable by the way?!)

And maybe this winter, self-care means not getting on a plane and over-working my body. Maybe. But just enjoying it here.

So let’s talk about well equipped winter travel from a family that does not like being cold but hates overpacking too.

One of the absolute best things you can do for yourself (and your fam) is to invest in good, lightweight winter gear. I cannot emphasis this enough. I had everyone and their mom (including my mom) suggest this to me last year before we headed off into our winter adventures. I did not listen. Half way through winter, I changed my mind, and they were right. SO RIGHT.

You want practical pieces that can make it not only through your entire winter trip and/or season, but also through your life. Things that are easy to repair, love, wear, carry, or move with. I’m not kidding you when I say that Backcountry literally has thousands of useful, practical, and amazing items that fit into this easy to repair, love, wear, carry, move with category.

For Marlowe, we got her the thicker Patagonia Down (we even sized up, and it still kept her warm and she can wear it for another year or so). And for myself, The Patagonia Nano Puff (in the pesto color if you’re wondering). I literally cannot tell you how much I fought off getting on of these. My friends in Guatemala, Nepal, and my family in Colombia all live in one of these coats and I still refused to believe that it was a good idea– Something about me didn’t want to give into the look haha. But last year I gave in, and omg, it’s the most practical jacket ever. And it’s synthetic (no animals harmed) and recycled (great for the earth– but more on that later). This coat will come with me on every future trip we take where the weather is expected to be below 75.

Alex is easy. He has a shell jacket and a vest. Give him a warm cozy sweater and some sort of insulated over layer– in this case a very handsome recycled fabric made vest. and he swears he’s warm. For me, the insulated jacket look is certainly growing on me. Practicality wins again. You guys probably remember from my other posts that I have a longer insulated coat for my winter travels. But I’m super happy to now have a lighter, shorter version for more temperate travels that might be cold, but maybe don’t involve snow (think Guatemala nights, Colombian mountains, or New England in fall).

Outside of buying truly practical pieces that travel well, the best thing you can do is simplify your wardrobe. I know it might seem crazy to write a sponsored post for a company that sells good variety of  clothes and tell you to simplify. But it’s true. I think this is the best way to maximize your closet/luggage. You want practical pieces (Backcountry totally has that). You want comfortable pieces (another check for Backcountry). And it’s always ideal if you know your favorite color palette well and stick to it. I’m more of a blue, and neutral (black, grey, whites, creams) girl. But over the last two years I’ve slowly added more color pieces to my closet. And without planning it, they all match. Very important. If you match all the items you have, then its super easy to mix and match and need less overall pieces. So while some trendy pieces might seem like a good idea, they probably won’t make it through the years in your closet.

I’m a fan of traveling with a good pair of jeans, comfortable leggings (love these). And one, more fun pair of pants that I can wear as is, or possible throw the leggings under on the colder days (I did this a lot in France + Nepal). We have quickly learned that beanies are key in colder travel. On our last trip few trips we borrowed one from a friend (borrowing is a great way to cut out things you want, but not don’t need). We had only planned to borrow for one trip, but then realized how necessary it was. We ended up using it for a few more countries, haha. But now, we should probably give the beanie back (and important part of borrowing), and so we now each have our own super warm and cozy beanie to live in during colder times. We travel enough, it was probably time to get one for myself.

Example of a travel outfit for me:

Comfortable cozy leggings, a long and super soft organic long sleeve/sweater to cover my bum, simple black tank, and fun shoes to make the outfit a bit more personal and interesting. The shoes are vegan, super comfortable, and easy for travel (no laces for security) and their blue! who doesn’t love cute blue shoes?. I’d travel in something like hurrachas for Central America, but for more city / fall travel, a nice pair of slides is great! And then I’d also bring a pair of boots for the colder days (cause duh, need warm feet). And if I opt for a smaller luggage, I’d wear the boots to travel. With a larger suitcase, I pack the heavy shoes.

In a backpack it’s super easy to carry the insulated jacket (they seriously roll up SO small), a scarf (mine is an avocado dyed piece of organic fabric), and a beanie to keep your noggin warm. Get off plane, feel cold air, layer up. EASY.

Me: but you can’t find cute backpacks that are comfortable and designed with back comfort in mind.

Backcountry: thats not true. We have a ton.

(They do.) Obsessed with this Fjallraven bag— it’s cute, but damn it’s well padded for back support. You guys may remember that on my last trip I decided to bring a really large backpack that was gifted to me. That was mistake. I have learned that extra-large backpacks are for extra-large people, and it makes sense to carry something smaller and pack less. And then bring a tote for food 😉

Speaking of food — I absolutely recommend investing in a food thermos if you dont already have one. I used to just pack fruit to carry in glass mason jars. It works, but can obviously be a safety hazard if you drop it. And the thermos obviously keeps fruit/smoothies colder or hot food hot for a very long time. Big fan of a wide mouth food flask.We use one of these and then a regular water bottle as well.

I want to talk to you guys about luggage. I’ve been obsessed with having nice luggage since I was a tween. OBSESSED. And my luggage now isn’t too far off from what I had then either– I mean, as far as patterns haha. This past year we finally retired our hand-me-down broken luggage (it did well going up the mountains and rural towns of Guatemala, to Nepal, and wherever else in the world we went).

I decided to purchase this smaller Burton suitcase (carry on official, btw). I wanted the big one too, but I wanted to see how the little one would hold up. Man, it’s a freaking amazing suitcase. One: instead of classic wheels, it’s on skateboard wheels– so it rides SUPER smooth. Two: the pockets are well designed to pack shoes or toiletries and it’s a good size if I go on a solo trip or a shorter trip with M. But three, the best part: There is a lifetime warranty! They’ll totally fix the luggage for you if there are any ever problems/ breaks! I mean, you can’t get better than that! Fix of replace, always.

I am SO HAPPY we finally got the bigger piece— we needed one for sure. (ps. the camp one is on sale right now).L This bigger size will be great when the three of us travel together or when M and I go on a longer trip by ourselves. If you’re considering investing in long-lasting, good suitcases for yourself or your family, I HIGHLY suggest them. I plan to carry around my blue patterned luggage for-ev-er. The smaller carry-on is a 45L and the larger is an 86L. But Backcountry also has a 60L and 116L too.

With the pile of clothes I showed you above, I could easily pack those into half the smaller size luggage and be set on outfits for at least a week, probably 10 days (gotta back the undergarments too). And Marlowe’s clothes would fit in the smaller side of the luggage– she’d wear her coat and hat on plane.

So now, let’s finally get to my third point in this very long post: picking the right clothes to last throughout the years— you know, sustainability.

I’ve already talked about this a bit (a really long time ago, but it’s still one of my most popular posts)– but how sustainability works is if you buy something long-lasting– and take care of it, then you can have it for a lifetime without needing to replace it.

So if I buy less things– but I’m sure that the things I buy are items that truly mean something and are well made, then in the end, I’ll actually be saving a lot of money. Even if the items originally cost is higher in the initial purchase. Does that make sense?

Buy less. Buy better quality. Save more.

At this point, Alex and I have everything we need for cold weather. I mean, we don’t have gloves, but I don’t think we’ll be needing gloves anytime soon. But we have the basics– and we plan to have those items year after year, basically until we die (morbid sounding, but you get the idea). If I own one good quality coat now, I can have it forever. No need to spend money each year to replace it.

For Marlowe, it’s a little different, she will outgrow her clothing, so she’ll need to have her items replaced every once in a while– for a few more years at least.

So then for her, why do we bother to buy (sometimes higher priced) more sustainable items vs. the cheaply made conventional items you find at mainstream stores? For a few reasons.
  1.  we don’t have to worry about that item falling apart half way through the season.
  2. those items will certainly do the job intended with the purchase. in this case, they’ll keep her warm and comfortable for sure.
  3. the items are built to last, so even if she can’t use them for three years in a row, someone else can. So far even item she has owned has gone to her cousin Trudy, continued living, and then got passed down to her other cousin, continued living, and then went to another good home. That’s a lot of life for most clothing options in the world these days. Most cheaply made clothes last about a season, maybe two, and then they end up with the billions of tons of clothing waste in landfills. It’s really a sad cycle for those clothes.
  4. we really give a crap about the earth. I think anyone with kids should. I mean, it’s sad to think about the effects we’ve  had on the earth in the last 50 years or so with conventional agriculture, pesticides, excess waste, consumerism,  etc. So any little way we can offset that helps. And one of the ways we try to do that with our family is by being conscious of every purchase we make– with food, with excess, and with clothing too of course.

Backcountry has a crazy selection of options– for anyone and anything. So no matter what you’re looking for, they’ll probably have it. I mean, they don’t carry ball gowns, but like, you need yoga clothes? Clothes for travel? Clothing for hikes? For everyday living? Items for travel? Items to reduce food waste? Etc etc. They have those items. You could literally be on the shop for hours looking through all the options.

But one thing that definitely have, for someone like me, is a really good range of sustainable items.Just looking at a few of the tags from our most recent order you can see the words sustainable, long-lasting, recycled, organic, and fair trade scattered throughout. These are items that not only are super cute and practical, but also great options when in need of adding items to your life.

All these things matter. And on top of that, Backcountry has partnered with the Nature Conservancy since 2008 in attempts to protect our precious lands and waters.

These things matter.

This post was long and covering a lot of things, but I hope it was beneficial to some (most, all?!?!) of you. I *think* it will be 🙂

You can use code: DREA15 for 15% off your first order at Backcountry. Also– they offer free two day shipping on any order over 50$– which is crazy and awesome 🙂

Alright friends! I’m out! If you have more specific questions about packing, please feel free to ask– but this is the list of it! Be mindful of purchases and your closet selection, and the rest is a lot easier 🙂  Cheers <3<3


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  2. Your post came just in time! I’m trying to build up a travel wardrobe & gear setup myself. I have to say, I love the colors you chose for your wardrobe, and that you came to them naturally. I’ve been trying to decide colors for a Patagonia torentshell raincoat that I know I’ll have for years. I keep obsessing over it, and gravitating towards black (“because it will go with everything”). I love that you chose the Pesto nanopuff jacket. Seeing that reminded me that I need to just go with my gut on these things instead of overthinking it.

    • Yes! Black is CLASSIC. My other coat is black. Honestly, I LOVE the white version– but I figured thats a mess for a clumsy person like me. I felt like the pesto was different enough to not feel too safe– but safe enough that I wouldn’t find it outdated in a few years 🙂

  3. If you are traveling somewhere cold this winter, with unpredictable weather, I would just add in a fleece. If you wear a fleece under the puffer jackets you can be nice and warm. (works in cold Ohio here!) And since they are cozy you can stick your puffer in your suitcase and wear the fleece on the plane.

    • You know, I haven’t owned a fleece since I was maybe 12— but this is probably a great idea. If I make it north this year, I’m going to make this happen 🙂 Maybe a fun vintage one 😉