Stinkless in Siberia: How to purchase clothing that won’t break your back(pack) when traveling from the cold of Siberia to the warm sun of Turkey

I’ve never really thought about the details of carrying all my clothes on my back. For an out-of-shape schlub like me, the difference between 25 and 30 pounds of weight in a backpack is amazing. This translates to packing as little as possible, which can be challenging when considering a trip that goes from Siberia in March (long johns, anyone?) to Turkey in May. The answer to this puzzle? Shopping spree!

Did you know about the difference between wool and synthetic base wear? (I’ll give you a hint – it has to do with the title of this post, not to mention the trade-off of itch-factor.) Or the fact that it’s very difficult to find performance wear that is not extremely clingy? As one bright friend mentioned in response to my lament on the unforgivingness of the fabrics, it’s hard to wick moisture from the body if the clothing doesn’t touch the body. I’ve been learning a lot about the options that are out there, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m having a good time purchasing new things as well.

It seems that the secret, as I think we all knew deep down, is layering. A couple of the sites and books I’ve read suggest bringing one tee shirt, one long sleeved shirt, one button down shirt, and a fleece. Obviously for the tundra you’d also need a base layer. And then you’re off! Pair the tee shirt with the button down and that stylish yet hardy pair of travel pants! (For the uninitiated, that essentially means cargo pants with a bit more wicking power.) Try the fleece with any of the other tops! And of course, there’s always that old fall-back for the crazy-cold – wear all of them!

Really, all it seems I need to do now is weigh my pile of new clothes. Oh yes, and buy that new backpack to put it all in.