Welcome to a new feature at JourneyWoman: Things She
Loves. This is our place to share and recommend tried and true products and services that we love — no marketing gimmicks, just honest and candid feedback from women, for women, to make solo travel easier.
Today's issue focuses on 'Double-Duty Packing.' For this feature, we asked the wise
women in our private Solo Travel Wisdom group what items they recommend that do double-duty AND work in a carry-on bag. From merino wool to sarongs to bandanas, they had some
Not only is packing light important for safety, it's also important when it comes to reducing our footprint. And you need not buy new items, we can share, recycle old clothing and donate items we don't use anymore. That said, if you do buy a new item, we encourage you to buy local and
support a women-owned small business, like the two we've profiled here. For more on packing, visit our Packing Tips section which includes features on eco-friendly packing,
why we should pack light and tips on downsizing your possessions.
18+ Things She Loves: Double-Duty Packing Items
1. “I have a longish trench coat - the BatCoat, the BadAss Coat, etc (named by nieces and friends). It is also a bathrobe, blanket, or pillow if needed, as well as my purse, or, you know, a trench coat. I love it. And when I am next in Shanghai or Hong
Kong, it will be copied to be more my size (I have lost weight since I bought it), and will have a few pocket modifications. Coat is polyester and lining is nylon.” - Pamm McF.
2. “I have a long Sweaty Betty lightweight black dress with breathable fabric and a shorter version in navy blue. I wear this during the day with sneakers or flip flops and then dress it up with a necklace, possibly sandals or a jean jacket if I have room in my bag.” - Carolyn R.
3. In the summer I take a linen shawl that also serves as a travel blanket, rolled up neck pillow, headscarf, towel, dresses up my outfit… in winter I take a cashmere/merino wool version. I take two bandanas and use them as bandanas, head scarfs or head band, tie them together as a sling for my water bottle, wash cloth. Quick dry underwear as my bathing suit and as underwear. Bar shampoo as my body soap. Dr Bronners peppermint soap for a whole host of washing needs.” Judy J.
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4. “I always travel with several pairs of colourful, eclectic leggings. They're great for hiking/adventuring and perfectly acceptable for funky restaurants or museums/galleries. Best of all, they roll well, weigh practically nothing, can be washed in a hotel sink and dry in mere hours.” Jane L.
5. "Black ankle pants in a stretchy fabric-- daytime/nighttime/plane time.” – Gin R.
6. “Quick dry large towel = blanket= bedsheet = beach mat= sarong = mat = pillow when rolled.” - Danièle H.
7. “Sarongs can be used as a hobo bag, sunshade, shawl, skirt, dress, etc.” - Michele T.
8. “I NEVER leave home without a sarong, ever. It’s a cover over short skirts or shorts when going into temples and mosques, a head covering for the same reason, when I wore swimsuits it was a swimsuit cover, it’s a picnic blanket, a pillow on
a plane or train or bus. It’s been a table cloth, a window covering, a sofa covering when there is a light colored sofa, a shawl, a scarf, ……a sarong imho is the most versatile piece of fabric in my suitcase.” – Jady B.
9. “I only pack solid toiletries, mostly sticks.The cocoa butter stick works as a moisturizer, make up remover, lip balm, calms hair frizz, the list goes on.” – Nadine M.
10. “True story: I bought 2 pairs of merino wool long underwear for my trip to Antarctica. We crossed packed just in case....and those became my "running pants" on board the ship for 10 days, as my big suitcase did not catch up to me until we got back. The pants
were grey/purple and did not look like undies!! I had 1 pair of jeans, 3 tops, and the waterproof pants to allow me onto the zodiacs!! I knew my mom would be mortified if she saw me running around in my undies!!” - Dee K.
11. “I love merino clothing and just about converted my whole wardrobe to it. Perfect for travel - lightweight, breathable, doesn't retain odours, easy to wash and dry. Long thermal tops and bottoms in various colours I wear as underwear, outerwear or pyjamas.” – Terri M.
12. “In cooler weather my silk underwear- shirts and leggings - serve as a warm layer under jeans
and sweaters, also keeping sweaters clean. They double as pj’s, dry quickly and pack in the nooks of my carryon.” - Betty M.
Vancouver-based designer Kim Allan calls 100% silk underwear ‘a traveling must’. Evelyn Hannon was a big fan of these undies, which you can wash in
the sink before bed and hang to dry so that they’re ready to wear in the morning. 100% knit silk is thin and thermal and wicks moisture off your body in hot climates, good for all weather and doesn’t take up much space! Shop the September sale with everything up to 35% off at kimallansilk.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Sponsored)
13. “Bandanas: Napkins, impromptu grocery sacks (tie the corners), face cloths, cooling neck wraps when wet, neck warmers when cold, etc. Pashmina, different weights for different climates. Wrap, warm blanket, rolled as a neck pillow when traveling, picnic blanket, worn as a scarf, covers shorts or bare shoulders in churches which require it.” – Debra K.
14. “Collapsible puffy jacket. Self folds into a pocket that makes a nice pillow.” – Efrosini D.
15. “A knee length cap sleeve dress with UPF fabric. Dress, tunic, robe, swim cover, beach blanket, shoulder wrap/pillow
for plane.” – Marti S.
16. “I haven’t tried it yet, but I have been following an Aussie brand, Saffron Road, which makes slip dresses. They can be worn in so many ways with and without tops. I also used to have a couple of reversible skirts which were fantastic with very different colours and pattern on each side.” – Margaret B.
17. “Reversible skirts from
Travelsmith years ago that I still use! Basic black on one side and pattern on other. Love them.” – Dee K.
18. “A couple of years ago I bought 3 reversible dresses, which translate to 6 dresses. They are vibrant materials and look nice for day or evening with a black or white cover up for evening.” – Joy F.
Have an idea about what we should feature in our next issue of Things She Loves? Or something of your own to recommend? Just fill out our form here and we'll include your tip in an upcoming feature. We want to profile women-owned businesses that you can support if you decide to purchase these products. Let us know if you have one to recommend!