Where Is Liz: Experience A Solo Global Adventure
   
About Liz Journal Telegrams Mail Bag Resources Press Contact Liz
 

 

LIZ'S TOP PICKS - EQUIPMENT - ELECTRONICS - CLOTHING - PERSONAL CARE - HEALTH - SUPPLIES - LEFT BEHIND

I'm not selling any of these products, this is only a collection of impressions about some of the things I have traveled with, or plan to travel with. As I use them, I will add updates. Remember that not all items are appropriate for all travels, and the importance of packing light cannot be overstated: when in doubt, leave it out! Where practical, I have added links to manufacturers or retailers for anyone who wants more information. Text in GREEN has been added since my latest trip.

 

 

Skirt

Macabi

When I got my new Macabi skirt in the mail, I couldn't believe how small and light the package was... I thought they must have made a mistake and sent me a scarf instead! But no, they got it right -- the material may be light (Supplex nylon), but the cut is long and full, and really does convert easily into blowzy pants, and can even be made to imitate shorts. A truly practical and innovative design. The skirt worked very well, I especially appreciated the deep pockets and the additional security pocket (something every item of travel clothing should include, in my opinion).

 
 

Swim Suit

TravelSmith

A basic suit, with nylon-Lycra to resist the effects of chlorine and fading, spandex for a good fit. It's a good suit and worked well for me, but it's bulkier than I'd like... I'm looking for something more compact.

 
 

Jacket Shell

Columbia

This Titanium Columbia 3-season jacket is very tough, waterproof, windproof and full-featured. It has a removable hood, zip open vents, and deep pockets. Overall, this jacket performed well, although I wish it had been cut fuller in the arms, to more comfortably accommodate the bulk of extra layers. Will it be going with me on my next trip? Probably not.

 
 

Fleece Jacket

Columbia

A basic, this zip-out fleece liner jacket provides great warmth for its light weight, can be worn alone or in combination with the shell above on wet, windy days. I wore this more than probably any other single item on my trip, and it worked well to keep me warm without much weight. I could have used some interior pockets (it had only zippered pockets, both external). I also appreciated its basic, low-profile design. On the last day of my trip going through Canadian customs I somehow lost this jacket, so I will have to be shopping for a replacement.

 
 

Wrap

DreamSack

A true luxury item, this silk wrap is comes packaged in its own matching evening bag. A beautiful large piece of fabric, it dresses up a plain outfit as a scarf or wrap, and is even surprisingly warm for its weight and thickness. While I sent home the matching evening bag in an effort to lighten my load, I was happy to have kept the wrap, which even served as a fine stand-in for a beach towel.

 
 

Skirt

TravelSmith

Road-tested on my Italy trip, this Supplex skirt resists wrinkles nicely and dries fast. It has a zippered security pocket as well as two side pockets, and a bit of elastic in the waist to adjust for maximum comfort. The fabric is a little thicker than some other travel skirts I've seen, lending it some extra warmth and wind resistance, as well as a nice feeling of durability. Still going strong, the signature "Where Is Liz" skirt survived the four months and looks like it could go on indefinitely -- bravo, TravelSmith!

 
 

Gloves

Black Diamond

These gloves provide winter-weight warmth without the bulk, by combining layers of three different fabrics to resist wind and hold heat. The synthetic leather palms enable a secure grip. These worked well... fortunately I didn't need them very often, and sent them home for the second half of my trip.

 
 

Thermal Pants

Patagonia

A base layer that can also be worn as a outer layer, either alone or over capilene tights for extra warmth. Zippered side pockets are a nice touch, and the adjustable waist provides flexibility and comfort. Sadly, these somehow developed an unseemly hole halfway through the trip and had to be discarded. They weren't missed much, though, since soon after a record heat wave was in full swing.

 
 

T-shirt

TravelSmith

Basic short-sleeve tee, practical black, classed up by a modest v-neck. Coolmax. Liked this shirt, especially the v-neck which made it seem dressier than a regular t-shirt. Also, for some reason, it didn't seem to "pill" as much as the white Coolmax shirt did.

 
 

Long Sleeve Shirt

Royal Robbins

Full-featured, this shirt is breezy and light, but also boasts a sun protection factor of 40, has tabs for holding rolled up sleeves in place, generous velcro-secured front pockets (one with security zipper), hidden mesh vents in both the front and back, and the Supplex nylon resists wrinkles and dries in a flash. A very good shirt, I wore it often.

 
 

Skirt

TravelSmith

I couldn't resist just a little bit of color, mixed in with all my practical earth tones and dark colors. This rayon batik skirt is not too long (mid-calf), nice and full with side pockets and elastic waist. I'm picturing myself kicking around Greek islands and through dusty bazaars with it. When the weather got really hot, I appreciated this skirt more and more, although I wish it had a security pocket. It also required repairs at the stress points along the seams at the base of the pockets.

 
 

Warm Scarf

Microfiber scarf wraps around neck or head and keeps the heat in. Worked well, but when will they create a high-tech fabric that doesn't pill? Sent it home when the weather got hot.

 
 

Scarf

Echo

A splash of style and color, this scarf is a gift from my mom, and will help give my practical clothes a little panache, and keep me from utter boredom as I rotate the same outfits day after day. Got lots of compliments on this scarf.

 
 

Scarf

Another something to add a bit of interest to my earth tones, the little scarf weighs almost nothing. Probably one pretty scarf was enough, although I did wear this occasionally, another bandana would have been more practical and multi-purpose.

 
 

Fleece Shirt

Sportif

Breathable chamois fleece shirt, so soft and comfortable, a great basic layer, so lovely to wear I could happily sleep in it... And did, on many occasions. When the weather got warmer, I sent it home.

 
 

Silk Thermal Top

Mary Green

Light, soft, very compact, and surprisingly durable (I've had it for years). It's so sheer and light that it never feels like a "layer" but adds the warmth of a much bulkier layer. I like this top, but its sheerness makes it inappropriate for wearing as pajamas, especially in a "mixed" dorm sleeping arrangement, so I will probably opt for something a little more opaque that could double as a shirt if need be.

 
 

Sleeveless Shirt

TravelSmith

Cute, cool, light. Anti-wrinkle fabric. Pockets. I wore this over and over again, and it still kept coming back for more... The security pocket was particularly useful when I was wearing a skirt or pants that did not have a secure pocket. The fabric held it shape despite many washings and crushings. It dried fast enough that I could wash it, wring it out in a towel, and put it on immediately.

 
 

Tank Tops

Travel Smith

Coolmax, Lycra, and Spandex, a basic first layer, in two colors. I was happy to have these, they helped extend my wardrobe without adding much weight or bulk to my pack.

 
 

Mosquito Net

Wilderness Exchange

Slips over the hat, and protects face and neck from bloodsucking invasion, can use it to pass as a bee keeper, if necessary. Glad I never had to use this, but it truly took up no appreciable space or weight, so I guess it wasn't bad to take it along.

 
 

Walking Shoes

Ecco

The Ecco Cross: a great all-purpose shoe, high quality construction and comfortable fit. On days when the robustness of the hiking shoes is not necessary, their lighter weight will enable me to walk farther with less fatigue. Perhaps they were a little too small, but whatever the problem, I could not get these to be comfortable, and my poor little toe got quite a hotspot/callus in the process. I liked the way they looked, but they just were not nearly as comfortable as my more robust shoes.

 
 

Hiking Shoes

Ecco

Ecco Track Terrain Plain Toe, Low Cut: Thick nubuck above, solid serious traction below, and lined with waterproof, breathable Goretex. As seriously sturdy as any hiking boot, but the low cut makes them cooler and lighter. Proving themselves through days of walking in the ice and snow of Chicago, these are shoes I can count on. These shoes performed awesomely, giving me the surefootedness of a goat on mountain trails, keeping my feet warm and dry through chilling downpours, with positively no blisters, no matter how far I walked. The only improvements I could suggest are a scuff guard on the toe (as the leather on the upper front took a beating) and shoe laces that stay tied without having to resort to double knots.

 
 

Hiking & River Sandals

Teva

I've abandoned my original sandals for these Guide Wraptors from Teva. Similar in concept to the Chacos I had planned to take, these are a lot lighter in weight, the straps are padded for comfort and treated with AgION anti-microbial for stink-free wearing. Overall, a spry shoe, but still well-built and secure. These did well, be it on pebbly beaches or scary hostel showers, but for long walks they were not as comfortable as my hiking shoes.

 
 
 

Shoe Insole

Superfeet

My feet are a top priority, and these insoles have a great reputation. They are pricey, but made to last. I appreciated having these extra insoles along. After a couple of months of heavy use, changing the insoles made it feel like I had whole new shoes.

 
 
 

Jog Bra

Champion

No, that's not me in the picture, but I did buy two of these Champion Comfort Strap Innerwear Sports Bras. They're not particularly sexy, but they do have wide padded shoulder straps, the fabric is treated to wick moisture away from the body, and the cut is designed to keep things from bouncing around. No underwire means I won't be setting off buzzers at airport security, either. This bra worked fine, but overall I tended to prefer the support of the underwire.

 
 
 

Bra

Bali

This photo isn't me, either, but I did purchase two of these bras, as well. After trying on practically everything in the store, the Bali Shoulder Spa Seamless trumped everything else for comfort. The straps have gel-infused cushioning and an ergonomic shape that helps distribute pressure and keep the straps in place. These do have underwires, but never set off any metal detectors with these bras, and they held up well through a lot of use. They also were slow to get odiferous through repeated wearings.

 
 

Warm Hat

North Face

I've given up my Bula hat for this: North Face Windstopper High Point Fleece Hat. In the cold winds of Chicago I found I needed a hat that covered my ears and had a chin strap to keep it from flying off my head. Was glad to have this on a blustery day at Stonehenge, but sent it home when weather got hot. Strictly speaking, if you have a scarf and a rainjacket with hood, in most situations this is probably overkill.

 
 

Underwear

BarelyThere

After a long search and much testing, I have settled on the BarelyThere microfiber brief as my underwear of choice. They don't dry the quickest, but they are the most comfortable cut for my body, and the least inclined to "ride up," and for me that matters most.

 
 

Short Sleeve T-Shirt

TravelSmith

This is a basic, goes with everything, made of coolmax polyester for easy care. Coolmax is great for wicking moisture away from the body, and for drying fast, but it has two major drawbacks: it forms unsightly little "pills" and it holds onto body odor something fierce.

 
 

Base Layer

Patagonia

Capilene has great wicking properties, and doesn't hang on to odors the way that some other insulating fibers do. I especially like the cut of these, very comfortable. I got the "midweight" so they can take me from cool to very cold indeed. They can also do double duty very nicely as pajamas.' The inside thigh area basically disintegrated on these after a modest number of wearings.

 
 
 

Sun Hat

Columbia

I liked this hat because it looked like it was constructed to survive a lot of wear, it has a band of black mesh around the top to help vent heat, the brim is wide enough to give good protection from the sun, and it has a chin strap to help keep it on my head in windy conditions. This hat was great sun protection, and kept my fair face from frying on many occasions. After a great deal of wearing and then crushing in the tight confines of my pack, the brim got pretty soft and soggy, but after a hand wash and air dry it sprung back to great shape.

 
 
 

Headband

Bula

I know they make these to help keep you warm, but I really just love this for keeping my hair out of my eyes. I used it on cooler days, and it did keep my ears warm.

 
 
 

Socks

Wigwam

These wool Outlast Hikers are moderately cushioned, but well-constructed, with temperature control and anti-microbial qualities. They stayed intact through the stresses of many long days of walking and hiking, as well as the varying conditions in foreign laundromats, with no holes and no shrinkage.

 
 
 

Bandana

REI

An all-purpose basic with any number of uses, I'd take at least two or three. I used them everywhere for everything: head covering, napkin, tablecloth, carry-all, sleep mask, handkerchief...

 
 
 

Socks

Wright

I was really glad to have these double layer, anti-blister running socks. Cooler and lighter than wool, the coolmax, nylon and lycra socks were my first choice as temperatures climbed.

 
 
 

Capri Pants

Just basic light cotton capri-length pants, with some added lycra for stretch. If I could find similar pants with a zippered security pocket, they'd be close to perfect.

 
 
 

LIZ'S TOP PICKS - EQUIPMENT - ELECTRONICS - CLOTHING - PERSONAL CARE - HEALTH - SUPPLIES - LEFT BEHIND

 

       

itRegion3

 

whereisliz.com all contents © 2002, 2003 all rights reserved