Sometimes Mother Nature likes to play tricks on us and completely lie about the weather. That’s fine at home where you have access to your extensive wardrobe and can change accordingly. But that’s not exactly the case when you’re traveling and relegated to a single suitcase or carry-on. Your best bet? Shirts you can easily layer or remove that don’t take up much baggage space. According to Andrew Herrington, survival expert and founder of BigPig Outdoors, “Whatever shirt you choose, for outdoor activities in cold weather, avoid cotton. It loses its insulation value when wet and dries slow.” Here are some great options to consider so you’re prepared for any climate.
Herrington prefers merino wool base layers from Smartwool since they’re insulated enough to keep you warm without trapping moisture. With chafe-free seems, this option conforms to your body no matter the activity. The upgraded design means you can take it from trail to tavern — just be mindful of reapplying deodorant!
Harrington gives the seal of approval to Icebreaker base layers, which feature merino mesh patches for ventilation and breathable Lycra for added range of motion. This option gives you that cradled turtleneck feeling on breezy days, and a breath of fresh air on warmer days once you unzip it. The drop in material both on the front and back adds an extra layer of coverage.
This base layer is as close as you’ll get to a hoodie with the thin and light texture of a T-shirt. The nondescript hood is compact enough to not appear bulky under thicker layers. Synthetic layers like these from Patagonia are another one of Harrington’s go-to travel options since the blend of merino wool and recycled polyester wicks moisture (largely responsible for hypothermia when performing physical activity in cold climates), and is durable and flexible enough to sustain you through everything from a hike in the forest to a jaunt through a festival.
Ably was made for traveling smart since they use Filium technology that eliminates odor, moisture, stains and the need for frequent washing (which can be such a pain when traveling). Layer this trendy button-up on top of tanks and T-shirts for a light windbreaker feel, or rock it solo with a pair of jeans. The front breast pocket makes for a neat little placeholder for your sunglasses, and the color is neutral enough to to belong in any outfit. Either way, you’re bound to wear it over and over again on your trip.
Basically the softest material to ever hug your body, Softwear bills their T-shirt as the perfect “sloppy fit.” When traveling, body-hugging fabrics aren’t ideal for increased range of motion, so this relaxed structure gives you the freedom to see the world while feeling darn comfy. Cut-off sleeves and the blend of siro modal and spandex materials are your best defense against unpredictable weather.
Every bit of packing space counts, and this Lululemon tank does the job with removable bra cups that add support and coverage where you need it most. The fit is tight enough so as not to get in the way of your adventures, but breathable enough to wick away sweat thanks to their signature Luon technology. Whether on the plane under a hoodie, out to dinner under a cardigan or on its own on a leisurely walk, this number is a travel closet staple.