Weighing the Weight in Packing
Weight in packing is on my mind again, as I try and keep my mobile command unit (also known as my backpack) manageably mobile. You know my drill by now, everything that I bring gets weighed and evaluated because every ounce counts when it's on your back.I did a little shopping this past week, I shouldn't have but I couldn't help it. I had that feeling of dread when I looked into my walk-in closet, stuffed to the gills with clothes, that feeling of having absolutely nothing to wear.There are a few of results of taking only a few items of clothing for an extended amount of time on trips. After a while, the best items are literally worn out or I cannot stand to look at them anymore. Some things that seem like great choices just never get worn and will not make the cut again. In reality, it's almost true that I have nothing to wear. So really, I had no choice, did I? And there was an Eileen Fisher warehouse sale that my mother-in-law wanted to go to, so really it's her fault, right?Now that I think I have a decent range of options, it's time to get down to the task of weighing and marking my new things and comparing them with the old stand-bys. I'll make my selection once I see how everything stacks up. I have been on a mission to lighten up my clothing, so many of my new choices are much lighter than the favorites of the past.The point of all of this is that I've been surprised by how light some of my new things are and how much weight in packing I'll save. I've grouped them by weight, partly because I'm nerdy that way, but also because I'd like to show you the possibilities of how light you can go when you put your mind to it.2 Ounces or LessThis is a weight I didn't think I could ever get to. Most of the items here are thin and silk. I'd consider many of them to be layering pieces, layering is a great way to have lots of options and adjust to the weather easily. My silk scarf is closer to 1 oz and is very versitile. It's big enough to wrap around my waist as a cover up. My new silk pajamas come in at just a hair over 2 oz, I'm really happy with the softness and comfort.2.5-3 OuncesThis weight zone is either cotton tank tops or short sleeved shirts made of silk. I have a couple of simple silk short sleeves from Eileen Fisher, which are pricey but last forever. I was lucky enough to find a little jacket at a clothing exchange that is very sheer, perfect for mild weather. Thrift stores, by the way, are not a bad place to go look. Clothes that travel get ruined so easily, it doesn't make sense to spend a ton unless it's something really durable. You also don't have to worry about shrinkage or fading in foreign washing machines with pre-owned clothes.3.5-4 OuncesI've been lucky enough to find a sweater with a loose weave at this weight, I look for the sheer, layering kind made of natural fibers like angora. I made a dress last year out of cotton lawn that is ultra light, and found another at Old Navy. I'll layer these in cool weather with sweaters and leggings, but they will be ideal for very hot weather.5 OuncesThis is where things get crazy. All three of these things weigh the same. Cotton tank top, cotton-spandex leggings, and a long silk dress. The dress was an unusual score, but there is no way you'd expect them to be the same. This is why weighing things is important. A typical T-shirt should weigh about 5 oz.6-8 OuncesIf you can find pants in this range, you're lucky. The best I've done is closer to 8, these three are in that range. The light gray are linen, a great find from Target this week. The others are silk and rayon, which could be layered with leggings if needed.JeansThe eternal problem of jeans. We love them. We will wear them all the time. But they weigh so much and dry so slowly. I've done a lot of searching and found a few pairs of thin jeans. Usually cheaper shops like Old Navy carry thin denim. Out of these three candidates, the gray ones are a pound, the blue are 11 oz. which is a big difference. The second pair of blue jeans are capris and come in at a hefty 14 oz. I know they are heavy but they look good on me so..... I guess it's ok to break the rules occasionally.The bottom line on all of this weighing nonsense is that it can be hard to tell what will save you space and weight in packing unless you use a scale. So do what I do before you buy, pop the kitchen scale into your shopping bag and take it in the dressing room with you. At home, make piles of potential clothes by weight. It's easy to make your choices once you've done the research.