Travellers know that bad weather can’t stop us from hiking a 50lb pack across town to the train station. We know that sometimes a short walk around a picturesque island on a beautiful day can suddenly turn into a scramble to find shelter as the rains come blowing in. Most importantly, travellers know that getting caught out in bad weather doesn’t have to put a damper on your adventure. Make the most of your time on the road with these items that will help you stay comfortable.
1. Boater’s bags
Like a re-sealable sandwich bag, but a thousand times better. Boater’s bags are designed to keep your stuff dry, even when you’re completely drenched. They can also be used to contain liquids or messy products that you don’t want to accidentally unleash all over your last pair of dry socks. At the very least, keep your important documents and medications sealed up in a boater’s bag so that you can hike through mountains & monsoons without worry.
Most outdoor or department stores will carry these handy fellows that can be zipped up inside themselves into a wee package that won’t take up more space in your bag than a pair of underpants. They’re inexpensive, light, and usually pretty spacious, so you can pop it on over thick sweaters or coats if you’re keeping dry *and* warm. Not that an anorak won’t eventually feel like a greenhouse – your body heat will have trouble escaping from this water resistant shell, so when the sun comes out, just pop it off, zip it up, and be on your way.
3. Wool Socks
Wool socks will protect your feet, keep them warm, and pull moisture away from your skin when they get soaked or sweaty. They also survive really well on the road – wash them in the sink or in the river, hang them up near the radiotor to dry, and you’ll be ready to put them back on in no time.
4. Hand Warmers
Hand warmers are these lovely little packets that will keep your fingers or feet toasty warm using the heat produced from the exothermic oxidation of iron when it’s exposed to the air. These little bundles of warmth can get quite toasty, so remember not to fall asleep with one in your bed, even in a chilly hostel!
5. Tiger Balm/Eucalyptus Oil/Vapour Rub
Chances are if you’ve been travelling in bad weather, you’re going to get a stuffy nose at some point. Besides feeling great on sore feet after a long day out sightseeing, minty rubs and oils can be added to steaming hot water for a vapour/steam bath that will help clear your head. If you travel with Eucalyptus oil, make sure you put it in a boater’s bag, or may end up with an eye-watering wardrobe.
6. Tea Bags/Instant Coffee Packs
Make your own instant coffee packs if you have one of those handy vacuum-sealers, or pick up some single-serving instant coffee from your local cafe or supermarket – the world has made it much easier to stay caffeinated. Tea bags are also a great thing to carry because you never really know when you’ll have access to something like that unless you have a hotel that provides it for you, and in some lovely places like China, you’ll find that hot water is available on the trains for passengers to make their own tea. A hot cuppa can feel amazing on a sore throat, and it’s nice to wrap your hands around a warm cup on a cold day spent in transit. Tuck a few teabags or coffee packets into a sandwich bag and stow it somewhere in your bag where it can stay dry. Better yet – use a boater’s bag!
7. Emergency Kit
Every traveller should carry a first aid kit of some description, no matter the weather or environment you’re expecting. But if you know that you might encounter rain, sleet, snow, or otherwise unpredictable and crappy weather, you may also wish to expand your kit into something that will keep you warm, fed, and able to alert help. Those who choose to cycle through continents or sleep rough/camp out definitely need to include emergency thermal blankets (those tin foil capes you sometimes see marathon runner use), hand warmers, flares, and maybe an MRE or two. If you aren’t carrying water with you, include iodine or water purification tablets in your emergency kit. You obviously son’t need to haul this with you to the local museums, but smart travellers have things like this on long road journeys, hikes, and visits to remote places.