PHOTO: David Reddick
Whether you’re off to Japan or New Zealand, Chile or France, touching down in a foreign country with a ski bag is always a strange, exciting feeling. Jet-lagged and groggy from the overseas flight, now you have to navigate a foreign transit system of trains, buses, subways, highways, and winding mountain roads to get to the snow. We are all well-versed on the gear we need to click-in to our skis. (Or if not, check out Gear Locker for reviews on the best gear for skiers.) Here are 11 essential things to pack that will make the journey a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Dakine Fall Line Double Ski Bag
You're going on a ski trip, and I doubt you're renting equipment, so obviously you're bringing a ski bag. I recommend the Fall Line Double from Dakine. It has wheels and plenty of room for two pairs of skis, plus poles and ski boots. Or, just bring one pair of skis and stuff everything else you're bringing in there—clothes, toiletries, etc. Traveling with a ski bag is always going to be a pain in the ass, especially when you're hustling to get onto a train at a busy platform in Zürich. It's a lot easier if all you have is the one ski bag and a backpack. If you can’t fit it all into one bag, my go-to travel setup is the Dakine Split Roller in one hand, and my ski bag in the other.
IN STORES THIS FALL
Patagonia Black Hole Cube
For when you throw everything into a ski bag and still want to stay organized. A lot can fit into these little cubes—the medium size is perfect for a week's worth of socks, sports bras, swimsuits, and undies, with enough room to roll up a few lightweight layers.
Dissent Labs Ski GFX Compression DL-Wool
Compression socks are great to have while skiing. They improve your circulation to keep your blood flowing, which is also a great thing for long airplane rides. Dissent's merino wool compression socks are low-profile enough to fit into a ski boot or a shoe. They have padding, without the bulk, and graduated compression. They are easier to put on than other compression socks I've worn, and, as a bonus for travelers who pack light, don't smell so bad when you wear them for a few days in a row.
Dakine Delville Jacket and Reverb Hoodie
$200 and $175
Dakine took two great ideas—a puffy and a neck pillow—and combined them into one. The Reverb Hoodie for men and the Deville Jacket for women are cozy, stretchy puffies that you can wear in town, on the mountain, or at the airport. But when you get on the plane, stuff it into its U-shaped sack to turn it into a very soft, very comfortable neck pillow. Both jackets have a DWR finish. The men's Reverb uses a synthetic insulation while the women's Deville is uber-warm with 650-fill down.
IN STORES THIS FALL
AeroPress Coffee Maker
No matter the place, I start every day with a cup of coffee. And by coffee, I mean good coffee. Under no circumstances will I ever settle for Nescafé, which is what you're likely going to find in the mountains of South America. Even in coffee meccas, like France or Italy, I make my own coffee destiny and save the wandering of streets for après and red wine. To guarantee a quality morning cup of caffeine, I recommend packing an AeroPress. It is compact, light, and makes a strong cup of joe. It consists of two tubes plus filters and can easily be stashed in your backpack. Bring your own beans, ground or, if you're as serious about caffeine as I am, whole. (In which case, you'll also want to toss in a hand coffee grinder; I recommend the Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill.)
Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf
It's a long, stretchy, warm piece of fabric that you can wrap up in on the plane, on a couch, or around town. The Vinyasa scarf has been a faithful travel companion for the last two years, and I'll never leave home without it. A scarf is a wardrobe basic and a travel essential, and this one also moonlights as a lightweight throw blanket.
SmartWool NTS Mid 250 Crew
Do more with less stuff. That's the key to packing light. SmartWool's midweight layers have a clean look that you could wear in a European café, but they're also functional to keep you warm and dry while you're skiing. Made with merino wool, they also pass the smell test for multiple days of wear.
Skullcandy Hesh 2 Wireless Headphones
Earplugs are another travel necessity, but I prefer to tune out the crying children with these pair of headphones. I slip them on, turn on my music, look out the window, and enter another dimension. Bluetooth on headphones, I've discovered, is really convenient. The battery on this pair lasts a long time, too, and I can recharge it with the same USB wall adapter I use for my iPhone.
Eagle Creek USB Universal Travel Adapter Pro
I have forgotten an international plug converter only once. The proceeding hunt to find an American-to-European converter in a tiny Swiss village guaranteed I'll never forget this essential travel accessory again. Eagle Creek converts wattage for any plug in the world. Buy it once, bring it everywhere.
Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit
Or go solar and disconnect from the grid entirely. Goal Zero makes it easy to charge up your devices with the power of the sun.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
$4.49 for a four-ounce container
Because bathrooms come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of cleanliness when you’re traveling. Concentrated, biodegradable, organic, and made with certified fair-trade ingredients, Dr. Bronner’s is a staple for traveling. It is a multi-purpose soap for hand sanitizing, washing dishes, laundry, and the shower. I’ve used it to wash my hair before—but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you want to strip your hair of all its natural oils. Otherwise, I use Dr. Bronner’s for everything. Get the four-ounce size to meet TSA requirements.