Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clothing for Thailand

While I was in California recently, I ordered some items for use in the Land of Smiles and for my travels with the kite team.  For the last few years, I've been going through a list of items that I would take on an extended around the world trip.  A trip that would take me to the various places where I needed a limited size, light weight, and easily carried bag. It would have to deal with a wide range of elements such as heat, rain, and cold. The clothing inside would have to be such that I can maintain it on the road for months on end and still have clean fresh, presentable clothing for those nights out in a large city.    It would be an 'endless travel bag'.

The first item in my bag was a hat from a kite maker in New Zealand.  Its a oil/wax dipped canvas hat that has unique properties.  It can be squashed completely flat, rolled, or otherwise abused and then unfolded to look like it didn't have a wrinkle on it.  It takes the sun, is waterproof, is tear proof, and has a strap to keep it safe in the wind.  I've had the hat for more than 20 years and have worn it all over the world in extreme conditions - and it still looks new.  I bought mine from Peter Lynn personally in Malaysia in the mid 90s but  recently found a shop that sells the hat at this website in the Chech Republic, but I'm not sure if its the original hat or one that has been brought back into production:

Tilley Endurable hats (from Canada) are also excellent choices and they have a lifetime replacement guarantee as well, but they are not as tough as the PL hats.  Tilley however,  has more fashion choices and their hats float so they can be retrieved from the water if its blown overboard.

The Peter Lynn hat

Who is Peter Lynn anyway?  Well aside from being a kite maker that has made the largest kites on record in the world, he invented  kite boarding and the special foil shaped kites that you see carrying riders across the waters at high speed and allows them to jump 30-50 feet in the air on the turns.

The second items of clothing that I would carry in my endless travel bag would be two pairs each of the Duluth Trading company "Dry on the Fly" pants and shorts.  I've tested these in the LOS and they can be washed  in the sink, hung in the bathroom to dry on a hanger, and will be ready to wear the next day.  Two pairs each, washing the dirty ones before you go out will give you another clean pair to wear the next day.  They are very comfortable in the heat and wick away moisture from your skin to keep it cool.  Plus I like all the pockets for putting useful things while I am sight seeing or  kite flying.  They are a bit pricey, but how about pants with a lifetime, no bull guarantee?  They are available at this link.

For a pullover, I would recommend the North Face Zephyrus.   Unlike a sweater, it weights practically nothing, but I've worn this pullover in 30F during a windy offshore excursion in Greenland and felt comfortable. The neat thing is that it zips into a small pouch (the front pocket) and can be put into a day pack for emergencies.  I always put one in my carry on luggage when I come to the LOS.  I use it when I arrive back  in California or during a stopover in Taipei and it eliminates a need to carry a heavy jacket.   Its hard to find now because its out of production, but if you find a source with old stock, buy a couple because they are worth every penny.  Team this up with a base layer and a Gortex rain jacket outer shell and you are ready for some really foul weather. 

Realizing that everyone has their own taste in fashion and many travel with the expectation of a start and end time for their journey, these recommendations may not be suitable for you.  I will have more on shirts, underwear, and socks in later posts, but hopefully this information might be useful as a starter for those of you who do plan on starting an endless travel bag or a 'bug out bag'.

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