Dressing for cold weather comes with a few nuances, but it basically amounts to putting on more and more layers. Enduring long, hot days under the sun while traveling in the summer, however, requires a more sophisticated level of gear wisdom. Here’s how to hack your next foray into the tropics, using products that have stood up to long stretches of the equatorial sun.
1. Allbirds Runners, $95; 2. Banana Republic Straw Fedora, $40; 3. Black Diamond Credo Pants, $85; 4. Superfeet Outside 1 Bison, $60; 5. Prana Lukas Shirt, $65; 6. Columbia Freezer Zero Neck Gaiter, $30; 7. All Good Sunstick, $9
Nathan Borchelt is a gear-obsessed travel writer and adventurer whose collection of shoes, backpacks, jackets, bags, and other “essential” detritus has long-outgrown his one-bedroom apartment (and his wife’s patience).
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Oxymoronic only to the uninitiated, these all-wool shoes deliver everything you need while traveling in hot, humid climes, including plush, breathable uppers made of New Zealand merino that's smooth the touch, odor-resistant, naturally wicking, temperature-regulating, and sharp-looking. A padded insole pairs with the low-density foam sole that keeps the shoe as comfortable as your favorite pair of slippers. They're incredibly light, and the largely fabric construction also lets them pack down more than most closed-toed footwear.
Photo courtesy of Allbirds
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Banana Republic Straw Fedora
Yes, there are way more gear geeky travel hats on the market. But this simple, refined fedora still beats 'em all. The style? Timeless, and welcome anywhere, from a Caribbean beach to Southeast Asia's most chaotic metropolis. The tech? Nominal, save for the closely-woven straw upper that shelters your head from the sun, a brim that help deflects sporadic rainfall, and an interior sweatband. The response? Everyone will love your hat, and will ask where you were traveling when you found it. Your answer? The nearest outlet back in the States.
Photo courtesy of Banana Republic
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Black Diamond Credo Pants
When traveling it's always better to opt for pants —they're more socially acceptable than shorts—especially in cultures where a measure of modesty is a cultural norm. And they also protect your legs from the blasting rays of the sun or the scratching thorns of jungles. The stretch-cotton Credo breathe well, with an adjustable waist belt, reinforced knees, and a secure pocket on the thigh.
Photo courtesy Black Diamond Equipment
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Superfeet Outside 1 Bison
Consider this the elevated flip-flop thanks in large part to the Outside 1 Bison's burly footbed, which leverages Superfeet's experience with high-quality insoles to make the sandal shaped to fit your foot, including a deep heel cup. The outsole boasts slip-resistant traction, with a synthetic leather upper and comfortable nylon webbing toe post.
Photo courtesy of Superfeet
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Prana Lukas Shirt
Just as pants dress you up more than shorts, a collared shirt can go further than your traditional t-shirt. The Lukas comes in a variety of fabric options; opt for a mix of organic cotton and poly to benefit from the comfort and breathability of the former, along with the wicking, quick-drying elements of the latter. And it's got a chest pocket, an essential detail for travel, home of sunglasses, boarding passes, and smart phones.
Photo courtesy of Prana
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Columbia Freezer Zero Neck Gaiter
When it comes to keeping your cool, this simple piece of fabric may make the most difference. It employs Columbia's "sweat-activated" cooling technology—the little blue circles on the fabric that swell when they get wet and cool you down several, very noticeable degrees, while the Omni-Shade offers UPF 50 sun protection. Dip this in the river, wet it down with your water bottle, or just start sweating and you'll instantly feel cooler with this around your neck. And you can pull it over your nose to make a makeshift face mask if you encounter flying dust, dirt, or sand.
Photo courtesy of Columbia
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All Good Sunstick
Use the coconut-scented sunstick to cover up any parts of your skin not already protected by your apparel. It uses a blend of non-nano Zinc Oxide for SPF 30 sun protection, along with a blend of skin-saving organic oils (jojoba seed oil, beeswax, sesame seed oil, shea butter, buriti fruit oil, and more) to nurture your skin.
Photo courtesy of Elemental Herbs