Is Reversible Travel Clothing The Best Lightweight Travel Solution?

In the next few weeks, I'm scheduled to depart on my trip to Bali, Indonesia for a 10 day stay. My flights are booked and the accommodation too is secured using my favorite online booking system -

This will be my first trip to Bali and although its one of our nearest neighbors to Australia - which is where I'm based, I've previously avoided the island due to it's reputation as a destination for cashed-up 'bogans' (see end of article for definition) on a mission to party. Bali is known as a haven for Australian travelers as well as a location where tourists are subjected to a fair degree of harassment by locals who naturally enough attempt to eek out a living by approaching tourists to purchase their wares.

When visiting Asia my preference has always been to bypass Indonesia for Thailand or Malaysia - traveling as much as twice the distance than that of Bali. While I recognize and understand the island of Bali is not representative of the rest of Indonesia by any stretch of the imagination, I do appreciate having an ability to move about the streets freely without ongoing approaches by the locals, who perhaps consider me to be a walking ATM machine.

For me this trip will be undertaken a little differently to those I've made previously. I will be traveling with a fair amount of electronic hardware to document my trip for the purposes of this blog including articles, videos and photographs.

As readers of my blog will know, when traveling, I only utilize carry on luggage only - in the form of my trusty Eagle Creek 'No Matter What' Duffel bag. My duffel bag is 39 liters in capacity, and measures 18 x 12 x 11 in or 46 x 30 x 28 cm.

Carry on limits by low cost carriers (my preferred way of traveling) are capped at 7 kilograms, or 15.4 pounds. However, I place further limits on myself by not exceeding a 5 kilogram or 11 pound limit on my outbound journey only, as I always return with gifts for my family (and myself).

Providing me with further incentive to remain conservative when it comes to carry on luggage limits, is the fact that I will be traversing from one side of the island to the other, staying at a total of 5 different hotels and locations, spending only two days at each venue in order to provide me with a good overview and feel for the island in general.

I will be staying at the following locations during the trip:

  • Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu, Seminyak: 3 Nights
  • The Kirana Hotel Resto And Spa, Canggu: 2 Nights
  • Desak Putu Putera Cottages, Ubud: 2 Nights
  • Padmasari Resort, Lovina: 2 Nights
  • Aleesha Suites, Sanur: 2 Nights


While managing my luggage limits has been relatively easy to achieve in the past, for this and every subsequent trip overseas I will be carrying additional equipment in order to document the trips for posting on this blog site.

Consequently, I've been thinking about ways in which I can still achieve a 'light weight' travel experience while increasing the load, so to speak. Firstly though I had to 'weigh up' (literally) the additional electronic equipment I'll be traveling with, which includes the following items:

iPhone 6s For communicating with family back home. 173g/6.1oz

iPad and Bluetooth Keyboard For writing blog posts while away. 817g/28.81oz

Doorstopper Door Wedge For safety and security at my hotel. 131g/4.6oz

GoPro Hero 5 For filming and photography during the trip. 118g/4.2oz

GoPro Karma Grip A handeld, video stabilizer for my GoPro to capture smooth video. 486g/17.1oz

Morphie Portable Powerbank to recharge devices on the fly. 318g/11.2oz

Travelsafe 5l GII Portable Safe To secure my expensive equipment. 500g/1.11lb

So with a combined total weight (which can be seen below) it seems I have a dilemma on my hands! The total combined weight of my equipment is: 2.543 Kilograms or 5.60 pounds - Yikes!

In keeping with my outbound weight limit, this leaves me with a total of only 2.45 kilograms or 5.41 pounds for everything else. That's going to be a challenge - even for me, meaning I'm going to have to come up with other ways in which to limit the weight of clothing, shoes, toiletries, and medicines I plan on taking away with me.

Aside then from the equipment weight above, the next item which takes up a considerable amount of weight is of course clothing - hence the title of this post. For most travelers, what we wear on our bodies and our feet account for much of the total weight of our luggage. As I've stated previously I always pack light when traveling generally limiting my clothing to the following in a tropical holiday climate:

  • T-shirts x 3
  • Shorts x 2
  • Long pants x 1
  • Long sleeved shirt x 2
  • Scarf x 1
  • Underwear x 3
  • Travel Blanket x 1 (for the aircraft)

When away, I wash my own clothing and its always dry by next morning, thanks to the technology used in the fabric of most styles of travel clothing, however in this instance, my tried and tested method will now be dumped in favor of a combined (1)standard travel wardrobe and (2)reversible clothing which will provide me with sufficient clothing options for the duration of the trip.

What Is Reversible Clothing?

Wikipedia defines reversible clothing as,

A garment that can be worn two ways. There is no true "inside out" to a reversible garment, since either way, it gives a fashionable appearance. Garments that are commonly made reversible include hats, jackets, vests, sweaters, shirts, trousers, and skirts.

Reversible garments have some features unlike other types of garments, such as thicker overall fabric (since two fabric are often sewn together), buttons on both sides (in garments that have buttons), different types of stitching, and no tags.

Ancient shepherds used to have reversible garments with a warm side that they would wear when the weather was cold, and a cool side when the weather was hot.

If its good enough for the 'ancient shepherds' then its certainly good enough for me. In that vein I undertook some research on various types of 'reversible clothing' options here in Australia - and surprisingly the market is very limited when it comes to the range available.

Being the clock is now ticking onwards to my departure date, I've opted not to order any products online due to time constraints around delivery, together with unknown factors such as garment sizing - as I'll have insufficient time to return/replace prior to leaving for Bali.

In Australia there's a retail chain called 'Kathmandu' which stock clothing and accessories primarily for outdoor pursuits including adventure, mountain climbing and general travel.

From my perspective their range is fairly expensive as far as a value proposition goes, however their products are of a high quality and long lasting. From a logical perspective then, I'm able to reconcile the cost/value dilemma, knowing these garments will continue to be of much use to me over the coming years when traveling overseas, at least in hot/tropical climates.

Last weekend I headed over to my nearest store and purchased the following items:

Reversible-Clothing-Shirt Adapt Women's Reversible T-Shirt AUD$79.98

Product Description

Pack less and take more with the Adapt Women's Reversible Top. Turn it around to choose from a scoop neck or V-neck. Matching this with our Adapt Reversible Skirt gives you multiple outfit combinations! This quickDRY top is soft on the skin and easy to care for. We know you won't always be near a washing machine when traveling, so this top also features quickDRY drirelease with FreshGuard odor control technology.

Features & Specs

  • Reversible
  • Lightweight and packable
  • quickDRY™ drirelease™ with FreshGuard™ for odor control
  • quickDRY™ drirelease™ dries 4 times quicker than cotton
  • Smooth, soft fabric for extra comfort
  • Fabric
  • 83% Polyester, 11% Lyocell Tencel™, 6% Elastane
  • Weight Size 10 118g

Reversible-Clothing-Skirt Adapt Women's Reversible Skirt AUD$95.98

Product Description

Pack less and take more with our Adapt Reversible Skirt. Turn it inside out for two color options (which, by the way, work perfectly with our Adapt Women's Reversible top). We use the best of modern fabric technology to create soft, packable, easy care garments that you'll want on every journey. This lightweight, knee-length skirt has a concealed pocket in the waistband and the added elastane gives extra comfort and ease of movement.

Features & Specs

  • Reversible (two color options), lightweight and packable
  • Concealed pocket in waistband
  • quickDRY™, drirelease™ fabric with FreshGuard™ for odor control
  • Easy Care
  • Fabric
  • 83% Polyester, 11% Lyocell Tencel™ , 6% Elastane
  • Weight Size 10 207g

The total weight of these 2 clothing items which will provide me with a total of four 'dress days' is sufficient to cover almost half of my clothing requirements for the whole trip. Weighing in at a total combined weight of 325g or 11.4 oz makes, from my perspective a worthwhile investment and lightweight alternative to my packing weight problems. Another bonus is that the pieces require no ironing and are quick drying.

Outfit-1 Outfit 1

Outfit-2 Outfit 2

Outfit-3 Outfit 3

Outfit-4 Outfit 4

So, then in answer to my question - Does reversible styled clothing represent value for lightweight travel? - I would have to say definitely yes! In total my investment in these garments came to a total of AUD$175.86 / USD$139.25 / GBP$106 - and while I won't be winning any awards in the fashion stakes, I consider these two pieces to be a great investment in both the short and long term, as they will become key pieces which will feature in my luggage during the course of my future travels overseas.

Do you consider my investment to be a sound one? Why not drop me an email at and let me know your thoughts or suggestions about other ways in which I can reduce my carry on luggage weights.

Definition: Bogan - The term bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/) is a derogatory Australian and New Zealand slang word used to describe a person whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplify values and behaviour considered unrefined or unsophisticated.

Sandra Hawkins

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