Iowa Caucus Survival Kit – DC travels to Iowa – 01.27.2016


It’s political season and the first big event for Presidential candidates is taking place next Monday in Iowa, Iowa caucus day.  Many Washingtonians are heading out to Iowa, or have already left, to participate in this political occasion.  Iowa is traditionally pretty cold this time of year, but recent forecasts show that the weather might be a bit “balmy” with highs throughout the state in the 30s on February 1.  That said, it still won’t be warm, and there is a good chance reporters, campaign workers, and observers will all be spending a good amount of time outside.

The Washington Post has a real-time caucus weather tracker for your reference, btw.

Here is a survival kit I created for all traveling out to the American heartland for this big event to reference when packing.


  • Luggage.  I recommend a rolling duffel bag for a trip like this.  You will likely be moving around frequently will want the wheels for ease.  When packing in a duffel you can roll clothes to minimize wrinkles and stuff items into shoes to maximize space.
  • Tote Bag.  You will also need a tote as a day bag to keep your extra layers of clothing in along with your laptop, chargers, glasses, etc.  Longchamp is one of my favorite brands for travel totes, especially because you can change the size of their bags.  Whatever designer you choose, just make sure the bag has a zip closure so things do not fall out.  You also want to make sure a tote bag is light in weight prior to putting items in the bag, because it’s only going to get heavier.  You will be carrying this bag around most of the day and sore shoulders won’t be appealing.
  • Clutch Bag.  A little clutch like this one is great to have to put in your larger bag.  It will help you keep track of basics when you are OTG.


  • Hand and feet warmers.
  • Gloves with tech friendly fingers for texting and making calls.
  • A nice looking parka.  The one I featured by Bench has a ton of pockets and is VERY warm.  I wore it during #snowzilla this past weekend and it was great.  It is also on sale at Nordstrom Rack for under $100.
  • Infinity Scarf.  One less accessory to lose with this attached to your neck
  • Earwarmers.  There are many fashionable ways to keep your ears warm these days, especially for people who might be on-air while outside.  Check out some of these options like these 180s which you barely notice when they are being worn.
  • Spanx tights and leggings.  I am a huge fan of spanx tights or leggings under dresses or jeans.  They will keep you warm and also keep your figure in check.
  • Waterproof snow boots, these Sorels are on trend and keep you warm.  The only issue is the rubber sole which does not allow your feet to breathe.  In order to keep your feet as warm as possible when wearing these boots you need special socks and liners.
  • Sock liners and thick wool socks.  Sock liners keep your feet dry while thick socks absorb the water.  Smartwool is a premier designer that uses advanced technology to ensure your feet are always protected and warm.
  • Leather boots.  You may not want to only wear snow boots.  A tall pair of leather boots, with a flat sole is ideal for a more dressed up look, while still being comfortable.
  • Sunglasses


  • Black blazer.  A black blazer is a great basic to have on hand and wear with dresses, jeans, leggings and look professional.
  • Faux fur vest.  This item is one of my favorite trends of the season.  Its a stylish layer to keep you warm in cold temperatures.
  • Dark colored jeans.  Jeans are appropriate to wear in Iowa for political events, but darker jeans help keep a professional edge.
  • Leather pants.  Leather pants are warm.  If you have a pair, you should be wearing the in Iowa.  More about leather pants here.
  • Solid colored ponte dress.  It’s always good to have at least one dress when traveling for work.  Ponte fabric is comfortable because it has stretch and it doesn’t wrinkle.


  • Ibuprofen.  Headaches might be inevitable, you will be doing a lot of listening to candidates…
  • Vitamin C.  A great way to keep your immunity up.  Emergen-c is great for a hangover too, the fizz really helps.
  • Portable Gadget Charger.   It will be a total fail of a trip if your technology is dead.
  • Hand lotion without alcohol.   Alcohol makes lotion dry quickly, but it also will dry out your skin. Avoid it!  More information on this here.

Check out all of these items here to build your own Iowa Caucus Survival Kit:

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