Packing, light

I travel, a lot. For past few years I’ve exceeded 100k miles per year. Much is for work, but plenty of it is for fun.

2015 included the following (mix of work and pleasure):

  1. Peru, Buenos Aires, Uruguay
  2. Singapore, Bali
  3. Montreal
  4. Brussels
  5. UK (multiple)
  6. New York (multiple)
  7. D.C. (multiple)
  8. Richmond, VA
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Miami
  11. Palm Springs (multiple)
  12. Bay Area (multiple)
  13. Hawaii

This means I’ve tried a lot of luggage, packing styles, and have fairly rigid travel routines and habits – some (ok, most) would say bordering on neurotic.

Here is what works for me, some of my favorite products, and some of the ideas I have around how I am going to pack for 2 months with a carry on. A follow up post will detail if and how I was able to do it.


I’ve bought  (and returned) a handful of bags for this trip. Key criteria was a backpack and carry on size. I started with a 48 liter Osprey made for travel (think less straps than a backpacking pack) – but it was way too heavy to carry without a frame when full. Link to Amazon. That was returned. I then went with a smaller, but more structured bag, which I am keeping and will use for many trips – but is not quite big enough for 7 weeks. Porter 30 on Amazon. On my last trip to REI, I found a new but returned last season Osprey Kyte 46 Women’s pack which seems like it will do the trick. At $85 on sale, no complaints. Kyte 46 on Amazon.

First attempt at packing:

Here was my first attempt at packing. This easily fit in the bag and is only missing toiletries. Here are some of the highlights & favorites:

  1. Sleep sack. Until recently I used a cotton blend. While it was great, it was not small enough for this trip. I recently purchased a silk liner with a place for a pillow. It is AMAZING. I used on my last UK flight. Super small, warm, soft. Find here: REI
  2. Inflatable pillow. To save space I have started to use camping quality gear over travel gear. I LOVE Amazon – Sea to Summit Pillow.
  3. Ear plugs. I cannot stress enough how important these are and how critical to find the right ones for you. There are literally pairs in every bag I travel with. Get individual packs so they are always clean and new. Here are mine: Best Ear Plugs – Amazon. This is a 200 pack, I last bought in 2014 and still have some left. Best $20 I’ve spent.
  4. Eye mask. Best ever, I am on my third Blinks Eye Mask – Amazon.
  5. Lots of Eagle Creek and Sea to Summit stuff bags.
  6. Ex Officio bugs away clothing. No Zika! Women’s bugs away products.
  7. Shoes – Tiek’s foldable ballet flats. New favorites (sorry AGL – you don’t pack as well). Only at Tieks. Bringing flip flops and a pair of Keen’s.
  8. Electronics – Right now, packing a Fire Phone, iPad Mini, Kindle Voyage and a camera. Camera is an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. Small, but powerful. Link.

What am I leaving behind? I am not bringing a laptop, my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, tennis shoes (may break down and buy if Keen’s aren’t enough), or my iPhone. I am also bringing a $30 necklace and no other jewelry.

Goal is to take about 30% of this out of the bag before I go.

Do you have packing tips or suggestions? Please share in the comments below.





3 thoughts on “Packing, light

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