Over the last few years I’ve been traveling more and more, mostly related to work. I’ve also moved a number of times, living in Montreal, Nova Scotia, Boston and New York in the last 2 years alone.
With all the moving and traveling has come experience in packing light and getting used to living with fewer things.
I’ve always been fascinated by minimalist travel (and minimalism in general), and inspired by posts like Tim Ferriss’s How to Travel the World with 10 Pounds or Less post, or posts like this one (for the ladies).
I also try to combine travel for work and pleasure whenever possible, going to conferences and extending my trip by a few days or visiting friends in the area.
Combining work and pleasure travel makes packing light a little more tricky, but it can certainly still be done.
Last year I took a trip to Geneva - Prague - Berlin - Hamburg - Scotland over the course of a month, and only traveled with a carry-on and backpack.
In 2016 I traveled to the UK and Ukraine with just a carry-on.
I’ve managed to get my packing down to a system so that I can be just as happy heading to a trade show in 25C weather, and then finishing my trip with some sub-10-degree hiking.
Here’s my packing list for traveling light, and covers most urban/low-intensity travel with temperatures between -5C and 30+C.
The Item List
- Carry-on bag (Osprey Farpoint 40) 3.17lbs/1.44kg
- Budget carry-on bag (MEC Duffel Bag (M/60L) 2.36lbs/1.07kg
- Day pack (Matador Freerain24 Backpack) 5oz/156g
- Travel pillow (Cabeau Evolution Pillow) 12.1/372g
- Eye mask (Sleep Master Eye Mask) 2.6oz/73g
- Compression socks (SKINS Compression Socks) 3.5oz/100g
- Earplugs (3M foam or silicone) 3.2oz/91g for silicone
- 1 quick dry towel (Matador NanoDry Shower Towel) 5.0oz/142g
- Combination luggage locks (TSA approved) 4.8oz/136g per
- Cheap sunglasses (Ryders Eyewear Nelson) 2.4oz/68g
- Dry bag (Matador Droplet Wet bag) 0.5oz/15g
- Packing cubes (5-Piece TravelWise Cubes) ~5.30z/150g
- Toiletries (hanging toiletry kit w/ toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant) 9.9oz/281g + toiletries ~5oz/142g
- Massage ball (Rubz) 4.8oz/136g
- Athletic tape (any brand) 10.2oz/289g
- Earphones (Etymotic HF-5 Earphones) 0.48oz/14g
- Charger (Anker 5000 mAh Charger) 4.8oz/136g
- Computer (Apple 12” MacBook) - 2.03lbs/0.92kg + charger 3.8oz/108g
- Travel adapter (Any brand w/ USB ports - check countries) 3.2oz/91g
- 1 collar shirt (2 if work travel) (Uniqlo) ~5oz/142g each
- 2 superlight undershirts (Uniqlo) ~2oz/57g each
- 1-2 quick-dry longsleeve shirts (Myles Everyday Henley) worn
- 1-2 cotton t-shirts, black or white (Uniqlo) 4.86oz/138g per
- 1 pair sandals (Quiksilver Carver Suede) 6oz/172g
- 1 insulated jacket (Marmot Tullus Hoody Jacket) 15.5oz (439g)
- 1 rain jacket (Patagonia Torrentshell) 12.1oz/343g
- 1 wool sweater (Uniqlo) worn
- 1 pair dark wash/black jeans (Levis 502 stretch) worn
- 1 pair “crossover” pants (Lululemon ABC Pant) ~11oz/312g
- 1 pair shorts (ExOfficio Nomad 10”) 5.65oz/160g
- 1 pair black sneakers (People Footwear Men’s Phillips) worn
- 7 pair underwear (ExOfficio) 3.2oz/90g per pair
- 7 pair socks (Darn Tough, Sperry Liners) 1.6oz/45g per pair
- Earphones (Anker Soundbuds Slim) 0.48oz/14g
- Phone holder (Phone Waistband) ~1.8oz/50g
- GPS watch (Garmin Vivoactive Watch) worn
- Running sneakers (lightweight/your own preference) ~10oz/284g
- 1 pair compression shorts (Under Armour HeatGear) ~2oz/57g
- 1 pair quick-dry shorts (Nike Running) 4oz/114g
- 2 pairs quick-dry wool socks (SmartWool Men’s PhD) 1.6oz/45g per pair
With everything on this list, including two collared shirts, the total weight is around 8.4kg or 18.5lbs.
Removing collared shirts, workout gear, and the cold-weather jacket, you can easily get this down to around 5.5kg/12lbs.
Either way, this should give you a starting point for packing light.
Which extra items do you take?
Which do you not bother with?
Let me know in the comments.