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
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
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.