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eoMMan

How do you pack light? Teach me.

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I'm an admitted over packer.  I pack extra underware, different shoes JUST IN CASE something comes (running sneakers, sandals, dressier shoes, etc.), too much in general.

Help me stop.

Any tips on packing light?

Let's say you are traveling to a northern US state for 6 days...what do you pack?

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Dont pack anything "just in case".  Thats what walmart/rei is for.  If you cant fit it in a a carry on, you've overpacked.

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Is the issue that you dont want to bring too much or that it doesnt fit in your bag?

We went on a 2 week trip to Europe and my wife bought something called packing cubes. I had never heard of them and laughed at her. HOWEVER, like with most other things she does, it turned out to be brilliant. I was able to pack double what I usually would be able to AND nothing was wrinkled. Im not sure the science behind it but it was awesome.

That doesnt help you if you just dont want to pack as much. In that case, just dont pack that much. HTH

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Nothing wrong with overpacking.  It fits into one suitcase, right?  It sucks to need something and not have it.  Luggage nowadays has wheels.  It isn't that big of a deal to wheel out your luggage to a car/taxi/uber and then wheel it into a hotel.  It's not like you're 20 years old doing a trip in Europe where you have to take public transportation, switch hostels every 2-3 days, and carry everything on your back.

Edited by Don Hutson

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1 pair of extra shoes in suitcase. No more. 

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29 minutes ago, eoMMan said:

I'm an admitted over packer.  I pack extra underware, different shoes JUST IN CASE something comes (running sneakers, sandals, dressier shoes, etc.), too much in general.

Help me stop.

Any tips on packing light?

Let's say you are traveling to a northern US state for 6 days...what do you pack?

Go on multi day back country hiking/camping trip where every once and every space matters.

Do that once to learn what is important and what can be left behind.

You'll learn the hard way but you will learn.

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The key is minimizing shoes.  Find a pair that serves multiples purposes (casual and dressy) and coordinate your outfits to match those shoes (brown vs. black).  Then, hopefully you only have to pack one pair of shoes, or no shoes if you wear them on the plane.  If you are going on a long work trip, stay at a hotel that has laundry service so you can minimize the number of shirts you need to pack.  Also, if for work, wear your suit on the plane - one less suit to pack.  If it's a casual trip, take your sweatshirt or jacket on the plane as it takes up a lot of space in the suitcase.  I just went on a six day work trip overseas and took a single carry on (in addition to my work backpack for laptop and files).

Edited by bigbottom
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38 minutes ago, AcerFC said:

Is the issue that you dont want to bring too much or that it doesnt fit in your bag?

We went on a 2 week trip to Europe and my wife bought something called packing cubes. I had never heard of them and laughed at her. HOWEVER, like with most other things she does, it turned out to be brilliant. I was able to pack double what I usually would be able to AND nothing was wrinkled. Im not sure the science behind it but it was awesome.

That doesnt help you if you just dont want to pack as much. In that case, just dont pack that much. HTH

I always get what I need to fit in my bag but I always worry about the weight restrictions.  Being under the 50 lb limit usually isn't a big deal but if I fly Spirit (gasp), I have to be under 40 lbs and that can be tough.

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Wife and I went to Ireland for 12 days and had carry-on only.  We knew we would pay for the hotel to do laundry once. 

keys were:

1. Sucks to pay for laundry, but its a one time expense and the trip was long enough it made sense. 
2.  The underwear and shirts I take can be rinsed in the sink and dry overnight or are material that resist odor (duluth, merino, etc).  Fewer pairs needed.
3.  Socks are always merino and can realistically get 2 days without odor.  Fewer pairs needed.
4.  I screwed up on shoes the first time.  Pack the running shoes and wear the chukka boots or whichever shoes are biggest. 
5. Packing cubes and travel bottles for shampoos, soaps, etc really do help save space. 
6.  Roll clothes.  You may need to iron a bit but for the most part things come out wearable if rolled correctly. 
7.  (Controversial) I went exclusively with travel style pants (prana).  I’m still working on getting a pair of jeans into the mix consistently because they are bulky to pack. When we went to Sydney i managed to do it. 
8.  Wear jacket, midlayer and I even had a thin vest onto the plane.  Those are useful for padding while u sleep or usually fit in the overhead and save space in your bag.
 

I will edit if I think of more.  But we each fit into our own osprey farpoint backpack (it has the main bag and a zipoff small pack).  I am an over packer, but when I forced myself to try minimalist once, its kinda fun  to take the challenge.  

Nerd alert:  Before we left I took a pic of everything I was putting in my packs.  When we got home I took a pic of all the crap I didn't use and that helps improve the next trip.

 
 

 

Edited by Sputnikv8
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Any trip over 4 days i just buy cheap underwear and socks on amazon and throw them away every day. I dont wanna be carrying dirty underwear and socks anyway and my bag is lighter and easier to pack for the trip home.

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I was ignorant about packing cubes & just ordered some. Going to belize for 10 days in march and then to masters round 1. Looking forward to trying them out. 

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I have the same problem. One day I searched on YouTube and there are loads of videos out there how to really compress your packing needs.

Here is one I found that is pretty interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em4lbLf09M0

Problem is that it takes a long time get your clothes that way, but may be worth it in the end.

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2 hours ago, AcerFC said:

Is the issue that you dont want to bring too much or that it doesnt fit in your bag?

We went on a 2 week trip to Europe and my wife bought something called packing cubes. I had never heard of them and laughed at her. HOWEVER, like with most other things she does, it turned out to be brilliant. I was able to pack double what I usually would be able to AND nothing was wrinkled. Im not sure the science behind it but it was awesome.

That doesnt help you if you just dont want to pack as much. In that case, just dont pack that much. HTH

Packing Cubes are awesome. So is Eagle Creek's Garment Folder

I did 2 weeks in Europe out of a Carry on and backpack. Needed work dress clothes and casual clothes. One round of Laundry mid-trip in Amsterdam.

- Keep shoes to 2 pair max . One dress one casual. Ideally 1 pair if possible on week or shorter trips. 
- Button down shirts are hung back up and used a second time as casual / night out shirts.
- Dress slacks are good for 2-3 wears. Jeans and shorts are good for a week barring spills, smoke, other sanitation/odor issues. 
- Focus on basic items / layers. T Shirts, Button Downs + Overlayers depending on weather. In cold environments I carry a rain shell (packs down small) and a midlayer. 
- Neutral colors that all work together. No "Outfits" that only go together and would be obvious if you wore it again a few days later. 
- Underwear and socks can be easily washed in the sink and hung to dry if needed. 

For 2 weeks in Europe in November I had: 

  • 7 Pair Socks / 7 Pair boxer briefs
  • 4 casual T shirts (blend / performance style  - neutral) 
  • 2 casual long sleeve shirts 
  • 1 thin long sleeve base layer
  • 1 pair Jeans (worn on flight) 
  • 1 belt (worn on flight)
  • 2 Pair Dress slacks (different colors to alternate - in garment folder)
  • 5 Button down Dress Shirts (1 worn on flight - rest in eagle creek garment folder)
  • 1 thin rain shell 
  • 1 fleece midlayer (worn on flight)
  • 1 pair casual shoes (worn on flight)
  • 1 pair dress shoes
  • 2 baseball caps (1 worn on flight)

I carry a lot of digital devices. I use a single 7 port USB hub with short 6" USB/Lightning cords in a Blantons Bourbon sack in my carry on. Saves a lot of space over multiple blocks and long coiled cords. 

 

Edited by [icon]
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I only travel with a single backpack whether for work or pleasure.  It is a large backpack but no problem. I've done EUR for two weeks.  Cubes help.  My pixelbook helps so I don't carry a big laptop. One pair of shoes with flip flops in backpack. Fold flat dop kit.

If I take fishing or snorkel gear I do check an additional bag.

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2 hours ago, Don Hutson said:

Nothing wrong with overpacking.  It fits into one suitcase, right?  It sucks to need something and not have it.  Luggage nowadays has wheels.  It isn't that big of a deal to wheel out your luggage to a car/taxi/uber and then wheel it into a hotel.  It's not like you're 20 years old doing a trip in Europe where you have to take public transportation, switch hostels every 2-3 days, and carry everything on your back.

I had a 2 week stretch with meetings in Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Nottingham, and Birmingham,... plus a stop in Dublin on the way out.

Lugging a massive suitcase on what are often uneven surfaces is a nightmare. Europe generally involves a lot more walking, trains, etc. 

Brings me to another point: SPINNER BAGS SUCK
Tiny fragile wheels that wont roll over uneven surfaces or big cracks. Give me a bag with replaceable roller-blade style wheels ANYday. 

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Wheels are for #######.  A big backpack gives you a bit of an automatic workout when you travel and broken, clattery, stuck wheels are never an issue.  I like the Tortuga a lot.

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2 hours ago, eoMMan said:

Let's say you are traveling to a northern US state for 6 days...what do you pack?

Assuming casual trip and cold weather / snow? Include 1 nice night out? No access to laundry? 

  • 6 pair socks/briefs (1 pair worn on flight)
  • 3 casual T shirts (blend / performance style  - neutral) 
  • 3 casual long sleeve shirts 
  • 1 thin long sleeve base layer
  • 1 pair Casual Jeans 
  • 1 belt (worn on flight)
  • 1 Pair Dress Jeans (worn on flight - doubles as casual)
  • 1 Button down Dress Shirt (1 worn on flight - rest in eagle creek garment folder)
  • 1 thin rain shell w/ hood
  • 1 fleece midlayer (worn on flight)
  • 1 pair casual shoes (worn on flight)
  • 1 pair weatherproof shoes (Patagonia goretex trail shoes for me) 
  • 1 baseball caps (1 worn on flight)

Easily fits in carry on. 

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3 minutes ago, Ron Swanson said:

Wheels are for #######.  A big backpack gives you a bit of an automatic workout when you travel and broken, clattery, stuck wheels are never an issue.  I like the Tortuga a lot.

Broken clattery/stuck wheels are never an issue when you have good luggage as well ;)

I don't trust baggage checkers to handle a nice backpack properly. I also like to utilize free baggage check when available so I'm just wearing a light backpack w/ essentials through an airport. 

If travelling backpack style (extended and nomadic) I'd use my internal frame pack, agreed there. 

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5 minutes ago, [icon] said:

Assuming casual trip and cold weather / snow? Include 1 nice night out? No access to laundry? 

  • 6 pair socks/briefs (1 pair worn on flight)
  • 3 casual T shirts (blend / performance style  - neutral) 
  • 3 casual long sleeve shirts 
  • 1 thin long sleeve base layer
  • 1 pair Casual Jeans 
  • 1 belt (worn on flight)
  • 1 Pair Dress Jeans (worn on flight - doubles as casual)
  • 1 Button down Dress Shirt (1 worn on flight - rest in eagle creek garment folder)
  • 1 thin rain shell w/ hood
  • 1 fleece midlayer (worn on flight)
  • 1 pair casual shoes (worn on flight)
  • 1 pair weatherproof shoes (Patagonia goretex trail shoes for me) 
  • 1 baseball caps (1 worn on flight)

Easily fits in carry on. 

No snow and it's a casual trip.

Going by your list, you would just wear the same casual  jeans almost everyday?  Alternate with the dress jeans?

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You're either born with it or you're not. I am a minimalist and very light packer. Easily fit a weeks worth of stuff in a small backpack and rarely bring back many clean clothes. If going somewhere warm, there's room for my fishing stuff in there too. 

My wife and two daughters, on the other hand....

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9 minutes ago, eoMMan said:

No snow and it's a casual trip.

Going by your list, you would just wear the same casual  jeans almost everyday?  Alternate with the dress jeans?

If purely casual I would alternate between jeans and a pair of khaki paints (my preferred for travel are thicker almost like jeans).

Unless you have very distinct jeans, nobody is going to notice if you wear the same pair 3-4 times in a week. If it's cold, you're not sweating in them. 

For T shirts, keep at least half to basic neutral colors (black, grey, etc) and nobody will notice if you rewear once. Plus, outdoors it's under a jacket. 

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I like to bring one of those head lamps that run on batteries whenever I go on driving trips.

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For a versatile jacket I LOVE my Arc'teryx Atom Hoodie

Works as an outer or mid layer in a huge range of temps. Wearing it today (temps in 30s)

Also can be wadded/packed down VERY small, and is weather resistant in event of a light rain. 

 

It's my go to mid-layer for travel. 

 

 

Edited by [icon]

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I don’t even bother. 
I’ll check my bag and not worry about it. 

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I'll second the Tortuga recommendations; I've had a Tortuga travel backpack for close to 6 years now, and have not used "conventional luggage" since then.  I can generally get about 7-8 days worth of stuff in my bag, which looks something like this (not the exact model but close).  If it's at trip longer than that, I plan on doing laundry at some point.  Did a 16-day trip to South America with this last summer and only had to do laundry once at an Airbnb.

The only items I won't re-wear are underwear and socks.  Plan for <the number of days of your trip> + 1 backup pair of each.  For pants, plan on 2 days of wear each, maybe 2.5-3 if you really want to stretch it and you're not, like, a slob.  Try to pack lighter top options.  Going somewhere cold?  Maybe some light sweaters or long-sleeve dress shirts rather than bulky sweaters.  Need to wear a heavier coat?  Wear it on the plane and don't pack it.  Every item of clothing, clean or dirty, gets rolled up as compact as possible.  Bring a garbage bag for the dirty clothes to separate them from the clean stuff, but roll them up too in order to save space.  Actually plan what you're going to wear, and be aware that you're not gonna have a myriad of options on any given day....you're gonna wear pretty much everything you bring, so choose wisely.  Check the weather where you're going.

Only take the bare essentials of everything else.  Phone chargers, voltage converters, headphones, etc., get as small as possible and pack in ziploc sandwich bags.  Toiletries, only the max allowed of soap/shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, razor, nothing non-essential.  Usually take 1 book and I'll buy a newspaper at the airport if needed.

I think the only way this wouldn't work is if you're going to a really cold place and need a ton of extra layer gear, I think.

Edited by Steve Tasker
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5 hours ago, AcerFC said:

We went on a 2 week trip to Europe and my wife bought something called packing cubes. I had never heard of them and laughed at her. HOWEVER, like with most other things she does, it turned out to be brilliant. I was able to pack double what I usually would be able to AND nothing was wrinkled. Im not sure the science behind it but it was awesome.

:blackdot:

were they the compression cubes? or just the... regular... cubes?

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7 minutes ago, mr. furley said:

:blackdot:

were they the compression cubes? or just the... regular... cubes?

We got these. Slightly different but same thing. (When i clicked on what we ordered in our amazon profile, it brought me to this)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07FQZN3QK?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

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Save a few of the bags from the dry cleaner. Cut and Insert a layer between folded items that you don't want wrinkled (like dress shirts in Garment folder). 

Voila... way fewer wrinkles. 

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I'd pack 2 or 3 pairs of pants and 6 shirts.  

I wear the same clothes on both travel days.  I honestly wish my carry on suitcase was smaller.  I need one about the size kids get.

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i can fit a week long ski trip, including my ski boots, in my carry on.  patagonia 60L black hole bag.  easily fits in the overhead, even in the little planes that fly into ski towns.

less is more.  i usually do laundry midweek.

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Here's what I do:

- wear multipurpose shoes. If I ever bring a 2nd pair, it's something low-profile.

- wear my thicker pants & shirts, but pack the thin ones.

- dress in layers on the plane

- pack 1 extra pair of socks and underwear. If I need more, I'll either buy them or I'll wear a pair inside-out in an emergency.

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7 hours ago, Osaurus said:

Disposable underwear

I once went through a bunch of these after eating a bunch of street tacos just before boarding.

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59 minutes ago, E Street Brat said:

Not having a vagina helps.

Seems like one less place to store stuff.

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7 hours ago, bigbottom said:

The key is minimizing shoes.  Find a pair that serves multiples purposes (casual and dressy) and coordinate your outfits to match those shoes (brown vs. black).  Then, hopefully you only have to pack one pair of shoes, or no shoes if you wear them on the plane.  If you are going on a long work trip, stay at a hotel that has laundry service so you can minimize the number of shirts you need to pack.  Also, if for work, wear your suit on the plane - one less suit to pack.  If it's a casual trip, take your sweatshirt or jacket on the plane as it takes up a lot of space in the suitcase.  I just went on a six day work trip overseas and took a single carry on (in addition to my work backpack for laptop and files).

I agree with everything here except the “work backpack.”  There is no such thing. 

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My tips:

- wear the biggest and heaviest stuff. 
- minimize shoes as BB said. Lots of nerds wear their sneakers in the airport so their little toes can be all comfy. How sweet. Man up. Wear your shoes like a man, pack your squishy sneakers away. 
- as BB also says, hotel laundry and dry cleaning is clutch. I go to Asia and bring just 3 days worth of clothes. 
- dual purpose items. White undershirt from the day before can double as gym t shirt the next morning

- I like to pack old stuff. Those shirts or sneakers you want to get just a couple more uses out of. Throw them out before your return and your travel home is that much easier 

- if you can easily buy it there you probably don’t need it 

 

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Underwear is my splurge area.

Wear your exercise shoes on plane if you must have an extra pair. Socks packed into the other ones.

As mentioned backpack allows the most bang for your buck in the overhead bin. 

One outfit for going out when on the road if only a few days. 

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realistically, limit socks, you can wear 1-2 pair for at least a week.  limit pants and shorts, no one can tell the difference or will notice bottoms.

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20 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

realistically, limit socks, you can wear 1-2 pair for at least a week. 

You nasty

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40 minutes ago, Don Hutson said:

You nasty

a little powder and wa la.  you don’t need a pair a day.....

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