Packing Tips for Lightweight Travels

The worst part about travelling for work with Peregrine was always lugging an awkward, heavy bag around with me - especially one that I couldn't sling over a shoulder, or easily roll around.

To avoid costly shipping and freight costs, we would often pack our bags to the gills with extra product, promo materials, even entire displays would be crammed in there. The result was an awkward travel companion that was seemingly a chore, no matter where we where, or what we were doing.

So now, when I travel (which admittedly hasn't been for a while, I'm sure you can guess why), it's important to me that everything fits in the lightest, smallest and most lugg-able form factor possible.

So, let me share the tricks I learned through my suffering at the terminal, in taxis, on the bus, and in narrow hotel hallways.

1 - The Bag

I'm not saying that you need to go out and buy a new set of luggage, but this is what made the biggest difference for me when I prioritized a more streamlined approach to packing and travel.

I knew that I often need use of both hands, and wanted my bag to be no wider than my shoulders to make squeezing onto the subway a breeze. A larger backpack works great for this, and fits my purposes perfectly.

So, think about how you're most comfortable carrying things around. If you don't want to have anything weighing you down at all, a rolling case might work best - but I didn't mind a bit of extra weight, if it meant I could weave my way over to the airport bar without having to leave my stuff, or have it getting in the way.

A backpack that zips entirely flat was also great, since it meant that I could lay my bag out like I'm used to, and see most of what I packed.

2 - Edit your 'loadout' ruthlessly

Before you even start putting anything in your bags, lay it out together for a few reasons:

  • You'll be able to make sure that the clothes you're bringing look alright together (You could even go so far as to group things by outfit)
  • You're less likely to miss things like swim trunks or sweatpants
  • You'll be able to see if there are any items that are simply too bulky for their worth, and leave them out.
  • For me, it helps to make more sense of the Tetris game I'm about to play with all the things going in my bag. Start with larger items - smaller things like socks and underwear can be tucked in the gaps.

If you find that you often fall into the "Just in case I need it" mentality, keep the 5-4-3-2-1 Rule in mind, which works great for 5-6 days: 5 pairs of socks and boxers, 4 shirts, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes (I often go for 1), and a hat if you want it. This is often my starting point, and from there I will add speciality items like sweaters, or swim trunks.

3 - Get a DOPP Kit

These are really any small bag that you can keep your toiletries in - find one that works for you and it'll last basically forever. DOPP kits make organizing these small, sometimes breakable items easy and reliable. (No more broken Beard Oil!)

Some will recommend that your travel DOPP Kit stays packed up for next time, so you won't forget anything on the morning of, like contact solution or toothpaste.

For me, it makes more sense to simply pack these items a day or so in advance, so you're sure that nothing you're bringing along is expired, and to avoid needing multiples of the same product at all times.

If I'm only taking a carry-on with me (the peak of packing nirvana), I will use smaller bottles that are under the 100ml threshold, and simply refill them with the products that I use on a daily basis.

4 - Think Tetris when you pack

Now, the moment has finally come to cram all this stuff in your bag. Ready?

There are a few things that I like to keep in mind for this part:

  • Roll, don't fold: Most items can be rolled, instead of folding, for a more compact package, and easier visibility when you arrive. The Ranger Roll is a favorite trick of mine, and takes a bit of practice, but makes things like t-shirts pack away like a breeze.
  • Fill your boots: Pack small items, especially ones that might be more fragile like cologne or trinkets for your aunt, in your shoes. It'll give them some protection, and also help to maximize the space available.
  • Don't forget the outside: If your bag has any outside pockets or pouches, be sure to take advantage of these too, especially for items that you'll have to access on the go. 

What are your ultimate packing tips? We'd love to hear them below!

Thanks for reading!

-Tyler at Peregrine

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