Because some things are worth the weight (get it?)

I think the misconception that one must check luggage is a conspiracy created by the airlines to charge more fees.  Okay, not really, but I do think that people today can’t part with their ‘stuff’.
So after reading Tim Ferriss’ blog on minimal packing I decided to give minimalist packing a real go.

The deets:

What: Ten day trip to Europe with dad.
Why: Retracing grandpa’s 101st Airborne tour during WWII.
Where: France, Belgium, Holland, Germany.
Who: Dad was my travel companion and incidentally this would be his first trip out of the US.
When: Early April.
The how: Rental cars, trains, hotels and airbnb’s.

My self-imposed constraints:

  • I took only my PacSafe Venturesafe backpack which offered a lot of space (subjective) with good security features.  Total pack weight: 16lbs (objective).
  • Weather: Europe in April – flip flops and other light beach type stuff was not going to work, clothes would take up a lot of space.
  • Logistics: We would be extremely mobile; several WWII sites and a lot of moving from one place to the next.
  • Lodging: We would mostly be staying in hotels and airbnb places – so shampoos, toothpaste etc shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Transport: Rental car.  We wouldn’t have to drag our stuff all over the place, just into the hotels from the car basically.
  • Work doesn’t end on vacation; so I would need my tablet.

 How it all went down:

Overall it went really well, I packed mostly the night before leaving (whoops), and brought more shirts than planned – BUT I used everything I brought with and didn’t have to purchase anything additional (with the exception of $200 worth of Belgian chocolate).  At the tail end of the trip we returned the rental car to CDG and took the train into Paris. This is where the lightweight packing really paid off.

Here’s my gear list – I wore one set of the clothes listed below and yes, fit the rest in one backpack:

  • Sunglasses
  • Pack towel
  • Thermal long sleeves (2)
  • Long sleeve t-shirt
  • Long sleeve shirt – ExOfficio
  • Sweater
  • Shell: REI rain shell
  • Light winter hat
  • T shirt
  • Tennis ball (portable massager)
  • Underwear (3) ex-officio
  • Socks (3 pair)
  • Tablet, charger, mouse, adaptor, flash drives
  • Phone (tablet charger works on phone as well)
  • Camera: Canon PowerShot SD880IS. This lightweight beast is the reason I have yet to transition to using my phone camera exclusively
  • Pacsafe safe and lock
  • Pants: 1 pair Royal Robbins lightweight 5 pocket – my preferred for flying
  • Jeans: 1 pair of dark Levis. Comfy and sturdy. You could wear these things at least 20 times without washing 🙂
  • Shoes – 1 pair: Brooks Cascadia (trail running). Sturdy and comfy with good traction.
  • Notebook, pens, pencil
  • Sea to Summit compact daypack.
  • Magazines (2)
  • Pro bars (5)
  • P cord
  • Phone
  • Compass and map of Europe
  • Solio charger.
  • Go Groove fm car adapter – music on the go.
  • Wallet
  • Flash lights: 1 head lamp, one torch.
  • Travel kit: eye mask, eye drops, lotion, pen, chapstick, ear plugs,

Packing light is part confidence, part experience.  Taking only bare essentials is quite liberating; if you have multiple layovers you won’t worry about losing luggage, PLUS it makes any sort of city navigation EXTREMELY manageable.

Leave your ‘stuff’ at home.  It won’t be offended – I promise.

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