It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a packing post; but much of that has to do because most of my latest flights have required me to check in baggage, which is no fun for a packing post.
As some of you may know, I was set to travel to Toronto for #teamharpy business but the trip got cancelled at the last minute so I decided to take a mini-break for a few days. Yes, I’m not revealing where.
With that in mind, it was optimal to pack carry on rather than check baggage, so behold gentlemen!
In addition to my solid shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, I’ve also purchased a LUSH solid face cleanser and I’m packing solid coconut oil for my face as well. No matter where I travel in the EST, it is cold and super dry, hence the need for solid coconut oil.
I also swapped out my beloved charging brick for a Jackery one as the old brick kept dying every few charges. So far the new one has held up for almost a year (compared to a few months with the old brand).
On this trip I’m not packing toothpaste or a loofah as I will be using the ones where I’m staying. But I do have travel toothpaste ready if I require another trip! While I’m bringing one of my favorite clutches to act as a wallet, I’m also bringing one of my Coach bags that is crossbody nylon to use for everyday out and abootness. That is packed flat in the bottom of my bag. Additionally, I shoved socks into my dress boots and as par usual, everything is rolled tight.
LUSH solid shampoo
LUSH solid body soap
LUSH solid lotion
LUSH solid face cleanser
Rickshaw Medium Zero Messenger bag in Performance Tweed
As much as I love my pencil bag, I’ve noticed I don’t use all the pens, pencils, etc that is in it so I purchased a Space Invaders pen bandolier to go around my journal and this has been one of the best purchases ever.
I always seem to get hungry when I travel and spend gobs of money at airports on cashews, so I decided to pack my own.
I will be at place that has laundry available, but without the need for laundry, I can go seven days on the current list and closer to two weeks if I just wash my underwear, bras, and socks. Not too shabby for not being in the game for awhile.
It’s been a crazy lately, and that’s putting it mildly. Tomorrow morning I head to my third trip in a month and I feel like I’m becoming such an old pro at this packing thing that is getting slightly ridiculous.
I must catch you up on where I’ve been!
In late March, I went to the Code4Lib conference in Raleigh, NC which was turned out to be pretty awesome. The conference itself was intense and I learned a lot AND met a lot of great people. I’m so enamoured of the community! I was co-running an all day pre-conference, which meant I had a lot more stuff, namely swag for 30 people, to haul in addition just my self and toiletries.
I was in RDU for five days/four nights with sketchy weather. The day before I flew in, it was 76 degrees and sunny. My entire stay, it was mid-50s and rainy.
Behold my packing prowess:
Since I’ve been fine tuning the packing process in the last few years, I thought it might be helpful to see what gear / gadgets / geegaws I’ve been using to help with the minimalist packing aesthetic: Gear / Gadgets / Geegaws
Rickshaw Medium Zero Messenger bag in Performance Tweed
The big AHA moment is realising that by converting as much of my toiletries to solids, such as shampoo/body soap/lotion, it does NOT need to go into ye olde quart bag, which is brilliant. Also, the Travel Smart Travel Bottle Set was a great investment because it allows me to take my favorite products such as hair manipulator, face lotions, and other products in travel sizes. It may have been a bit pricey, but we do not have a Container Store near me and I was having a hard time finding the jars and bottles in the sizes I wanted individually.
The New Trent iCarrier 12000mAh Portable Dual USB Port External Battery Charger/Power Pack has also been great investment since it will charge my iDevices simultaneously, which is a boon for long flights. I’ve been so in love with this product, I’ve bought it as gifts for friends and family.
In addition to the above, I also packed with me:
Tom Bihn bag:
30 brown bags (for swag)
Nearly full gallon bag of pens/stickers/etc (swag)
Since I’m recreating this a month later, I’m sure I’m missing a few things, but this is the gist of the packing. And the best part? I could have made my clothes last for longer than a week AND since I was carrying of swag that I was going to hand out to people, my bag was going to be emptier coming back. SCORE!
I hopscotched my way from Monterey back to Grand Rapids more smoothly than a baby’s bottom, which surprised and delighted me as my past experiences with United have been awful. They have totally picked up their customer service, planning, and execution of getting people on their way which now puts them back in the front for airlines when I go looking for flights.
After TheHusband picked me up late Thursday afternoon, we had an early dinner and then went right home. Not long after I had unpacked and gotten settled from the trip, I slept for nearly 14 hour straight with no breaks even to pee. I was that fucking tired. Some of the people I met at IL were coming down with various and sundry colds and sniffles, so I’m hoping I shook enough of that nastiness out while sleeping, drinking Vitamin C to help (and also helps with potential cases of scurvy), and congratulating myself for having the foresight to take the day after I came home off from work.
For this trip, I was smart enough to grab pictures of my bags once I got to the hotel, before unpacking, and what the bomb explosion looked like after I had unzipped. Exhibits below:
Tom Bihn bag:
(1) dress boots
1 (2) scarf
(1) leather jacket
1 pair of leggings
1 pair of Jammie bottoms
1 jean jacket
1 ice bag
1 pair of sunglasses
1 pair of glasses
1 brick for Mac Air
2 (3) bras
2 tank tops
2 (3) pairs of pants
3 pairs of tights
6 (7) pairs of socks
7 (8) pairs of underwater
8 (9) tshirts
(Not seen.) Rickshaw bag:
BBC History magazine
The Whale Road (book)
Clutch with money
Portable recharger brick
Quart bag with toiletries
Pouch with miscellany
And I’m sure after all is said and done, I’m missing a few items.
There is a couple of key things when packing minimally: Roll everything, bring items that can be worn multiple times, pack as many solid toiletries as possible, and bring as much neutrals as you can stomach.
I was in Monterey for 6 days/5 nights, but ended up with enough clothes for over a week AND I had at least two clean outfits left when I came home. There were a couple of things I didn’t think about when I packed, such as while wearing my dress boots to Monterey, there may be a chance I didn’t want to wear them coming home, which ate into my luggage space. Packing a leather jacket, a jean jacket, a hoodie, and several cardigans seems like overkill, and also eats space, which could be consolidated by getting one neutral jacket that will work for just about all weather types. I also packed more layers with the outwear because not one weather site was consistent with the constant changes of weather happening while I was going to be there.
Could I have done better? Always can do better. The brilliancy of bringing solid shampoos, body lotions, and body soaps opened up ton of space in my quart bag. Plus I wasn’t feeling cheated out of my toiletries. My clothing choices could have been streamlined more by quite a bit and if I didn’t have this burning desire to dress like a Lifesavers roll every day, it would be a lot easier.
But considering a similar trip taken 18 months ago to a similar place with similar weather had me lugging around a 50lb+ checked bag with all of MUST HAVES, this is bloody brilliant.
I’ve been remiss in keeping up with my packing lists for various travels this summer and for that, I apologize. As I’m flying to a conference in California this week, it seemed like a good idea to get you updated on how my minimalist packing project is going. I’m pretty pleased on my accomplishment so far as I can make it work for a weeks worth of clothes solo in the Tom Bihn Aeronaut. The goal is to get it to two weeks.
In April, I went to Indianapolis by car and Chicago by train, both for conferences. In June I was back in Chicago for another conference (travel by train) and earlier this month, TheHusband and I went away for a long weekend to Chicago (also by train). Whether alone or packing for two, my Tom Bihn Aeronaut has been a damned champ! While we had splurged for the extra duty cross body strap, I found that I really liked the backpack straps when I’m flying about stations and terminals. I keep the cross body strap inside the bag just in case.
The one change I did make was swapping out the Tom Bihn Imago with a Rickshaw Medium Zero messenger bag. I needed something slightly bigger and with inside pockets. Luckily for me, Rickshaw had a 50% off flash sale on the Zero so I splurged on getting the coveted bag along with two modular zipper pockets. I was also able to get, at no extra cost, a longer cross body strap (I need something roughly 50″ or longer due to my tallness; most cross body bags run between 42-46″). I love this bag to pieces!
When TheHusband and I went to Chicago a few weeks ago, we were gone for four days/three nights. I packed the Aeronaut for both of us, and I also brought my Rickshaw bag to hold electronics, books, etc as well as a purse for me.
Here’s what I was able to get into the Aeronaut (this does not include what we we were wearing on our person):
Three pairs of jeans (two for me, one for TheHusband)
Two hoodies (one for me, one for TheHusband)
Four pairs of underwear each
2 pairs of socks (me)
One pair of shoes (me)
Pajama bottoms (me)
Button down (me)
Eight t-shirts (roughly half for each)
When all was said and done, we had enough clothes between the two of us to mix/match for five or six days and with toiletries to boot. Back when I had long hair, the number of actual toiletries to bring was significantly less than what I carry with me now, which of course makes packing problematic when flying. For my trip to California, I bought solid shampoo, body soap, and lotion to open up some space in my quart bag. It never dawned on me to go solids for a lot of my beauty care, which is actually pretty brilliant since they do not count towards the 3-1-1 rule.
My biggest problem with toiletries is getting the right bottles/jars for the job as sometimes the products marked for travel are too bulky. For example, my regular sized bottle of make-up remover is 2 liquid oz while not technically travel sized is under the 3 oz rule, but I’ll use maybe 1/4 of an oz during the course of one week, so why drag the entire, ill shaped bottle with me? Same with body lotions and other goops. As we don’t have a Container Store in my vicinity, I searched through dollar stores, Target, and other like stores for purchasing various sized travel bottles and jars in small quantity for my trips. As I couldn’t find anything under 3 liquid ozs or at least a variety of sizes under 3 ozs, I went to the internets and found this: a travel bottle and jar set. As I require a lot of goops, creams, and potions to maintain the lifestyle I’m currently living, getting this set will allow me to get more bang out of my space. Experiments with using only one type of lotion for everything or going without something has proven I don’t do well when missing beloved items.
In the accouterments area, I took my Air and my iPad on my most recent trip to Chicago, along with my 3DS, phone, journal, pen case, and a paper book. I also carried a purse with me which proved to be more hindrance than useful, and resorted to using a favorite clutch everywhere we went. The Air was overkill as I had thought I would be getting some work done at the hotel or on the train, but circumstances were not in my favor that weekend. While as a to-go machine, my iPad (along with its leather keyboard case) is pretty durable for doing some work but there are some things that do not translate well and that mainly has to do with how a lot of cloud services and websites handle rendering for a mobile device, even if it has a 10″ screen. But again, as I’ve done for other trips, I tend to over pack in this area with the thought I’ll do X,Y,Z and either do not make time for it or forget to do it or something else.
I’ll be doing a run through pack before my trip on Saturday, and I’ll report back on how that goes.