Luggage Preferences and Packing Light

I am looking for some luggage feedback. Any tips on luggage and packing light would be appreciated. I would like to know if anyone packs only a carry-on when flying to a sit of several weeks or longer and when traveling from a warm to a cold climate. How do you layer for these extremes? How many and what kind of shoes do you travel with? I remember someone saying they buy warm coats at a second hand store, then donate them when it’s time to leave the area. This is one idea. Also that it makes sense to wear your boots or heavy shoes when in transit to reduce the weight and leave more space in your suitcase.

I am also interested in the size of your carry-on bag, being that size requirements vary between airlines. Is there a particular size that you have found is pretty much universally accepted? Do you like a soft-sided, hard-sided, expandable, backpack or other type of bag?

In the past I have flown with a personal item (handbag/tote bag type thing) and a checked bag, but of course it would be easier with only a personal item and a carry-on.

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I spent 8 years traveling full time out of an osprey talon 44. i also avoided temperature extremes. i could get down to about 32/0 before it got really bad and i had to buy more stuff. but i’ve definitely done the buy a coat and donate it thing. i’ve also borrowed from the HO (with their advanced permission) when I was heading somewhere colder than normal just for a sit. i never had size issues. i prefer a backpack to a roller because i’m mostly in europe and i find that with streets and stairs, europe is a pain for roller bags.


How heavy was your packed Osprey Talon 44? I assume you had to check it?

Great question and you will probably get an assortment of answers but having traveled A LOT my research :joy: now has proven that all I need is a backpack, started with a rucksack and now have a super cool functional 30L Osprey. In the beginning I also had a larger hard case, downsized to a 24inch swivel wheeled hard case carry on because it was just more practical for flights (used one for almost two years in Europe) but they also have drawbacks.
Europe and the UK have a lot of stairs, steps, cobble stones, narrow streets and travel is mostly by public means (buses, underground, trains) which is cumbersome unless of course you drive. The hard cases also get damaged pretty badly, they crack open and wheels fall off.
So long story, backpack is what is going with me next adventure abroad. This will be the lightest I have ever traveled.
I have gotten lots of great things in thrift stores. Really nice things too as they are really everywhere. Then I just drop it off when it is no longer needed.


AND (you know I love to talk, cats don’t say much) you will have so much fun shopping and discovering new things! LIke Toothpaste called Candida.
Beautiful clothes, underwear :laughing:
It’s Europe!
It’s part of the adventure, the discovery of the new and stuff you just can’t find here.


I use the 4x4 wardrobe template. Search on Pinterest and you will find it.

In addition I have a bathing suit and a workout outfit. I have a rain jacket I can layer with my merino wool sweater. We try not to go anywhere that is tool cold.

I have 3 pair of shoes…running shoes, flip flops (looking to replace these with something a little more practical) and a pair of allbird wool sneakers.

I haven’t flown since pairing down but everything easily fits in my osprey Fairview 50l.


@CreatureCuddler , @Amparo and @steplinn , these are great tips. Thank you. I have a backpack – an REI Venus 75 that is a few years old. It’s similar to the Ospreys but weighs about 1.5 -2 lbs more. Some of the Ospreys have a zip-off day pack. After you check the backpack, do you detach this and take it as your personal item onto the plane? Or do you have an additional handbag, day pack or tote that you take? @Amparo , is your Osprey 30L a carry-on?

My Osprey is a carry on. I don’t have a day pack just a very old waist pack that’s super light and has two zippered pockets where I keep passport, phone, cards and such. It’s made of parachute material. Really sturdy and waterproof.
I stopped using a handbag years ago.
I also always take my trekking poles as carry on.
I have learned to ask myself do I need this or can I get it there? Usually I find fun better stuff or as mentioned by others you will encounter kindness when and where you least expect it.


Yep I got water shoes now. Super sturdy, light and comfortable.
Got a poncho, just a few wash and wear outfits.
@mars also don’t carry bottles of things. Vitamins and toiletries you can pick up as needed as you go. I also take things out of their original packaging and put into small zip bags.
The exchange rate is not the best but you get more for less.

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no, i don’t check my bag unless forced. most ariline don’t weigh. for those that do, i have a scottevest that i shove all of my heavy stuff into and drape over my arm during checkin. then i shove it back in the pack and carry it all on.


75l is huge. i started with something that big. i got sick of it quickly and wanted to be completely carryon only so i ditched it and got the smaller bag.

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I travel full time with an Osprey Talon 30. It easily goes as carry on, while my husband’s Stratos 36 can be touch and go.
I’ve given up wearing jeans as they’re just too big to justify packing them and now use yoga-type tights. A couple of long-ish T-shirts (for modesty), several pairs of undies, my toothbrush and laptop, and I’m good to go. I also belong to the buy what I need in a second hand shop and donate it later camp. My passport, phone and wallet live in a bum bag around my waist.


This year is 6 months in a suit case. Some good and some very cold ,Calgary. I am CA & FL based. I don’t need anything warm.
You need 1 piece cashmere, it is for life. All bird wool shoes and 1 pair of water proof cheap plastic boots. I bought it from Target , will not come back to US.7$ on sale. 1 size bigger, in very cold weather, you can wear 2 pair of sucks, because you are not carrying thick, heavy pants.
Thrift stores, absolutely. Several cities have Saturday or Sunday Farmers Market . They sale clothes. Last week in Milan , i bought 1 euro , very warm scarf. And another euro hat.
I have been using a 21 inch from e bags, 2 wheels since 2015. Traveled half of the world, did a lot of Europe cobblestone, absolutely nothing happened. I am waiting, because I am surprised. IT has the most light carryons. Worth look in it.
1 good duffel coat that is packable in a bag. Lifetime investment, as they are expensive. EVery country has stores like our dollar store. Do not carry any shampoo, toothpaste or easy to find beauty products.
Backpack or handbag or tote that can be in several sizes. You unzip and gets bigger, or smaller.
Good luck. I would like to hear more ideas.


My kids have packable down jackets from Mac in a Sac and I have the sleeveless gilet version. They pack down into a little bag small enough to put in a pocket. Might be a good option for those needing a warm layer that doesn’t take up much space.


Another vote for Mac in a sac.

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I also highly recommend cargo pants. I gave up jeans and wear these almost all the time.
Some even pass for dressier occasions. I buy the nylon ones. They pack very small, repel water, wash and dry in no time with no wrinkles — the perfect travel attire. I like Eddie Bauer’s Voyager, Horizon and Incline pants. I often don’t need to carry any other bag, although I may use a cross body bag for a water bottle, head lamp, etc.

@mars I love the EB Guide Pro pants. I bought them in red a few months ago and wear them so much that I want other colors.

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I lost my luggage a few years ago on a vacation and surprisingly I wasn’t phased by it. I went out and bought a few basic essentials to see me through. Since then I only pack a carry-on. I like going to hot climates and I only bring really light, drip dry clothes., light rain jacket. I wear jeans and a fleecy hoodie on the plane. I bring a couple of dresses, flip flops, dressy flats and sneakers. Sometimes I don’t even wear everything I bring. I have a soft side carry-on with a couple of compartments. We’ve done a couple of house sits in cooler climates followed by a vacation in a warmer climate but the house sits have had laundry facilities so that certainly helps and can pack a bit more.


I think I’m going to go with an Osprey Fairview 40 s/m backpack. Am probably going to order it in black so it doesn’t show the dirt. I’d be interested in any opinions out there.

Are there any recommendations of brands of packing cubes that have good, strong zippers, don’t stretch out of shape or tear and can withstand dryer heat?

And any recommendations of toiletry bags that fold flat and have compartments that separate your items so you can hang the bag up and be able to find everything? Or any other types of efficient, light-weight toiletry bags?

We both have 40L backpacks. I have two pairs of shoes and I also need at least two outfits (jeans, sweaters), so I can both get out in the mud with the dogs and still look presentable. Still my clothes do get ruined quite quickly with all the animal interaction, so I only buy second hand (and give them back when I don’t need them anymore or give to a homeless person). The biggest obstacle for us is food: we never quite manage to eat everything before we leave and also don’t want to buy the basics (like oil and salt) again and again. PS: We mostly travel in temperate climates. We use thermal underwear (upper and lower body), usually a thick jacket is not needed. Still: my two sweaters, two jeans and two pair of shoes take up some space that might not be necessary for everyone.

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