Travel Lean and Light

How to pack leaner and better?

There are various reasons to pack lean. We all do it automatically or to the best of our knowledge, skill and ability in order to save space and weight. Personally, I am the same but contrary to most objectives of bringing less, I pack excruciatingly lean in order to be able to bring more.

As much as we agree with every logical packing expert and blogs out there saying that less is more and not to bring too many “what ifs”, some of us love choices and options. Even as a strict single-bag traveller, we want to bring our “whole house” and comforts with us whether we’re on a long weekend or a month’s trip.

An important note to consider when packing lean is never to compromise on quality. Naturally, the definition of quality is to each their own, and different individuals will go to different lengths. However, travelling lean and light introduces the concept of lean packing and tips as opposed to just a checklist. Use our full upcoming comprehensive packing checklist to create your own personalised list.

So, here is a huge compilation of lean packing thinking and tips from the LeanPac team, whether we want to bring less, travel light or make space to bring more. Feel free to contribute and add to our ever-growing list.

Food for Thought: The Parkinson’s Law applied to travel packing: the contents of your bag expand to fill the available space!

General Tips

  • Always arm yourself and work with a standard packing checklist.
  • Aim and learn to travel with only one bag, this restricts the amount you can carry and challenges your thinking about what really is necessary.
  • You can ‘de-materialize’ certain objects by replacing them with apps on your phone. The obvious example is the camera, but also think of the travel guide book, maps, the moleskin, books, magazines, etc
  • Large top loading only bags are not recommended due to access issues and the risk of smaller items landing at the bottom to be forgotten. Check out our JamPac, a backpack/holdall with multiple access points.
  • Heavier items should be placed at the bottom of your suitcase, giving it a lower centre of gravity making it stabler and less likely to topple.
  • Avoid folding garment bags as they don’t naturally fit in overhead compartments and closet space is very limited, unless you are flying first class
  • Pack a small outlet extender, one that makes one outlet turn into many with USB charge ports. This eliminates the need for extra plugs and chargers (and then you can just bring the USB cords and not all the cumbersome plugs).
  • Bring a large Ziploc bag of snacks in your carry-on. Choose items that will keep happy for a couple of hours. If avoiding plastic, use the versatile detachable HangPac pockets.
  • Go through your packing list or lay out everything you plan to take on your bed or the floor. With every item, ask yourself why you’re bringing it. If you start with the words ‘what if,’ or you only plan to use it once during an extended trip, it may not be a necessity.
  • Use travel organisers to keep track of your packings. Theme them to make it easier to find things.
  • If your bag feels heavy while you are carrying it out of your house, then you probably have too much stuff. It gets heavier!
  • Surprisingly, an indispensable item for multi season travels – the travel umbrella.