March 4th, 2015

8 Easy Tips for Traveling Lighter

8 Easy Tips for Traveling Lighter

At Eagle Creek, we've been obsessed with making lighter and lighter bags since the day we opened our doors. We're all travelers here. We know the “joy” of sprinting from Gate A3 to Gate Q36 to make a connecting flight.

We know every inch, ounce and pound counts. After years of experience, we’ve learned a few things that help make traveling light easier.

1. The key to a great piece of gear is light as a feather but tough enough to handle security and bag handlers

One of our favorite bags for lightweight travel is the EC Adventure Upright 22. This bag checks in at an amazing 7lbs. 2oz. It's one of the lightest wheeled uprights in the world. But it's also one of the mightiest. It's built with 600D Poly Ripstop, 600D Helix™ Oxford, and 1260D Helix™ Ballistic. It has a rugged kick plate, and at 22 inches, meets most U.S. airline carry-on requirements.

2. Bulky clothes are heavy and take up too much room - two things to avoid at all costs

Leave the cable knit sweaters at home and instead pack layers of lightweight clothes. Color coordinate so you have multiple options and use accessories to jazz up your outfits. You'll ultimately stay warmer, have more choices, and save both space and weight inside your gear. Plus, by packing layers you’ll have more options and the flexibility to mix and match depending on the weather, occasion, and your ever-changing wardrobe preferences.

3. While it can be enticing to pack your bags as full as can be, it’s usually better to go lighter

Most U.S. airlines allow 40 pounds for a carry on bag and 50 pounds for a checked bag. Most airlines now have fees for a second bag, with the exception of a few, such as Southwest. It’s a good idea to check directly with your airline before heading to the airport. Like everything else about travel, the rules are much stricter now. And a lot of times, luggage is weighed at the check-in counter - and some airports even have bag "sizers." If you're over the limit, chances are you'll rack up some unexpected fees.

4. Embrace minimalism 

Think hard about whether or not you really need something before it gets a coveted space in your suitcase. Whatever you put in there has to be lugged everywhere you go. Yep, that's right, every step of the way you'll be feeling those extra three outfits you packed "just in case." When push comes to shove, usually people find they would rather enjoy their trip without having to lug heavy luggage around, and those couple of extra things don't tend to make the difference between a good trip and a bad trip. Plus, the less you bring, the more you can bring home!

But seriously, practically minimalism is also just a good exercise for most people. With life in perspective, you'll be able to focus on packing the things you truly need for traveling. 

8 Easy Tips for Traveling Lighter

5. Wear your heaviest shoes and clothing on the plane

If you need to have heavy hiking boots, tall riding boots, a super heavy jacket, or some other type of clothing likely to add considerable weight relative to other items you have with you, try to wear it on the plane. This means you'll still be able to get the stuff you need to your destination, you're just not adding the heavyweight items to your bag. Not only will this reduce the weight of your bag, but it will probably also free up more space for other stuff. Just remember, wearing big items does not give you a license to go crazy and add extra stuff. The goal is to bring only what you really need! 

6. Bring a packable bag

You'll feel pretty darn in-the-know with this trick, which allows you whip out a second bag if needed at your destination. A packable bag can help you redistribute weight or accommodate the few extra items you accrue as a trip goes on (such as souvenirs and mementos). The great part about having a packable bag is you can use it if you need it, but if you don't need to use it, it doesn't take up hardly any space in your bag. So basically, it's a win-win proposition! 

7. Use smart fabrics, like merino wool

Going somewhere cold and worried about staying warm and not simultaneously overloading your bag with winter gear? Try to find fabrics designed to keep you warm without adding the bulk. Merino wool is perfect, because it's lightweight and also won't make you too hot in warmer weather. Plus, added bonus: it won't get super smelly. However, for you folks who already have a propensity to push your gear to the smelly limits - this is not encouragement for pushing beyond socially acceptable boundaries of stink. If, however, you're independent, don't have a care in the world, and have no qualms about socially accepted stench levels, then go for it. We're not going to be the ones stopping you.

8. Leave high-maintenance clothing at home

If it isn't versatile, durable, lightweight, and wrinkle resistant, leave it at home. Most of the time, it's simply not worth it to add additional items that aren't going to be practical and require extra work. Sure, you're excited about a new piece of clothing and you may feel like making a statement, but is travel really the best time for that? Remember that this isn't choosing your wardrobe for the rest of your life. It's a temporary vacation from your usual routine, which usually includes clothing! Be a good sport and have fun with it. 

Your turn! What are your favorite tips for packing lighter? Share in the comments below! 

by Eagle Creek