One of the most stressful (and fun!) parts of getting ready for a
trip is the process of packing.
Hitting that sweet spot of having exactly what you need without going
overboard is a hard balance to hit, but it can be done. And done with
one, single bag. Once you enter the world of single bag travel, you’ll
never want to travel with more than one bag again.
Whether you’re heading out for a weekend or weeks
on end, you can pack for it all in just one bag. How do I know?
Because I once packed for a 56-day work trip halfway across the world
in one, single 19-inch duffel
bag—computer, snacks, clothes, shoes, medicine, the whole shebang.
1. Choose the right bag for your trip
First things first, you’re going to need to make sure you’re
starting with the right bag. Before you even think about size, you’re
going to want to think about how you’ll be using your bag once you get
where you are going.
uphill, navigating a bunch of stairs, or walking around lots? You’ll
be better off with a smaller, lighter bag like the Caldera
Travel Pack 45L, which has both backpack straps and a hip strap
(to take the load off your back).
Staying in one place and don’t plan on having to carry your bag
around much? Opt for something like the larger Global
Companion 65L. Just
heading out on a
? Then you can pack it
all in something small and easy like the
or the colorful
2. Embrace the art of a mix-and-match wardrobe and layering
Mixing, matching, and layering are your friends when onebagging.
While we all want to look our absolute best when we travel, you don’t
have to pack a suitcase
full of one-off outfits to get the job done. Choose clothes that are
easy to mix and match, like patterns with coordinated solids. Find
shirts that can easily go from day-to-night, outfits that are jazzed
up in a cinch with a stylish jacket or by swapping out travel
sneakers for dressier shoes. If your trip has multiple
temperatures—even better! Pack things that can be re-worn as
insulating underlayers, and a jacket or coat that can do double duty
in casual or more upscale situations. Plan to wear shoes that don’t
just look cool but are comfortable, too—and then get them their own shoe
packing cube so you’re not afraid to squish everything close in
your single bag.
3. Lay out your options and roll your clothes
Once you’ve nailed down your options, lay them out on the floor or
on the bed. Organize them by how you would wear them, grouping
together all of the pieces that go together so you can see how many
combinations you can get out of each item, after all, we over pack
because we want options. Make sure you have enough variety in your
options for the type of activities on your trip. Going camping?
You probably won’t miss the skirt. Have a fancy dinner reservation?
Make sure to pack those heels or dressy flats. Use the rolling method
to pack your single bag or suitcase. Love it or hate it, rolling
actually does save precious space.
4. Organize with packing cubes
Another space-saver (and lifesaver for one bag travel, if you ask
me) are packing
cubes. These are a great way to organize
the mix-and-match outfits you’ve created, either by tops and bottom or
combinations. There are many ways to effectively
use packing cubes for onebagging—by type of clothes or by
outfits. Using them is also a great way to take
stock of what you’re packing. Do you really need six bathing suits
for a weekend trip, or five pairs of jeans? Packing cubes are also
useful for packing non-clothing items like shoes, accessories,
and more—and you can even use them at home when you aren’t traveling.
5. Wait and buy some things when you get to your destination
A key tip for packing lighter and fitting everything into one bag is
knowing that you don’t have to bring everything with you. Some things
can be purchased at your destination, and depending where you are
going they might even be cheaper. Some examples include toiletries,
sunscreen, swimsuits, flip flops, shirts, and coverups.
6. Pack an empty day bag
One hack that not many people take advantage of is packing an empty,
bag or waist
bag into your main bag. This is especially helpful for anyone with
lots of stops, legs, or layovers in their travel journey. These are
great because you have the option to use them if you need them and
they don’t take up much space if you don’t. They’re also great to have
for outings, hikes, or bringing back any extra souvenirs you pick up
along the way.
7. Be realistic
Prioritizing what goes into your packing
cubes is the best way to slim down your suitcase. The number one
reason people bring bigger bags and more luggage than they need is
because they aren’t realistic about what they’ll actually need or use
on their trip. Trust us, it’s better to overuse than underuse. As
we’ve already discussed, if you need something in a pinch, chances are
it’ll be available wherever you are going, and yes, you can do
laundry on the road. Plus, anything you pick up also doubles as
a bonus souvenir! It’s a win-win.
Now that you’ve got all the tips to pack a small, lighter, single
bag trip, the challenge is on! See just how long you can travel out
. We dare you! At the very least, you’ll save on
Travel Pack 45L
Waist Pack M
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
Tips for Surviving Long Layovers
You Use a Duffel or a Suitcase?
to Pack an Under-the-Seat Bag