Minimalist Travel: How to Pack for All Four Seasons in One Carry-On

Minimalist Travel: How to Pack for All Four Seasons in One Carry-On

Written by Justin Fricke on

Justin traded in his cushy desk job for a life on the road. He's spending a full year living in a converted Sprinter Van with his brother while they climb, surf, and explore all 50 states in one year. Follow his blog, The Weekend Warrior, where he keeps tabs on their adventures. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.

Minimalist Travel: How to Pack for All Four Seasons in One Carry-On


Packing for a big trip can be strenuous. You need to have at least a rough outline of your travels what you plan to do, but that doesn’t leave too much room for spontaneity. Packing half your closet, just in case, is one strategy — but airline fees are too high for that. Our suggestion? Downsize to a small, carry-on bag—even if you’re going to a country where you could experience all four seasons in one day, like Ecuador. It’s possible, we promise! Here’s how to keep your load light and your costs down.

Luggage: First, you’re going to need a solid bag. Pick something that suits your style and fits your trip needs. A great option is the EC Lync Carryon convertible wheeled backpack. It’s so versatile that you can use it as a duffle or a backpack, and expand it to fit a little extra inside.

Shoes: Next, you need to take care of your feet. Shoes take up some of the most room, so you want to be strategic here. For everyday wear, pack a (super comfortable) pair of shoes that works on the trails and in the city. For guys, we suggest The North Face’s Ultra Fast Pack; for the ladies, we The North Face’s Ultra Fast Pack II. If you’re bringing more than one pair of shoes — we suggest a pair of sandals or dress shoes for city excursions— pack the extra pair in the Shoe Sac; your muddy shoes shouldn’t dirty up your clean clothes.

Clothes: Pack comfortable and versatile items, like a breathable button-down shirt or a base layer tee. Dress these up or down with key accessories, and pack several to layer when it’s chilly. Pack versatile pants — yes, even the kind that zip off into shorts — and a waterproof and warm jacket. Pro tip: If you run out of room in your carry-on for a jacket, slide it through one of the loops on your backpack. Fold your clothes neatly, and wrinkle-free, into the Garment Folder Medium. Let all your shirts and shorts (or pants) lie flat in the Garment Folder, so they take up less space.

Toiletries: Throw all your toiletries in the Wallaby, a part of the Eagle Creek Pack-It™ family; the system makes it ridiculously easy to organize your carry-on. Stick to travel-sized items of essentials, even if your trip is long. After all, you can always stock up at local stores and pharmacies.

Accessories: Although you shouldn’t pack your finest jewelry on a big trip, there are some smaller items that can make a big difference in your wardrobe. For men, that might mean a belt or a stylish watch. For women, a pretty pashmina or a bold necklace can spruce up an otherwise plain outfit. Use the Pack-It™ Sacs to stash those easy-to-lose items— and throw your socks, underwear, and phone cords in Packing Cubes.

Want more Eagle Creek packing tips? We’ve got you covered - here.