The measurements after compression
The measurements after compressing a fully packed Osprey Porter 30 backpack (20 x 13 x 8)

My second carry-on challenge of the year is here. As I mentioned in a previous post, my goal is to pack for a four-day trip with one bag which can fit under an airline seat. I’m tempted to say that it can’t be done and that light packing is best left to the youngsters who don’t need a lot of products to look presentable. (If I throw on a tee shirt, jeans, and ponytail and go out without makeup or accessories, I look nothing short of haggardly.) I originally wanted to challenge myself to do this because I had a layover with a very tight connection. I didn’t want to have to worry about gate-checking my bag because all of the overhead space was taken by the time we got to the gate. I know from personal experience that not all gate-checked bags make it to their destination. As luck would have it, the airline changed our flight times, providing us with a less anxiety-producing itinerary. Since we get zone 1 boarding, getting an overhead space shouldn’t be a problem. By this time, however, I had already ordered the smaller Osprey Porter 30 and had begun to study the lifestyles of people who travel for a long period of time with little luggage. I’ve been so obsessed with the one-bag lifestyle that my teenaged daughter now cringes when I say, “Come see this video.” She, by the way, is quite good at shoving 3 months worth of clothes in a tote bag. There is no rhyme, reason, or organization to her packing, and she’s not particularly interested in refining her technique, so I’ve been left to watch the videos alone. Below are a couple of videos which I’ve found to be very helpful. I’m a very visual person, so it was helpful for me to see just what people have been able to fit into their packs.

  • Watch Brittany Taylor‘s sister turn her 28-liter pack into a clown car.  If you are short on time, skip ahead to the 4-minute mark to see everything that was in the bag. Then watch her repack everything. I’ve watched this video a lot because it is so inspiring.
  • This video by MrIWillFly There shows how he was able to use the Osprey Porter 46 as a personal item on Spirit Airlines. I love that this video shows the pack inside the airport bag sizer. Although his bag is not even half full, you can still tell that it would work as long as it’s not stuffed.

What’s In My Bag??

Here is what I’m taking on my trip. The only things that are missing are a small tube of toothpaste, contact lens gear, snacks, sunglasses,and my cell phone. Keep in mind that just 3 months ago, I was celebrating the fact that I completed a  four-day trip with the Tortuga 44 liter backpack.

Two pairs of travel pants: one dressy, one casual
Two pairs of travel pants: one dressy, one casual

I debated about buying travel-specific pants. I finally decided that none of my current pants (other than my gym pants) would qualify as wrinkle-resistant, fast-drying, and/or sweat wicking, so I splurged on a pair of Slim-Sations (which will be essential for an upcoming business trip when I need to look polished) and Rei’s Sahara roll-up pants. I’ve worn the Slim-Sations and can attest to their comfort and flattering fit. I had to size up for the Sahara pants because they were not designed for muscular legs or curves of any kind. I will wear the Saharas while traveling.

Two blouses, two tanks, and a thin wrap will give me some variety.
Two blouses, two tanks, and a thin wrap will give me some variety.

Since the Sahara pants are somewhat grayish-black, they will work with a blue palatte. All of the tops can be dressed up or down. I opted not to buy travel tops because of budget constraints. None of these will dry quickly, so I packed enough to avoid having to wash them. For travel I will wear the blue and white striped top and have the wrap in easily accessible in my pack.

Undergarments and sleepwear
Undergarments and sleepwear

In the small packing cube I have 2 pairs of very travel-friendly sports panties, one bra, a night gown, one pair of boxers, a pair of compression socks, and a tube bra (to go over my regular bra and provide modesty with the tank tops).

Accessories
Accessories

Here I have one infinity scarf, one sarong, three pairs of earrings, one necklace and wrist full of bangles. The scarves are probably redundant but I had space to spare.

Boho Bandeaus
Boho Bandeaus

These stretchy bands by Natural Life can serve as head covers, head bands, tube tops, head wraps and more. They pack down to practically nothing.

I'm taking two of the three
I’m taking two of the three

I decided on the cross trainers because we’ll be doing a lot of sight seeing and the Oofos because I can wear them out or as shower shoes. I love the slides, though as they dress up outfits nicely and don’t take up much space.

Dry toiletries
Dry toiletries

One of my favorite deodorants is Funk Butter by Oyin Handmade. See my review here. Also included is:

  • an organic body balm which can also be used as a facial night cream by RachelMade. (Her Shea Lotion Bars are incredible too.)
  • Den Tek-Scrubs
  • mini jar of Body Glide (which I’ll only need if I buy a new skirt because big muscles = thigh rub)
  • a snack size baggie of body/face wipes which I will use in place of the ones below
The other stuff
The other stuff

Above is my day bag/personal item which will be inside the backpack, passports in RDIF protection covers (for likely drive into Canada), Kindle, body and face balm by RachelMade, homemade mini roll of duct tape, first aid kit in Public container, pill organizer (for vitamins, Motrin, and Dramamine), tissues, face/body wipes, wallet, toothbrush, wet wipes, wristlet purse, baggie of liquids, nylon bag to separate dirty clothes, fully stocked makeup bag, poncho, camera and phone chargers, and camera.

The view of layer one.
The view of layer one.

The clothes are in the larger cube. Undergarments and sleepwear are in the smaller. To the left is a pouch for emergency girl-stuff.

Everything's in
Everything’s in

This is everything except the liquids which are in the top pocket and the chargers, duct tape and first aid kit which are in the front pocket.

THE FINAL RESULT:

The measurements after compression
The depth after compression. The length can be shortened via squishing.

I do believe this will fit under the seat!

Just for kicks, I decided to see how much shopping I’d be able to do during my trip. I wanted to see how much would fit into my cloth tote:

EVERYTHING
EVERYTHING

Everything above fit!! It would be a very uncomfortable journey to carry 14 lbs of stuff in a cloth tote, but it’s good to know that I can do a little shopping and still not check a bag. Of course if I fill up my tote, I’ll have to put the backpack in the overhead bin. Nonetheless, I will have come a very long way. This old dog has learned some new tricks from the youngsters. I am grateful that I am able to keep my mind open to learning new things, and I am ready to enjoy this season of travel.

Advertisements