My entire luggage for sightseeing, a cocktail party, a formal, the gym, and the hot tub.

My latest light- packing challenge was to pack for a four-day trip in San Juan, Puerto Rico during which I needed clothes for a poolside cocktail party, formal dinner, sightseeing, workout, and  soaking in a hot tub.

I am thrilled to say that I had everything I needed (and a couple of things that I didn’t) fit in a 28-liter bag, and I had space for souvenirs. This was a tough challenge because the clothes for the formal dinner were single-use items. Had the dinner not been on the last night, I might have been able to get more than one use out of them, but for obvious reasons I did not want to wear them beforehand.

Although this was a business-related trip, this same packing list would work for a destination wedding, subbing the poolside party attire for a rehearsal dinner attire and the formal dinner outfit for wedding formals.

For my luggage, I carried the 28-liter Deuter Act Trail backpack. My first choice was my beloved Tortuga, but since it was commandeered by my daughter for a separate trip and because I wanted to lighten my load, I went with the Deuter. My second choice was the Rei Trail 40, but not only did it not seem to have much more space, it also was bulky due to lack of compression.

For my personal item, I carried a gym duffle bag by Sak Roots. It held snacks, entertainment, electronics, and comfort items.


For travel, I wore a pair of REI Sahara pants which have become my go-to pants for just about everything- especially travel. These were paired with a cotton top and hoodie.

For the poolside dinner I wore a silk wrap around skirt purchased in Savannah with a tank top and a pair of Oofos.


I packed necessities like underwear, compression socks and pajamas in a separate packing cube. The tank top could double as a shell under a top or a pajama top. The shorts were for pajamas or for lounging. The underwear were sports panties which are very comfortable and dry in no time. I packed a small robe which was unnecessary because the hotel supplied bathrobes.


The next day was a free day, so we did some sightseeing in Old San Juan. The Sahara pants are convertible, but I wore them long. A tank top and sun hat completed the comfortable outfit.




That night we had dinner at a beachfront restaurant with the most delicious bar food I’ve ever had. I wore the same skirt as I wore to the cocktail party with a tee instead of a shell. Prior to that I made use of the hotel gym (in old workout clothes that I left behind) and enjoyed a few minutes in the hot tub.



The next day was spent with more sightseeing. That night was the big event.



The downside to a short vacation which involved walking, water, and formalwear was that I had to bring 3 pairs of shoes. I wore my Inov-8 shoes which made perfect walking shoes and, of course, gym shoes.


Sunday was the day to leave the calm and beauty of Puerto Rico and return home.


As you can see, I had plenty to wear. I also had space in my backpack for the inevitable souvenir shopping.



Here’s my baggie of liquids, filled to the brim:


Other stuff I fit into my backpack:

  • emergency kit
  • disinfecting wipes
  • bathroom wipes
  • makeup bag
  • toiletries
  • camera
  • eyeglasses
  • sunglasses
  • mesh bath sponge
  • chargers for the camera and phone
  • extra camera batteries
  • Klean Kanteen water bottle
  • disposable washcloths
  • feminine products
  • jewelry
  • cloth tote bag
  • waist purse
  • wristlet for the formal
  • disposable rain poncho
  • over-the-counter medications in a pill organizer
  • wrist wallet


Next time, I’m going even lighter. Hello, Tom Bihn!