Keep calm and don’t carry-on

Tips for packing for travel


I don’t get it, this travel-only-with-carry-on trend.

Sure, it sounds like an easy way to travel – but the number of people I’ve watched (on every flight) struggle through an airport dragging a carry-on suitcase, plus handbag, plus day pack plus duty-free shopping bag (and then trying to squeeze carry-on suitcase plus handbag plus day pack plus duty-free shopping bag into the overhead compartment) makes me wonder what the point actually is. To save 10 minutes at the luggage carousal?

Packing smart – now that’s something that resonates with me.

For almost three years I’ve lived, worked and played from the contents of my kitbag. Along the way I’ve bought a few things that proved pointless, and found others that I can’t live without. And I’ve learnt a lot from Mark, whose clothes take up less than one-third of his kitbag (the other two-thirds? His hammock, ukulele and his adapter case).

Space and weight are the two most important factors when it comes to choosing what to pack, but there are other tricks and tips to help you pack smart. These are the five rules I pack by:

1/ The scrunch test

Does the fabric crease when you scrunch it in your hand? If so, ditch it.

2/ The roll test

How big is the garment when you roll* it up? Is it versatile enough to justify the space it will take up in your kitbag?

* Rolling your clothes means fewer creases and the garments take up less space. Rolling your clothes around something fragile is a good way to protect it.

3/ Does it mix and match?

When you’re limited to a few pieces of clothing, it really helps to be able to wear clothes in different ways and combinations.

See the pic at the top of the post? You’re looking at three bottoms, three tops, one dress and a scarf. So that’s 10 outfits right there, before you add the scarf and wear the clothes in layers.

4/ Will the colour run?

When you’re on the road you usually won’t have any say in how your laundry is done. Whites, colours and darks are often washed together, so be sure you pack clothes that are colour-fast. Or pack a small bag of laundry soap and wash a garment yourself.

5/ How strong is the fabric?

Will the garment stand up to being stored in your kitbag for days on end? Will it endure being washed on regular machine cycle?


Looking for more packing tips? We’ve got loads! Take a look here.

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