As briefly mentioned in my Tech and Travel Gadgets post, my packing aim for this trip is to go carry-on luggage only. Having done previous backpacking trips in Europe, I know that there is just no substitute for roaming around with as little weight as possible on your back. If I thought two weeks with my luggage on my back was bad, what would three months be like? I knew that I had to keep my pack as light and as small as possible.
I then thought, why not go a step further and limit myself to carry-on luggage only?
Having a fixed goal in mind definitely helped during the packing process as one does have to be quite ruthless when space and weight is so precious. The limitations on liquids was tough, and it meant cutting out about half of the moisturising products I tend to put on my face and body daily (but it had to be done!). 😛 I’ll have to buy some toiletries along the way which, I’m guessing, will be annoyingly expensive in New Zealand, but I have no choice. The saving I make off my back will be worth the additional money spent.
Here’s the list of backpacks and ancillary items I’ll be using to help keep things organised.
- Osprey Kestrel 38 – main backpack which I’ve used twice before on the road without problems
- 3 medium sized eBags packing cubes – to ensure things stay organised in my backpack. Bonus points: obtained free through Amazon gift vouchers from my credit card company.
- Nike bag – I’ve had this trusty bag for about 10 years and will be relying on it as my daypack. If I had to estimate it’s volume, I’d say about 15-20 litres.
- Tumi toiletries bag – used to store small items and non-liquids. Bonus points: obtained free from one of my previous flights.
- Molton Brown clear plastic case – used to store all liquids for ease of airport security inspection. Bonus points: obtained free when I joined a previous gym.
The Carry On Luggage Packing List
I practised packing 3 times to get this list right. What will probably happen is that I’ll find I’ve packed for the wrong season once I’m actually in Australia / NZ (or something else equally ridiculous). For now however, this is my definitive carry on luggage packing list…
Cube 1: Electronics, documents and other miscellaneous items
- Macbook Air + charger
- Hard disk + USB cable (to double as Kindle charger)
- Folder of important documents
- New Zealand guidebook
- Camera charger
- Laundry net
- Stack of cotton pads
- Water To Go filtration bottle
- iPhone charger (not pictured)
- Camera USB link / SD card reader (to buy as the one I ordered online didn’t arrive in time)
Cube 2: Sports clothes, camera and smalls
- Microfibre towel
- Camera with 20mm prime lens + alternative lens (14-42mm)
- Sports bra
- Two Lululemon racerback running tops*
- Lululemon running tights*
- 2XU long-sleeved thermal running top*
- 1 pair of day socks
- 1 pair of night socks
* Running specific apparel to also be worn day-to-day as necessary. Quick-dry and anti-smell / bacteria properties should help keep things hygienic.
Cube 3: Everyday clothes, small items and sweets
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 pair of beach shorts (quick dry)
- 1 pair of loose 3/4 yoga pants (can be used for sleeping or walking around)
- Black tank top (quick dry)
- 2 white cotton tops (one to be worn to the airport)
- 1 pink sleeveless top (need one item with SOME colour!)
- 1 3/4 sleeve blue and white top
- Tumi bag filled with bits and bobs including toothbrush, ear plugs, dental floss, universal adaptor, solid shampoo, nail cutter, cotton buds, medication, hair ties, etc.
- Percy Pigs & Friends sweets (present for Bron)
Liquid toiletries bag
You can see most of what I brought in the photo, but to sum up.
- Riemann P20 sunscreen
- Travel wash for laundry
- Travel size conditioner
- Travel size face moisturiser
- Travel size toothpaste
- Travel size face wash
- Travel size body moisturiser
- Travel size face toner
- Small pot of anti-itch cream
- Antiseptic cream
The one thing that’s missing is insect repellent. I had originally packed in a travel size Jungle Formula bottle in there, but the darn thing leaked and I took it out as I didn’t want a repeat. A good example of why practice runs are important!
Also going into my backpack will be a pair of Nike Free running shoes and a pair of Havaianas flip flops. For security, I’ve got a cable lock with a combination code and a separate small combination lock.
What I will be wearing to the airport (apart from the white cotton shirt already mentioned above):
- 1 pair of grey jeans (stretchy for comfort :))
- Waterproof and windproof shell jacket
- Light fleece coat
- Black and white scarf (large enough to wrap around me)
- Toms shoes in black
- Oakley sunglasses
Everything slots neatly into place within my Osprey backpack, however the final weight comes to about 11.2kg, which is clearly way above the 7kg limit on a lot of airlines. I was never going to hit 7kg so I’m not too bothered about this. Airlines also don’t tend to weigh carry-on luggage, especially if the dimensions look reasonable and the person is able to carry it on their back, so HOPEFULLY this will not cause any problems for me.
As a side note, I had been trying to hit a target weight of 10kg, but 11-ish kg will do. I already know that the total weight will drop by about 0.6kg when I pass the Percy Pigs onto Bron in Melbourne, and should keep falling as I continuously get rid of papers and use up my disposable goods along the way.
What I’m more worried about is the height of my backpack when filled, which is longer than a number of the guideline specifications for carry on luggage from the various airlines I’ll be flying with. Having browsed through the internet forums on carry on luggage and experience with the use of my backpack model specifically, it seems that travellers having gotten on board successfully with the Kestrel 38, without much problems. Keep your fingers crossed for me!