Packing lighter for travel

or “I regret ever ounce I am carrying. I think this is working correctly.”

On my most recent trip, I decided to carry hand luggage only. Specifically, bags that have no wheels. And to limit it even more, when I left, I was only carrying one bag.

Within a day, I regretted packing all this stuff. I’m choosing to use this as a learning experience.

On this trip, I packed the following ‘gadgetry’:

  • Laptop (usb-c)
  • Tablet with keyboard (usb-c)
  • Kindle (micro-usb)
  • Cell Phone (usb-c)
  • Backup Cellphone (usb-c)
  • Laptop Charger (usb-c)
  • Two port phone charger (usb-c)
  • Cabling to connect all of the devices to both chargers and other devices

What I should have packed:

  • Laptop (usb-c)
  • Cell Phone (usb-c)
  • Backup Cell Phone (usb-c)
  • 2 Laptop chargers (usb-c)
  • cables to connect laptop to phones (usb A to C)

The tablet and kindle have been entirely unneeded. The kindle has been light enough, but the tablet is heavy. Ultrabook laptop heavy. In addition, the cabling to both charge and connect these devices is heavy. Finally, the two port phone charger is entirely redundant, and does not charge the laptop while it’s being used, only while the laptop is sleeping or off.

The laptop charger is capable of charging the phones and the laptop. At night, the single charger can charge the laptop and the phone through the laptop.

The only time the tablet and keyboard for the tablet become viable is if you are using it as a complete replacement to the laptop. I expect I can make this a reality eventually, but not right now.


An astute reader may have noted that I have a backup cell phone listed above. The core element of packing light that I need to get my head around is that your backup is money. The vast majority of problems you encounter can be solved with money. This is, to say the least, uncomfortable for me. I carry a backup cell phone because I can’t walk into any store and get a replacement Google Fi device. I can, however, carry a spare cell phone with me that I can bring online with Google Fi rapidly.

Having a large number of devices that charge on USB-C makes the backup charging problem easier. If I just carried two laptop chargers, everything can charge off of them, and I don’t have to worry about one of them breaking at an unexpected time. I’ve seen good reviews regarding Dart but those appear to be unobtainable right now.

On the contingency front, I need less clothing than I think. I have at least 2 too many shirts with me, and too many pairs of boots. You need one pair of good boots. That’s it. Also, learn to dress and operate in layers, rather than alternate clothing. Two t-shirts is easier and more versatile than an t-shirt and a flannel shirt.

Just one notebook is enough. I like notebooks that can also double as file folders to protect papers, something hard backed, that way it’s one less item to carry.

I went uncomfortably light packing this trip, and I think I can make it even more uncomfortably light, and enjoy the results, with just a little more work. Better planning next trip, I suppose.