How To Pack Carry-on Style for a Backpacking Trip

by Alexandra Jimenez

Earlier this year I wrote a post on how to travel with one carry-on. By carry-on, I am referring to a rolling bag, not a backpack, which could also be carried on. I’m a “carry-on” kind of girl. However, realizing that not everyone is, I am pleased to post this article written by Alexandra Jimenez of the blog, Travel Fashion Girl.

As a long term backpacker, I didn’t think it was possible to travel for extended periods of time using a carry-on size bag. However, due to airline restrictions, weight, and comfort, I decided I was ready for a challenge. The result: I absolutely love my new compact travel style!

I found that because I wanted to downsize my backpack, my packing had to be more strategic. To maximize the space within your bag, here are a few tips that will help you keep organized and pack light.

Choose Appropriate Clothing

Many times travelers are stumped when traveling to varying climates. It’s hard to pack efficiently when your travels take you from the snow, then to the beach. If your destinations are drastically different in weather, pack for the first season upon departure and then switch out clothing when you arrive at the region with different weather. You can usually buy anything you need locally, including bathing suits or winter jackets. When transitioning between weather systems you can layer (or unlayer) your clothing as needed.

Packing tip: if you’re going to a hot climate first and then a cold climate, leave space in your backpack for additional warm clothing you may need to buy.

Plan Outfits in Advance

Minimalist packing requires extra planning including laying out your travel outfits in advance. When you challenge yourself to pack fewer items you’ll find that as long as you pack the right things, you won’t miss unnecessary clutter. By sticking to quality fabrics in basic, classic cuts; you can easily maintain a stylish and even sophisticated look by investing in key pieces.

If you pack ultra-light and take only a handful of items, they need to work well together and share the same color palette. If you pack ten clothing pieces (which is a good average for many backpackers) mix and match at home to see what works and what doesn’t.

By reviewing your clothing choices prior to departure, you’ll avoid packing things you can’t use and you’ll also realize how little you really need to make a variety of creative travel outfits.

Organizational Tools

Just as with suitcases there are methods and tools that help simplify your life living out of a backpack. One of the most essential items is the backpack itself. Most carry on size backpacks can range between 35L and 50L. Avoid top loader bags and select a backpack that unzips fully open – like a suitcase. The open space allows you to choose the best “Tetris” strategy to pack your belongings.

Make the most of your space with packing cubes and organizers. Depending on the shape, size, and weight of your clothes you may prefer clothing sleeves or stuff sacks instead of packing cubes.

Whether you travel for the weekend in a suitcase or a round the world trip with a backpack, with a little bit of effort, traveling carry on is easier than you think!

Author Bio
Originally from Los Angeles, Alex has been traveling around the world since 2008. Thirty-six countries and six continents later, she’s travelled as a tourist, a backpacker, and a vagabond. Learn how to travel stylishly and practically on her website Travel Fashion Girl. Twitter: @TravlFashnGirl

Osprey Backpack 1 - Travel Fashion Girl

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