Tag Archives: packing light

Ultra-Light Packing: Liquids

How to Pack Liquids for Carry-On-Only Travel

I hate checking luggage. Between the bullshit fees and the chances of your bag ending up on a different continent, it’s just not worth the hassle. For many travelers, the deal-breaker for carry-on-only travel is liquids. You can only fit so much in that little plastic bag.

I’ve optimized my liquids for a two-week trip, as you can see in the pics below. The trick is to forget about the containers that your soap, hair gel, sunscreen, detergent, shaving cream, etc. came in, and use your own.

I use a Nalgene screw-top container for my face soap, and empty film canisters for moisturizer (I’m over 35) and hair gel. I use a Muji clear-plastic tube for shaving cream, and a 1.25 fl. oz. GoToob for sunscreen. The little blue Muji plastic vial is for extra-strength detergent, for the all-important sink-wash.

I also carry a sample-size bottle of hand sanitizer, a stain-stick, and some contact lens solution.

If my journey was for less than two weeks, or if there weren’t a mix of casual, semi-casual and business-ish events, the liquid set could be trimmed down even more. Indeed, normally I buy sunscreen at my destination and just leave it when I come home: this is my recommendation for ultra-light packing. However, sometimes you must break your own guidelines… I still have some awesome SPF30 from Australia that I love.

Film canisters are your best friends for packing liquids. Secure the lids with tape if you’re feeling squeamish about spills. You can see that I labeled the caps, since the contents look the same, and I have to accomodate for coming back after a late night/early morning.

Also, I realize that something like Castile soap could replace the toothpaste, face soap, and detergent if I really wanted.

Liquids ready for ultra-light packing

The bag, as you can see below, also has my razor and an extra blade, which I keep in a reused plastic tube that came with an old digital camera. Camera stuff repurposes really well. The toothbrush is from Trader Joes. I really dig their toothbrushes.

Plastic bag with liquids, razor, floss, and sense of adventure

Scott Hadfield has an amazingly spartan packing list, which is worth checking out as well.

What are your favorite carry-on liquid packing tips?

GoToob: Manage Your Liquids When Packing Light

GoToob: Packing Light Means Liquids, Too

I’m endorsing humangear’s GoToob silicone liquid and gel containers for those who want to travel light. You can fill them with shampoo, soap, hair gel, sunscreen, or whatever else you want, and then just squeeze out what you need while you’re on the road.

The only problem is when the containers get to that nearly-empty stage: I still have to stick my finger in to get that last bit out. Still, they’re durable, flexible, and ultra-portable: all things that I like.

The GoToob is not just for complying with the TSA’s nonsensical war on moisture: it’s perfect for backpacking, too.

You can see that the larger GoToob has this strange little suction-cup feature: not sure when I’d actually use it. The suction cup is surrounded by text that reads, “suction is temporary”. I took that as a chin-up message, as in “the sucky stuff shall pass”.

There is also a little rotating plastic window to display the type of liquid in the tube. Sort of like those push-down bubbles on takeaway coffee cup lids, I don’t see these being used too often: presumably I’ll remember what I packed in each container.

GoToob: Squeezy Silicone

I’m in these shots. Gonzo product photography.

GoToob with Super Suction Action!

Make a Laptop Sleeve Out of a Hoodie

Roll Your Own Laptop Sleeve: Hoodigami

Add this one to the ultralight packing arsenal: use a hoodie to make a laptop case. You can take it on the go (though it would look a bit odd) or use it to save space while packing an existing carry-on. Just keep in mind that hoodies are not TSA-approved laptop cases, and you’ll have to unfold your laptop at the security checkpoint.

I can’t wait to try this: normally my laptop sleeve (an old-school chunky affair) just wastes space, since my laptop is never in my bag during the flight or while I’m at my destination.

Add this to your Jet Trash Travel Tips arsenal, alongside such gems as:

And, hey, you just got a free laptop sleeve… in your favorite color.

How to Pack a Sportcoat for Travel

Traveling with a Sportcoat: Simple, Wrinkle-Resistant Jacket Folding

This is fantastic: a brilliantly simple method of packing a sportcoat for your carry-on luggage in a way that won’t wrinkle the crap out of it.

This is a different technique than that demonstrated in the Stewardess Packing Tips, where the sportcoat is layered at the bottom of the bag. I can’t wait to combine the two.

From 1bag1world, via Put This On. I love how the urge to add annoying music to the video was avoided, and how he pauses during the demonstration so you can see exactly what’s going on. Well done.

Packing Light: Putting Stewardess Packing Tips into Practice

Packing Light and Small: You Can Take It With You

I packed for my upcoming trip to New York City, where I’ll be attending my old flatmate’s wedding, catching up with the NYC wing of the Jet Trash Crew, and photographing some Space Invaders. While Rolf Potts’ no-luggage trip is inspiring, this is real life and I can’t afford to just buy everything I need while in NYC, so I must actually bring some stuff with me.

As I prefer to travel with carry-on luggage only, I put Heather Poole’s stewardess packing tips into practice.

Thanks to that fiercely intelligent flight attendant, I was able to fit the following into my North Face duffel bag, which is cinched down to its smallest size:Packing Light, the Jet Trash Way

  • 2 Cameras
  • 2 DSLR lenses, extra media cards, homemade flash diffuser, card reader, cables
  • Laptop in heavily-padded case
  • Bike messenger bag (to use as day pack)
  • 1 lb coffee, 1 Canister pumpkin chai tea
  • 1 Umbrella
  • Ziploc toiletry bag, glasses case
  • 2 Vests
  • 2 Shirts
  • 3 T-shirts
  • Socks/underwear for 6 days
  • Favorite grey sweater, plus favorite grey hoodie
  • Journal
  • Suit, belt, 2 ties
  • iPod and noise-cancelling headphones (turn coach class into something bearable)

The laptop and cameras take up most of the room, while everything else rolls up to serve as padding. Never pack computer or camera equipment in checked luggage, unless you have a thing for broken electronics. It’s surprising how many people make this mistake(Yeah, yeah, if you’re Sarah Murray or Stephen Mallon, you probably have to use those big ol’ Pelican cases, but we’re talking ultralight travel here- our very own Myles Nelson rocks it vagabond-style).

Electronics Management with a Quantas Toiletry Kit

Also, I repurposed a Quantas biz-class toiletry container for use as a digital camera/media card/card reader/cable holder. The TSA always wets itself in the presence of consumer electronics, so this zip-up pouch, in the same tray as my shoes (don’t get me started) should help speed me through the security queue.

Quantas Toiletry Kit, Repurposed

Since I seem to get pulled aside rather often (particularly when I forget to shave, hmmmm), I like to help the security goons help me. Also, this simple kit should prevent me from losing my phone-charging cable.

Jet Trash Packing Tips

In addition to Heather Poole’s fantastic rolling technique, I humbly offer a few of my own:

  • Forget the laundry bag. You’ll end up with a plastic bag within a few hours of landing, so reuse that.
  • Bring two fewer t-shirts and pack a stain-stick instead.
  • If you travel with a laptop, bring your other devices’ USB chargers, leaving the bulky wall-chargers behind. This is especially useful for our friends in the UK.
  • One pair of jeans. Sauce-stains notwithstanding, these can be work for well over a week.
  • Everyone says this, but it’s all about layers.
  • Note that my two favorite items are plain grey. Wearing lots of flashy or branded clothing when traveling is a bad idea– it makes you stick out as a tourist. This is never to your advantage. Leave the logos at home.

So there you go: Some packing porn and a few useful tips. Travel safe.