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Travel With Only a Backpack as Luggage

On various occasions, I have preached my "you don't need to check luggage" mantra. I have now taken it a step further. You don't need traditional wheeled luggage...period. To clarify, this only pertains to short(max 7 days) leisure trips to relatively warm climates. All you really need is an average sized backpack.

You might be thinking that I am crazy, but to be honest I wasn't sure that it could be done either, so I tried it on my trip (5 days) to New York last week. I managed to pack everything into a Victorinox Altmont Sardona Deluxe Laptop Pack. Below is a list of everything that was packed inside:

  • Jeans (2 pairs)
  • Dress Pants (1)
  • Dress Shirt (1)
  • Sweaters (2)
  • T-shirts (6)
  • Long Sleeve Tees (2)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Shoes (2 pairs)
  • Socks (7 pairs)
  • Underwear (8 pairs)
  • Workout Shorts (2)
  • Belts (2)
  • iPod+charger
  • Cell Phone+charger
  • Digital Camera (point&shoot) + charger
  • Sketchbook (5" x 8.5")
  • Toiletry ziplock (razor, toothbrush, cologne, shaving cream, deodorant)
  • A few other small miscellaneous things

In addition to this, there were also the clothes that I was wearing on the place - pair of jeans, t-shirt, track jacket, pair of dress shoes, etc. As you can see I had enough stuff to last me at least a week. How did I fit all that stuff into one backpack you ask? One simple packing tip - roll everything up. This saves space and prevents wrinkling in most fabrics. when it comes to dress pants and dress shirts, those might wrinkle a little bit, but as long as you fold at the creases and roll them around other more bulky things (2 pairs of jeans in my case) then they should be fine. Also, packing socks and underwear into your shoes saves space as well.

I should clarify a few things. This backpack was stuffed to the brim - not the most convenient thing if you have to get searched, which I did. It took me a bit of time to get everything back in there and zip it up. I obviously was not able to buy stuff and bring items back in that backpack. However, it was very convenient to have my hands free, especially considering that I was taking the subway from the airport. If you have any packing questions, or tips of your own, please feel free to post them here.