I have a rule: never take more on a trip than you can comfortably carry on your back.
I used to have a 30 liter schoolbook type backpack that I travelled with all over the world. It held all my stuff including instant oatmeal, Amazing Meal, and homemade trail mix (usually enough for a week).
When preparing for this trip, I noticed I couldn’t carry the same weight comfortably on my shoulders. Getting older does have a few drawbacks. So I began the search for a new perfect travel bag. (Please note this is a travel bag, not a hiking pack). After reading a ton of reviews and trying on packs in several stores, I decided on an Osprey Porter 30 Liter travel duffel. Amazon Link.
- Osprey has an incredible reputation and warranty.
- Comfortable shoulder straps that can be zipped into the bag when you aren’t using them.
- A hip belt that actually helps transfer a bit of the weight. — This is a major upgrade from my bookbag/backpack I used to carry. This hip belt tucks away into the back of the pack too.
- Pockets, enough but not too many. Just enough to organize without confusion. One awesome pocket to hold things you really want to be able to find — In my case, my 311 bag and snacks.
- The main compartment unzips in a U-shape that allows you to pack like a pro. No stuffing things down into the pack. This also means you can find things at a glance. Love this!
- At 30L I can still carry enough to go almost indefinitely (providing you have a sink, Dr Bronners, and a clothesline (which I do).
- Cinching straps that make the pack compact and stable on your back.
- The size fits perfectly under the airplane seat. Also allows for a purse/messenger bag to fit alongside it under the seats. = Awesome!
- Several handles to grab onto if the straps are packed away (also great for someone to hold onto while you’re getting into the straps), plus a place to attach a shoulder strap if you roll that way.
The only thing I didn’t absolutely love about this bag. . . . The lack of a water bottle pocket. I always carry my Klean Kanteen. I had to resort to some creative carrying techniques. Some of which were less than stellar — I cracked myself in the head with the Kanteen, cracked Hannah in the head with it, and finally stowed it in my shoulder bag which was really uncomfortable.
New Orleans in July/August Packing List — 6 days:
- UV shirt
- t-shirts x 3
- UV skirt
- capris x 2
- 3/4 sleeve shirt
- tan cardigan
- UV hat
- Undies (enough for 3 days, then wash)
- PJs x 1
- workout shirt & sports bra
- swim suit (bottoms = workout shorts as well)
- rain jacket
- cooling buff (amazing little thing)
- walking shoes, teva sandals, and dress sandals
- Turkish towel (blanket, towel, and impromptu yoga blanket)
- Journal & Pencil
- shaker cup with packets of Amazing meal
- insulated Klean Kanteen
- Instant Oatmeal, homemade trail mix, truvia, tea bags
- iPad, case, charger
- iPhone, charger, nifty stand, ear buds
- 311: sunscreen, Argan Oil, Dr Bronners, toothpaste, Tide stick, contact solution
- Non-311: glasses, nail file, extra contacts, salt stone, clothesline, Toothbrush, Rx and OTC
- packable grocery bag
- Tom Binn small cafe bag (which is my daily purse) with wallet, phone, charger, snacks for the day, water bottle, reading glasses, sunglasses, map, and my UV hat.
The only thing I wished I had taken, and had planned to take, was my travel yoga mat. I couldn’t get it to fit comfortably for the trip down. In hindsight, I would have left the oatmeal and trail mix home to make room for the mat. The grocery prices in NOLA were similar to home so schlepping so much food down didn’t save me money. So instead of yoga on my mat, I did yoga with shoes and my towel. Still kept me moving, happy, and flexible, but not ideal. Next time I will not leave the mat at home. It will pack in first and everything else will fit around it.
I wore both the UV shirt and the cardigan daily. UV every time I went outside and cardigan around the hotel — so I’m thankful I had both. The cardigan aired all day and the UV shirt aired all night. Perfect balance.
Thinking/Writing: upcoming project, Riot review, using Headspace as journal prompts
Reading: The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Listening: Headspace meditation, Linguistics class
Watching: Olympics (bits and pieces of gymnastics, rowing, men’s indoor volleyball), Star Wars Rebels with family
In my Garden: cucumbers, tomatoes, flowers, lettuce going to seed, chives, and the very last blackberries.
In my Yard: a struggling cherry tree, tall weeds surrendering to the clippers, a super happy dog chasing about a hundred motorcycles — from the safety of his fence 😉