As a minimalist, I always aim for traveling light. I try not to produce much waste on my journey. I bring my own refillable water bottle and reduce my footprint whenever possible.
But for my upcoming 5-day trip out of the country, I also wanted to avoid being burdened down with a lot of “stuff.” I’ve trekked around Europe with a heavy pack, and it can be a pain.
I spent many hours researching bags online. I really liked the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior from eBags, but at 19.5″ x 14″ x 9″, it was almost as big as my rolling suitcase that I would never dream of carrying on. It seemed too big and bulky.
I also strongly considered the Continental Travel Pack from LL Bean. It was closer to the size I wanted at 19″H x 13″W x 8½”D., and I knew that I could return it for life if the bag failed. But the $150 price tag was more money than I wanted to spend, and it was backordered until June.
I finally focused in on the Tucano Tugo Small Travel Backpack from eBags. It measures 17″ x 14″ x 6.5″ and weighs only two pounds. While it lacked many of the bells and whistles of the Weekender Convertible Junior, I loved the classic look of it and the simplicity of its features. It retails for $79.99 right now, but if you sign up for the eBags newsletter (which I did), you can get it for 25% off. They’re also having a sale right now for 20% off. One of the deals may include free shipping. I tried two different coupon codes and used the best one.
So, this bag shows up at my door, and I give it a good long stare. It’s small! Did I make the right decision? I start questioning myself.
Then I start obsessing about how I can make this bag work. I spend hours going over online packing lists and travel accessory stores to see if there was anything I’d forgotten I would need.
I did end up buying a few items that were “packable” (translation: items meant to pack down small for traveling). I got a thin waterproof raincoat at the Columbia outlet that stuffs into one of its own pockets. I got this packable, zippered shopping tote to bring home souvenirs. And I got this hanging shower toiletry caddy. I also got an RFID-blocking neck pouch for the trip. Those are the only things I bought specially to travel with.
So, in essence, here is everything I would be traveling with, plus whatever I decide to wear on my day of travel.
The red garment is a light cardigan that I can wear at night if it’s chilly. The green bag is my everyday purse. It’s a North Face bag that I’ve had for years.
Now to deconstruct the two bags. First, the Tucano.
1. Light dress that I will probably wear as a tunic over my skinny jeans
2. Two tanks and a t-shirt
3. Light pair of jeans
4. Three pairs of underwear
5. Pair of flat shoes
6. Pair of short socks to wear to bed if it’s cool
7. Light scarf for night-time
8. Yoga pants and a tank to wear as PJ’s
9. Travel-sized liquids
10. Packable rain coat and packable shopping bag
Miscellaneous things: EmergenC, disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, small toiletry case, lock for the bag, pen, small flashlight
Laptop: There is also a laptop sleeve where my Chromebook will go. I forgot to include it in this photo, but it’s in the next one. What I like about this sleeve is that packing the back tightly does not affect the sleeve. It’s a separate space. I like knowing that my laptop isn’t getting crushed by the crush of the main compartment. I also may need to throw my Chromebook sleeve in the backpack for when I take it to a cafe or wifi hotspot to use.
My purse will have any papers I bring, protein bars, some small packets of nuts (not pictured), Chromebook charger, cell phone, cell phone charger, camera, spare camera battery and charger, foldable hat, zipper pouch with medications, toothbrush, business cards, nail file, the RFID-blocking wallet and any other small miscellaneous items. On other trips, I will also have a water bottle in my purse. This trip is to a place where you aren’t supposed to drink the water.
I’m interested to hear people’s feedback. What did I put in that you would leave out? What did I leave out that you would need to have?