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The Trick to Packing Light
Over the last year, Chris and I have had a few people ask us how we pack our bags when we travel, especially since we only bring two bags with all of the essentials and a full production kit.
One trick to packing so light is to eliminate anything that isn’t necessary. No hair dryers, mascara, shaving creams, dress shoes, colognes or other accessories that take up space. Chris and I only pack two outfits each and we bundle them in such a way that saves space. The one luxury we bring for ourselves are pairs of flip flops to relax in at the end of the day. For long trips, we hand-wash our quick drying clothes every other night with biodegradable castile soap. This saves us from having to pack multiple changes of clothes.
When it comes to toiletries, we cut out as many liquids as possible by switching out toothpaste with tooth cleaning powder, deodorant gels with solids, and shampoos with bars of castile soap. Out of all the essential toiletries to take with you on trips, we recommend packing a few extra cold tablets, allergy pills, anti-itch ointments, eye drops and chap stick.
Technology is one of the bulkiest things we bring with us and we can’t exactly squish down our laptops, iPads and cameras. While Chris’ specialty backpack holds all of his cameras, lenses, audio equipment and other tech, it can’t hold everything. We pack everything else in my trusty Swiss Army backpack that seems to swallow things like a black hole.
The last things we pack with us are two water bottles and a filtration system so we won’t have to buy bottles of water throughout our journey. Strapping these bottles onto our packs or sliding them into side pouches are great ways to carry them without taking up space inside our bags. (Be sure to empty your water bottle before putting it through security at the airport.)
While it is not always easy to live off such a light load, it is much easier to travel from place to place with only two bags. It is also often refreshing to travel with the challenge of living with less.
Here’s a list of what we pack with us on trips:
- Four pairs of pants and shirts (quick dry clothing is best)
- Three pairs of undershirts
- Six to eight pairs of undergarments and socks
- Two sweaters or secondary layers
- Two pairs of flip flops
- Two toothbrushes
- One small bottle of tooth cleaning powder
- Two deoderant sticks
- Contact lenses and care
- Castile soap
- One comb
- Hair ties
- First Aid essentials
- Cold, allergy and itch relief medicine
- Nail clippers
- Small sewing kit
- Small mirror
- Travel size Poo Pouri - for those bathroom annoyances (this is certainly not necessary but it helps with courtesy)
- One laptop
- One or two iPads
- Charging cables
- Two DSLR camera bodies
- 17-40mm lens
- 70-200mm lens
- 50mm Macro lens
- Speed Light with diffuser
- Audio field recorder with windscreen (the tribble looking thing in the video)
- Lavalier Microphone
- 25’ XLR cable
- GoPro with suction cup and head strap
- Two sets of extra batteries for every camera
- Cleaning supplies
- Lots of memory cards
- Two 1.5TB backup hard drives
- Light reflector disk
- Two light-weight compact travel tripods
If you have any questions about our packing methodology, share your thoughts below.