Lightweight Packing for 3 Week Trips

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Three week trips are tricky to pack for, considering everything must be carried on your back! I've done trips of varying length, most of which require that I pack a few days' worth of clothing for multiple weeks' worth of wearing. Multi-tasking is a necessity, quick-drying is a must, and color-coordinating is tricky. Enter some images of my packing list for 3 week trips abroad (or anywhere, I guess):

Row 1: Quick-drying below-the-knee dress (for visiting cathedrals, etc), Smocked print tube dress/skirt (smocked tops are best for countries with squat toilets, and a pretty print or solid black is best), A few sturdy tee shirts, A few quick-drying cami tank tops, Multi-tasking sarong/skirt/dress/scarf, Sturdy messenger bag (for stylish pickpocket-safe schlepping)
Row 2: Mix & match swimsuit pieces, Dark denim skinny jeans, Black leggings, 3-in-1 Technical Jacket (or Stasher rain jacket + fleece), Black drape cardigan or sweatshirt (something that can dress up sleeveless tops), Khaki bermuda shorts (for those of us giving a talk at a conference), Black water-resistant roll-up shorts
Row 3: 3 pairs of socks, Quick-drying underwear, assorted undergarmets, etc
Row 4: Casual athletic shoes, Black flats, Comfortable (and expensive!) black flip flops (for walking + common showers), Bandanas, and a Favorite bird necklace.

I have some things going for me: I know what season I'm traveling in (no long underwear!), it's only 3 weeks, I've done this before (and already own most of the things in these lists), and I am perfectly okay with washing everything in hostel sinks over and over again. The stuff I don't have? Typically obtainable from thrift stores, TJ Maxx, and if I wait long enough, the REI Outlet (especially for backpacks large enough to leave space for souvenirs). There are some constraints: I need clothing for presenting in front of my professional peers, travel/hiking clothing, swimsuits, and something wearable for "going out." It can be a mess, but these two images are my best solution.

Row 1:First aid kit, Gobs and gobs of sunscreen, Solid perfume, Microfiber towel (space-saving, lightweight), Silk sleep sack (hostel bed bug prevention), Travel alarm clock, Travel power adapter/converter of some sort
Row 2: clear nail polish (does double-duty by stopping frays/snags), Dramamine and assorted medications not in the first aid kit, Tinted SPF lip gloss, Pocket-knife (multi-task much?)
Row 3: Eye shadow palette, Lotion bar (won't spill in pack), Solid shampoo bar (won't spill + lightweight), Burts Bees ResQ Ointment (belongs with the First Aid Kit), Mp3 player + charger, Sunglasses, Travel belt (when you find yourself in a sketchy location), Small battery-efficient digital camera
Row 4: ~60L backpack, Blister band-aids (walking-specific first aid), Playing cards, Larabars/food (so you don't starve)
Row 5: SPF Moisturizer + assorted other toiletries, Nalgene water bottle, Travel clothesline, and a ~22x36" laundry bag (this is not for dirty laundry! This is to protect your backpack from airport conveyor belts, known to eat backpacks).

Much of my list is influenced by my past "short" trips, as well as some guides from Yes and Yes (although her lists are typically for much longer trips). I also made a visual version of Yes and Yes' 6 months pack list, available below:

Clothing: Same items as before, but more sarongs & smocked tube dresses & socks & quick-drying underwear, some wool hiking socks, replace the bermuda shorts with technical zip-off pants, a moisture-wicking sports bra, silk long underwear, only one swimsuit, and ensure the black ballet flats are sturdier for additional walking (think Clarks Book Pump). Stuff: Same things as above, but add a nice journal, pens, a head lamp, a sleep mask, and maybe some leave-in conditioner.

The above two images are based on these written lists from: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Combine these with the gear posts from the couple traveling abroad on Sending Postcards, and there's a ton of information out there. I haven't actually tried packing all the 6 month supplies into my 60L backpack, so who knows if it's even possible ;)


J. said...

Looks like you have quite the trip ahead of you! I can barely pack for 3 days let alone 3 weeks lol.

h said...

To be honest, you pack the same amount of clothing for a 3-day trip as you do for a 3-week trip. The amount of stuff you pack will always inflate to fill your pack/suitcase.

A Lady Reveals Nothing said...

Great post!

You can take this exact pack and travel with it for a year.

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