Pack Light / by Phu Qui Nguyen

So many people prescribe, whatever fits in the suit case, we'll take with us.  Or we have to make space for it because we use this at home..  but is it really all that necessary?  I'm going to go over my packing and how much it actually weighed.  Pros/cons.  Hopefully more pros for myself and you reading.

Traveling or Vacationing?  This makes a difference as well.  So many times, I'm packing like a vacationing.  Nobody told me the difference and as such, I've always brought more than needed. Even on a vacation, why would you want to bring a ton of things?  You're trying to get away from your everyday routine life!  Always remember that you can purchase what you need abroad. In some cases, it may be harder to purchase, but if it's important, choose wisely and make space.  My mistake in forgetting some small items like dental floss which are much harder to locate while traveling in a rural area, far from city locale. 

My items:
Lowepro 45L Whistler backpack
1 Neck pillow
1 Pair of Jeans
2 Pairs of Shorts
4 Pairs of Underwear
4 Pairs of Socks (maybe make one of those pairs dress socks?)
3 T-shirts
3 Tank Tops
1 Long-sleeve Athletic Shirt (for layers)
1 Outdoor Vest
1 Dress shirt (I didn't know if I was going anywhere nice so just some consideration)
Camera Equipment: 3 lenses, 1 body, flash unit, remote, batteries, battery charger, tripod
Misc: Universal adapter, Sunglasses, Phone, travel book, medicine, toiletries, belt, trekking pole

Total Weight:  28.2lbs!


For myself: I was backpacking 2+ weeks around NY and Myanmar, I had to stay light and mobile. Ever see the lucky people drop their bags at the check in and wait at the conveyor belts to receive their luggage like cattle at the troughs for feeding time.  It's an arduous and slow process.  I packed enough clothes for several days, about a week and was able to hand wash or pay for hotel laundry daily when I felt I was going to need something.  Easy peasy.  My undergarments are usually a quick dry, polyester or sport dry material.  This will help as cotton tends to hold water well and take a long time to dry.  
I'm not a rich man, but the value or having fresh laundry, possibly saving on check-in fees, etc, overshadowed carrying too much luggage.  While in Myanmar, average washing was 300kt (kyat) per item.  For 20 or so items of washing, it came out to less than $5 US.  21 items came out to $4.80 exactly.

What I would do differently next time:  As much as I've been trying to compromise on my bag, I realize it's a bit too much and too heavy for travel.  It's meant as an adventure backpack that's used for cross country skiers and the like.  The weight and suspension system isn't designed as well as other backpacking systems.  Also, definitely, bring extra under garment items.  I washed some clothes one evening but was in such a rush, I left it drying next to a fan when I went to run after a morning bus.  Being short on underwear is no joke!  

So now that I considered, tried, and tested my two week pack, I decided it was plenty for me.  I could probably consider less if I wasn't going through different climates.  In NY, I saw 4-12*C/40-53*F.  On my stops to China, I saw even colder.  At my destination, it was about 25-35*C/77-95*F.  I'm glad I brought a little bit less than needed.  I always had space to bring back more throughout my trip, so next time consider lightening the load.  


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all my family and friends!!! (even if you're not in the US, I'm still thinking of you and thankful for your presence in my life)

Photo cred to fellow traveler.

Photo cred to fellow traveler.