Packing, revisited


A few months back, I resolved to pack light this summer, to bring only the essentials and leave the rest. I made a list and I checked it twice, and now with Europe just seven days away, I'm feeling good about what I'm packing.

I'm hoping to do a bit of videoblogging while overseas, so I thought I'd try making a (semi-)short video of what I'll be carrying. Apologies for the poor quality; my phone was having trouble focusing (and picked up this strange whistling).

Or, for the more data-minded, here's the rundown:
  1. Water bottle (3 pints, full): 3.75 lbs
  2. Backpack (North Face Surge II): 3 lbs
  3. DSLR camera (Nikon D7000), 2.8 lbs
  4. Tent (Big Agnes UL1), 2.2 lbs
  5. Tablet (Asus Slider), 2.2 lbs
  6. Clothing (t-shirt, sweater, sweatshirt, running shorts, underwear, zip-off pant legs), 2.0 lbs
  7. Sleeping bag (Katabatic Alsek 22), 1.5 lbs
  8. Electronic accessories (European adapter, camera battery, camera charger, tablet cord, USB cord, USB brick, buzzer charger), 1.0 lbs
  9. Toiletries (washcloth, deodorant, buzzer, toothpaste, toothbrush, moisturizer, contacts): 0.8 lbs
  10. Kindle Paperwhite (with case and 250+ books), 0.8 lbs
  11. Papers (passport, rail pass, rail map, notebook), 0.2 lbs
On my body, I'll also be carrying a pair of TOMS, the top half of the aforementioned zip-off pants, underwear, a t-shirt, a hat, a phone, a pair of headphones, cash, and credit cards.

The total weight of the pack (with a full water bottle) is 20.25 pounds (17 pounds with an empty water bottle), at least until I decide certain items aren't carrying their weight. But before that time comes, thoughts on the packlist to date?


  1. Sounds solid, and it makes sense to do the analysis by weight since that's what you're going to be feeling more than anything at the end of the day. Do you think your shoes will last the whole trip with the amount of walking you're anticipating?

    1. I read Blake Mycoskie's (the founder of TOMS) "Start Something that Matters" a few years back and he claims that in testing his prototypes, he literally dragged his feet along the streets of Brazil for weeks and weeks. He claims they're durable, and having owned a few pairs in my lifetime, I'd say he's probably right. That said, guess we'll find out! :)

  2. Might be a little late to comment, but one thing that might be missing is a pumice stone. You might be ok if you’re going to be wearing shoes, but on a long trek I had around Europe and West Africa all I brought was a pair of Chacos. Within the first few weeks my heels started to get hard and cracked – the concern was having an opening on my feet and picking up an infection. The pumice stone helped to stop the hardening and any open cracks on my feet. It was a very simple lifesaver.

    Why a sweater and a sweatshirt? Also do you have a lightweight water-proof/resistant jacket? Something to think about instead of two t-shirts, a sweatshirt, and a sweater is possibly two long sleeve button down shirts, a light fleece zip-up, and a light rain jacket. The long sleeves and collar on the shirts you can roll up and down to adjust for weather and sun protection without making yourself too hot. A light rain jacket might be able to provide you with more warmth and be lighter than a sweater (they often don’t breathe too much so that traps in warmth - possibly at a better heat to weight ratio), plus a lightweight jacket offers a hood and some wind and rain protection. Last note, underwear…? Seems a little excessive.

    1. Great tips! Alas, didn't get them until after I left, but fortunately shopping in Europe isn't a problem. A pumice stone is something good to keep in mind ... not sure I'll need it as my feet are used to running barefoot (and I'll be wearing shoes most of the time), but I'll definitely pick one up if I see it being a probem.

      I did a little clothing switch-up when I got here and now have a tanktop (for running, sweating, etc.), t-shirt, and collared shirt (taking your advice), and then still the sweatshirt and cardigan. I know the two seem silly, but I've realized they actually layer really well together; rather than just have a coat for one temperature, I can throw the caridgan on for low 60s and the sweatshirt over that for low 50s. Plus, the sweaters are both really light but warm.

      Ah, and yes, I'm now up to three pairs of underwear and a pair of running shorts, which seems to do the trick as I'm in a hostel most nights anyway and can wash 'em pretty quickly. :)

      Thanks for all the great advice!

  3. This is a great run down of what you packed for 3 months in Europe. A great reminder that we can all survive on less. If you're so inclined, it would be great to see a follow-up entry reflecting on your minimalistic packing plan. What worked, what didn't? (Did the TOMS last?) What did you wish you packed/what did you pick up on the way? What do you wish you hadn't? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the reminder—I've been meaning to do this for a while but will definitely try to get to it this week. :)


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