pile of clothes

How to Pack Light for Nomad Life with Packing Lists

This is what packing light looks like
This is what packing light looks like for two people

You can read articles all over the web about packing light. Packing light is a life-long challenge which starts young and improves with age. It also includes washing clothes in the sink, adapting your itinerary to your clothing, and creating outfits out of yoga pants. Here are my three tips for packing light, starting with the actual bag.

Which Carry-on Should You Buy to Pack Light?

My first carry on was an Eagle Creek
My first carry on was an Eagle Creek

First thing to get rid of is any hard, rigid, or edged bag. You may or may not want wheels, but at least make sure the bag is soft-sided and light. Packing light, by definition, means that you will use a carry-on bag that stays with you throughout your trip. I’ve tried dozen of bags, and my absolute favorite is the Eagle Creek Load Warrior. With lots of pockets in all the right places, durable corners and reliable wheels, this wunderkind has taken me around the world.

I have since changed my bag. I found one I like better, although the Eagle Creek is still a good bag. I changed bags and went with the Osprey Transporter 40 Wheeled. It’s lighter, holds one liter more in cubic space, is an inch smaller, and it’s waterproof. I love my Osprey and now recommend it when asked. Get your Osprey bag here.

The Osprey Transporter 40 Wheeled is my favorite bag.

What Wardrobe Should You Pack to Pack Light?

Whether you’re going for a week or a month, the lists below do not change. It’s my latest packing list for nomad life. When traveling, pack for the season. If it’s summer, here is what you should pack (click on the link to see what I buy, wear, and recommend):

In the winter, the list doesn’t change much. You should pack the following:

You can find everything else in your hotel or hostel except for the extra space to pack souvenirs.

Pack One Pair of Shoes, Wear the Other

Pick the two pairs of shoes that will do everything you need
Pick the two pairs of shoes that will do everything you need

You need two pair of shoes. One pair you’ll wear, the other you’ll pack. The pair you wear the most will be your comfortable walking shoes. Regardless of where I’m going, I bring a waterproof pair of good walking shoes that can go on trail or cobblestone. The Keen Oakridge is my go-to for all conditions for around the world. If I’m traveling in the summer, I also bring the Keen Arroyo. Although it looks best with shorts or pants, I will wear it with sporty skorts. In the winter, I trade the Arroyo for a Salomon boot for hiking, snow, and wintery conditions.

What Else Goes in the Backpack When Packing Light?

In my personal item, which is always a backpack, I put my passport, credit cards, cash, phone, laptop, Kindle, power cords, lip balm, and earphones.

That’s packing light. What are your tips?


pile of clothes
What goes in and what stays home when packing light?

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