A Lightweight Traveler's Guide

A Lightweight Traveler's Guide

Ginnie and I are lightweight travelers. This means a 20-30 liter backpack weighing well south of 10 kilos.

Invest in your feet.

Your feet are your first priority. I’ve brought two pair of shoes, my heavy leather clonkers (they give such a authoratitive ring on cobbles) and a pair of used up crossfit shoes that will be discarded before we come home. The heavy shoes get worn onto planes so they don’t use up my weight budget. Wear wool socks (three pairs of Darn Tough, in the summer a lighter pair would be better.) Wool socks can go for days. Bring or buy toenail clippers, buy foot cream here.

Bag it

Bags of all sorts are helpful. A few supermarket plastic bags are sure to be useful. Ginnie carried several foldup grocery bags. Large ziploc bags keep your stuff sorted.

Your gear can change

We picked up a cheap rainfly jacket seen below at a thrift shop. It’s so lightweight and useful it will become permanent kit. I’ve got a pair of shoes that are going to make it to Budapest then will get binned.

Electronics and charging

This is the first year we brought multipurpose charge blocks like this.

All hail the block

One of these for every two people traveling will solve your charging needs. They’re just great. Having the cord is helpful to get your charging station positioned centrally. We miscalculated and have too many USB-mini cords and not enough USB-C.


I’m using a Pixel 6 and it’s great. You don’t need anything more than a modern cell phone to capture travel memories. Computational photography is lovely and I like the portrait mode and new motion pan.

A little too much pop here

Easy peasy pans

I also brought an Osmo Pocket gimbal cam and it’s been mostly unused. The Pixel outperforms it in timeseries and zoom. The idea of an accessory cam isn’t bad though. Having something like a GoPro that can capture alternative viewpoints would be nice.

The Extras:

Ginnie handles those little extras that help things go smoothly. A large purse that holds the hand wipes and kleenex and small amounts of medicine that you often need at midnight when the drugstores are closed. And packs of gum are a fun addition.

Tiny little container for tiny little pills.

Ginnie’s dad carried this and it makes her smile to pull bandaids out of it.

Top bag for passports and vaccine cards. Bottom bag for money and public transit passes.

Everything else

I’ve gotten this far and haven’t talked about clothes. For us, we don’t need a lot. We’ve got about two and a half changes of clothes and we could have less. Nearly every apartment has a washer (but no dryer) so it’s easy to rinse and repeat. Everyone you meet today will be new, they have no reason to suspect this is the 7th day in a row you’ve been wearing these pants.