I have just noticed that I wrote a post about my travel gear 5 years ago. I have changed some things in the way I travel, mostly slightly tweaked my stuff, so I guess it’s the right time for an update.
If you are looking for advice on how to travel for months with a 20 litre backpack, spare your time, I am not that kind of traveller. I try to travel light, but I like to have some comfort, so I am a hybrid traveller, I pare down everything to a minimum, but that includes a clean t-shirt for every day of travel, when it’s 10 days or less and I keep moving from one place to another.
I use clean/dirty packing cubes now, and I think it’s a great improvement because the volume of each cube stays more or less the same and makes packing easier, you just move the items from one side to the other when you use them. A large one for t-shirts and dresses, a medium one for leggings, skirts and trousers and one or two small ones for knickers, bras and socks. When I used a single bag for dirty clothes it gradually became bulkier and bulkier and packing was more awkward.
My daypack of choice is now the U1 by Urbanita, designed and made in Barcelona. It is not exactly a fold-away backpack, but it is very flat when empty, so I can stuff it in my main luggage, but its main advantage is that all pockets and zippers are against your back when you wear it, making it theft-proof, I feel much more relaxed when I roam around markets and other crowded places. It is also comfortable to wear, even if the straps are not padded. It has an internal pocket for a laptop or tablet, two external zip pockets for phone, wallet, keys, and two slip pockets on the sides for water or an umbrella. The U1 is 16 l and the mini U1 is 9.
Besides the daypack, I carry a small document pouch/bag, which can get through even when only one carry-on is allowed, avoids rummaging through pockets when you look for your passport or boarding pass, and can be stuffed into the main backpack without problems if needed. It is either a Crumpler Doona Sling XS, or a Kathmandu Transit Pocket.
Another travel-size thing I carry is a Cocoon Ultralight microfibre travel towel. I don’t like the texture too much, I prefer normal towels, but this is tiny, super absorbent, and dries very fast, I can compromise for some time.
I use a dry bag to store my bikini, and I carry a larger one if I know I am going near water, so I can protect my camera and passport etc. and I can take them with me into the sea, if I need to (I almost always travel alone). It can be used to wash clothes in, so it’s really handy.
The shoe bags I bought 5 years ago are still going strong despite the abuse I inflict on them, so I am even happier of my purchase.
My travel wardrobe is still mainly black and white, but now I add some colour, usually red, but it can also be green or orange, the important thing is that it is just one, so that I do not have problems when matching items and I have several different outfits.
And remember, the rule is: are you taking an item along only because you think “what if I feel like wearing it while I am away?”, too bad, because you should leave it home.