I often get asked two things when I strap a 40lbs backpack to my back: how old I am and whether I’m about to tip over. These fits of doubt from concerned strangers have inadvertently motivated me to pack the most compact bags ever. Here are a few tips and tricks.
Blacks, navys, grays, and tans are just about the most versatile hues ever. They’re easy to mix-and-match, don’t easily stain, and can be dressed up or pared down. Perfect for lazies like me.
Layer ‘Em On
Tanks and t-shirts are great for layering in the cold or to shed when it’s hot. I try to find things that have little details, like small hints of color, different necklines, and interesting straps. Just because they’re basics doesn’t mean they are boring.
My mom is in fashion, and if that has taught me anything it’s the magic of cotton and spandex. These fabrics are breathable, stretchy, absorb sweat, and don’t wrinkle in your bag. If you’re traveling for a while, they’re also quick to air-dry if/ when hand-washing clothes become an essential part of your daily routine.
Choose cargo pants, shorts and bottoms with pockets. Any extra storage is great when you’re on the road.
Jazz Things Up
Jewelry, belts, and scarves are my quick and dirty tricks for changing up an outfit (though I never bring anything that I’d be heartbroken to lose.) Aside from being utilitarian, scarves can also be used as belts to wrap around your waist and as head wraps for your hair.
Be Friends With Your Feet
My feet get enough punishment after a long day of exploring. For dressy nights out, I opt for chunky heels and thick wedges. They might be heavier to pack than stilettos, but my feet don’t hate me after.
Get A Versatile Day-Pack
I go for lightweight nylon or canvas messenger bags or totes for day trips instead of backpacks. (Back sweat can only get so sexy.) These are simple to fold up when not in use, and easier to safeguard against theft than a backpack. I just swing my bag to my front on a crowded bus or train.
Leave The Camera Bag At Home
I’m constantly deciding between carrying a bag for my essentials or a camera bag for my photo gear. So I’ve found a happy medium by converting a day-pack into a multi-purpose bag. I just stick a padded camera/ lens insert in my day-pack for my photo gear, and then I still have room left over for my other essentials.