There is a much greater emphasis to lighten our travel bags these days. The cost of checked, hold luggage seems to increase every year so getting everything you need for a mini adventure into cabin luggage is the way to go if you can. For me even if my adventure is for a longer period of time, getting everything into my trusty Osprey Farpoint 55 is absolutely crucial.
I recently watched a Minimalist You Tube episode where one of the presenters was presenting their Minimalist Travel Bag – I was interested until he pulled out a hair drier! So the CGR ethic is for serious adventurers, sourcing the lightest, most compact travel items that you will use time and again and will make your travels just that bit lighter.
As an older traveller who enjoys solo travel adventures I’m fanatical about keeping my kit to the bare essentials and am happy to spend time and money to lighten my pack – I count a small, efficient pack as a badge of honour!
So with space saving in mind and for those, who like me are really into making their travel kit is light as possible I have some great updates for your 2019 travel kit list. All of the included items are worth upgrading to (IMHO of course 🙂
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Day Pack
This is a great update to the already good Sea to Summit Day Pack. Packing down to the size of a large egg and weighing in at a microscopic 30g it’s perfect for packing into your cabin luggage. In fact this bag is so handy I keep it in my general mini messenger bag for everyday use. It packs down so tiny that you may even struggle to find it in the general mess of your travel bag. Made from siliconised, uber thin Nylon, the coating will keep the odd shower from your contents and is robust enough to take the knocks of a trip to the market. The 18L capacity is plenty big enough to carry whatever you might need for an impromptu hike, although if you are planning to use it for a long hiking day out carrying water and food it might be a little uncomfortable after a few hours of carry. The barracked shoulder straps mean that it will take a load – for instance a bag of vegetables from the market or a litre or two of water but you may not want to load it up with climbing kit!
It’s top loading so you can stuff plenty of kit into it and the sewn in stuff sack can act as a small security pocket. The Sea to Summit Nano Ultr-Sil Day Pack is one of those items that is definitely super useful and you will soon find it as indispensable as I do. Great value as you’ll use it for more than just your travels.
SRP is £27.50 and is available direct from Sea to Summit.
Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Traveller Pillow.
I’ve spent a lot of money on trying to get quality sleep when travelling. I’ve tried all the mainstream options including the newer neck scarf types of travel pillow. I’m not too keen on those as a) I move around a lot and b) they take up a lot of room in my pack. I’m also not the traveller type to be travelling with a bean pillow hanging off my pack. So that usually leaves me with inflatable pillows. I have at least three travel pillows in my travel box at home. Non of them were ideal until I came across the Sea to Summit Ultralight Travel Pillow. My take is that nothing is ideal as I can never get any quality sleep on a plane and definitely not a bus. I’ve taken to trying to take overnight sleepers on trains as these work reasonable well. Still it’s best to have something and the updated Aeros Ultralight Travel Pillow is as good a compromise as I’m going to get. Most Importantly its super compact (packs into it’s own case which is the size of a small apple) as it mostly stays in the pack and only comes out on those longer journeys. It’s really light – I recently ended up buying a Samsonite inflatable pillow in Amsterdam airport which proved a pretty useless purchase. It was bulky, heavy and uncomfortable. Not so the Sea to Summit one, it’s well thought out and designed for the Ultralight traveller in mind. Made using a lightweight, stretchy and soft fabric and weighing in at a minuscule 50g. It’s as comfortable as any U shaped Pillow is going to be but at least it will pack away neatly in your pack and not look at you every time you open it whilst you fume away as to why you’re carrying around a heavy and bulky pillow that doesn’t even work properly but you paid €20 for! If you want more comfort then the Aeros Ultralight Premium Pillow is for you – still only 93g in weight. The real clincher for me was that the brilliant valve system meant I could even get back in it’s case when deflated – now that’s a first for me!
SRP is £30 and is available direct from Sea to Summit.
Osprey Ultralight Washbag Padded
If you are looking for a more robust washbag for expeditions or extended trips and still want to save space and weight then the Osprey Ultralight Padded Washbag will be a great solution. Stuffed full of features and pockets to keep your toiletries organised and the Straightjacket tension straps to keep everything cinched up tight when your lugging your pack in and out of trains and buses. It’s a great mid level washbag with a large main compartment to get all your washing toiletries in. It also has a zippered pocket which I find useful for my toothbrush, floss and paste as well as a large grab handle and reflective decals for that trip to the bathroom when the power has gone down. I’ve been using the Osprey Ultralight Zip for my recent trips but will be swapping to this as it weighs in at a whisper light 70g and is £11 cheaper (although do remember that if you want a wash bag that hangs then the Ultralight Zip will be a better option for you). It would even serve as a cable and gizmos bag as you could easily get all your cables, plug adapters, speakers and all that other stuff you never used to need but cant do without anymore.
SRP £15 and available direct from Osprey.
Osprey Ultralight Stretch Stuff Sacks
Part of the ultralight philosophy is being organised and there are a multitude of storage options available from all the main manufacturers. I prefer to keep things simple and just use a couple of stuffsacks for specific items, namely underwear and socks as these are the items that seem to find their way into the tiny corners of my pack or get lost. The Osprey Ultralight Stretch Stuffsacks are ideal, nothing fancy, just well designed and superlight at 40g for the 6L version. They are slightly rectangular in shape to avoid dead space in the pack. Simple cord and lock closure they are super useful for stuffing sleeping bags, sleeping liners, mosquito nets and all manner of clothing. They come quite compact but like a pelicans stretch to accommodate whatever you decide to stuff into them. Perfect!
Available in sizes 1L (£8), 3L (£10), 6L (£12) and 12L (£15) and available direct from Osprey
Eagle Creek Pack-It -Specter Quick Trip Washbag
Perfect for those short trips of a week or less (or longer if you’re a fanatic like me). Weighting in at a mere 64g this Washbag has all the features you will need whilst taking up very little space. It isn’t clear (which is a shame as a clear panel would make this just about the perfect Washbag) so you will need to take a little time to get through security if you are using it in your cabin luggage. But the wide, stable base and full zip opening, together with the separate side pockets for toothbrush and other dental stuff you might need more than make up for the minor inconvenience. The interior space is plenty big enough for soap, shampoo and deodorant and and it has another zipped compartment for stashing any liquids that may be leaky. A neat, simple washbag that ticks all the boxes.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It_Specter Quick Trip comes in four colour options: Strobe (green) and Indigo Blue, Ebony (Black) and Volcano Red.
The SRP is £21 and is available from specialist retailers.
Eagle Creek Pack-It-Specter Tech Compression Cube
From the originators of dedicated storage cubes since 1996 comes the Pack-It-Specter range.
The problem with some compression sacks is that they leave clothing really creased. On a climbing trip this isn’t a problem but on a travel trip where a little culture is involved then I’m going to want some clothes for hanging out in. The Pack-It-Specter Compression Cube is a neat solution as it doesn’t use a vacuum valve to press air out of the pack it has a clever all around zip to make the pack flatter. So with a little care when folding you can keep your technical shirts, t-shirts, shorts and even pants nice and flat. Just zip it all up and I was amazed at how little space this took up in by travel bag. They come in a variety of sizes from XS to L and you can buy them individually or in sets of two or three. Small comes up 2.5L and Medium comes up 6L. The medium retails at £25.00
Check out the website for other sizes and prices.
Occasionally you may want to take some lightweight hiking trainers on your travels – I like to take two pairs of trainers and a pair of slides on any trip. One pair for urban wear and one pair for hiking, bouldering and climbing. The Eagle Creek Pack-It-Specter Shoe Sac is a great and very light (30g) way to keep your dirty trainers separate from your clothing, it can even be used to keeping climbing shoes in. It’s so light you won’t even know it’s there. It comes in five colour variations. The SRP is £18 and can be found via specialist retailers. See the Eagle Creek website for your local supplier.
Eagle Creek products are available from a variety of UK retailers as well as online. Check the Eagle Creek website for you nearest dealer.
Well that’s plenty to help you along with your research and hopefully you’ll find some of them as useful as I have been doing on my solo adventures and travels. If like me you’re on a happy on your request to find the lightest travel equipment then stay tuned for more articles.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!