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Gear Review - GR1, And Travel With Less (And Less, And Less)

Earlier this year I wrote about taking a weekend trip to Quebec City with nothing but a carry-on, and a small carry-on at that. GR1 with curved straps only has 21L capacity. And, I was pretty impressed with myself after fitting in a dress, make-up, all things work, a book, a journal, and snacks for the flight.

I loved the aspect of NOT having to check luggage, and NOT having to wait for said luggage upon arrival (impatient, much?), AND I have been packing progressively lighter and lighter over the last couple of years.

I had an inkling of an idea. Could I pull off almost four weeks in Russia later this year with only carry-on luggage?

May I present – GR1 and a purse.

DESTINATION: Russia DURATION: almost 4 weeks PURPOSE: visit family MUST-HAVE ITEMS: dress, heels, make-up (because Russia)

I could do with less. Less make-up, and less books. There was also no particular reason to have my Suunto GPS watch with me. Or my “going out” watch for that matter.

And the beautiful thing about packing for two weeks or more, is that you can technically travel with that amount of things indefinitely.

Here are the things that I pack regardless of the nature of the trip:

  • wallet, ID and the obvious

  • laptop + laptop charger

  • unlocked cell phone + phone charger

  • journal

  • book (this one is becoming negotiable as well – reading material tends to find me on the road anyway)

  • toothbrush + small toothpaste container

  • 2-3 pairs of underwear (two for a weekend getaway, with three or four, you can travel indefinitely, as long as you pack a bar of soap)

  • 2-3 pairs of socks

  • running shoes

  • outfit to run/train in (sports bra + tank + capris)

  • additional outfit to the one I am travelling in, so there is at least one change of clothes (skirt + t-shirt, or jeans + top, depending on destination)

Everything else is negotiable.

I can swap various items, depending on the nature of the trip. For example, if I am staying with my family or friends, I can forego shampoo/conditioner/soap, but if I am travelling solo and crashing in a hostel, I’d need those items.

Here are few more examples.

DESTINATION: Nicaragua DURATION: 3 weeks PURPOSE: extreme endurance race, remote work MUST-HAVE ITEMS: extra running shoes, hydration bladder, first aid kit, sunscreen, bathing suit

My backpack in 2016 was significantly lighter than in 2015. Certain racing gear you can’t really get away from, but there is something really liberating about only having two or three options when it comes to “what do I wear?”.

DESTINATION: Italy DURATION: 3 weeks PURPOSE: eating (obviously) MUST-HAVE ITEMS: sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes

I loved how easy it was to get lots of walking in. And I managed to get creative with my training.

DESTINATION: Quebec City DURATION: 3 days PURPOSE: weekend getaway with Italian for our anniversary MUST-HAVE ITEMS: warm clothing (never enough), outfit for fancy restaurants

I still froze my ass off, but that’s more of a ME thing, than a packing thing. And no, I didn’t need a book.

*Even when circumstances catch up by surprise, we need less than we think we need.

Returning home from Nicaragua earlier this year, I got stuck in Texas overnight with just my carry-on backpack. My documents were on me, so was my laptop and cell phone. If, for some reason, I had to be in Texas for a week, I’d hit up a drugstore to get toothpaste and toothbrush (and I started packing those in my carry-on since), and a Walmart or H&M for few t-shirts, socks and underwear. Voila!

Next up…

DESTINATION: Portland, OR DURATION: 6 days PURPOSE: The World Domination Summit 2017 (and checking Oregon off my bucket list) MUST-HAVE ITEMS: list of recommendations for coffee shops and restaurants put together by y’all

DESTINATION: Kansas City, MO DURATION: 4 days PURPOSE: Girls Gone Strong Conference + work get together (and checking Missouri off my bucket list) MUST-HAVE ITEMS: markers for FREE HUGS posters, because shit is going down!




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