What we considered…

Clearly, when you are travelling light, you don’t have much room to spare, so we had to make sure that every item in our bags was necessary. Outlined below are the things we considered in each category when planning to pack our carry-on bags!

At all times, the size and weight were a major consideration.

Hot Weather

Light weight, multi-use clothing was by far our priority. We plan on spending more time in hot weather than cold, so this section needed special consideration!


We decided to choose shirts that were dual purpose: lightweight long sleeved shirts that could have sleeves rolled up to double up as short sleeved shirts. This way we halved the amount of clothing we needed – instead of carrying both long AND short sleeved shirts, we needed only carry long!

The great thing with the shirts we chose is that when the sleeves are rolled up, they are so light that you don’t even notice the extra bulk around your arms. In hot climates like SE Asia, the last thing we wanted was to have extra fabric clinging to us. Not a worry with these, though!

All of the shirts we chose are moisture wicking (that is, they draw moisture away from the body), dry quickly and repel odour. We were told that they could be worn for multiple days without smelling, but the skeptic in me found that hard to believe! I really couldn’t get my head around the idea of wearing a shirt for more than one day in a row. The great thing about this is that again, it halved the amount of shirts we needed. We were initially thinking eight shirts each, but if one shirt can be worn for two days, carrying a week of clothing just got a whole lot lighter!


Pants were also a two for one decision. Instead of carrying some pants and some shorts we decided on convertibles, pants that have legs that zip off, or roll up, instantly becoming a cooler option.


Enough underwear to last five days without washing was our goal. At worst we figured we could hand wash them and dry them overnight, but our plan was to be able to wash every 5 days minimum.

Cold Weather

With a month in Europe, where they are just coming out of their winter, we were expecting temperatures of between 0 and 5 degrees celsius. With all of the ultra thin layers we’d bought we were obviously going to be cold. In order to travel with carry-on bags only, any extra layers we needed were going to need to be thin and light. Therefore we opted to add layers, not big, thick, heavy jackets.

Our plan was:

  • * Thermals
  • * Long sleeve shirt
  • * Jumper
  • * Vest
  • * Jacket


There are loads of different thermals available on the market – from super cheap to super expensive. Given that we would be wearing them daily, the perfect option was something that could be worn for multiple days and give extra warmth. Therefore we opted for woolen thermals which made them odour resistant.


We couldn’t carry a range of jumpers, so with space for only 1, we needed to ensure that they were nice and warm, without being too heavy or thick.

We also opted for a duck down vest, which would be great for body warmth over long sleeve shirts, and then a polar fleece jumper, which can be worn below or above the vest.


With lots of thin layers beneath our jackets, the very top layer really only needed to serve two purposes. Block the wind, and keep out water. For this, we decided to opt for Goretex, a brand that is known for being breathable (lets moisture out, therefore not holding sweat in), extremely waterproof and completely windproof. They cost a little more, but these are jackets that we will have for years!

So what did we pack exactly?

Click below to see our actual packing lists!

Click here to move to Section 2 - Karen's packing list

Click here to move to Section 2 – Karen’s packing list

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