How To Travel to distant places With Less Than 6kg (13LBS) of Luggage

One month ago I went travelling around Sri Lanka with my girlfriend. We took a trip around the island, staying in 8 different places in 18 days, including many one night stops. On many occasions, that required unpacking and repacking everything in less than 24 hours. 

Luckily, we were well prepared. In this article I explain what we took and what we wished we had taken, so you can plan for your next trip. The list can serve to you as either an inspiration or a checklist.

Our goal was to pack very light and bring only the stuff that is absolutely necessary. The three main principles we had were:

  1. Avoid Checking Baggage - I have nothing against checking a baggage. However, if you are taking so much baggage that you must check it in, you are probably packing too much stuff. 
  2. "Buy It There" - Don't try to pack for every possible scenario (what if it rains, what if it gets cold, what if I play soccer, etc.). Your stuff should cover 80-90% of your needs. In case, you urgently need something you can buy it there. Change "Just-In-Case" mindset for "Just-In-Time".

  3. Avoid clothes that require lengthy drying. If you want to pack light, your clothes have to dry quickly so you can put them on after 24hours. 

My luggage


Items are listed from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. You will notice that certain items are marked with a star (*). I wore those items during flights, further decreasing the luggage weight to 4kg on a flight day.  

1. Thin windbreaker (useful during long flights and colder days)*
2. Sweatpants (again, to keep you warm during long flights and colder days)*
3. Summer shirt (mine is made out of very thin cotton so it dries super fast and needs no ironing)* 
4. Sweatshirt (used as a second layer to keep you warm when leaving your home in the middle of the winter + colder days at a destination)*
5. Sport shoes* 
6. Winter socks* 
7. Flip-flops
8. Swimwear
9. 2x Gym shorts (super comfortable and dry quickly)
10. 3x Sport t-shirts (super comfortable and dry quickly) 
11. Mosquito repellent
12. Deodorant (can be omitted, but I didn't want to use another brand)
13. Toothbrush (can be omitted, but I am used to mine) 
14. Charcoal pills
15. Brazil nuts (a healthy snack; much better alternative to fast food at airports)
16. Oh Yeah Protein Bar (some more food if you get hungry)
17. 2x underwear (made out of microfiber so you can wash them every night; I wore these)*
18. Dry-fast towel (This is an absolute must-have! If you don't have one of these, you'll automatically have to bring two towels as they dry very slowly)
19. 2x socks for sports (made out of microfiber; dry ultra fast)
20. Rain poncho
21. Cell phone charger (can be used for charging Kindle, iPod and a cell phone)
22. Kindle
23. iPod 
24. Sunglasses
25. Passport
26. Wallet
27. Cell phone
28. Ear plugs
29. Sleeping mask 

Klara's luggage

I won't list all the items on the picture because Klara's luggage is very similar to mine. Here is a list of additional stuff that she took:

1. Lip balm (even though we've travelled to hot and humid places, air condition and hence dry air is everywhere)
2. Bra
3. Sun cream
4. Various medicine
5. Duct tape (super useful for various purposes, e.g. fixing mosquito nets) 
6. Bandages
7. Disinfectant
8. Lonely Planet - Sri Lanka

What we wish we'd taken

1. Tablet (smartphones are ok, but a tablet is so much better if you need to do any serious googling such as planning your trip, looking for accommodations etc.)
2. Compressions socks for long flights (improve blood circulation so you feel less tired) 

what about you?

What is your favourite gear and tactics for travelling ultra light? 

Alen FaljicComment