Published on October 26th, 2012


Packing (LIGHT!) for Oz


(Note: the 2004 “Dumbfuckistan” political button is in honor of the U.S. election that will take place whilst I’m in Oz – trust that I sent in my absentee ballot weeks ago!)

g-knows I have a bazillion pre-trip chores to do before I hop on the bus + plane + plane for Oz in just 48 hours (yikes!), but…

As packing LIGHT seems to be an elusive goal for many (it’s taken me DECADES to finally learn how to do it painlessly), I just thought I’d drop a pic and peck a rundown of what I’m packing for 3 weeks in Oz here for all to see.

Honestly?  It amazes even me how very little one needs to keep body and soul (quite comfortably) together when romping on most any continent for no matter how many days, weeks, months.

It truly is just a matter of not asking “What do I need?” but rather, “What DON’T I need?”

And though it might seem incongruous with a packing mantra of ever more “l-i-g-h-t”, surprisingly my packing list always begins with a trio of items that stand guard between me and my worst nightmare:  being cold.  I mean, if life gets too warm, one simply slips off a layer (and/or gets out of the sun).  But cold?  What is there to do, but shiver and curse that you didn’t at least tuck in a thin wrap and a pair of warm socks.

Thus, no matter how long the trip, nor where it may take me, I always take my trusty silk long-johns plus a pair of wool socks and a thin wool sweater.  ‘Cuz you never know when you might find yourself sleeping in a drafty Hill Tribe hovel at 6,000 ft. or (more likely) trying to doze on an 8 hour bus with the air-conditioning set on “Ice Cube”.  Suffice, the wool socks go on as soon as I fasten my seat belt on the plane, and the thin wool sweater seldom leaves my side.

That said, as far as other clothes and such – alas it is the techno gadgets that take up the most room these days.  Shoot, if it weren’t for the netbook, the Kindle, the camera, and all their requisite tangled paraphernalia (cords, chargers, et al), I could probably travel most anywhere sans baggage entirely – by just layering and stuffing my POCKETS with toothbrush and paste!

Well o.k. maybe that might be stretching things.  But the point is, all I ever need will fit into a small 24 ltr. rolling backpack (else a non-roller if I’m going to be UTTERLY off in the wilds), plus a little rucksack for day tripping.  Towit – my list for Oz (see photo above):

Wear:  black pants, black tank top, gray tunic, b/w scarf (likewise for wrapping neck or knees against the insufferable on again/off again a/c on the plane), ever so trusty Tevas, money belt (with dong, US$ + 2 credit cards for 2 different accounts), passport, copies of insurance, air ticket receipts, etc. + fanny pack w/ smartphone, change purse (with ~ $30 in local currency).

Rucksack:  netbook, Kindle, camera plus various ‘n sundry cords, batteries, chargers.  Thin wool black cardigan, wool socks, sunglasses, inflatable plane pillow, eye-mask and ear-plugs (the latter, my most indispensable travel item!), toiletries in 1 qt. clear zip-lock bag + my handy-dandy travel towel and a mini medical kit, snacks (peanuts, jerky + a Snickers for good measure)

Note: all techno-gadgets and 3 oz. liquids go in the rucksack, so no need to open the rolling backpack at airport security.


My beloved little (4 lb.) rolling backpack – juuuuust right!

Rolling Backpack
(regulation carry-on size):
khaki zip-off shorts/pants
patchwork pants
black capris
red cotton top
navy t-shirt
blue t-shirt
black t-shirt
long-sleeved blue t-shirt
black t-shirt dress
bathing suit
jammies (black sweats + top)
4 pr. panties
silk long-johns
1 pr. cotton socks
plaid scarf
water filter
(allowing… plenty of room to spare for a few souvenirs)

And THAT folks, is pretty much all I need.  With such a lightweight kaboodle, even this dodderin’ lass (“of a certain age”) can skip from airport, to train, to bus, to ferry – even hop on a motorbike taxi with swiftness and ease!

Packing LIGHT for Australia

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About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

8 Responses to Packing (LIGHT!) for Oz

  1. You’d probably keel over if you saw how much stuff I usually travel with. I like to be prepared! My giant spinner bag is usually maxed out at 20kg. But the good thing about having so many clothes in the bag is that they cushion any fragile souvenirs we buy. I like to look on the positive!

    • says:

      LOL cosmoH – well I dare say it’s not ME who’d be keeling over. But rather YOU who surely must be bent over double toting – goodness, more than 40 pounds!

      Still, if you don’t mind checking baggage and can handle the extra kg’s… And yes, a spinner bag might well work for places like Oz. But I dare say you’d have a bit of grief were you to try exploring the Gobi with it. 😉

      And yes, an added bonus to cushion fragile souvenirs. Indeed, I once backpacked across South Africa and Mozambique for weeks toting not one, but TWO fragile ostrich eggs I picked up along the way.

      Point is – we each have different styles and different druthers when it comes to both travel, and its necessary companion: packing. But you might well be surprised how happily you could cull that spinner down by half – leaving even MORE room for those delicious souvenirs!

  2. Graefyl says:

    Not bad, not bad at all. Well done. I have to go super light due to an injury and normally will have around 10lbs with my travel writing kit. Will be doing write up on that next month (will link to you as another example).

    • TravelnLass says:

      Thanks for stopping by Graefyl – wow! Just 10 pounds? That’s remarkable! g-knows if I didn’t have the electronics I could do it. But anymore I simply can’t be long without my camera, my Kindle and my smartphone – sigh…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m impressed with your packing – I pack too much and that’s after paring things down to 1/3 or less of what I start with. I also suffer from the “what if it’s cold” syndrome but tend to carry more to compensate. However, I have lots of time to plan because, alas, I don’t have any trips planned in the near future. Enjoy your time in Oz. Looking forward to reading about it!

    • says:

      Well hey there Ronnie – good to hear from you here! And yes, it used to be that I’d toss everything on the bed, and then have to pare down HALF to even BEGIN to cull it down to carry-on size.

      But it really is a simple formula: most ANY frigid temp is easily whipped by the silk long-johns, the wool socks and the thin wool sweater. And these take up very little room/weight.

      And the rest? The little cotton (spaghetti strap) t-shirt dress can be dressed up with a scarf and earrings for even such la-di-da’s as the Sydney Opera (which I’m presently contemplating, but at $150 for the cheapest tickets, I’ve opted to wait til I can hit the box office personally in hopes of nabbing a same-day-rush sale).

      ANYWAY, point is – just a few tops and a trio of pants plus a scarf will see you through most anything, no matter how many weeks you’re away (laundry service is cheap, and besides, you’ll no doubt buy at least a t-shirt or two along the way, yes?)

  4. Mary Moss says:

    Have a great trip! Meanwhile 10 weeks until blast off and I’m periodically coming unglued:-)

    • TravelnLass says:

      Thanks Mary, and no doubt the 10 weeks will verily FLY by in a blur. You’re now on your way, girlfriend – and the ride is going to be FABULOUS! 😉

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