Category Archives: Packing

WowAir Basic Fare Packing

I used to go to Green Bay, Wisconsin in February and March (sometimes as early as January) and, as you might realize, it can get a little nippy there. But after doing this for about 10 years, the panic over “OMG I’m going to freeze to death!” calmed down to “Why is it so freaking hot inside?”

Most of the time I ended up in a long sleeve layering shirt with a snarky T-shirt on top of that and yoga pants. When I did go outside, I had a Patagonia down sweater, and for the occasional sleigh ride (it was a vacation) I just put on snow pants over my yoga pants or leggings; whatever I happen to be wearing that day.


Special guest star: barn kitteh at the Rock K Ranch

I have it on good authority from a Green Bay resident that Iceland is lovely and now I really want to try Wow Air and their basic fare (here are a couple of people who have done this: Pam Yang and Dariadaria) and I want to use my BoardingBlue bag which meets the free carry-on requirement for Wow Air.

I’m pretty sure it will carry all I need since I won’t be camping, I’ll probably just take a day tour to see some waterfalls, do the Blue Lagoon-natch, and noodle around town taking pictures. If I can manage it, I’d like to see the black sand beach – but that is negotiable. I also really, really want to see the northern lights, but I hear that can be tricky. Well, we’ll give it a shot.
(Suggestions for fun? Leave those tips in the comments!)

I have a comfy pair of Sorel winter boots (the Waterfall model from a few years ago – tested in GB) I can wear on the plane, my snow pants, I have a thin smartwool sweater for another layer, my Marmot rain/wind layer packs up super flat and I can carry my down jacket with hat and mittens stored in the pocket. I think this will be fairly easy to accomplish.

Here’s the BoardingBlue with my snow pants snuggled in:


And then my standard packing cube o’ stuff tucked in:

I’ll bring other stuff like flip flops and a swimsuit, my travel towel, packable daypack, etc, but there’s lots of room left in my bag… though not enough for the 40 Icelandic sweaters I want to buy, but that is another issue all together 😉

Excitement. I haz it. 😉

2-Week Trip in One Flash Pack

REI posted a great minimalist packing list in the 18L Flash pack (I love mine.)

I smugly smiled, easily tossing my lighter-than-light 18-liter REI Flash Pack into the overhead compartment of my flight from Barcelona to Lisbon. There was none of the usual huffing and puffing, no last-minute hopes that my luggage would fit. And, if I really needed to, I knew I could shove it under the seat in front of me.

Read more…

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A New Bag!

Having watched untold packing videos on YouTube about minimalists traveling (some actual minimalists and some just rather pleased with themselves for only bringing on a full suitcase and a personal item) I decided a while back to see what is my minimum travel gear for leisure travel.

I tend to travel on Southwest since I can avoid flying through the problematic airports (O’Hare, DFW – eeeeevvvvil places IMO) to get to my Texas locations and they have a pretty amazing luggage policy (personal item, carryon and 2 bags fly free). Considering they have a really great on-time record, I’d say they are doing something right. However, not everyone is as fabu as Southwest, so I need to be ready.

I’ve done a week at my family home in the Tom Bihn Nightflight Travel Duffle (FYI: it is United’s personal item, perfect for their bare fare tickets); it worked pretty well and eventually I want to hop around Europe on a budget airline, such as RyanAir, but I don’t want to blow all my funds on carrying stuff around. I have several backpacks, but all seem to be just a bit larger than their specifications. So I went to eBay and found a RyanAir specifically sized personal item bag.

• Designed to be the maximum size for the second hand luggage for Ryan air
• Made from a tough wearing 600D polyester Material
• 1 main compartment
• 1 Front zip pocket
• Removable adjustable shoulder strap
• Piggy back strap so bag fits on back of trolley case when travelling – less to carry and easier to travel!
• Dimensions 35x20x20 cms  Weight: 0.4kgs

Also it has polka dots! ❤️

I’ve recently reorganized my specific travel clothes, using Lewis N Clark Electrolight medium cubes. The very basics in one cube and the ability for judicious expansion by grabbing cube #2 and/or one of the specialty cubes. (Read about the contents of my packing cubes here.) In addition to my plane outfit (jeans, black merino t, shell jacket and black walking shoes), cube #1 has a long sleeve black CuddlDuds item (triple duty item: pj’s, layering piece or just a long sleeve shirt), a short sleeve black shirt, a pair of black printed leggings, socks & undies.

There are some things that just live in my suitcase. My cross body purse (contains purse type stuff: phone, wallet, pen, iPhone backup thingy, etc), silicone coffee drip cone, Gobite Uno, USB cables, packable daypack, Jackery 12500 mAh battery, shampoo bar & carrier, flip flops, travel buddy… and not much else. It’s a pretty good set up for at least a week of wandering about taking loads of pictures.

If I do need more, I can throw in packing cube #2 with a bit more stuff in it.

But for this bag, my main packing cube fits the bill. Here it is in my new bag:

Lots of room left for another cube if I really need it, or even better, room for souvenirs!

Have suitcase, will travel.

(I’ve got my Boarding Blue Personal item bag for Iceland Wow Air packing almost done… stay tuned)

1 week in the @tombihn Night Flight Travel Duffle

It is actually very easy to travel to my family’s place in just the Tom Bihn Night Flight travel duffle. I pack my merino wool T-shirts, a pair of leggings and a hooded shirt. Winter in Texas is flip-flop weather, and minimal toiletries mean that I can travel super lightly and easily.

My airplane outfit serves as arriving and returning clothes, and I wear my tennis shoes in the airport so that I can walk the 3 miles between terminals comfortably. (Note that I  also a bring packable day pack to carry presents to everybody which then gets folded up and put in my bag for the return trip, or carries back presents that I was brought so it works out well in any case.)

In the main compartment I have some jammies  (the blue tank and some ex officio black boxer shorts), three T-shirts; all merino wool, and my buff (just in case). Then I have my orange toiletries kit (dry products), purple REI mini towel, two Tom Bihn pouches with first aid stuff and fiddly bits. You can’t see them, but in the bottom I have my flip-flops for noodling around the house.

The silver thing is my iPad mini with a Bluetooth keyboard cover, a hairbrush and a banana republic shopping bag that has an elephant on it – so that obviously has to come with me ;).

The base layer packed:

And then the second layer:

Right before I go through security I tuck in my clear plastic plane kit that holds my earphones, phone battery, adapters, etc. that hangs on the tray table while I’m sitting in my seat. It fits in the area where the space is left.

The side pockets:

The right side pocket holds my electronics. In the pouches underneath my CPAP I have my wall adapter, the CPAP’s accessories, my phone charger cable, and any other cables that I might need on my trip.

The outside right pocket holds my wet toiletries that get pulled out for security at TSA. This little case from Daiso holds about six days worth of supplies for me.

The left side pocket holds socks and underwear, my packable day pack and any other thing that might need to be squished into my bag. It’s not overly full but it doesn’t have a ton of room left either.

Left outside pocket holds my slim wallet when I travel so that I can put my phone and it in my bag before I go through the scanner at TSA. It helps keep them organized and I don’t have such anxiety over losing my ID etc.

In general I’m usually over optimistic about what I will wear, but I actually did wear all of the stuff I brought this time (though given my druthers I would just wear this particular outfit the whole time):

Yes those are cat knees on my leggings and that Columbia hooded shirt is the best thing in the world, I’m having to darn the holes all the time because I’ve been wearing it for three years solid and it’s starting to wear out a bit. I will be sad when I can’t wear it anymore. I hope they come out with a good replacement!

(This outfit fits in the bag but I was wearing it  so I didn’t pack it up to take pictures.) I have a pair of black pants and a shirt to wear on the plane and then I keep the Columbia hoodie either on me or tucked into the snap handle on the top of the duffle. The leggings get tucked into wherever they fit at the time.

I fly home later today so I can verify that this set up works really well since I’ve been gone for about a week now. The only thing I really feel I’m missing is my cats. But they don’t like to travel and don’t really fit into this bag. 😉

Vacation in a vacation

We’re planning to ride the Eurostar to London from Paris one day on our upcoming trip. The plan is to get there early afternoon, snoop about, eat Indian food til we explode, stay in a hotel then get up the next day and do one of those hop on/hop off tours until it is time to get back to Paris via St. Pancras station.

Being a packing nerd, I was up for this challenge (I hate carrying a lot of stuff and we’ll need to carry everything with us after we check out of the hotel that morning.)


I’ll be carrying my Pacsafe Slingsafe 300 GII and my pouch purse


I so adore this bag. Super comfy to carry, RFID pocket, slash resistant straps and securable zippers. Peace of mind in backpack form. Pretty much when I travel I have a pouch purse for easy storage of coins and phone and then a backpack for the day’s needs. These two together are THE BUSINESS I tell you…

Here’s what I have in my bag:
1. umbrella
2. In my dopp kit:

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*I found some teeny tiny soap containers at Daiso that hold a Ligett’s travel shampoo bar and my travel sized Dove bar. Moreover, they fit in the travel zip pouch from Ligett’s that you can get perfectly.  

3. clothes in zip pouch (just the middle sized one):

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**depending on how warm it is, I might just take one merino shirt. They don’t smell generally and if I’m not sweating I probably will be ok. Though I’m a messy Indian food eater, I might need to take another one anyway 😉

4. Travel electronics:

All told it weighs about 5 or 6 pounds, (more with a water bottle in there). I’m ready for London!
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Organizing my travel stuff day

(I swear this is not a shrine to Tom Bihn 😉 )

Bags (from left to right):

1. Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 GII Anti-Theft Backpack

2. Tom Bihn SideKick and Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack

3. Tom Bihn Co-Pilot

4. Tom Bihn Synapse 25

5. Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30

On end: misc Tom Bihn stuff sacks

Below, right: Tom Bihn Night Flight Travel Duffle sitting on top of sunset orange Lug Puddle Jumper
In an effort to curb my wants for MOAR TRAVEL STUFFS I decided to gather my travel gear together to clear out any unnecessary duplication and be ready for my next trip.

I used a shoe organizer on the side of a portable coat rack to corral travel wallets, travel pill carriers, wet kits (liquid shampoo etc), dry kits (shampoo bars, toothpowder, etc), packable purses or day packs, and journals ready for filling with adventures. 

(I don’t have my travel clothes hung up here as I have a good amount of wool based stuff so I keep them in an air locked bin with cedar and lavender to discourage the critters. )

Also, very important to leave space on top of a bin for a cat to crawl in and not wreak total havoc. 🙂

Night Flight Travel Duffle & an ultralight trip 

I went home for a visit recently and decided that I just didn’t feel like bringing much stuff at all. (It’s home; I generally end up running around in leggings and a sweater all week. My family isn’t all that dressy anyway 🙂  )

So I grabbed my Tom Bihn Night Flight Travel Duffle and put in the basics:

  • Survival kit (see contents below)
  • iPad and keyboard cover + cables
  • Noise cancelling ear buds
  • Travel cpap + wall plug
  • Some tshirts, socks and undies 
  • Miscellaneous stuff (glasses case, 1st aid kit zippy, power bank, gorilla pod, slim power adaptor, etc.)

Here is most of the “stuff” that I took (my iPhone is taking the picture) and most of that went in one of the side pockets.

One of the things that really saves space is my “survival kit”.

It stands up in the corner of the center compartment and takes the place of several other pouches people tend to have. It is a LeSportsac Kevyn Cosmetic Case that has a large zip section and a side pocket. I have several dry toiletries in the big zip compartment, such as JR Ligget shampoo bar, tooth brush, tooth powder, an eyeliner pencil, lip stain, nail nippers, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick (0.5 Ounce) and I made a tiny deodorant by remelting it into an empty swivel stick container. (Regular travel deodorants are handy but the form factor takes up a lot of room.) The side zip pocket has several short cables for charging my phone and iPad as well as micro USB for my travel batteries. I also keep a low profile power bank in there that stores tidily and lets me charge my phone at least once.

(I have a USB extender cable in my duffle so that I don’t have to worry about using those 3 inch cables in a wall plug 😉 )

This kit stays packed and moves with me from bag to bag. Mighty handy.

So aside from what I wore on the plane, this was the clothing I took and it fit in a Tom Bihn mesh packing cube that went into the same pocket as the little bit of stuff.

It fits under the seat rather nicely.

Not pictured: I do carry a pouch purse (usually the Side Effect) for my phone, wallet, etc.  it’s much easier to get through security with that stuff at hand.  I just got the Sidekick so it will be even easier to travel ultralight now!