You might be familiar with the Paretto Principle also known as the 80—20 rule. If not, it roughly goes like this — for many events roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Or... 80% of the crops comes from 20% of the seeds sown.
There are hundreds of examples. The Paretto Princple is a rule of thumb it's not supposed to be exact. I think the 80/20 rule applies to packing too — 20% of what you pack meets 80% of your needs.
To meet the rest of our needs we improvise like Macgyver on a weekend in Paris.
Yes you don't have 7 pairs of underwear labeled Sunday through to Saturday...
But you did pack your travel soap and a universal sink plug.
How To Pack Only The 20%
1. Use A Packing List
The internet is full of packing list templates for many different types of adventures.
2. Assemble a Travel Clothes Wardrobe
In this section, I'm going to talk a lot about clothes. Because clothes take up the most space, so this is where you can make the biggest improvements to your packing method.
It can take a long time to assemble a travel clothes wardrobe. But you don't need to do it all at once. If you start to think about travel when doing your regular clothes shopping it can pay off over time.
Good travel clothes should be quick drying. This allows you to wash it overnight and wear it again the next day. Doing some handwashing while traveling is one of the best ways to reduce your weight.
Try to choose neutral colors for your travel clothes. This way you can mix and match to create more outfits that work together.
Use layers. It's better to have more pieces of clothes for the same weight. For example, a t-shirt, shirt and light sweater is better than a heavy sweater. It gives you more options.
I know what you are thinking. That James Eagleman is dirty hippy who never wears clean clothes. Here is the wool suit I wore last summer. And here is Tailor Made London advising you how often you should clean a suit. The answer, 2 or 3 times a year.
Versatility. Items of clothing that can perform double duties are a great idea. For example shorts that can also be used as swimming shorts.
Trilogy theory. 3 shirts, 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear. 2 pairs of pants and 1 pair of shorts.
Bendy Bras. Sources tell me that bras without underwires can be rolled up.
Downsize your underwear. This tip might not be everyone but some people are big pants people and some people wear skimpy thongs. Skimpy things are the correct packing light choice if not always the correct fashion choice.
3. Invest In Wool
Wool. Wool has been engineered by nature for keeping sheep clean and warm. It's durable, has a great insulation to weight ratio and doesn't wrinkle or get stinky. Wool and Prince make some awesome travel shirts for guys made from superfine merino wool.
Woolen clothes are more expensive than cotton, but they save you money in the long run.
If you buy wool clothing, you don’t need a lot of clothes. You can carry your entire wardrobe on your back.
Wool clothes are expensive, but they never stink even after weeks of wear. You can just hand wash them when you feel like it. And they dry quick. You can hand wash a shirt, put it right on immediately and it will be completely dry within about 15 minutes.
I'm not talking sweaters either. You can buy woolen shirts and suits that look like business attire but behave different.
Superfine merino wool is not itchy. It's more comfortable to wear than cotton. It has fantastic wicking properties. It keeps you cool when it's hot and hot when it's cool.
By all means. If you want to spend your life pulling a wardrobe behind you or running a laundrette, then go right ahead. I buy wool.
3. Choose Travel Shoes Wisely
More specifics about wool and travel clothes in Chapter 3
4. Travel Gear
Travel Computing. Take a tablet rather than a laptop. I work while traveling and I found that the best travel laptop in my case was a Microsoft Surface Pro. It has the power of a laptop but the size and weight of a large tablet. Avoid the inferior keyword cover and use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
Pack a Foldable Day Pack. Unless you've gone ultra-light your travel bag will probably be too big to use once you are at your destination.
Compact umbrella or waterproof poncho. If I am in hot climates I find a heavy jacket unnecessary. I like to walk in the rain and an umbrella or waterproof poncho helps with this.
Sunglasses. Need I say more? Sunnies are essential for trips to bright sunny places. But don't worry you can wear them on your head and they don't take up any of your carry-on allowance.
Travel coffee maker. I've written elsewhere how CarryOnGuy.com runs on rich black coffee. I make sure to find room in my backpack for a travel coffee maker.
Sleep mask. A sleep mask can really help for sleeping on the plane, jetlag or sleeping in unfamiliar rooms. It's an essential piece of kit for your travel and lightweight too!
Earplugs. Like a sleep mask earplugs help for sleeping during travel and in strange places. Gram for gram one of the best items you can pack in your carry on.
First aid kit. This one depends on where you are traveling to and what you will be doing. A first aid kit can be a handy thing to pack if you are going to be doing a lot of hikng
A Lightweight Travel Adapter. You want to be able to charge those gadgets. Typically a travel adapter is quite chunky but this one is nice and small and light.
Money belt or neck wallet. RFID blocking wallet. Passport wallet.
Keep your cash and cards in different places. Keep emergency cash.
5. Travel Laundry
Doing laundry on the road is an essential part of traveling light. If you are used to doing all your laundry with a washing machine it might seem like washing clothes on the road will be a hassle.
Yes it is annoying but so is lugging around a heavy bag packed full of clothes.
In reality, to hand wash a few items will only take a few minutes and the benefits are huge.
Pack a travel sink plug. This will help because not all hotels have sink plugs.
You could also pack some travel detergent like Dr. Beckmann Travel Wash though I often just wash my clothes with shampoo.
A clothesline can help to dry things and it doesn't take up much room.
To dry clothes fast roll them up in a towel and stand on them. I often hand wash a polo shirt, roll it in a towel, stamp on it and put it straight on slightly damp.
After about 30 mins it will be fully dry just from your body heat.