Travel Light, Pack Smart: Top Essentials for Effortless Adventures

volcano with sun setting
Off the coast of Malaga, Spain Photo by Kristin Barclay

Discover our favorite products for packing light, where innovation meets efficiency! From the bags that keep your prized possessions organized to multifunctional items, we’ve curated the ultimate lineup to transform your travel experience. Say goodbye to bulky luggage and hello to the freedom of essentials that make your journey as breezy as a tropical vacation. Whether you’re a savvy minimalist or just looking to lighten the load, these clever picks will have you traveling like a pro without sacrificing style or convenience. Pack smart, travel light, and unleash your inner wanderlust with ease!

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

lady with backpack
Peak Design 45L backpack Photo credit Peak Design

If you’re ready to travel light, using just one bag that holds everything you need, the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is the bag you need. I am obsessed with this bag, and it’s my favorite travel bag. There’s so much to love about this bag and its versatility that I don’t know where to start.

Peak Design understands a traveler’s needs, which is evident in all of its products. We are huge fans of the accessibility of the travel backpack. You have easy access to your gear with its top, side, front, and rear #8 and #10 UltraZips, which are durable and weatherproof. This is so much better than those backpacks with the clamshell openings. We’ve had small and large backpacks, using the one that works best for the length of trip and space. However, Peak Design’s travel backpack can collapse into a 35L bag when you don’t need the extra space. When the bag is collapsed, I was able to fit the bag under the seat on a plane.

With this bag, I can carry my laptop, camera gear, packing cubes with clothes, a pair of shoes, my Kindle, and more. Peak’s tech pouch helps me access my charging cables easily, and I don’t have to worry about tangled cords.

Peak Design Tech Pouch

tech pouch interior
Tech pouch photo by Peak Design

So, I initially thought using a tech pouch was unnecessary and just one more thing to keep up with, but I was so wrong. When traveling with my spouse or spouse and the kids, someone always needs a charger, a cable, or a spare brick. This leads to multiple people rummaging through my bag, often resulting in things falling out and getting left behind. With Peak Design’s tech pouch, I grab it and pass it to the family.

We easily store our Apple watch cables, SD cards, GoPro spare batteries, charging cables, and battery packs in our pouch. Cable pass-through for charging devices makes charging devices more convenient. When it’s time to pack up after a hotel stay, it’s easy to glance at the pouch and make sure we have everything we brought with us. This is now a must-have for traveling lighter, and they make great gifts.

Peak Design Wash Pouch

small wash pouch

If you’re carrying one bag, like the travel backpack, we highly recommend the Small Wash Pouch for your toiletries. It is a streamlined yet full-featured toiletry bag designed for light packers with an aluminum hook for hanging. Its ability to sit upright makes it easy to access your razor, toothbrush, and more. We use the larger one for long trips and the small wash pouch for weekend getaways.

The Huakai Travel Rain Jacket

rain jacket

Travelers often debate whether to take a lightweight jacket and a rain jacket. With the Huakai Travel Rain jacket, you have a multi-functional jacket that can be worn in a downpour or ward off the chill of a spring evening. This jacket’s secret pockets make it the perfect travel companion. There’s room for passports, wallets, and phones, and keeping everything secure and within reach is easy. We love that it can fit in a pouch when not being worn, perfect for clipping to your carry-on or inside your luggage.

Features include Hidden Pockets on the sleeve for credit cards, money, or other small items. A sizeable hidden pocket is on the back, where you can store a passport, money, or backup battery. This pocket is velcro, so it will be louder and more challenging to access for a pick-pocket.

Two inside chest pockets are designed to fit a cell phone.

COALATREE Trailhead Pants

woman in wooded area

When looking to save space in our travels, finding pants that can be versatile enough for the day and evening is key. While my go-to used to be jeans that could be worn to dinner or while sightseeing, they are just so bulky. Now, I look for comfortable pants that take up less space. These pants aren’t prone to wrinkling and are easy to clean while on the road.

Oh, and I’m also in my ‘stretchy era’ of life. The trailhead pants from COALATREE are my new favorite pants for travel. Perfect for wearing in the car or on the plane, accidental spills are no big deal with their water-resistant and stain-proof fabric. However, my favorite feature is the deep pockets that easily hold my iPhone, keys, and inhaler. And with the stink-proof fabric, I can wear them multiple times without worrying about smelling bad.

The trailhead pants are perfect for hiking or exploring the rocky coast. They are also perfect for the 8+ hour plane ride or paired with a nice top for dinner. With multiple colors, they are a must-have for travelers.

With every trip we take, we learn more tricks/hacks to making travel more memorable with less hassle. Stay tuned for more tips and travel experiences.

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Kristin Barclay
Kristin Barclay graduated from the University of South Carolina with a major in Journalism and Advertising. Throughout her career, Kristin has demonstrated a passion for storytelling and a commitment to providing accurate, timely, and informative news coverage. She has a deep understanding of the issues and concerns facing local communities and has earned a reputation as a trusted source for reliable news and information. In addition to her work as an editor and journalist, Kristin is also a skilled writer and has written articles on a wide range of topics, including politics, business, education, and culture. She has a keen eye for detail and a talent for crafting compelling stories that engage and inform readers. Kristin is also an active member of the community and has volunteered her time and resources to numerous organizations and causes. She believes in the importance of giving back and making a positive impact on the world around us. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Kristin Barclay is also a passionate advocate for local journalism and the role it plays in keeping communities informed and engaged. She believes strongly in the importance of supporting local news outlets and is dedicated to ensuring that quality journalism remains a vital part of our society. Outside of work, Kristin enjoys traveling both for business and pleasure. She loves exploring new places, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures. Whether she's on a business trip or a vacation, Kristin is always eager to discover what makes each place unique and special. Kristin's passions include boots, bourbon, dogs and college football. She is a self-proclaimed boot aficionado and has an impressive collection of cowboy boots that she wears with pride. She also enjoys sipping on a good bourbon and spending time with her husband and beloved border collies. Last but certainly not least, Kristin is the proud mother of two children who bring joy and meaning to her life. She is deeply committed to being a loving and supportive parent, and her children are her greatest source of inspiration and motivation

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