One Bag To Rule Them All

There seems to be a trend with travelers, the more you travel, the less you own. At least, anecdotally that has how it’s been for me. Less really is more when traveling and I adopted the philosophy of onebagging many years ago. Not only one bag, but carry-on only.

How Do I Travel With One Bag!?

It sounds mental at first if you haven’t heard this concept but just hear me out. If you own higher quality items, you will probably need less of them. If you’re resourceful and realize you buy items on the journey, then why overpack your bag or bring multiple bags?

Think about this:

  • Skip the bagging fees.
  • Always have your luggage on you
  • Skip check-in lines.
  • More agile when on the road.

Bare Bones Packing List

You can view my one bag packing list here. Below are some quick items and tips that can help you achieve fitting everything into one bag though:

  • Packing Cubes – organize clothes
  • Ziplock baggies – used for wet and organization of small items
  • A reusable grocery bag or foldable – useful for a day bag when exploring or personal item for your flight.
  • No space wasted – pack things inside of things. Are you packing extras shoes? (I personally tie mine outside the bag) Make sure the insides are stuffed with items.
  • Wear large items like a coat or hiking boots on the plane.

Choosing the Right Bag

This one is hard and there are a lot of factors. I’m not going to recommend brands because all of them kinda do the same thing. I will give you some tips on picking the right one

Backpack Size

Make sure to get fitted your backpack if you’re going to buy online (which I recommend below.) You can go into an REI or any outdoor store and ask them to measure you. You can even try some on and take a look at them, just don’t buy one yet. For carry on only, you are going to want to be between 35-45L. Mine is 40L and I’ve had zero issues bringing it on airlines around the globe.

Backpack Style

  • Top and front-loading – This means you can grab items from a top zipper if the backpack is sitting up, or unzip the front of the bag and it opens up to display all the items in the bag.
  • Straps – get one that serves as a duffle bag or backpack. meaning, you can hide away the shoulder and waist straps then carry it like a suitcase.
  • Rain Resistant – most come now with waterproof coating. While this hasn’t been essential for me yet, it’s work checking out.
  • Lockable zipper – don’t forget the locks!

Where to Buy?

There are a lot of second-hand bags being sold online. I got a $300 bag for $100 bucks because someone was upgrading to the newest edition. This was four years ago and I still have it. You can look on:

  • Local Marketplaces – Facebook, Offerup, local outdoor Meetups, or even good old fashioned craiglist.
  • Check out reddit.com/r/onebag and they host a monthly buy/sell/trade list.
  • Lower Gear
  • REI Used
  • And if all else fails, just go into your local outdoorsy store and buy one after you get fitted.
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