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  1. #1
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    How I Pack Ultralight

    I have found myself obsessed with ultralight travel, no matter if it is piling in the big old Montana SUV for a ski/golf weekend or taking a tiny regional commuter jet to escape winter. Overall, it just seems easier and WAAAY less stress to get around and when flying not having to worry about overhead bin space or checking luggage. It was also handy to have all our stuff at our feet - and besides take off and landing they sat upright behind our calves most of the time.

    This quest has been fun. It all came together in a week long trip to sunny Texas recently without one complaint. My wife, daughter, and myself were armed with our famous weapons of choice...a Synapse (25 for my wife, 25 for me, and 19 for our 6 year old daughter) and an assortment of TB stuff sacks, pouches, and cubes. I spent hours cruising this forum, flyer talk, and a few other forms to get everything down to the bare essentials and convincing my wife that traveling for a week with ultralight means won't crimp the fun.

    Laundry was the biggest challenge. We started out doing laundry in an REI dry bag, but quickly decided it wasn't worth it and started using the sink. We ditched the DIY clothesline (learned to make here) after realizing it is too much of a pain to find places to attach it - going in favor for utilizing any knob, hanger, the hangar's clips, etc... for drying. The side benefit is that fewer packed clothes means fewer places needed for drying. We packed athletic wear, polyester hoodies, and our only cotton was socks. We only took two sets of day clothes and one pair of shoes (worn) and flip flops (packed). We washed the day's clothes each night when putting our shorts and athletic shirts for bed.

    Besides finding and choosing easy to wash/dry clothes for our trip, cutting down toiletries was the funnest/most challenging part. I have a picture below that shows how this was accomplished. We got everything EASILY into two clear organizer pouches, which were tethered in the S25 bottom pockets and simply slipped out during security screening.

    Accessories/ID/Credit Cards were minimized and put into the TB pouches and tethered to the side pockets, as was hand sanitizer (a must for flying), a flashlight, and lip balm.

    Water - A platypus 20 oz bladder was put in each of our bags center water bottle pocket and filled after security and when on day excursions. They are light and conform to the amount of water. This, in my opinion, is the best style for travel over our normal stainless steel or glass daily bottles.

    Entertainment on an iPhone Another constant quest, and one that has seen many revisions, is the best way to attach a smart phone to an airplane seat....one that is steady, secure, and takes up little space. I looked all over the Internet at various ideas but came up with my own. This is also shown below. We received numerous compliments from other passengers, flight attendants, and even the pilot who noticed it when walking back to the cockpit from the washroom. It fits/molds over the closed tray table or in any other spot on the seat back. A friend who works in the headphone business told me that the in ear Etyomotic or Sure style earphones with foam tips are the best for noise isolation over many of the larger noise canceling offerings. Little jet engine noise and no conversation can be heard even without any music or sound flowing. Although expensive, we each have a set and highly recommend them.

    I hope this helps someone out there pack lighter and travel easier. Even though there are countless pack light threads in this forum, I'm always open to suggestions to improve or even re-share some of our best ideas. I have learned much from this forum, and thought it was worth contributing. I'm not done streamlining and improving efficiency. Its fun to see the shocked look on taxi/shuttle drivers, bellhops, and everyone else's face when they ask where our luggage is and we point to our shoulders.

    Tips Up,
    SkiMT

    Credit for Ointment Lotion, Sunscreen Idea, etc... LINK

    How I Pack Ultralight-packing-pngHow I Pack Ultralight-media-png
    Last edited by SKIMT; 02-16-2015 at 08:35 PM.

  2. #2
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    Impressive! Well done, SKIMT! I also aim for ultralight travel whenever possible and I learned a few things with this post (thank you!). These include using baby nailclippers (may do this next time I need a pair), your phone set-up, and the headphones choice. I would think you probably had plenty of room left over in your S25 with this list!

  3. #3
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    Agreed, very well done! I'd be interested to see your clothing list for that trip, both you and your wife's, if you have time. Thank you very much for sharing this! elisa

  4. #4
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    great idea on the phone holder! Thanks for sharing... I am totally stealing it Smilie

  5. #5
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    Can you tell me how you did phone hack? It would be a great way to do this! thanks

  6. #6
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    Holly - we wanted to have enough room in the bags they could be squeezed under the seats in front. It worked, although even if stuffed the S25 seems like it would fit just fine even under the tiny regional jet seats.

    AlaskaGirl - Each of us packed the same quantity and type of clothes: 2 sets of underwear, 2 pairs of socks, 1 swimsuit, 2 athletic shorts, 2 athletic shirts (not cotton), 2 hoodies (not cotton), 1 nicer golf style shirt (not cotton), 1 lightweight jacket, 1 or 2 pair of travel/golf style pants, 1 pair of flip flops. My wife added jeans. After washing clothes, we spread them out on a towel (we used a pool towel since they are bigger) then rolled it up and stomped on it to get as much water out of them as possible before hanging to dry. We discovered the hooks on the bottom of hangers are great for socks or shorts. Our daughter had room for two stuffed animals and we packed quite a few snacks because of the long airplane rides. We did not pack any tech besides our iPhones with a travel charger, charge cables, and 10,000 mAH backup battery just in case the movies drained our phone batteries too fast.

    Shiva - The phone holder was easy to make. I simply took an old bike tire tube (you can get them free at any bike shop or just buy one for a few dollars) and cut it into .5" strips with sharp scissors - making essentially a durable and rubber band. I wrapped the band around a hotel key card - and then wrapped and connected two zip ties around it - then inserting the bendable rubber tie through the zip tie loops - then tightened the zip ties down. The rubber ties just bend around the top of the try table, or the top of the seat safety card holder, or in the gap where the TV's are, or wherever.

    Every single flight we took, they were requesting people to hand over their wheeled bags to gate check because the flights were full....while we just cruised on through.
    Last edited by SKIMT; 02-17-2015 at 10:36 AM.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Awesome tips! I love your minimal holder for the phone!

    I'm on the lookout for a couple of things right now to reduce weight/bulk. It seems like all the chargers and cables are the bulkiest and heaviest things I have to haul around. Here's what I'd like to find:

    - a Macbook Pro Retina (65w) charger that is smaller and lighter than the OEM version. This thing is supposed to be available this year: http://finsix.com/dart/

    - A portable 220v-capable travel charger with 3 outlets that is lighter and smaller than this one which I've been using:
    Amazon.com: Monster MP OTG400 BK Outlets To Go Power Strip - 4 AC Outlets - Black: Electronics

    I did buy an Anker 6-port USB charger (Amazon.com: Anker¬ģ 60W 6-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Nexus, HTC, Nokia, Motorola and More(Black): Cell Phones & Accessories) which we will to use to charge our various tablets, phones and spare batteries. Great design and it charges everything at full speed. Keeps you from having all the chunky little square adapters.
    Last edited by Amy; 02-23-2015 at 07:24 PM.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  8. #8
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    That Dart adapter looks sweet. I'm hoping the new Macbook Air rumored to be out soon have a smaller power converter box, something like this would be a nice improvement. I have the Anker 2-port USB charger like yours as well as one of their USB batter packs and both work well, it seems like good quality stuff.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    @SKIMT, what model of headphones do you use? I've got large over-the-ear ones that I'd like to downsize. I've also heard good things about Etymotic, except the reviews I see say that they're not great for music that has a lot of bass.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    @SKIMT, what model of headphones do you use? I've got large over-the-ear ones that I'd like to downsize. I've also heard good things about Etymotic, except the reviews I see say that they're not great for music that has a lot of bass.
    I have the HF5 and they sound great. I don't know that the bass is powerful in any smaller IEM (in ear monitor) but the sound is balanced. I've never had them blow or distort bass at all. The foam tips seem to block out the jet engine noise a tad better than the silicone ones. They come with a variety of sizes and tips so you can find one that fits the best.

    The other cool option, which would actually work with any of these types of noise blocking or canceling headsets is the app Awareness! by essency for around $5. I have it on our iDevices but am sure they have Android versions as well. You can launch the app and it uses your device's microphone to pass sound through your headphones. You can turn the pass through on and off as well as adjust the volume. My wife uses it when walking or running so she can hear cars etc.... On the plane I launch it but leave the mic control OFF unless someone wants to talk to me then I turn it on. This is easier than constantly ripping the IEM's out. The biggest downside to the IEM style is they are a bit more work to get in and out then the standard earbud that sit at the ear opening.

    Hope this helps.

    Amazon.com: Etymotic Research HF5 Portable In-Ear Earphones (Black): Electronics

  11. #11
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    @SKIMT - Thank you! I'll definitely check those out. Much appreciated.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

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