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How to Pack Ultralight Without Leaving Behind Creature Comforts

This article was produced in partnership with FRĒ

Packing light for a trip is an art worth perfecting. With strict restrictions on what and how much you can bring aboard a flight—and increasing chances of said baggage getting lost—being more methodical about the way you pack isn’t just smart, it’s essential, whether you’ve got long-haul journeys or long-weekend jaunts on deck.

Organization may be the cornerstone of ultralight packing, but without strategizing what to pack and what type of luggage to bring along, even the supremely efficient KonMari method will stop short of its full potential. Here, five expert tips to packing your bags to the fullest—without leaving any of your creature comforts behind.

Black rolling suitcase
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Tip 1: Invest in modern, featherlight luggage.

It all starts with the type of luggage you own. Take the plunge and invest in some hardside pieces that’ll last years to come. Compared to wheeled duffles and other fabric options, hard-shell suitcases are a lot more durable, a lot lighter and, as a result, much easier to lug around. If you’ve got a cushy budget, splurge on a suitcase from Rimowa’s Essential Lite collection, which weighs 30 percent less than the brand’s eternally popular Essential series. The sleek polycarbonate packs are still loaded up with features, like organizational mesh dividers and built-in zipper locks. For all the items you need to stash within reach, like a passport and keys, consider Troubadour’s limited-edition All Black Momentum Backpack. With its sleek monochrome shell and ergonomic design (including a trolley sleeve that slides onto your suitcase handle), these two are a match made in TSA-approved heaven.

FRĒ pack in duffel back with white converse tennis shoes
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Tip 2: Bring your vice but keep it discreet.

Every savvy traveler has a secret for taking the edge off stressful travel days. For some it’s a soothing CBD tincture; for others, a simple guided meditation does the trick. If you’re a nicotine user, FRĒ’s flavored nicotine pouches are a dream alternative to smoking. Unlike vapes and cigarettes, they’re entirely inconspicuous—seriously! You can even get your nic-fix mid-flight since consuming the pouches is a smokeless and mess-free endeavor. FRĒ’s synthetic, plant-derived nicotine is a safe way to abate your cravings with zero tobacco. You get to enjoy flavors like Sweet, Lush, Mint, and Wintergreen free of any lingering tobacco taste.

Learn more about FRĒ’s flavored nicotine pouches at frepouch.com

Ten Thousand Tech Jacket
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Tip 3: Above all, pack a wardrobe that’s versatile.

Here’s another (not-so-secret) trick to traveling light: Pack clothes that can do double duty while you’re away. Leave the novelty garments hanging in your closet; instead, pull out the neutrals that can be mixed, matched, and layered. Build your plane ‘fit from athletic clothes you can also work up a sweat in, like Ten Thousand’s adaptable Interval Pants, Lightweight Shirt, and Tech Jacket. Then, fill up your suitcase with other versatile items like solid crewneck tees, black denim jeans, and a leather jacket, which can effortlessly take you from day to night. Of course, you’ll need to customize your pack list according to planned activities and the seasons. Heading somewhere warm? Bring quick-drying shorts that can be worn both on the hiking trail and by the pool. For cold-weather journeys, throw your heaviest outerwear over your shoulders so they don’t occupy precious space in your suitcase. And finally, if you have the chance to do a load of laundry while on the road, take advantage of that washer and dryer!

Black man wearing gray sweat shorts, white calf socks, and tan sneakers climbing stairs. Close-up shot of calves.
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Tip 4: Bring along your most multifunctional kicks.

Similar logic applies to footwear: The more functions each pair serves, the better. Allbirds’ Tree Runners tick all the boxes. They’re ultra-lightweight and comfortable—whether you’re sprinting toward the gate before the boarding door closes or plodding through an art museum—and come in solid colorways that can cap off any outfit. Birkenstock’s Essentials Eva sandals have their own set of superpowers. They’re flexible, waterproof, and comfy enough to wear throughout a three-hour walking tour, but won’t cramp your style at a poolside Art Basel mixer in Miami. Here’s another pro tip: Roll up socks and underwear and stuff them in your shoes before packing. Not only is that precious real estate, but your kicks won’t get crushed.

Small green, blue, and yellow toiletry capsules with grooming products in them
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Tip 5: Leave Most Toiletries at Home

You know how it goes: Any liquid over 3.4 ounces must be stored in checked luggage. Save space and time by filling your toiletry bag with travel-sized skin and oral care products—whether that’s a refillable bottle stored with your own face cleanser or a mini tube of toothpaste you buy from your pharmacy’s travel aisle. Unless you have some kind of prescription shampoo or hair care, chances are your hotel’s amenities will more than suffice. And if you are precious about your toiletries, consider a smart storage solution like Cadence’s Capsules. They’re modular, refillable containers made from recycled ocean-bound plastic that are magnetized to stay together in a honeycomb pattern. No rooting around for loose bottles.

 

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