Challenge accepted: 5 days, carry-on only

I’m doing a bit of paying it forward here. My obsession with packing began with a blog and I spent hours reading posts and watching YouTube videos learning from the best. So I feel compelled to share my favorite finds, as well.

Wrigley stayed home (to her dismay), but the luggage above is everything I took with me to Chicago last week. I was determined to pack carry-on only because I like the challenge and efficiency. It keeps me from over-packing. And I had a tight timetable once I landed at O’Hare so waiting around at baggage claim wouldn’t be ideal.

I could not have done it without my new Osprey Fairview 40! It held more than my traditional roller-board carry-on ever could, even though they’re about the same dimensions. Plus, with the stowaway harness and hipbelt, my luggage felt less cumbersome and I had more freedom than being tethered to a rolling suitcase in the airport.

“Is that all you brought? For a week??” were some of the first questions when I arrived at the office. Yes! Proud moment.

So here are all the details in the spirit of sharing for future travelers. Hint: The secret is packing cubes.

Last summer, a friend sent me the link to Travel Fashion Girl‘s post on packing cubes. The headline reads: This Video Will Change the Way You Travel. And it did. I became an instant convert to packing with cubes and will never go back. You can view her full video and recommendations HERE.

Using her method, I packed two eBags slim cubes with leggings, sweater, scarf, gym clothes (in case, fingers crossed, I actually made it to the gym), undergarments, six tank tops, five blouses. I used a small Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube for socks, a small Pack-It Specter Sac for jewelry, and a large one for sneakers.

With the handy pockets, sleeves and compression straps in the Fairview pack, I also fit in two pairs of pants, a jean jacket, iPad, flat iron and four quart-size Ziploc bags/reusable pouches with liquids, toiletries and other personal items (cosmetics, toothbrush, nail files, band-aids and such).

In addition to my laptop, the Delsey Montmartre+ Journée Laptop Tote held a Marmot quilted jacket (because temps were still chilly at night in Chicago), a pashmina, umbrella, tennis ball (great back roller when traveling), water bottle, headphones, cords/chargers for four devices, and miscellaneous items – several packs of gum, business cards, pens, wallet, medications (hurray for allergy season), lip balm, zip drives, etc. Plus the latest issue of Outside magazine, a box of Page Stationery notecards, and a book (What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir by Kristen Newman).

I’m so enamored with my new Fairview pack that I’m already dreaming up trips to take just to test it its limits. Can it hold enough for two weeks? Three?? I should take it to Africa! Or Iceland!

In the meantime, Wrigley is glad we’re both home and staying local for the time being.