Goals & Limits

One of my favorite challenges of traveling is to maximize my packing efficiency.  I consider packing efficiency as a) packing as few items as possible b) while accomplishing all the purposes of my travel c) and looking fresh and clean the whole time d) with as few machine wash launders as possible (🌏).
The one limitation I work with is to be able to carry everything I pack.

This is my travel log of what I pack along with post-trip efficiency evaluation notes, so that I can increasingly reach near-perfect packing efficiency.

Packing Log (in month order)


Length of stay: 5 days
Weather: 30s-50s, rain, windy
Activities: Hiking, Casual, Sports
Clothes: 2 sweaters, 1 jeans, 1 joggers, 1 button-up, 1 thermal layer shirt, 1 basic tee, 1 sport tee, 1 running shorts, 1 neck warmer, 1 thin gloves
Shoes: 1 athletic shoes, 1 casual boots, 1 flip-flops
+ It was chillier and windier than I had anticipated, so the gloves, neck warmer, and inside thermal layer were great choices to pack lightly.
+ The sport tee and running shorts doubled as PJs during the beginning of the trip, since I saved the sports for the end of the trip.
– Super dry weather, so pack small bottles of lotion.
– Brought laptop, book, and notebook. No Kindle this time. Didn’t end up reading the book.
– Should have brought my lightweight down jacket for an inside layer.
– It was unexpectedly chilly; I had to buy a sweater during the trip to survive the cold.

Length of stay: 2 days
Weather: 30s-50s, sunny, windy
Activities: Hiking, Casual
Clothes: 1 sweaters, 1 jeans, 1 thermal layer shirt, 1 sport tee, 1 running shorts, 1 neck warmer, 1 thin gloves
Shoes: 1 athletic shoes, 1 flip-flops
– Bought a pair of sunglasses on the trip –N.B. it will be very sunny! (while still being chilly)
– As of 2017, there is no ride sharing (e.g., Lyft, Uber) in Vancouver


Length of stay: 3 days
Weather: 30s-40s, windy
Activities: Hiking, Casual
Clothes: 1 sweater, 1 jeans, 1 thermal layer shirt, 1 sport tee, 1 running shorts, 1 neck warmer, 1 thin gloves
Shoes: 1 athletic shoes
+ Roadtripping makes over or under packing a lot easier, because you can always keep it in the car, or pick it up on the way.
– Bring change for tolls

Length of stay: 7 days
Weather: 30s-60s
Activities: Casual
Clothes: 2 long sleeve tees, 2 t-shirts, 2 jeans, 1 leggings, 1 shorts
Shoes: 1 athletic shoes
+ Very walkable city, so bring shoes to walk around in.
– Hit 30s in mid-March!


Length of stay: 5 days
Weather: 50s-70s
Activities: Business-formal conference, casual
Clothes: 3 biz attire, t-shirt, jeans
Shoes: 1 casual, 1 formal
+ Unlike other cities, traditional taxis may be a more economic option than ridesharing.
– Expect to walk a lot, so bring shoes that you can walk 12-15 miles in.


London, Barcelona, Paris (TBD)
Length of stay: 10 days
Weather: 45F-72F, Rain
Activities: urban touristy things!

Sequoia National Park
Length of stay: 4 days
Weather: 40s-60s, Rain
Activities: Backcountry camping, Hiking
Clothes: 2 athletic leggings, 1 tank, 1 t-shirt, 2 thermal long sleeve, 1 sweater, down jacket, rain jacket, 6 socks
Shoes: 1 running
+ I ditched the hiking boots last minute because I wanted to get my pack as light as possible. The running shoes worked out perfectly for this trip mainly because our trail was relatively easy.
+ Bring enough Ziplocs to waterproof a change of clothes and electronics.  It rained from 2a-10p on our last day, and everything at and below my knees were soaked from walking through wet woods/plants/streams.
+ Pack clothes that will dry fast, from rain and sweat.
– I had 2 pairs of socks leftover after the trip –ideally, I would have packed just enough for what I needed.  But I’m glad I had extra rather than being stuck with wet socks.
– Everything is much colder when wet; I was shivering while hiking on the last day, even with all 6 top-layers on.
– Even though this is against camping creed, our last dinner’s food was stolen from the bear storage containers 😭


Bay Area
Length of stay: 16 days
Weather: mid 50s-80s, Windy
Activities: Business, Hiking, Casual
Bags: 1 carry-on rolling suitcase, 1 20L duffel, 1 leather tote, 1 over the shoulder 2L pouch
Gear: iPhone, Nalgene, MBP, Sony Alpha, Kindle, Moleskine, 4 pens
Clothes: 1 business formal dress, 1 light jacket, 2 full-zip jackets, 1 cardigan, 1 flannel, 3 t-shirts, 3 business casual tops,  2 running shirts, 1 cap, 1 casual dress, 1 leggings, 2 business casual pants, 1 running shorts, 9 socks
Shoes: 1 running, 2 casual, 1 black pumps
-I packed too many jacket-type layers and business formal/casual tops.  I would revise this to 1 full-zip jacket, 1 cardigan, 1-2 business casual tops.
-I love shoes and had even considered bringing my Birks along as a 4th pair –tbh, 1 running and 1 casual would have sufficed.
-Forgot to bring my toothbrush charger. Also bring a (relatively) new pack of floss for longer trips.
-Bought a pair of sunglasses; West Coast sun is all day, everyday.
-For longer trips where I might actually jot down thoughts/notes, take note (ha ha) of the number of remaining pages in my Moleskine. Had to order a new Moleskine within the first few days of arriving.
-Once again, the Kindle.  Did not crack it open to read even once.  I believe I overestimated the amount of down time I would have, and underestimated the amount of late-night hang outs with college friends.
+Superb on the skincare section with travel-sized sunblock, cleanser, moisturizer.
+Bought the over-the-shoulder pouch day of my flight for the Sony Alpha, and it fit perfectly!
+Did laundry at the 2/3 mark, which was such a lovely, wonderful refresher!
+Brought over some gifts, so I had extra room to bring back some goodies and Amazon Prime purchases.


Length of stay: 4 days
Weather: 40s-70s, windy, rain forecast
Activities: Formal (wedding), casual
Clothes: 1 wool jacket, 1 mid-layer jacket, 1 rain jacket, 1 windbreaker, 2 dresses, 1 down vest, 1 cardigan, 2 cashmere sweaters, 1 sweater, 3 t-shirts
Shoes: 1 formal, 1 casual, 1 running
+ I initially thought it was quite ridiculous that I brought over 4 types of jackets; the wide range of weather during this short stay made every piece worth the haul!

Length of stay: 10 days
Weather: 20s-60s
Activities: Business-casual, casual
Clothes: 1 wool jacket, 1 mid-layer jacket, 1 rain jacket, 1 windbreaker, 1 down vest, 1 pants, 1 jeans, 1 leggings, 1 cardigan, 5 t-shirts, 2 cashmere sweaters, 1 sweater, 1 business casual shirt
Shoes: 1 casual, 1 running
– Items I did not use: sunglasses, 2L over the shoulder pack, 1 cardigan, 1 leggings, 2 t-shirts, 1 down vest, 1 cashmere sweater, 1 business casual shirt
– Similar to the Sept Bay Area trip, I sped through my Moleskine early on in the trip.
– Similar to my Feb Seattle trip, I need my down jacket in 20s-40s temp.
+ Laundry is always such a blessing.