Tag Archives: airport chic

Is packing in a 19 liter backpack possible for winter travel?

As you know from this post, last month I took a weekend trip to Florida with my husband. But a few weeks later, I had to travel again. This time, I was headed north to Ohio. The circumstances weren’t as happy (it was for a funeral of a loved one) and the travel arrangements were very last minute. On the first trip, I had no problem planning and packing in my 19 liter Tom Bihn backpack. I had time to strategize and I was traveling to a warm climate. But for my last minute flight to Ohio? I threw everything into my husband’s Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30. He usually carries it as a duffel but I strapped on the backpack attachments (and probably looked like I was headed to a month of hostel-hopping). 30 whole liters? The luxury!

At the time, I didn’t want to put a lot of extra thought into packing. I just wanted to get there. I also knew I would need warm clothes for the snowy conditions, a dressy outfit, laptops and books for trying to work (and entertainment in case of any flight delays/cancellations). If you’re looking for a one-bag travel situation but need to cram in a suitcase worth of stuff, I HIGHLY recommend the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 (there’s also a 45). Especially if you, like me, prefer hauling stuff on your back. (Listen. I’m not saying it’s because I can pee without putting all my stuff down but I’m not NOT saying it’s because of that, ok?) In a pinch, this bag will fit under the seat in front of you and it slides right into the overhead bin…that person with the dreaded luggage tags won’t even give you a second glance if they see all you have is a backpack.

winter packing 19 liter backpack

But…

Because I’m a packing nerd….

and I LOVE a challenge….

As I daydreamed away an hour in the Charlotte airport (hi delays!), I started thinking about how I would pack for winter travel in my 19 liter. So, here are the tips I came up with…

1. Travel in bulky outerwear

This one’s a no-brainer, but perhaps it bears repeating. Do I hate having to pull off a coat, an oversized cardigan, winter boots, a beanie, and a blanket scarf at airport security? ABSO-freakin’-lutely! But will I be glad to have these items when I reach my snowy destination? YES! Save space in your small backpack and pack these much-needed winter items on your body instead.

2. Find a pair of comfy pants that can do double duty

I have a small and mighty collection of comfy pants that feel like pajamas, but when paired with the right items, look down-right dressy. If I were packing for a winter trip in my 19L, I would consider traveling in a pair of these and then also use them as lounge/sleep-wear.

3. Fleece-lined tights make dresses possible

One way to cut down on the bulk of a bunch of clothes is to pack one-and-done outfits. I love packing dresses for travel because it’s just one piece of clothing you have to worry about and *bam* you have an outfit! Now, you might be saying, “Is this really a practical solution in the winter months?” And to that I respond — Helloooo?! Have you ever tried fleece-lined tights? Throw a pair of those on under your dress and rock your boots and cardigan and there ya go! Bonus: These can also be used as a long-underwear option underneath your trousers or the comfy pants mentioned above.

4. Choose boots as your one shoe option

A benefit of my bigger bag was that I traveled in a pair of heeled boots but also brought along some casual slip-ons. This is less of an option when you’re traveling super light. So, pick a versatile pair of boots (I would have definitely nixed my heels) that you can rock with any outfit. Because your feet will thank you, consider throwing in a pair of slippers or slipper socks that you can pad around in during the evenings. They pack down super small and some hotels are just too sketchy for bare feet, ya dig?

5. Sweaters/Thermals before multiple layers

While normally I’m all about traveling with a bunch of mix-and-match layers, that’s not as feasible when you’re combining cold weather clothing and a teeny-tiny carry on. Consider pullover sweaters and thermal long-sleeve shirts instead. Throw a couple of those in your packing cube (you can always wear them under the big cardigan you’re wearing on the plane, if it’s mega cold!) and call it a day. These, plus a pair of trousers, your comfy pants, a dress, fleece-lined tights, and your cardigan will form your on-the-go winter capsule wardrobe!

Do you have any tips and tricks for traveling light in the colder months? Leave ’em below!

P.S. 7 things that totally changed my air travel game!

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