The Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking List for Women
Packing light for a backpacking trip abroad can be challenging and is somewhat of a science: you want to keep your luggage light enough to comfortably carry, yet still fit all of your essential items! This ultralight backpacking list is designed to be minimalistic, yet versatile.
Keep in mind that you can use this list as a guide and simply customize it depending on your destination. Also remember that I travel with a lot of electronics in my day-pack in order to maintain this blog; you can forgo these items if you don’t require a laptop or aren’t interested in photography.
If you would rather avoid taking two backpacks (a large backpack and a daypack) and stick to using only a carry-on, check out my secrets to minimalist packing.
The ultimate ultralight backpacking list for women:
First things first, let’s talk about backpacks. If you are reading this ultralight backpacking list, I will assume you are already using a backpack to travel (versus wheeled or duffle-bag style luggage). You may already own your own backpack, but if not, I recommend the Osprey Questa 27L as a solid daypack choice for women (I wrote a full review on it here).
I use a 85L Mountain Wearhouse backpack as my main backpack. If you are thinking to yourself, “85L is NOT ultralight”, think again. I probably don’t need 85L because I typically don’t fill it and I have a small frame, but I still love this backpack because of its versatility. Since it is a tall, top-fill style and can fit 85L, it can easily fit larger items like a yoga mat or tent, but can also be folded down more compactly when less full. I also love that it has 4 different zip compartments from the outside and one hidden one on the inside.
Since the bag is on the larger side and needs to be checked or stowed for long haul travel, I use a luggage tag in the case that it gets lost. You can browse through the best luggage tags for international travel here.
I use a set of 3 packing cubes to help me save space and stay organized (honestly these are a huge game changer). I started with dollar store ones which broke after two trips, so I would highly recommend investing more for sturdier options. My current packing cubes are in small, medium and large sizes and are just no-name ones from Amazon. Conversely, if you don’t want to invest in them right now, you can opt to use large zip lock bags.
The best rule of thumb, is to pack your day-pack with everything you don’t want to lose or get stolen. Essentially you want to keep all of your valuables with you (or on you). I use my daypack for my plane/train/bus carry-on and always keep it secure in a locker if I stay in a hostel.
I always keep a few go-to toiletry items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip chap) in my daypack for easy access, especially for long haul flights. Be sure to separate the <100mL liquids into a ziplock bag or use a clear plastic case like this one before plane travel.
- The Basics
- Universal voltage adapter (I’ve used one for years and it’s under $15.00)
- Laptop (and charger)
- Unlocked cellphone (and charger)
- DSLR Camera (and charger)
- GoPro Hero 5 (and charger)
- External charger (I use this one by Anker)
- Electronics pouch (I keep all of the above chargers & cords organized in a soft pouch similar to this in size Medium)
- Travel journal and pens
- Travel wallet (bring passport, 1 credit card, 1 debit card, USD cash, immunization documents)
- Water bottle (I use a collapsable one by Platypus and recently invested in a Lifestraw bottle)
- Hand sanitizer (<100mL)
- Package of tissues
- Retractable combination lock
- Medicine/first aid kit (this may seem like a lot to pack, but you will be SO thankful you have them if you need them. Remove packets from boxes and stack flat to save space. I use a small linen bag the size of my palm to fit all of these medications so it’s really not that much).
- For sleeping on plane/bus/train:
- Clothing: (Bonus: roll items inside packing cubes to save space)
- Lightweight pants x 1 (wear on day of travel)
- Blue jeans x 1 (my favourite are Rock star by Old Navy)
- Yoga crops x 1 (my favourite are Wonder Under by Lululemon)
- Shorts x 1 (I wear shorts mainly for sleeping and yoga)
- Athletic tank top x 1
- Regular tank top x 1
- Cotton T-shirts x 3 (wear on day of travel)
- Maxi dress x 1
- Hooded light-weight water repellent jacket x 1
- Cardigan (I wrote a review on this one by Encircled) or warmer layer (keep in carry-on)
- Scarf x 1 (in carry-on)
- Bathing suit x1
- Sports bra x 1
- Regular bra x 1
- Underwear x 7
- Toiletry Kit (I keep all of these items in a clear, plastic zipped pouch which can also be used at airport security):
- Tooth paste, toothbrush, tooth floss (in carry on)
- Solid shampoo and conditioner
- Solid body lotion
- Castille soap (I use Dr. Bronner brand for body, face, as shaving cream and as laundry soap)
- Reusable safety razor
- Menstrual cup (I wrote a review about Diva cup here)
- Insect repellent (I absolutely love this chemical-free essential oil blend)
- Make-up: this obviously depends on the amount you wear. I always pack:
- Items that I sometimes bring with me (depending on the destination or how long I am traveling)
I hope this packing list helps you to plan your next adventure and remember that you can always use it as a guide and simply modify it to meet your needs. Happy Travels!
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