Packing for a Two Night Trip in a Backpack

For last month’s 36 hour trip to Copenhagen, my sister and I decided we wanted to pack as light as possible, so we wouldn’t have to wrestle suitcases around the city, and worry about picking bags up from the hotel before our flight home late the second day. We decided to condense our luggage down as light as possible, so we could fit everything into our backpacks. The idea was to pack the bare minimum, and the lightest picks too, so carrying the backpacks for two days wouldn’t cripple us. How hard could it be, we thought, it’s only 36 hours?

The backpack I used was my Herschel Supply Classic Grey Backpack, which is kind of a dream. Inside is just one huge pocket so you can fit lots in without having to work around laptop sleeves or little pouches, and it has a zip up pocket on the front for thing you might need to grab quickly. It’s plain enough that it goes with everything, sturdy + well made. As far as backpacks go, it’s pretty non-offensive!

Barely out of the gate, we realised we had a problem. We flew out of Stansted bright and early Tuesday morning, but being three hours from Stansted these days, we booked an airport hotel for Monday night, turning our trip from a quick thirty six hour jaunt, to three days two nights. MUCH harder to pack for, if only because clothes are heavy!

I eventually figured it out though, and somehow, somehow, I managed it!

Starting with clothes, I got around the extra night in (what I thought was) quite an ingenious way. For the drive up on Monday evening, I wore leggings and an oversized tee that functioned as my pyjamas for the trip. SEE, CLEVER. That meant I took one pair of jeans, two thermal tees, two Whistles jumpers + a little cotton pouch with underwear in. I wore the jeans, a tee + a jumper in the day, and the remaining jumper, tee and PJs were really light in my bag for exploring.

Essentials-wise, I kept things really minimal. Of course I had my passport and my flight details, as well as the booking confirmation for our hotels. I switched out my giant Kate Spade purse for a little Oliver Bonas Card Wallet, and a Whistles coin purse for any change. I took my Quay sunglasses because they’re not expensive to replace if they get lost/stolen/broken, and although my iPad pro is pictured in these photos, I decided last minute not to take it, and I was absolutely fine without it, I was able to check in for our flights on my phone no problem!

Tech made up the biggest and heaviest portion of what I packed. My Canon 70d (pictured here is my 550d as I used the 70d to take the photos), with a 40mm lens + 10-18mm lens. My G7x made the cut, as did two spare batteries for my cameras and an extra SD Card too. I packed two European adaptors, my iPhone charger, Apple Watch charger, headphones + my mini Joby Gorillapod. I tucked all the chargers, batteries, cables + my GorillaPod into an Oliver Bonas pouch to keep it all together!

And lastly (but certainly not least) the beauty bumf! Since we were flying with hand luggage only, everything had to be under 100ml + fit in one clear bag. I took the essentials, my trusty Dove Go Fresh Cucumber deodorant, toothbrush, mini Colgate toothpaste, a hand sanitizer from Bath and Bodyworks, a pack of face wipes, a little tin with painkillers in, and a few hairbands. I decanted some of my Kiehl’s Pollutant Defending Masque into a little pot to act as a moisturiser + treatment, I took my Giorgio Armani Si rollerball, my Bobbi Brown Lip Balm + a Sephora Green Tea Eye Mask for an early morning flight perk up.

Makeup wise, I took my IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream for a light but buildable base, my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer to tag team under eye circles and blemishes, and my Beauty Blender to apply. I took my Kevyn Aucoin Contour duo + MAC Mineralize Blush in Ray Beam, as well as my NYX Duo Fibre Powder Brush. Eyes I kept things easy and went for products that don’t need brushes, a Maybelline Wild Shadow Pencil in taupe, a mini Kat Von D Tattoo Liner + mini YSL Effect Faux Cils Mascara. I took my Innisfree Brow pencil since it has a built in spoolie, and just one lip option, my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick.

And that was it! It sounds like a lot but it all fit in my Herschel Backpack with room for all my purchases too (more on those later in the week!).

Have you ever travelled with just a backpack?


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  • It’s liberating, isn’t it? To travel so light and carefree. I just did a two week trip to Thailand & Malaysia with a 40L backpack. By the end of the trip, I actually still have clothing items that I didn’t end up wearing. Same goes for makeup items. Now I feel pretty confident to travel light wherever I go. Carry on only is the way to go! :p

  • Can’t say that I have as my skincare takes up the most space – the one thing that stresses me out the most when you have problem skin -___- pathetic I know but even for my 4 day trip to US I had 4 sheet masks and moisturisers for day AND night. I compromise with taking lighter clothes so I think that made me feel better hahah!

    • Also I only ever wear sneakers whenever I travel, or light sandals if I’m going out for short walks. WHO HAS TIME/EFFORT FOR HEELS?! GEEZ.