Michael and I traveled around Europe for 9 months, and we only took one 30L carry on bag each.
Many people (including myself at times…) thought we had totally lost our minds for doing such a thing.
If you missed the play-by-play of what we packed for 9 months of backpacking around Europe (undies and all!), you can look back on these posts.
Typically, people read those What’s in The Bag posts and think – “Hey! That’s a neat idea. I wonder if I could do that…”
And then they email me, and say, “Hey Bri! That’s a neat idea. Do you think that I could do that??”
Hello, dear readers. That’s a great question! My answer to you all is a resounding: I have no idea.
I mean… you could probably fit all your stuff into a 30L bag. If you wanted to.
It depends on if you’re an Instagram model (I’m not), if you’re willing to drop some cash on merino wool clothing (it’s worth it), and how many shoes you can pair it down to (lolz, dad jokes).
There are a lot of factors that go into answering this question.
But instead of leaving it at “I don’t know,” I’ll try to give you slightly more information.
Let’s take a look.
In an attempt to provide a helpful answer, I busted out the packing cubes, gathered piles of stuff from my closet, and tried to cram it all in my 30L bag.
I even did measuring for you guys. Though you should note, these may not be exact measurements. (So don’t @ me with complaints of missing millimeters. I’m not interested.)
Here’s what I found.
All that stuff from the first picture? It fits – no problem.
That wasn’t even a challenge.
All that stuff fit in my Osprey Porter – NBD.
So I decided to up the ante a little bit…
So take note, y’all. This bag can fit a lot of stuff!
If you’re still wondering if you can do it, I’d say give it a shot! I have faith in you.
Keep in mind: ***You need less than you think you do.*** (And 30L fits quite a bit.)
However, there are a few things that definitely do NOT fit.
But… as long as you aren’t trying to pack an excessive amount of beverages, an XXL rolling suitcase, or a golden retriever, I bet you can make it work.
Hopefully these pictures have helped you.
But(!) I don’t want you to end up with something you hate just because it’s something I love.
If you still have doubts… take some stuff from your closet to your local REI and try to cram it into the bag. The employees don’t mind, and that might give you a better idea of what fits.
Or purchase the Osprey Porter 30 on Amazon, and return it if you find it’s not quite big enough. (The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a teensy bit bigger and a good second choice.)
But give it a shot! To all you minimalists, wanna-be-minimalists, and crazy overpackers… try it out.
You might just surprise yourself.
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GwenFebruary 11, 2019
Do you remember roughly how much your bag weighed? I have a 7kg weight limit, dimension wise I could buy a much bigger bag but there’s not much point taking a half empty bag. I know it all depends on what I pack but it looks like id be packing along the same lines as you.
Scout (Let's Go Scoutside)May 28, 2019
I am going long-term (like, two years+) backpacking soon – once I sell my house – and I have to keep talking myself out of taking a suitcase, 35L carry on AND a laptop bag. I am absolutely baffled at how much stuff you can fit into that one tiny bag!
I’m short (4’11”) and currently a little on the, uh, girthy side (215lbs last weigh-in, oop) so having a bag that doesn’t add the width of three people to my back would be great haha.
Alice PeaceJanuary 27, 2021
You’ve inspired me to do the same! I’m planning long-term travel as soon as the pandemic is over and can’t wait to bring just the things i love along with me in a 30L backpack.
akashMay 25, 2023
thanks to you
Clear ModaMay 25, 2023
Thanks to your blog, I got lots of ideas about how to stuff things in a bag.