What Fits in a 30L Carry On Backpack?

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.

 

What's in Bri's Bag? | Longterm Travel in a 30L Carry On Bag | The Travel Medley
But as it turns out, 30L was a great size for longterm travel. No regrets.

 

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.

 

What's in Bri's Bag? | Longterm Travel in a 30L Carry On Bag | The Travel Medley
Check it out! This was the stuff in my bag.

 

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.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
Do you usually pack like this? You may be beyond my help.

 

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.

 

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
What fits in a 30L carry on backpack? All this and more!

 

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.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
Note: This is *not* what I took to Europe. This is just an example.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
It looks like a hot mess, but it works.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
Complete with luggage tag and UT pin. (Hook ’em, Horns.)

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang, mamacita.

 

Puh-leaseeee, y’all.

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…

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
After all, inquiring minds want to know.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
Yes, I had to cram it in there, but it still totally works.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
My bag definitely looked like this at various points around Europe. The good news is that since it’s only 30L, it’s still super compact.

 

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.

 

 

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley

 

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.

 

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley
(After all, I am perhaps a little unhealthily obsessed with my bag.)

 

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.

 

 

 

Psst – Was this post helpful?

Save it on Pinterest! Tweet it to your celebrity crush! Forward it to your friend who is totally extra and always packs two giant suitcases *plus* a carry on (you never know)!

What Fits In a 30L Bag? | Travel Gear | The Travel Medley

 

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