one-bagging for two months

my personal in-depth one-bag packing list for 2 spring months solo in cities across europe

Kendall Nakai 🌸
8 min readNov 8, 2022
my one bag went from 46l -> 32l over the course of learning my travel style throughout the trip

i lived out of a backpack for two months (mostly) solo across 19 countries. here are some of my reflections about what i brought like favorites, things i wish i had, things i’m glad i didn’t bring, and my personal packing list.

i wanted to have only one large backpack so i could transit easily and simplify my travel. sacrificing my camera, laptop, outfit changes, and other creature comforts was difficult but taught me a lot about my travel, packing, planning, and shopping style — especially about being prepared for a variety of situations (like bringing layers of clothing to be prepared for diff temperatures) and resourcefulness (learned that an earring backing can be used to swap open the sim card panel).

started out at max capacity (46l). i could have fit everything into this smaller bag (30l) by the end. can’t quite get it all into my kanken daypack though (18l)

general info

trip time: late march — late may (temps were mid-30F — low-80F)

lodging: hostels (within 2 miles of the nearest major train station)

transit: train (main), bus, and plane (walked anything less than 45 min)

backpack size: 46l (shed to about ~32l throughout the trip as i learned lessons about what i need and don’t)

reflection of things i packed

favorite things i brought

  • 20,000mAh portable charger: useful for long days and train rides since i only brought my phone as camera, entertainment, and map
  • quick dry undergarments: allowed me to wash my stuff in the sink/shower and dry overnight
  • small eu adapter with multi ports : i could charge 3 things at once from one outlet. very lightweight too
  • phone tether: hooked my phone to a belt, jacket, or purse loop. helped deter pickpocketing and useful if i dropped my phone
  • travel credit card: necessary for no international transaction fees. also paid for my flight using the signup bonus
  • 2-in-1 lightning and micro-usb: just useful
  • pocket-sized windbreaker jacket: fit inside a small purse
  • first-aid kit: was nice just to have on me knowing i had a few things to get me through a pinch. band aids came thru as tape too
  • base layers: warmth without much bulk
  • money belt: i never needed to worry about my passport being stolen since it was under my clothing

things I wish I brought

  • pre-converted cash: didn’t order from the bank before i left and had to go with bad conversion rates abroad
  • smaller quick dry microfiber: brought a quick dry towel but it ended up being so long that it touched the floor on some hostel showers
  • small iphone stand: to use as a purse-sized stand for pics and also to facetime and watch videos while eating
  • small scissors: i usually cut my bangs every 2 weeks so i ended up buying one of these along the way. it was also useful to cut off tags on new items i bought and cut loose threads off clothing
  • packable down jacket: ended up buying one along the way and no other jacket takes up less space to warmth ratio

things i didn’t need to bring

i brought these things then ended up sending them home

  • camera + tripod: if i were traveling with someone or going somewhere less urban, i would bring it. but i didn’t feel that setting up a tripod with a dslr was inconspicuous enough without someone there to watch it, even in the early hours of the morning
  • face wipes: thought i might be too tired at the end of the day for makeup but i’m so stuck on the routine that i never skipped washing my face
  • shower cap: i figured out how to shower without getting my hair wet
  • covid tests: they were available to purchase pretty cheap
  • notepad: i just wrote on my phone. just a few pages and pen suffice
  • sleep sack: hostels i was at seemed pretty clean and it took up too much space. i had one with synthetic fabric one and it made a lot of noise
  • rain pants: it was only drizzly during spring where i went
  • portable ssd: every hostel i stayed in had decent enough wifi that i could sync my photos over the cloud every night
  • tablet, external cords, and pencil: i was used to always doing everything on laptop since typing is so much nicer. made a compromise to an ipad. turns out i can do everything on phone
  • flats: i never ended up going to fancy places so only wore hiking shoes
  • sandals: these work in mild california weather but spring was too cold
  • various shirts and shorts: switched some out for outfit swaps or due to weather changes (see section “clothing i shed over the trip”)

things i’m glad i didn’t bring

  • insulated water bottle: it’s heavy and i just bought and reused plastic water bottles
  • laptop: never needed it. any photos i took with my camera i could transfer over bluetooth and wasn’t planning to edit raws
  • umbrella: never rained long enough to where i couldn’t wait it out a little indoors

things I’m shopping for now

  • faster drying, wide leg, high-waisted pants with pockets: changing in the dark in the morning into skinny stuff was a pain. changing into wet pants in the morning if they didn’t dry fast enough was a bigger pain. not having pockets was the biggest pain.
  • jackets and sweaters with inner pockets: inner pockets enabled me to shove all my valuables in and zip them up so i wouldn’t worry about getting stuff stolen when walking through crowds
  • pocket sized packable jacket: useful when going minimal for the day

bag reflections

i tested out three backpacks (peak design 45l, osprey far point 40l, and the kyte 46l) while getting ready for the trip, taking a weekend trip in each of them. the kyte’s comfortable hip belt won since i knew i might be walking around a lot with my backpack and wanted to use it in future scenarios.

the kyte is a backpacking backpack so i stood out like a sore thumb in cities like paris. but it also looked a little more rugged and i liked to think i looked more capable and less targetable as a small-framed person.

the pack had quite a few pockets. the bottom compartment could be secured with padlock so i left my valuables in there while in transit. there was also a top pocket right where the back of the head sits to access while sitting down and two on the hip pocket while walking around.

the pack was top loading. some like a clamshell opening like a suitcase but any packing wasn’t an issue for me since packing cubes, different toiletry pouches, and the pockets kept everything compartmentalized.

i went from about 42l → 32l or so over the course of the trip. at the beginning, i had to loosen all the compression straps and carry items in the outside and pockets. by the end of the trip, i was able to fit everything in the main compartment and cinch all the compression straps.

packing list (with explanations)


  • 1x midlayer synthetic sweater: usually worn, the fabric aired out easily when i walked around a lot — useful for drying between wears
  • 1x pocket-sized rain jacket: fit in purse
  • 1x windbreaker: was originally supposed to be my rain jacket but the dwr coating wore off so i used it as a mid-layer
  • 1x packable puffer: for colder weather
  • 2x thin shirts: i brought more shirts but thinner for a larger variety of clothing for pics hehe
  • 1x thin sleep shirt: i like to have a dedicated sleep shirt
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt: it was actually a bodysuit that could be worn for a bit of an elevated look
  • 3x tank tops (could work under a shirt or as a shirt — added a few more outfits for not a lot of space)
  • 1x sleep joggers: also went over jeans when it was super cold
  • 1x pants: acquired these along the way
  • 2x base layer pants: 1 thicker, 1 thinner
  • 4x travel underwear: usually washed every 1–3 days and could
  • 3x socks: ^ same
  • 2x travel bralettes: ^ same
  • 1x hiking shoes: walked around 10 miles a day in these and never felt tired! not great for pics but i would just crop them out
  • 1x hat sun protection is a must!
  • 1x sunglasses: i liked to avoid eye contact while walking by wearing sunglasses and a mask
  • 1x shower shoes: had to share a lot of common spaces


i potted some of my liquids in 1.7oz gotubes but in the future would use smaller tubes like muji

  • tweezers + nailclipper
  • face wash
  • lotion (i don’t get dry skin so would opt for nivea small tubs of cream for face in the future)
  • sunscreen
  • tretinoin (skincare cream)
  • shampoo (body wash) + conditioner (shave cream)
  • retainers + retainer cleaner tabs
  • toothbrush + toothpaste + floss
  • comb + brush
  • hairclip + hairbands
  • mini medicated eye drops
  • disposable razor
  • shower cap
  • overnight mini hair roller
  • pads
  • brow pen + eyeliner
  • half eyelashes + glue


  • earrings (learned the backs can be used to swap sim cards)
  • 20,000mAh portable charger
  • mini portable charger
  • 2-in-1 micro-usb lightning cord
  • phone charging cable
  • watch charging cable
  • bluetooth earbuds (for short google maps direction walks around)
  • wired earphones (for long train rides)
  • iphone tripod


  • padlock
  • lockable wire
  • pocket tote bag
  • travel clothesline
  • gum
  • 1 sharpie + 2 pens
  • safety scissors
  • hand sanitizer
  • first-aid kit: of ibuprofen, benadryl, band aids, anti-diarrheal, and neosporin
  • hand sanitizer + masks + antigen tests
  • passport
  • 2x copies of passport
  • copy of traveler’s insurance, driver’s license, medical insurance
  • physical copies of phone numbers and addresses of embassies
  • paper contact numbers of emergency contacts


  • purse: small plastic water bottle, sunglasses, wallet, packable jacket, earbuds, mini portable charger, charging cable
  • 20l packable backpack: for when i carried around a larger jacket, iphone tripod, and everything in purse
  • money belt: passport, copies of important docs, extra sim card

clothing i shed over the trip

either i sent home or someone from home brought temporarily

  • rain pants (not rainy enough)
  • flats (never used since i walked so much)
  • sandals (too cold)
  • 2x thin dresses (temporary)
  • 1x base layer (too thick)
  • jeans (hard to get in and out of)
  • shorts (too cold)
  • pants (bought and sent home)
  • 2x shirt (exchange for new look)
  • 1x tank top (lost)
  • windbreaker (didn’t need)
  • hat (didn’t need)


i learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work for me when traveling. while i hope to be even more minimal in the future, i feel like i had a good set of supplies and clothing to feel comfortable and have different simple looks each day. if i had to travel in cities again, i would probably bring less toiletries and clothing and go thrifting to be able to buy some local style and skincare instead.



Kendall Nakai 🌸

👩🏻‍💻 | writing the random things i would write in google docs but **aesthetic**