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Lightweight Travel Gear

With the holidays and Christmas coming up I'm sure some of you are searching for that perfect gift or stocking stuffer for that hard to buy for person in your life. 

If the traveler in your life is like me and constantly on the search for ways to decrease the weight of their bag, here are a few great ideas:


(Disclosure: I purchased, own, & regularly use everything I have recommended here)

Have your own favorite lightweight gear?  Or gear you can't leave home without?  Let me know in the comments below!!! Thanks :-)

  • GSI Infinity Backpacker Mug: I love this mug!  It is super lightweight and versatile!  This is one of my favorite travel purchases, I used it for my coffee in the morning and my vino in the evening ;-).  And you can stuff clothes inside it when you pack it in your bag so it barely takes up any space too!  It's also super easy to clean!  Comes with a nylon case with a handle (also nylon) that can be clipped to your bag with a carabiner (although I wouldn't do it if it's full unless you're sure the lid is sealed tight!).

  • Platypus SoftBottle: A stuffable water bottle.  This is awesome for travel because it's refillable and it packs flat and light.  Especially great for post-security at the airport when you don't want to be spending airport prices on bottled water!

  • Osprey Ultralight Stuffpack: A backpack that stuffs down into a tiny pouch weighing only 0.2 lbs, it's perfect for stuffing inside your larger carryon to use as a daypack, or to use as your 'personal item' on the airplane (basically gets you a second carryon - on some airlines anyways ;)  See my stuffpack comparison.

  • Matador Pocket Blanket:  A lightweight blanket that folds down to not much larger than the palm of your hand.  Great for picnics or laying out on the beach as it's water repellent and puncture resistant.  It is not meant to provide any kind of warmth.  

  • Matador Mini Pocket Blanket: This is an even smaller version of the Pocket Blanket (I own both) which is identical but way tinier, great for solo travel, and the little loop can be attached to your bag with a carabiner!

  • Portable Battery Packs / Power Banks:  I always have at least one or two of these with me for charging my phone or my camera on the go - the last thing you want is to be out and about in a foreign country and for your phone battery to die!  I picked up this one from Kodiak for my last trip because it's waterproof and rugged, and has a built in flashlight!  Comes in multiple sizes.  

  • Runners Socks & Athlete's Tape:  I picked up a couple pairs of double layer Wrightsock Stride Quarter length running socks before my trip to Iceland because I knew we'd be doing a bunch of hiking and my feet are prone to blister.  The dual layer helps prevent friction which in turn helps prevent blisters.  I would normally go for the smallest and lightest possible but in this case I chose to go with the quarter length over the tab length because my hiking boots go over my ankles and I didn't want them rubbing.  I combined these socks with some athletes tape on my ankles and I managed to avoid blisters the entire trip!

  • Spork:  This is a very handy little device:  It's a spoon/knife/fork!  Great for road trips, camping, and any kinds of travel!

  • A Portable Scale for weighing your carry-on and/or suitcase to ensure that you don't have to pay excess baggage fees.  I use the Tarriss Jetsetter as it's both lightweight and accurate, plus I've had it for a long time and have never had to change the battery! (just remember to turn it off when you're done with it)

  • PackTowl - lightweight and folds down super tiny, takes a bit to get used to because you can't rub with this towel, you have to pat yourself dry, but once you get used to it it's great!  Extremely lightweight, folds down to nothing, and dries super quick (especially if you wring it out first).  I recommend going with the Beach or XXL size if you want to be able to wrap it around yourself as they are sized quite small. 

  • Backpackers pillow or a bone-shaped pillow - While they may be slightly larger and weigh a tiny bit more than the generic U-shaped airplane pillows, I find the increase in comfort level outweighs the extra bulk and weight.  I don't own the exact pillow pictured here - I picked mine up from MEC (basically the Canadian equivalent of REI)

  • Depending on where I'm traveling to I often travel with a money belt.  Better to be safe than sorry - keep one set of ID/cards/cash in the belt and one set in your wallet - that way if your wallet is stolen or compromised you have a backup!

  • Eye mask and ear plugs - eye mask is a must for sleeping on planes, or in the far North in the summer, or for sleeping in places where they never seem to turn out the lights (Vegas anyone?) and they don't have blackout curtains.  Ear plugs are great for drowning out crying babies on the airplane, or for that Airbnb you rented but didn't sign up for the construction going on next door with the 7 am drilling/hammering/sawing (happened on my recent Portugal trip) :-|

  • Travel adapters - check for pictures of the different electrical outlet styles used by country

  • A small lightweight waterproof Flashlight (which I don't always bring if I have my Kodiak Power Bank)

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