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Backpack Living – Lessons Learned

Prior to the pandemic, I used to travel a lot, and I traveled with a lot of stuff. I’d bring a large suitcase (to check) and a laptop bag and sometimes also a backpack for even a 3-day trip. When I got tired of checking and hauling the suitcase, I switched to using Dufl.com, which was great. The idea was that you sent them the clothes and other items that you travel with. Before you go on a trip, you’d let them know where you were going. They’d FedEx a suitcase with your clothes to your destination. When your trip was done, you’d throw everything into the suitcase, put the provided shipping label on it, and leave it at the front desk. Dufl would wash and store your clothes until the next time you traveled. I’d probably still use Dufl if they hadn’t gone out of business due to the pandemic.

But, alas, the pandemic has brought much change to my life. Earlier this year, I decided to get rid of nearly everything I own and see what that’s like.

I’m almost there. At the end of April 2021, I’m leaving my current home of Astoria, Oregon and I have a one-way ticket to Detroit. I plan to bring nothing but my backpack (an Aer Travel Pack 2 to be specific) and my saxophone (a Yamaha YTS-61, to be specific).

As a test trip, I just finished a 5-day trip to Sacramento. I’ve learned a few important lessons about packing and what to stuff in my backpack. I wanted to jot those down, and thus this post.

What I learned this week:

  1. My over-the-ears headphones are giant and take up a lot of space in my pack. They’re essential (especially when everyone outside is screaming all night long) so I’m thinking I should hang them from my backpack somehow rather than stuffing them inside it.
  2. I’m bad at counting. I brought too many t-shirts, and not nearly enough socks
  3. My laptop (2015 macbook pro) is heavy, and the charger takes up a lot of space that would be better used for socks.
  4. My shoes would be a lot more comfortable if I had brought toe nail clippers.
  5. I need a toiletries bag that’s small and doesn’t leak. Also, floss and a toothbrush cover.
  6. I need a bag that packs very small that I can use to hold dirty clothes so they don’t make my clean clothes dirty.
  7. Bring woolite.
  8. Buy socks that dry faster