Are you tired of airline restrictions on carry-on bag sizes and the ever-increasing fees for checked luggage? These are some of the reasons why more travelers are embracing the minimalist lifestyle and the concept of packing light has become a game-changer. If you’re ready to embark on a “one-bag travel” mission, we’ve got you covered! In this article, you will find seven reasons why you should pack light, a glimpse of the concept of one-bag travel, tips, and a step-by-step guide on how to pack light in a carry-on bag for a weekend, a week, or more.

🦊 Sincere fox informs:

* This article was sponsored by our partner Western Rise, a minimalist outdoor clothing brand with technologically advanced pieces that elevate our travel experiences and simplify our lives on the road.

** This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you buy a product/service after clicking on our links, LMTM earns a commission that helps us maintain free content for all traveling foxes in the world, including yourself ✌🏽🦊 .

What is the one-bag travel concept?

The one bag travel concept revolves around the idea of traveling with just a single carry-on bag for an entire trip, regardless of its duration. Just like the minimalist wardrobe, this means that you will need to focus on packing versatile pieces that serve multiple purposes and can be easily coordinated to create a variety of outfits.

7 reasons why you should pack light and travel only with a carry-on bag

If you are still in doubt about whether you should or should not pack light on your next trip, we’ve put together seven reasons to show you why this is a good idea:

1) Good for the environment: besides eliminating the need for excessive consumption, it minimizes the carbon footprint associated with transporting extra luggage.

2) Cheaper: there will be no checked luggage fees and you will spend less money shopping for new looks.

3) Less weight to carry: walking around the airport and taking public transportation is much easier.

4) More free time: skip the long lines at check-in and avoid waiting at baggage claim upon arrival. In addition to making getting dressed more practical with your capsule suitcase.

5) Avoid lost luggage: there’s no risk of your luggage getting lost or delayed.

6) Versatility and style: embracing a minimalist style encourages you to be creative with your outfit combinations, making the most out of the few pieces of clothes you have.

7) Focus on priorities: since you will only pack what is essential during your trip, you will be able to focus on what really matters: your travel experiences!

How to pack light with only a carry-on bag?

Here is a step-by-step on how to pack light with only a carry-on bag:

  • Check the weather

    Before you start packing, make sure you check the weather forecast at your destination. Depending on how it looks, you will need to pack different clothes.
    Examples: If it’s summer, you may focus on lightweight clothes and need a swimming suit. For winter, your challenge will be to pack warm pieces without too much weight and volume. If rain is forecasted, you will need to pack a rain jacket and waterproof shoes.

  • Define the trip duration and how many looks you will need according to your itinerary

    How long will you be traveling for? What is the purpose of this trip? Do you plan to attend a business meeting, a wedding, or a dinner that will require more formal clothes? Would you like to climb a mountain, hike in the desert or enjoy the pool of a resort? By answering these questions, you will be able to figure out how many outfits you will need on your trip.

  • Define how many pieces of each section you need (top, bottom, shoes…)

    Now that you know what you are going to do on your trip and have a better idea of how many looks you will need, it is time to define the number of tops, bottoms, shoes, underwear, and accessories you will need. Remember that it is recommended to be able to wear the same piece at least twice on your trip and that if you are traveling for over a week, you can wash your clothes.

  • Separate your favorite pieces and the ones that match among themselves

    Spread your favorite pieces on your bed and separate the ones that can be worn on different occasions and that you can mix and match. Then, remove the options that could only be worn once.

  • The final call

    You may have separated more clothes than you actually need or would like to take, so this step will make your final call. Narrow your selection by giving preference to light-weighted options, low volume and dry fast.

    🦊 Fox tip: Western Rise is a minimalist and versatile brand that has all you need for your one travel bag. Besides dressing you up for several occasions with a few pieces, their clothes are made from high-technology fabrics that make them light-weighted, anti-odor, dry fast, and can be even water and stain resistant.

  • Choose your one travel bag

    Check your airline’s carry-on bag size and chose between a duffel bag, a backpack, or wheeled carry-on luggage to be your best buddy on this trip.

  • Roll the clothes & pack

    Rolling your clothes is a great way to take up less space in your hand luggage. You can either roll them up and put them inside packing cubes or put them directly in your bag.

    🦊 Fox tip: To make your life easier, you can roll the pieces that belong to the same look together.

Our readers can enjoy a fantastic 15% discount at Western Rise (valid anytime!). Don’t miss out on this exclusive offer, and elevate your capsule suitcase with high-quality, versatile, and technological clothing.

* Western Rise does not allow double discounting, so our promo code is only applicable when there aren’t larger website sales, such as Black Friday going on.

One-bag travel essential tips

Find below some additional tips on how to choose the best carry-on bag and pick the essential clothes and accessories for your one-bag travel:

How to choose the perfect one-travel bag

While some travelers opt for a duffel bag or backpack, the majority find a wheeled carry-on bag to be the preferred choice. Regardless of which one you may choose, make sure that it is light enough and attends to your airline size limit.

Duffel bags are practical, flexible, and also great for road trips. The downside is that they don’t give you good mobility.

A backpack is perfect for adventure trips like hiking, as it allows you to carry your belongings to different types of places easily.

The wheeled carry-on bag is easy to keep organized and is great for walking around the airport and cities without feeling its weight.

🦊 Fox tip: Although the standard airline carry-on dimensions are 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, make sure you double-check the information with your airline before your flight to avoid surprises.

How to pick your tops

The tops play a significant role in defining your look and can be easily mixed and matched with different bottoms. That is why you should pack more tops than bottoms. Choose those that are less likely to get wrinkled and give preference to neutral colors.

Our top Western Rise picks: Here are our favorite Western Rise tops for minimalist male travelers (all of them were tested by my partner Matthew):

The Limitless Merino Polo Shirt is perfect for any casual activity or even a business meeting. Besides being very comfortable, it has anti-odor properties, is also wrinkle-resistant, and has a temperature regulation technology.

Whether to wear it during your flight or as a layer when traveling to a winter destination, packing a long sleeve shirt is key. The Western Rise‘s X Cotton Long Sleeve Henley is versatile and has an odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying fabric.

The StrongCore Merino Tee is my partner’s favorite Western Rise shirt so far. Its fabric is very soft, breathable, and anti-odor. It is very small to pack, fits perfectly to different body types, and can be worn on several occasions.

Finding the right bottoms

You don’t need more than 2 or 3 bottoms on your trip. Be selective and choose versatile & light-volume pieces.

Our top Western Rise picks:

Would you like to find a single pair of shorts to accompany you while walking around the city, climbing a mountain, or going swimming at the beach? Meet Western Rise’s Evolution Short, made from a stretchable and light-weighted fabric.

Finding a great multipurpose pair of pants that balances style and comfort is often challenging. Thinking of that, Western Rise created the Evolution Pant 2.0. This durable, stretchable, water-repellent, breathable, and easy-to-pack men’s travel pants is the only one you will need for your entire trip.

Underwear & Accessories

how to pack light for a week

Take one underwear per day of travel + 1 in case of a canceled flight or need to stay an extra day. For women, 1 or 2 bras (max) will be enough. Consider packing a bathing suit too; you never know when the opportunity to jump in a pool may arise.

Don’t forget to bring essential accessories like belts, a hat, scarves, and jewelry to give your outfits a special touch each time you go out.

Which shoes to take

Are you wondering how many shoes to pack in a carry-on bag when traveling for a weekend, a week, or more? Well, two pairs are usually enough. Ask yourself, “Do these shoes complement all of my travel outfits?”. When choosing your shoes, consider the weight, color, and style. Pack a pair of waterproof shoes if you are heading to a rain or snow destination.

🦊 Fox tip: If you plan on going on a hike, try to pack hiking shoes that you can wear on casual occasions too. The ones I am wearing in this picture are sturdy, comfortable, and very easy to match.

Bota de trilha feminina

Bring only the toiletries you really need

Some people (including myself🤣) struggle to pack only the needed toiletries, but airline limits have to be respected when traveling by plane. According to airline rules for carry-on luggage, there are restrictions on liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) allows a quart-sized bag of travel-sized containers, each limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, to be carried through security.

Sustainable tip🍃: To overcome liquid restrictions, consider using solid alternatives like shampoo bars, which can be cut to fit your trip duration and are environmentally friendly. Natural sunscreen face stick and reusable travel-sized containers are also practical solutions. Check out our article for more tips on zero-waste travel.

How about electronics?

Try to limit your electronics to essentials since they can often be heavy and fragile. Nowadays, smartphones can handle most needs, such as answering calls, sending emails, and taking photos. Remember to bring chargers, earphones, and a universal plug adapter if you travel abroad.

carry-on packing list
Photo by Supply on Unsplash

🦊 Fox tip: choose backpacks or wheeled carry-on luggage with a separate laptop compartment to ease airport security checks.


Other items that go well with a one-bag mission are a collapsible water bottle, a microfiber towel, and an inflatable neck pillow. Always pack some medicine that you are used to (take only what you need – one idea is to cut the blisters or tear them off), a sleeping mask, and earplugs.

How to pack light with a carry-on bag for a week or more?

It may seem hard at first, but traveling with just one carry-on bag for a week or more is totally possible. All you need to do is to pack a suitcase for a week and wash your clothes during the trip.

🦊 Fox tips: pack a piece of coconut laundry bar, so you can wash the clothes you need in the hotel. You can let your clothes dry overnight if the air conditioning is on or get some help with a hairdryer. In case your clothes get wrinkled, you may put them on hangers and leave them in the bathroom while you shower so the steam may smooth the wrinkles out.

Carry-on bag packing list

Here is a simple and practical one-travel bag packing list for your trips, regardless of the number of days.

P.s.: Summer destinations may allow you to pack extra pieces since the materials are lightweight and low-volume, and you may sweat more often.

Carry-on bag packing list for a 7-day trip or more

  • 3-4 bottoms
  • 5-7 tops
  • 1-2 outwear, a lightweight jacket or cardigan
  • 7-8 underwear and socks
  • 1-2 pair of shoes and a pair of slippers/flip-flops

One-bag travel packing list for a 5-day trip

  • 2-3 bottoms
  • 4-5 tops
  • 1-2 outwear, a lightweight jacket or cardigan
  • 5-6 underwear and socks
  • 1-2 pair of shoes and a pair of slippers/flip-flops

Carry-on bag packing list for 3-day trip

  • 1-2 bottoms
  • 2-3 tops
  • 1 outwear, a lightweight jacket or cardigan
  • 3-4 underwear and socks
  • 1 pair of shoes and a pair of slippers/flip-flops

What NOT to pack in your carry-on bag?

For a light and efficient carry-on bag, avoid packing heavy books, bulky shoes, and unnecessary coats. Stick to travel-sized toiletries, versatile clothing, and compact electronics. Leave behind non-essential accessories, valuable items, and the ones prohibited by airlines, such as flammable liquids, aerosols, torch lighters, and firearms, sharp objects.

FAQs about one travel bag and how to pack light

What is a capsule suitcase?

A capsule suitcase is a minimalist approach to packing. The idea is to maximize functionality and efficiency while minimizing the amount of luggage you need to carry. You can do it by carefully selecting essential and timeless items that can be styled in different ways. This way, you can focus more on the experiences and adventures that await you. Take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to pack light with only a carry-on bag.

How to pack light for five days?

Choose versatile clothing pieces that can be mixed and matched, and opt for travel-sized toiletries to save space. Check out the one-bag travel packing list for five days.

How to pack light for ten days?

All you need is to have enough clothes for a week and wash whatever you may need to reuse. Select clothing that can be easily matched, layered, and interchanged. Find tips on how to pack light in a carry-on for a week.

How to pack light for two weeks?

Pack what you need for one week, wash your clothes, and make different looks with the same pieces. Take a look at our packing list for a seven-day trip.

Do compression bags work for travel?

Compression bags are effective for travel as they help maximize space and reduce the volume of your clothing. Check out our one-travel bag essential tips.

What are the best shoes for one-bag travel?

The best shoes for one-bag travel are lightweight, versatile, and have neutral colors.

Now that you have some tips on how to pack light and have your carry-on packing list, you’re all set to embark on your next adventure with efficiency and style!

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