minimum packing = maximum freedom

If this works, it's going to be epic. Say hello to my un-nicknamed backpack. She opens up quite nicely; there are more pockets and places, but this gives you an idea of what I can stow. For a month, here's what's going with me, in this 6.3" x 18.3" x 14" pack:

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A Briggs & Riley backpack.

6.3 x 18.3 x 14 inches.

It's all that's going with me. See for what fits.The backpack: open


Liquids / gels:

  • toothpaste
  • body wash
  • nail polish
  • nail polish remover
  • ink for my fountain pen

Toiletries and necessities:

  • toothbrush
  • razor
  • deodorant
  • tampons
  • solid shampoo / conditioner
  • laundry soap sheets
  • melatonin
  • OTC painkillers and antacids
  • earplugs
  • blindfold
  • band-aids
  • nail clippers

Work requirements:

  • laptop and cord
  • international plugs (one for continental Europe, one for the UK)
  • headset for taking calls


  • nook + USB stub cord (3" long)
  • my trusty Nikon +1 lens
  • +second lens, if there's room
  • spare battery and charger for camera
  • earbuds for watching movies on my laptop
  • enough paper and envelopes to dash a couple of letters off (trusting I can buy more at museums)

Finances and documents:

  • money belt
  • hard currency (pounds, euros, kroner)
  • passport
  • photocopies of passport, driver's license, credit card, debit card
  • train ticket printout
  • directions to my various domiciles


  • 3 pair underwear
  • 1 bra
  • headband
  • 2 shirts
  • yoga pants
  • 1 pair socks
  • 1 skirt

Clothing worn instead of packed:

  • jeans
  • shoes
  • underwear
  • shirt
  • tank top under shirt
  • hoodie
  • wallet

Small et ceteras:

  • tea bags, tea ball (optional)
  • small umbrella
  • string bag for purchasing groceries
  • larger bag for serving as my "second item" on the plane
  • my Small Spiral Notebook and one pen
IF there is room, I'll take hand-sewing. I hope there is room. If not? Oh well. Life's tough.


My first guess is that you're taking one of the zoom lenses (high "verstility vs. volume ratio"). F-number says it's the "uber-zoom", but it's a big lens, so I'm not sure whether it's that one or the smaller one. My guess for the second lens you might be taking (if there's room) is your "standby" 85mm. Am I close?

You know me well. The 85mm lens is my second choice because I adore it. First choice is either my all-purpose zoom or my fastest midrange lens. My brain says "go for the all purpose zoom" but I'm remembering that this photo of Notre Dame could not have happened without that ultra-fast f1.4 lens:

Notre Dame at nightFlickr

*nod* That 30mm lens has served you very well in low-light conditions (plus, it's more compact to pack than either of the zoom lenses). The 85 is somewhere close to a f/1.8, though, so I figured it would be your pick for "fast lens".

Which one are you going to take if you only get to pick one?

Well organized!  Don't forget to call your cellphone plan and get an international plan.  Calling home from Europe might get pricey without it.  FYI, we loved the street entertainers in Amsterdam!  Enjoy and salut!

I would recommend a small stash of ziploc bags for the "map on a rainy day" and "I bought tea/candy/sundries and wish to ditch the box" applications.  Also, a Nalgene bottle, since buying overpriced bottles of spring water gets old, and most cafe/lunch places won't give you tap water even if you ask nicely.

London has often felt colder to me than the thermometer would suggest, even in summer; if it settles in for a week of rain, indoor spaces will feel clammy and drafty.  I would suggest substituting a sweater (or something that retains warmth when damp) for the hoodie, and bringing a wind/rain jacket (but not bothering with the umbrella).

Thank you for reminding me -- I do have a collapsible water bottle already in the bag. As a result, I'd forgotten to add it to the list. A couple of spare baggies would make sense, as well.

I suppose purchasing a serviceable thrift store sweater if you get there and find you want one, is a pragmatic solution.  I always stayed with family, often with a stash of clothing on the other side, which changes the packing picture.

On my England pack list is enough OTC decongenstants to make the trip home tolerable if I get a head cold (no useful cough suppressants or decongestants are available OTC there).  I seem to get a viral illness every time I travel, which may not be normal (and a good half of my England trips have been for xmas holidays, which are more virus prone than summer trips).

Spending cash in England tends to quickly lead to huge handfuls of change, but not dealing with that and using a credit or debit card for every cup of coffee (like the locals do) is likely fine.  (I normally don't change cash, but count on using my debit card to obtain some at the airport, and I spend change from a jacket pocket.)

Oh, and the trick of scanning the contents of my wallet and leaving that at home, once saved my ass (though not in England) - but I was there when my mother got pickpocketed in London (and she a native there) and neither of us caught on until way too late.

Oh, now that I re-read, you're all over the theft precautions already.

Griping about the brazen thefts of your porch lights, etc. seems to be a national passtime there, so it lands at the top of my mind.  I have preyproject installed on my laptop, but I don't know if that does any good.

Speaking of theft prevention tips, since you're going through the trouble of having a money belt, you may want to have a decoy wallet where you stash a bit of money in a pocket instead of reaching for your moneybelt each time, otherwise if someone IS targeting you its obvious where your real money is.