My top 4 travel essentials for packing light


Since I chucked my old huge backpack for carry-on only, packing light has become essential and has hugely improved the way I travel.

No more checking-in luggage (which saves money) and waiting for luggage after flights, no more worry of my checked-in luggage getting lost on flights, no more back pain and struggling to pick up my backpack. It’s a great feeling knowing I can carry all items I need in my life in just one small bag on my back. Plus, my carry-on backpack is small enough to keep with me on most forms of public transport, if I wanted to.

4 amazing products have helped make all this possible. I have reviewed each item in this post, to really lay out the functions and why I love each product so much.

Here are my top 4 travel essentials for packing light:

1. The Osprey Wash Bag Roll

Osprey have done it again, they have created an item that’s not only functional, multi-use, good quality, looks good, but it is an essential item now for me on my travels. I used to carry a make-up bag, wash bag and mini first aid kit with any medication all separately. But now, with the Osprey Wash Bag Roll, I can combine all these items together, therefore packing lighter and keeping my backpack much more organised.


The Functions:

  • It has one main compartment, useful for storing those larger items such as shower gel, insect repellent, sun-cream, hair conditioner  (so any larger, bulkier items)
  • It has 2 good sized zipper sections, I use these for my tooth brush, any medication, a razor, pencil eye-liner, basically anything that is slim.
  • Another smaller zip mesh section that is divided in 2. I use one of these little compartments for my hair bobbles and hair clips, the other for my contact lenses.
  • A hook for hanging up on the wall. This is useful for hanging up in the bathroom while you get ready, or on a bunk bed in a hostel.
  • A compression strap to roll it all together. This pulls it all together, compresses it in and it’s hard to believe everything that fits inside!
  • A mirror. This has a velcro back so it can be removed and re-attached from the top zipper pocket.

Everything that I fit inside mine:

  • 1 x travel size shampoo
  • 1 x travel size conditioner
  • 1 x very small bottle of shower gel
  • 1 x roll-on deodorant
  • 1 x razor
  • 1 x toothbrush
  • 1 x travel size tooth paste
  • 1 x mini inspect repellent
  • A few hair bobbles and hair clips
  • 3 x sets of contact lenses
  • 1 packet of travel sickness tablets & pain killers
  • 1 x small tube of liquid foundation
  • 1 x matte foundation
  • 1 x bronzer and make-up brush
  • 1 x liquid eye liner
  • 1 x pencil eye liner
  • 1 x mascara


The Pro’s

  • It looks good. I really love the poppy orange and dark green colour combination.
  • It is great to keep your things organised and all in one place, no need for searching around your backpack forgetting where you’ve put things!
  • It’s a perfect size. Any bigger, it would be too bulky for my 40L backpack, but if it was any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to fit everything inside.
  • The quality. As always with Osprey, the material and the zips feel a really good quality, really durable, I can’t imagine it ripping any time soon!

The Con’s:

  • The zipper compartments are mainly useful for less-bulky items, meaning anything that is a bottle-shape or more bulky probably needs to go in the main compartment for the bag to be able to ‘roll’ effectively. I haven’t found this to be much of a problem personally, but if you are someone that carries lots of products I image it may be.

2. Go Travel Packing Cubes

The Functions:

I have 3 of these packing cubes; 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small. I use the large one for clothes, the medium one for things like underwear and socks, and the small one for electronics, cables etc. I got the ‘Go Travel’ pack of 3 and I chose the purple colour. I swear once you try packing cubes you won’t go back 🙂


The Pro’s:

  • I love these packing cubes because they are the perfect size and great quality
  • I can pack them to the full size and it doesn’t feel like the zip or seam will break
  • The biggest pro is that they organise my backpack, so I don’t need to unpack everything to find something, they keep my clothes tidy and everything all in one place

The Con’s:

I can’t really think of anything I don’t like about these!

3. Osprey Stuff Daypack

Quite simply, a light 18L daypack which can be stuffed away into a size not much bigger than an apple when not in use.


The Functions:

So I decided I don’t like to take 2 actual backpacks away with me anymore… I used to, I would struggle with a big backpack on my back and another smaller one on my front, but then I discovered the Osprey stuff daypack, meaning I can have a separate smaller bag when I want one, and then stuff it all away into a tiny pouch and put it into my main backpack when I’m not using it.

It is perfect for days out and about, day trips, or even small hikes; It’s great for carrying that extra layer, sun cream, sunglasses and a bottle of water (there’s even a side pocket for a water bottle). I also love this backpack for the types of public transport where you’re squeezed in and there isn’t room for your main backpack and that goes on the roof/ under the bus, but you still want a bag with you. The stuff pack means I can keep the items I need for the journey and anything of value with me.


The Pro’s:

  • This bag is so light and folds up really small (11 x 11 x 5cm) so it doesn’t take up much room or weight when it is stuffed away in my backpack
  • It is so light you can barely notice it is on your back at times
  • I like that it is able to be padlocked if needed because there are 2 zips
  • There is also a separate top pocket which has a useful key holder

The Con’s:

  • It wouldn’t be ideal for lots of heavy items as the material feels quite thin. Although being Osprey, I bet it can carry more than I think!

4. Osprey Farpoint 40

Finally, the reason I can travel so light so successfully was by investing in my favourite backpack I’ve ever tried. The Osprey Farpoint 40.


The Functions:

It has a lots of separate compartments:

  • Firstly, a smaller stash pocket located on the front of the pack right at the top, which is almost ‘hidden’, but it is actually quite big. I use this pocket for anything I need to access quickly, for example at the airport I use it for my clear plastic bag with liquids in so that it is handy to take out at security
  • The first of the 2 larger sections is behind this which I use for electronics and documents. Within this section there is a padded laptop sleeve as well as a zipped pouch where I put my e-reader. The zips for this compartment are lockable
  • The main and largest compartment is really big and fits in more than you think, it also has another zipped section within this, as well as compression straps. Again, the zips of this section are lockable
  • There are also 2 mesh front pockets, ideal for a water bottle.

The Farpoint 40 comes in 2 sizes: small or medium, depending on the size of your torso. I got the small as I read that the medium is for those that are 5 ft 6 or taller (I’m 5 ft 5) and the bag seems to fit me well.


The Pro’s:

  • The quality. It’s easy to see how well made this bag is, it’s so strong and it feels like it can be thrown anywhere and still not break
  • A really useful suitcase-style zip way of opening
  • It meets EU maximum carry-on luggage requirements
  • Another huge pro of this backpack is that the backpack straps can be zipped away and a shoulder strap added on so you can carry the bag like a shoulder bag if needed
  • There are also lots of options to adjust the bag so that it fits you perfectly, including an adjustable padded hip belt.

The Con’s:

  • If the front 2 compartments are over-packed it can make it quite bulky, this may mean it may not fit some carry-on requirements.


4 travel essentials for packing light
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*Parts of this post include sponsored product reviews for a brand that I love, however all opinions and views are 100% my own. I would never promote a product or brand that I didn’t love.

Posted by

Hi, I'm Zoe. Welcome to Zo Around The World! I have an obsession for travel and exploring new cultures. Myself and my husband Shaun have travelled to over 50 countries in 6 continents around the world, including long term budget backpacking trips around many amazing places in South America, Asia, The Caucasus, Australasia and more. In this blog you can read all about our travels, including detailed itineraries and how we managed to travel so cheaply! Travel is my passion, let me help it become yours too

15 thoughts on “My top 4 travel essentials for packing light

  1. Great tips! I actually received packing cubes before my trip, but stupidly forgot to bring them. Will deffo use them on my next one! And the Osprey back looks amazing.


  2. I had a washbag that was a similar style to the Osprey one, and about a month into my trip it died and I ended up with what I think was a child’s plastic handbag (no one in central Vietnam knew what I meant when I asked if they stocked wash bags). It actually worked really well because it was waterproof, but it died as well and I wound up using one of those ‘waterproof pouches’ you get when you go tubing.

    Next time I’m just buying the Osprey one!


    1. Oh no- Sounds like a wash bag nightmare! Cant believe you ended up using one of those waterproof pouches for tubing haha! The Osprey wash bag is really great quality, I definitely recommend trying it next time 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That was very nice sharing of good backpacks ,i would also like to recommend you “Black-light Backpack” which is cheap in rate and have many good features like its weight 1.1 kg due to it’s 100% Nylon construction, waterproof material etc and can be used in office ,trip,best for hiking and also other adventurer days.

    Liked by 1 person

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