Ultra Light Packing List (Freezing Cold Weather Edition)
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
Ultra Light Packing List (Freezing Cold Weather Edition)
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal

[caption id="attachment_5455" align="alignright" width="225" caption="It's not easy breathing water. :)"][/caption]

As you know I'm in Chicago right now. It's Winter. And it's very cold. So my ultra light packing list needed a bit of a revamp. Since I pack so little as it is my backpack is usually only 70-80% full. For Winter I think it's nearing 100% full. That's perfectly OK. A 32L backpack doesn't allow for many frivolous things.

Actually, Nick from asked me last month if I had a tip for packing ultra light and I said something along the lines of: "You already have a tiny backpack, feel free to fill it all up." :) (Nick and his girlfriend are each traveling with 28L backpacks!) You can't exactly go overboard when you fit all your possessions in a backpack smaller than most children take to school.

Before we move on, if you haven't already seen my previous packing lists here they are:

Travel Light, Travel Anywhere: The Ultimate Light Packing List

Updated Light Packing List (Or I’m No Longer An Ultra Light Traveler!)

Instead of listing every single item I'm traveling with assume that anything listed in the above lists I still have with me, unless it has been replaced. :)

13" MacBook Air

[caption id="attachment_5440" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="13" MacBook Air"][/caption]

I went all out and fully upgraded my Air. Including AppleCare the total cost was about $2k. I'm still unconvinced the Air is worth the $1,000 premium over a Windows computer. Maybe it's just the learning curve, but I don't feel like it's an exceptional computer. It's good and it gets the job done, but I haven't been converted to the fanboy cult. Honestly, the only things that are measurably better are the bootup/shutdown which are blazingly fast.

Air O Swiss Ultrasonic Travel Humidifier

[caption id="attachment_5442" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Air O Swiss Travel Humidifier"][/caption]

Winter air is dry. Especially when you factor in heating. My skin is incredibly dry as it is. Dry air compounds the problem. I had thought about getting a small humidifier and just then I read 4 Hour Body which mentions this Air O Swiss travel humidifier. I got it and I like it. Here's my issue with humidifiers (in general, not just this one): I have no way to test how well they're working. Obviously I'm putting water into the air. I can see it happening. But how much does it really affect the air quality? If you have any idea how I can test this I would love to hear it.

NeilMed NasaFlo Neti Pot

[caption id="attachment_5457" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="NeilMed NasaFlo Neti Pot"][/caption] You already know how much I love the neti pot. I finally decided I need to travel with one. Good thing too because I seem to have developed a sinus condition over the past couple of days. :(

If you've never used a neti pot they are amazing. Even if you don't have allergies or don't have a sinus issue, once you breathe after using a neti you will feel like you were teleported into another world. For just $15 I can't recommend one of these highly enough.

Thermos Nissan 12-Ounce Tea Tumbler with Infuser

[caption id="attachment_5444" align="alignright" width="333" caption="12 Ounce Thermos with Tea Infuser"][/caption]

I love tea. One of the luxuries I miss most when I'm traveling is drinking loose leaf tea. I can live without it, of course, but when I saw that Thermos made a container with a tea infuser I knew it would be mine. I planned on getting a small Thermos anyway because when you're walking around in below freezing temperatures it's nice to have a warm beverage. :)

I'd never owned a Thermos before and I'm quite impressed. It keeps beverages warm for a full day. In the morning what I do is brew a container of tea using this Thermos, then pour it into a cup. I brew another container and close it up. I drink the tea in the cup and when I leave the house I take my Thermos with me. I've got a hot beverage to accompany me on my "explore until your face feels like it's frost bitten" walks.

Note: In an attempt to hydrate I have not been drinking caffeinated tea. Caffeine is a diuretic and may dry you out. I've been drinking lots of rooibos.

Bamboo Shirt

[caption id="attachment_5447" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Bamboo Shirt"][/caption]

In an attempt to replace the travel shirts I've had to throw away (because they got worn out) I decided to try a bamboo shirt. It sounds sexy, no? Bamboo is a fairly easily renewable resource and supposedly does not hold odors. Sign me up.

Unfortunately, the shirt doesn't deliver and I wouldn't recommend it. It's difficult to see in the photo, but the collar is stretched out which makes the shirt look like crap. That happened after the first washing. I don't ring shirts out in the neck so as not to stretch out the collar, but it got stretched out anyway.

As for odor resistance? It's pretty good in that regard.

[caption id="attachment_5449" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Bamboo Shirt Tag"][/caption]

Hemp Shirt

[caption id="attachment_5451" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Hemp Shirt"][/caption]

The hemp shirt faired a little bit better than the bamboo shirt as far as looking OK, but it's only 55% hemp and 45% cotton. Which means it takes a long time to dry (it's thicker) and it's not as odor resistent as other travel shirts since cotton is the worst possible travel clothing material imaginable.

[caption id="attachment_5452" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Hemp Tag"][/caption]

Old Winter Coat

[caption id="attachment_5459" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Old Winter Coat"][/caption]

Wait, wait, wait. Not old ... vintage, right? :) I wouldn't be surprised if this coat is over 20 years old. I "stole" it from my Dad when I was in Michigan last month. I will most likely donate it on my way out of Chicago. . . . . . . . . . . . .

injinji Mini Crew Toesocks

[caption id="attachment_5460" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="injinji Toe Socks"][/caption]

I bought these to use with my Vibram Five Fingers because using Vibrams without socks stinks them up pretty quickly. I love how they feel and they fit perfectly with the Vibrams. Definitely recommended if you're a Vibrams wearer. I also wear them with my normal shoes since I'm not using Vibrams in the Winter. :)

Not Pictured

I also stole a scarf from my Parents house. It's just a scarf and I didn't think it was worth photographing. :)

Travel Clothesline Comparison

When I was in Austin I created this video comparing 2 different travel clotheslines. As you will see I'm a fan of the Sea To Summit Clothesline, but the Rick Steves Clothesline has its place as well.

[If you're reading via e-mail click here to watch the video.]

If you don't remember, this is how I wash my clothes by hand anywhere in the world.

If you have any additional cold weather packing tips or questions about my packing list leave them below ...


While we're on the subject of travel, Chris is opening up the Travel Hacking Cartel tomorrow. You get your first 14 days for $1 so it's worth a look if you plan on doing any air travel within the next year. If you've read my Frequent Flyer Master Review you know I've learned a lot from Chris as far as travel hacking is concerned. I'll see you on the inside ...