Guide in using only Carry-On Backpacks

Hello Readers, My Wife and I have been travelling quite a while now. So far it has been 12 weeks onto our sabbatical year trip around the world, and I would like to give what we think so far on travelling just with our carry-on backpacks.

Most airlines, especially budget airlines have a 7 kilo weight limit and 1 laptop or handbag. At times when we head to the airport we try to wear as much clothes as possible to lighten the load if we think the weight limit has gone over board. So be wary of this, besides airports are pretty chilly nowadays.


Poor attempt of taking pictures of Bags altogether….

Osprey Farpoint 40L

The backpack I used for my travels is an Osprey Farpoint 40L. The bag itself is quite sturdy and I bought in Sydney for $180 at Sydney Luggage Centre (I think the price has changed so make sure to check on specials). The bag is pretty light and it doesn’t seem as bulky compare to other backpacks. However this depends on how you pack your valuables.

On the inside it has 3 compartments.

  1. Small Front Pocket for your go to everyday stuff. e.g. Deodorant, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, etc…
  2. The middle compartment is like a slip through where you can place your slimmest laptop. We have a 15 inch HP Pavillion and seems to placed evenly but it somehow makes the bag a tad bulkier so I’ve decided to put this on the 3rd compartment. So on the middle, we usually put documents, chargers, electronics, anything that’s not bulky and travel size personal items e.g. toothbrush, soap, shampoo, etc…
  3. Lastly, in this compartment It’s where all my clothes are to be stored, as well as my DSLR camera and laptop

If you packing up clothes, I suggest to grab those packing cubes and they’re really useful to compartmentalise your clothes. Since the start of your trip, the clothes I’ve packed are:

  • 7 T-Shirts (5 Short Sleeves, 2 Long Sleeves)
  • 1 Jeans
  • 2 Shorts
  • 6 Underwears
  • 1 Hooded Jacket

Most of my clothing are pretty light and don’t mind to sacrifice if you intend to buy shirts overseas. Oh yeh, my wife and I agreed on a rule that if we purchase a clothing item overseas then we have to sacrifice an item of a particular clothing.


Hmm the bag seems to have lost weight.


Kathmandu Shuttle Cargo 40L

Ever the budget concious beautiful gal, she opt for a cheaper and reliable option. She purchased this backpack at a low cost for $110 at any other Kathmandu outlets. My wife bought it online and I think this is where the specials was available at that time. The bag itself is quite neat and pretty secure. The main compartment opens from the back so that the zipper is not to be seen to the public and is really really light. It also has a side compartment for your go-to miscellaneous items.

What my wife packed were

  • 5 Shirts (3 Short Sleeves, 2 Long Sleeves)
  • 1 Jeans and 1 Tights
  • 1 Short
  • 5 Underwears
  • 1 Cardigan
  • 1 Windproof Jacket
  • 1 Throw
  • Personal Kit – Contact Lenses and Solution, Shampoo and Soap, Toothbrush, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen and Moisturiser

In comparison between my Osprey Farpoint 40L and Kathmandu Shuttle Cargo 40L is that the weight distrubution of the Kathmandu is not up to par with the Osprey version. However, with our packing, we make comprimises for loading the heavy stuff e.g. laptop, a throw and tablet on the Osprey. Whilst on the Kathmandu, we load up other clothing items and bulky stuff that are considerably light.


Good for a pillow

So how did we pack our clothes?

At first, when using a packing cube we have to roll up the clothes in order to fit into the cube. It make sense that we have to intend to do this, but If you’re a person that have time to make it look neat and clothing less creasy then I suggest in following Marie Kondo way in folding clothes. Hats off to my sister, as she suggested to use this method and I’m hooked. The method is more like a japanese art-form to declutter and also look presentable. There’s a lot of youtube videos out there but here’s one to start you off.

There are other folding methods out there but I find this pretty easy to do.

Bags we used for others….

My wife has her own handbag and we opt not to get a laptop bag so we used a light bag that is durable enough to carry a laptop or other bulkier items to pass through gate.

The laptop bag is limited to extend it’s capacity so which is 20170503_173804-02why the light bag we used is flexible for this sort of things. It has seen so many adventures and at times require stitching up but still up for a good fight. Oh yeh, get a thread and needles whilst overseas, it can come in handy one day.

These type of bags, are miscellenaeous stuff. You can treat this as a day pack to go sightseeing if you wish to carry a bit of storage.

Moreover, it’s quite handy when going through the custom gates. Bag such as this are not normally checked through so I usually use this to carry my laptop, DSLR camera and my electronic charges.



Being a Ninja is all part of the fun!

Final Words

Having just a carry-on is not so bad as we do not to carry extra stuff to travel. Plus there’s laundromats around or can even wash clothes at a Guesthouse or hostel. However, do plenty of research of where you’re travelling in regards to seasonal change. We started off to go to South East Asia first, so we pack pretty light. But if winter is coming (No not Game of Thrones) or a weather change is on the horizon, then It’s ok to purchase a light clothing that’s suitable for chilly days ahead. We have experienced this in North Vietnam where it’s constant rain and the temperatures drops. So in order to circumvent the situation – all we did is just layer up.

In regards to snow, then that’s another topic to discuss. Please leave a comment below on what your thoughts are to packing light during winter time.

Until then, Thanks for reading and safe travels.

– Johnny


4 thoughts on “Guide in using only Carry-On Backpacks

    • Hi! Really good to hear from you. I love your blog. You are such a good writer. Yes, it’s just us and our two trusty bags! Clothing options are very limited, but I think it’s a good way to travel. Surprisingly we have also acquired some free clothes along the way too!

      Liked by 1 person

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