Catching a ride or catching a plane?  Follow these steps and you’ll have everything you need wherever you go.

OK guys, we’ve learned a thing or two from the trail. Light is right. Ditch the over-pack-and-forget-everything method. Whether it’s quick holiday travel, a short business trip or just a casual weekend away, when it comes to how to pack for short trips, it’s an art. We can help.

Get organized

Just like on the trail, light and right doesn’t mean being unprepared. It means being efficient. Think of where are you going and why. Be selective of what you want and what you need.

List it

Forget everything? Make a list. We don’t go anywhere without an Anker Power Core 1000 and our Aftershox Treks Titanium headphones. Smart watch? Don’t forget the power cord. And don’t be the guy shopping last minute for a pair of swim trunks after you’ve been invited to the hot springs.

Packing for short trips doesn’t have to be stressful. Make it a skill instead of a scramble and never check a bag again – at least for trips of three to five days.Brandon Mathis

Carry-on, my wayward son

Forget checking baggage for a short trip. A carry-on is all you need. It really is the only way to fly. According to United Airlines, the maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches, and that means wheels, handles, straps – everything.

Carry-ons are not only self-assuring, they’re cheap too. And while lost luggage is declining (about six lost pieces for every 1,000 passengers according to SITA, an air travel information organization), in 2016 airlines in America collected over $4 billion in luggage fees. Skip the expense and carry it on.Brandon Mathis

Of course you get a personal item too, like the size of a messenger bag or small duffle in the ballpark of 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. That’s perfect for a laptop, book, a device, water bottle, headphones and a notebook (the kind you actually write in) and inflatable pillow.

One you have your items set, here’s an effective strategy for packing and better organization, plus tips for airport security.  

Slow your roll

On a recent trip to Denver’s Outdoor Retailer show, we knew we’d need some double-duty clothes to look nice and to endure brisk walks around the city, but we’d also need room on the return trip. For any efficient packing, the key is to roll. You’ll be astonished at how rolling, not folding your items, will maximize capacity. When you’re packing for short trips, think of it as if you were lining your luggage with your things, not just placing them in there.

Rolling your articles of clothing will help you save space and pack more efficiently.Brandon Mathis

Sit upright

If you’re using a wheeled roller like the Osprey Transporter Wheeled Duffel (our favorite carry-on), heavy stuff like shoes and pants go on the bottom and lighter stuff goes up top. This will keep it sitting up right no matter what and make pulling it a breeze. With non-wheeled duffel style bags, strive for balanced weight.


Here’s a clever tip: Keep all of your electronics together in your personal bag through airport security. That means laptops and cameras, power packs and lithium batteries and smaller items like watches and chargers. Afterwards, gizmos and accessories you don’t need to access while flying can get packed in your carry-on. Sometimes you’ll need to pull out batteries from devices.

Brandon Mathis

Be practical

Three days means three shirts and two pair of pants at most, plus a pair of thin sweats for the VRBO.

The road kit

We all have a nice travel kit that holds our manly stuff. On short trips, leave it at home. A small pouch or even a ziplock baggie works just fine.

Jacket packet

Make that a shacket. They look nice, but we just think of them as a button-up sweatshirt with a collar.

Work it out

When you’re thinking of how to pack, consider if a run and/or working out is likely. If so, then a plastic bag for your sweaty clothes is a good move.

Be brief

Even if you only have one outfit, a fresh set of boxers and a clean pair of socks can make a new man.

Pack your shoes

Think of shoes as little containers that can hold stuff and stuff them accordingly. Some footwear travels better than others. Companies like Lems and Sanuk make minimalist shoes that pack well and hold up out on the town or in the boardroom.

If you live a life on the road, or at the gate, companies like Lems and Sanuk make stylish and packable footwear that is great for traveling and comfort.Brandon Mathis

Solution solution

Remember your glasses case, and put some packing tape on your contact solution lid so it doesn’t squirt all over your toothbrush.

Hydrate or go broke

An empty soft flask water bottle like the Hydropak 500 ml is a great traveling convenience especially once you get through security at the airport. Instead of forking over $3 for 12 ounces of water on a layover, refill your flask at the fountain.

Tag it

When flying, even though you’re (ideally) not checking bags and dealing with baggage claim, it’s good to be able to differentiate your stuff from the rest of the world’s. A piece of string, a label, or some kind of unique identification will help.

You time

Plan when and where to get your run, ride, or workout in – be it the hotel gym access, closest trail system or destinations you can walk to from your accommodations. Remember, as little as 30 minutes of exercise can do wonders for your head.

When it comes to how to pack, even if it’s the night before an early flight, catching a ride at the break of dawn or just heading south for the weekend, following these suggestions should have you better prepared and on your way. Don’t forget to bring back a souvenir.