What’s in my Backpack?

I am not a low maintenance woman. My hair doesn’t air dry into a fetching, cute style. Without mascara I literally have no eyelashes. I like wearing heels, they make me taller. I don’t wear the same manky pair of jeans until they fall off my body. But I still want to fly carry-on only.

So what’s in my bag? And how does it all fit?

Let’s start with the bags…

Red cross body purse, which will be packed in the black nylon carry-on, 45 litre Mountain Equipment Co-op backpack, two double sided packing cubes .
Red cross body purse, which will be packed in the black nylon carry-on, 45 litre Mountain Equipment Co-op backpack, two double sided packing cubes

This is a fabulous travelling purse — I’ve had it for ages and carried it through numerous countries. It’s got two great outside pockets for stuff I need a lot (like camera and pocket language guide), a sturdy leather strap and great access zipper. It holds a ton without being bulky. The black nylon carry-on bag will double as a beach bag and shopper during my trip. The best part of the MEC Super Continent 45 L backpack it that the zipper goes around the whole bag. I hate a top loading bag because whatever I need is inevitably at the bottom and requires unpacking everything. This bag also has the added bonus of a flap that can be zipped around the back straps, in “suitcase mode”, when checking into fancy accommodations, or if it needs to become checked luggage. The packing cubes are double sided and flexible, great for stuffing everything in!

Since I tend to be a sun seeker, and summer clothes are smaller and lighter than winter gear, I can over pack to a certain extent.


Seven tops, seven bottoms, one dress, three bikinis, one scarf/beach wrap and enough “unmentionables” to last the trip — no hand washing in the sink. Everything can be mixed and matched, some items are more dressy for going out, and I love, love, love a running skirt! Lightweight and breathable, they have a built in “short” which means no worrying about flashing. Everything gets rolled up and packed in the cubes.


I’m a shoe gal. Running shoes to wear on the plane (because when coming from Canadian winter to South American summer it’s necessary to wear decent shoes – running socks balled up inside) for actually running and possible rough terrain adventures; flip flops for beach, questionable hostel showers and roaming around; sparkly gladiator flats to feel fancy — these are new and I’m not sure if the buckles will rub against my ankles; and the aforementioned heel (naturally, a sensible wedge).


Hair (forgot to include hairbrush and comb), face, teeth, skin and contact lens stuff covered. And a couple of accessories to jazz up my outfits. This will all fit in my make up bag in backpack…after the liquids, gels, creams and aerosols are scanned through airport security. On my last trip I learned medications in liquid form, like contact lens solution, don’t count against your one litre bag limit, so it, along with extra contacts, polysporin and Advil liquid gels, can be packed in a second one litre bag.


To be carried in the black nylon bag — technology, surge protector/travel charger, ear phones, ear plugs, passport, money, sleep mask, language book, reading material and, since I’m a little bit old fashioned, a guidebook (because wifi isn’t everywhere all the time and sometimes you just need a map, or the name of that place that sounded really good for lunch) and pack lock….which is less for security and more for making sure zippers don’t accidentally open. I should have added a pen — don’t be the person on the plane who doesn’t have a pen  — we all know we need to fill out the forms!


And here it is, all packed up and ready to go! Top right — travelling outfit. And that’s how a high maintenance gal travels carry-on only!

0 Replies to “What’s in my Backpack?”

  1. And so another adventure begins. Catherine, as is my tradition, I pulled over at the first coffee shop, had a cup of joe while enjoying your story. Have a great trip!!!

  2. Amazing! I was wondering how the bags worked – I also read about your flight troubles 🙁 Looking forward to a FROM COLOMBIA post 🙂

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