We’ve written a lot about the carry-on-only philosophy in which you only travel the world with carry-on baggage. The purpose isn’t just to avoid lost bagage or the wait after a flight, but to instill a discipline that leads to more enjoyable global adventures. You can read more about our thoughts on this at The Carry-On-Only Philosophy.
We previously travelled to Africa and the Middle East carry-on-only, and that was with duck-down sleeping bags and other trekking sundries. So this time around, sans trekking, sans climbing, sans anything but necessities, we thought we’d easily come in under the carry-on size and weight restrictions.
But not so fast…
Lauren and I cut our possessions down to what we thought were the bare essentials. We displayed unrelenting discipline as we culled and cut and loaded our bags. For the record, we have very different bags; I have the Tom Bihn Tri-Star and Lauren has the North Face On Sight. My bag’s capacity is approx. 33 litres and Lauren’s is approx. 36 litres. Not the smallest bags on the market, but below the carry-on maximum of about 45 litres.
We thought we were set. As long as we could fit our ‘stuff’ into the bags, we’d be okay. But then one of us decided to weigh the filled bags. Oops. 11.3Kg. No problem, only 4.3Kg above the carry-on restriction for coach class. 4.3Kg?! How the heck are we going to cull that much? Back to the drawing board.
Again we culled and cut and repacked, but the weight hardly dropped. So I weighed just the bag and my laptop and a few other essential items, but no clothes: this time, 6.3Kg. Ah ha. There’s the problem, these travel-specific bags are heavy because they’re made from material designed to withstand being catapulted into cargo bays by unloved and unloving baggage handlers.
And then of course there’s my laptop. Which, given we’re traveling for business, is non-negotiable.
So, back to the drawing board and our only conceivable solution was to take a leap of faith. That is, a leap of faith that no one would weigh our bags. Or if they did, we’d use our perfect mix of Australian and Canadian charm to get a free pass (which of course wouldn’t work in any country other than Australia or Canada… or maybe New Zealand).
So we’re sitting here, awaiting our flight to Montreal, with bags just over 9Kg. The consolation? Our bags look like coin purses compared to some of the bags that others are successfully getting on board. I swear some of them must verge on 60-litre capacity.
The obvious question is whether this voids our support of the carry-on-only philosophy? That’s up to you, but you know what they say, it’s only illegal if you get caught. And since we’re doing A-Okay, what’s the problem?
In all seriousness though, the One Bag philosophy is about travel with agility and flexibility and discipline. I’m sure I still won’t use some of my items even though I’ve only three-quarter filled a 33-litre bag. And that’s the point, to minimise the useless items because you have to carry them and think about them and factor in the costs of their burden. So let’s see how we go, let’s see if we need to make any purchases, and let’s see how practical carry-on-only really is.