how to pack carry-on only during winter

I love the freedom of having no checked bags. It’s truly a great feeling. You can show up to the airport a little later, you don’t have to stress about stolen/damaged/lost items, and you just walk off the plane into whatever place you’ve just arrived!

During Summer, packing carry-on luggage only is easy, as you’re mostly wearing lightweight fabrics and sandals. During the winter? It’s a little harder. Knitwear, jeans, coats, and boots are a little bulky and harder to pack.

Today I’m sharing my top tips to pack carry-on only during the winter!

First things first, it all starts with the bag you use.

Travel bags can be so confusing! Suitcase? Backpack? Duffel? There are so many options! The kind of bag you travel with is especially important during winter, since the way you pack things is important. During wintertime, you want to maximise space to your bag’s full capacity. For example, my travel backpacks aren’t a great idea for carry-on only winter travel because the frames of the bags take up some space that could be used for packing clothes. I like travel bag backpacks that open up and pack like a suitcase, but if you’re not moving around a lot, a suitcase might be a good option.

Pack layers.


Wearing my Patagonia Down Sweater + Uniqlo Heattech.


I like to pack thin and warm clothing to layer up. I love my Patagonia down sweater because it folds up into its own pocket. I also like Uniqlo Heat Tech long sleeve thermals because they’re super thin, but also incredibly warm. Layers are great because you can always add or take off clothing, and you can switch up your look easily. Just make sure to pack layers that match (think neutral colours).

Here’s a list of the best down jackets!

The fabric you choose is important.

Merino wool is always a great choice. It’s warm, thin, and it keeps you dry. You can find merino anything these days- tops, bottoms, hats, socks… the list goes on. I also love knits for wintertime, but a many knits are really thick, meaning they take up space in your bag. I try to find thin knits, which are warm and cute, but also less space-consuming.

Keep shoes to a minimum.

Black booties are a must!

Shoes are usually tough to pack. They’re so bulky! If I’m going on an outdoors trip, I’ll pack my hiking boots and a pair of shoes to wear at night. They’re not the most stylish, but Birkenstocks are my favourite shoes for post-hiking. You can wear socks with them and they’re easy to put on/take off. If I’m going on a city trip, I’ll pack a cute pair of boots in a neutral colour and my sneakers (to try to stay healthy!).

Lastly, what you wear on the aeroplane makes a BIG difference.

Wear your heaviest, bulkiest items then! I definitely don’t fly in style all the time; I’ve worn hiking boots, jeans, and a really nice thick sweater at the same time. It saves LOADS of space. And remember, you can layer if you’re really pressed for space.

What are your top tips for carrying only cabin bags? Let me know!

Like this post? Pin it!

How to Pack Carry-On Only During Winter | Don't let winter clothes get in the way of your cabin-bag only rule! You CAN pack for winter in just carryon luggage!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s