#Onebag conference report
My first attempt to attend a professional conference in #onebag mode was a success. It made life much easier when I was to-ing and fro-ing and I didn’t wish for anything I’d left at home. I definitely think this is doable on a regular basis for a 3- or 4-day meeting.
What I took:
I know it looks like quite a bit, by everything packed down very compactly. I took more than I would have if I had been traveling for pleasure because I knew I’d be seeing the same people repeatedly. They probably wouldn’t notice if I were wearing the same thing two days in a row (most of them are guys and political-science guys at that, so fashion sense is not their comparative advantage, to put it mildly), but I would have been somewhat self-conscious. So I made sure I had different looks for each day and took one dress to wear to dinners in nice restaurants (different people and restaurants so I felt fine repeating the dress).
Clothing, from right to left, bottom to top:
- 1 black & white patterned jacket
- 2 pairs of trousers
- 1 sleeveless black dress
- 1 patterned dress for evening
- 2 silk, 1 merino short-sleeved t-shirts
- 1 dress shirt in a slightly crepe-y cotton blend
- 1 leather belt
- 1 tunic-style t-shirt for sleeping
- 3pairs underwear, 2 bras, 1 shaper, 2 handkerchiefs
- 2 footies
- 1 camisole with built-in bra (not pictured)
- 1 pair casual loafer-style sneakers
- 1 pair black nubuck sandals with a low wedge heel
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone (not pictured)
- Battery pack
- Nook Glowlight Plus ereader (the old aluminum model, not pictured)
- Short charging cable with USB-C adapter
- Samsung charger and cable
- Wireless earbuds in charging case (not pictured)
Toiletries, cosmetics and other personal items:
- Ziplock bag with hair products, tinted moisturizer, face wipes, body lotion, toothbrush & toothpaste, hair spray, anti-perspirant, and foil tab of ibuprofen
- Makeup bag with matte powder foundation, trial-size mascara, trial-size eyeshadow, travel eyeshadow brush, eyebrow pencil, 2 eyeliner pencils, 2 lipgloss, sharpener, 3 pair disposable contact lenses, 3 bandaid/plasters, small pill container with ibuprofen and Sudafed, small comb.
- Travel-size hair brush
- Sunglasses, reading glasses, case for prescription glasses
- Reusable grocery/tote bag
- Hobonichi planner in a cover that doubles as a wallet with pen attached
- Key & ID pouch
Work and miscellaneous stuff:
- Small notebook
- Manila folder containing printed draft of an article I needed to edit
- Paperback monograph purchased at conference
- Pen case with 2 additional fountain pens
- Insulated 16-oz. metal water bottle (not pictured)
- Energy bar from snack box offerings on flight (I forgot my Kind bars)
- Foil packet of masala tea bags (a gift from my cousin, whom I visited on Sunday)
I wore the jacket, black pants, blue merino t-shirt, and the loafers on the trip to DC and the rest of the clothes went into the two gray packing cubes. The sandals went into the very bottom of the backpack and then I put in the cubes. The Ziplock and makeup bags went into the remaining space along the side. The folder and paperback went into the hydration/laptop slot at the back of the pack. The key/ID pouch, charging cables, battery pack and Samsung charger went into the separate small pocket at the top of the pack and everything else went into the main compartment except for the stuff that went into the crossbody: wallet, earbuds in case, ereader, sunglasses and reading glasses, handkerchief, comb, and lipgloss.
I wore a different top each day and repeated the black pants once, but this time with the white dress shirt and no jacket. The other conference day I wore the black dress with the pink t-shirt under it and on Sunday when I visited my cousin I wore the black t-shirt, taupe pants, and the jacket along with the loafers. I alternated between the loafers and sandals during the conference depending on where I was going and to give my feet a rest.
I was glad to have the variety, although both the silk and the merino could easily have been worn more than once because they didn’t get stained or hold odor despite the fact that the temperature was in the 80s and sunny. I walked to and from dinners, lunches, and the book festival in the sunshine and I definitely sweated! But everything, including the dresses, aired out and were fine.
I think the reason everything worked was the fabrics were so travel-friendly. Not only are they hardy, they feel really comfortable. I’ll write a separate post about my recent acquisitions of travel-friendly clothing, in particular where I got the black dress and the trousers, because they have been a wonderful find.
I was able to avoid taking a computer because I wasn’t at the conference as a paper presenter, but I probably could have stuck my Surface Go in the sleeve where I put the folder. I might not have bought the book then, though. I didn’t miss having a computer. I was able to do everything I needed through the smartphone and it wasn’t as if I had huge amounts of down time during the conference. Had I taken the computer I probably would have surfed the internet more, but instead I read and watched live sports on TV when I was back in my room for a break.
That sounds great! I will sometimes take my AlphaSmart with, instead of a laptop, if I am writing because it has no internet access, just a keyboard.
I adore travel friendly clothes and now, only have one outfit requiring dry cleaning and I only use it for interviewing or seriously formal meetings with carriers. The rest of the time, I can wear business casual (even moreso than in Chicago, because the PNW culturally is much less formal).
It’s fun getting to tag along on your trips; thank you!
This is the kind of thing I admire and can never quite pull off (maybe in part because my professional wardrobe has become dress-heavy). I love the print on your dress!
@Catherine: I have an Alphasmart that I never use. I should replace the batteries and try it out again. These days I mostly work on paper and then input the edits into a computer file; for whatever reason I see the strengths and weaknesses better in hard copy.
I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these posts! They always feel a bit TMI to me but I find other peoples’ posts really helpful, so I try to ignore myself. 😉
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@Liz: Dresses can work, but you’d probably want a slightly larger backpack (if you wanted a backpack at all) and one that is more luggage-like. And the dresses need to be made of materials that don’t wrinkle.
I love this dress so much. I picked it up on impulse at Macy’s when I was there to buy something else, and it’s been great. It’s incredibly comfortable as well as flattering. It’s a common style (ruched on the side with half-sleeves to the elbow) and there are a few solid and other printed versions around.
And best of all, I realized after publishing the post that it’s an UNCRUSHABLE JERSEY DRESS!!! Betty is never wrong, is she. 🙂
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I aspire to this–one bag traveling is a LOT harder when you’re fat, something that few one bag evangelists mention. Fat person clothing takes up more space, and I’ve noticed that as I get smaller (I am literally half the size I used to be), it’s easier to pack for weekend trips and conventions.
Tell me about your backpack, I’ve been looking for a good travel backpack for weekend trips and (sigh) hospital stays.
And if one were to start to read Betty Neels, where would one start? I am totally in the mood for comfort reading this week.
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@Sunita, I love my AlphaSmart; I have 2. I have the original (AlphaSmart 2000); I’ve had students with the 3000 as well as the Neo. It’s basically what you can find on the internet since they don’t make them anymore.
That said, I know what you mean about weaknesses/editing. I actually always do an editing pass on paper copy; to this day I still find stuff I didn’t find on screen (which my ego LOVES to bits, let me tell you, NOT). 🙂
@Natalie, I know what you mean. FWIW, I really like the Victorinox brand; I buy them online (I loathe shopping in stores). They last, and I’m REALLY hard on my travel gear. They have many sizes. I’m currently using a smaller-ish one, so I don’t have a snap to share, but their website will help you out with sizes and stuff if it’s something you want to look into. I know you were asking Sunita, but I figured I’d share too. 🙂 Cheers.
I love these posts Sunita and find them really worthwhile since I’m very interested in reducing the amount I take traveling. I agree with Natalie one-bag traveling is harder if you are in the plus sizes, not so much because your clothes take up more space, but because a lot of travel friendly tops, dresses, etc. don’t come in plus sizes. But I think it’s still worth trying to to get down the most minimal amount possible that gives both enough comfortable clothing choices and doesn’t make you feel like you schlepping too much unnecessary weight.
@Natalie: That is such an important point. The #heronebag is somewhat better at recognizing that different sizes of people have different challenges, and I also remember a couple of interesting discussions when people asked for advice about onebagging when you have a disability.
Prana has plus sizes, I know, and I really like their trousers. I’ve worn various models for over a decade and they look good and wear well.
Uniqlo is finally starting to make larger sizes, including I think in the Airism line. They’re not truly plus sizes yet, I don’t think, but at least it’s a start. I’m mostly a 10 in Women’s clothing (sometimes a 12) and for years I was near the top size of the Uniqlo lines. But I think they’ve slightly embiggened the women’s lines, because I’m almost always a Medium now.
Eddie Bauer also has plus sizes (not sure how big they go) and they make some well-reviewed and not hideously expensive travel and quick-dry stuff.
That pack is a Deuter Speed Lite 20L. It’s the smallest I can imagine using for a weekend trip. If you want a little more room but still want it to go under the seat, I got my Gregory 26/28L under the seat when it was pretty full. As far as packs go, I think the best thing is to go to REI or EMS or whatever is nearest you and try a bunch on. I turned out to be even more short-waisted than I thought I was, which meant I needed an XS/S and if it was unisex, it couldn’t be a long pack. Also with unisex packs the shoulder straps matter because boobs. Luckily there are a lot of women-specific packs now.
I can live without the hip belt (although it’s useful for stabilization), but a sternum strap really helps when the shoulder straps aren’t curved much.
Miss Bates has been reviewing Betty in order at her blog and she has GREAT reviews. My favorite of the early ones is probably Damsel in Green. And Wish With the Candles is also awesome. But given your hospital experiences you may prefer one of her non-doctor ones. If so, I’m a fan of A Girl to Love, which doesn’t get talked about much. But there are plenty of others.
@Catherine: Thanks for chiming in on the Victorinox! There are so many different bags and packs, it’s hard to know where to start.
@Kathryn: I agree; even if you’re not going full minimalist and tech-material in your choices, there are still ways of reducing the amount you take. I would frequently take more options than I needed just because I was worried about not having the right thing. But for most of us, after traveling enough we know what works and what doesn’t. It’s mostly about living with having fewer choices and mixing and matching more.
I also think that as travel-friendly and tech-material clothes become more popular, it will be profitable to produce women’s clothes and in a wider range. Right now the cottage-industry operations are very much no-petite, no-tall, no-plus sizes. But so much of the market is in those areas, someone will come in. I’m heartened by Eddie Bauer and Prana.