This is a post in an ongoing feature on Her Packing List called “The One Little Thing“. Each week or two, we’ll be interviewing a traveling lady to find out the one little thing she just can’t travel without. This one comes to you from Her Packing List’s Ali Garland.
I think it’s pretty safe to say travel is an obsession for me. Over the years I’ve found that packing light makes my travel experience much more enjoyable, so I’m always looking for ways to bring less. From Thailand to Antarctica, I’ve honed my packing list down to the necessities. Today I’m explaining why my REI Stuff Travel Pack gets packed every time.
What one little thing can you not travel without?
I always travel with my REI Stuff Travel Pack. It has so many uses and it packs up small, so I have a hard time finding a reason to leave it at home. The price was reasonable at $29.50.
>> Check it out on the REI site*. Please note that affiliates links are denoted by an asterisk.
Why has this one item been so important to you?
I usually travel with a regular daypack, but since I pack my laptop in there, I don’t want to use that bag for certain situations. It’s perfect for packing up a few things, like sunscreen, a towel, and my Kindle, to spend the day at the beach. When I’m renting an apartment somewhere, I can load it up with food from the grocery store. I’ve also used it as a laundry bag to take my clothes to a laundromat.
Sometimes I travel with even less stuff and leave my daypack at home. On those trips the stuff bag serves as a daypack since I can’t fit snacks or a water bottle in my camera bag. I’m always finding more uses for this bag.
How packable is it? Does it take up much room? Is it heavy?
It’s very packable. In fact, it’s designed to fold up into itself so it takes up very little space. According to REI’s website it only weighs 10 ounces (about 284 grams) so it doesn’t add much weight to my backpack.
Why would you recommend this to your travel friends?
I’d recommend it because it comes in handy so often. It’s a 22L bag, so it holds a lot, but it packs up so small you’ll hardly know it’s there when you’re not using it. There are so many situations while traveling when you need a bag for something, whether it’s shopping, the beach or laundry day, and having a stuff bag is super convenient.
Can you name one incident or situation where you were so happy to have this item with you?
I am a big advocate of traveling carry-on only so all my stuff fits into my REI 40L backpack plus either my camera bag or a daypack with not much room to spare. But often there are days when I’m traveling by train or bus from one city to another and I pick up snacks or even an entire lunch to bring on the ride. Having the stuff bag means I have extra space to pack up some food, my Kindle, something to drink, and anything else I want to have easy access to while in transit.
My husband and I were especially happy to have the stuff bag while we were in Southeast Asia a few years ago where we took several long bus rides. The stuff bag gave us a place for the things we temporarily acquired, like food, that made the journey more tolerable.
How did you hear about this item?
Her Packing List led me to stuff bags. A few years ago I saw this post about another stuff bag and I thought, I need something like that! The only thing Brooke didn’t like about that one was the lack of any smaller outside pockets, and I LOVE pockets, so I went searching for something else. Luckily I found this one from REI (with a small pocket on top plus 2 mesh side pockets for bottles or flip flops) right after I got my REI dividend check.
What sort of traveler is this item perfect for?
The REI stuff bag is perfect for any traveler. There’s almost always a situation where having an extra bag is helpful. Since it hardly weighs anything, takes up very little space, and is multi-functional, it’s worth packing for any trip.