Airline Ultra Light Packing - Backpack Replacement




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Sometimes weight restrictions airlines impose for luggage can make life difficult for budget travellers and backpackers. Getting rid of extra weight can be an option. This is how I saved 8 kgs by ditching the bag itself.

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Step 1: Ditch the Bag

Get a wrap of light weight 'parachute' nylon material

Step 2: Materials Required

You'll need:

1. Sufficient nylon 'parachute' material

2. Cling wrap

Step 3: Nylon 'parachute' Material

Ultra light 'parachute' material is multifunctional.

I've traveled with a piece 8m x 2m (weight = 500grams) & have used it for many things including:

1. replacing my backpack
2. hammock
3. tent
4. summer 'sleeping bag'
.... etc, etc, etc.

Step 4: Fold Material to Suitable Size

Depending on how much luggage you have - start by laying the sheet out to pack your stuff onto it.

Allow enough space for wrapping up, to cover your goodies.

Step 5: Pack

Add your fragile stuff to the middle of the bundle.

Step 6: Completely Packed ?

When you're done, just cover up !

Step 7: Roll Up

Simply roll up and voila !

Step 8: Plastic Wrap

Cling wrap your 'bundle' with plastic film and you can be as 'generous' as you wish with applying layers until the whole bundle is protected.

Step 9: The End

In the end, you'll have your 'luggage' in a bundle.

This saves about 8 - 10 kgs. (the weight of the backpack itself)

PS - if you wish you can 'cling wrap' a handle into the bundle for easier carrying.

Basic, but effective for those desperate to save weight !

Bon Voyage ...

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    13 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This saves about 8 - 10 kgs. (the weight of the backpack itself)

    Where on earth do you get your backpacks from? I have a 66 litre hiking rucksack with a metal frame, big enough to hold all the clothes I need for a week of skiing, two pairs of boots, sleeping bag etc. and that weighs perhaps 1.5 or 2kg. Even when full of clothes the whole thing often weighs in under 15, and it will hold several times the amount of stuff your wrap there appears to have.

    This does sound like a useful technique under some circumstances, but I'll take the rucksack just because it has straps- I'd hate to have to hike 25 miles carrying a bundle like that.

    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe he makes rope out of twisted food-wrap, and slings it over his back.... seriously, if you are this concerned about weight, just fly barefoot, in a loincloth, on an empty stomach. Beg for food on your arrival.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Oh come on, there's alot to be said for travelling light. If you replace a 4 lb backpack with a near weightless bag, then you have just saved 4 lbs, which is a big deal for an older person with a aging bad back. When I travel, the contents of my bag is 8 lbs, and I definitely do not want to add another 4 lbs to it.

    I would probably improve this by sewing it into a pouch instead of a big bundle, and making some holes for attaching straps to it. Then you can carry and use it like a regular bag, and save the $50 a ultralight backpack would cost you.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    There is a lot to be said for travelling light, but there's more to be said for carrying your load sensibly. I'm a little surprised you're invoking having a bad back as a reason to ditch a backpack and carry your stuff in a single bundle. Like I said, my not particularly expensive hiking rucksack weighs little, holds a lot and has a metal frame and hip straps. Sometimes I take the shoulder straps off completely (I have a broken collarbone that I don't like to rest a lot of weight on) and let the entire 10kg+ weight sit on my hips where I hardly notice it. I'd much rather carry 10kg strapped to my pelvis than 5 in a bundle in my arms, and I have a healthy back.

    This all assumes we're talking about serious luggage, though- if this is for carry-on, which will be small and might have very strict weight limits according to your airline, I can see the case for economising to this degree. In that case, a large plastic shop bag would probably hold everything pictured and not weigh much more, and I don't think I could find a carry-on sized backpack that weighs more than 500g.  I can't argue with "Wrap your articles in ripstop nylon for a low-weight bundle", but the premise of the Instructable seems to be based on false economies and some very questionable weight figures.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    As I said, I'm for traveling light, and that's the perspective I'm coming from.

    10kg in my opinion is NOT light. Hardly. I agree if you are lugging that kind of weight, you most certainly need a proper backpack with proper frame and hipstraps. Also, I think you are thinking of hiking, where you need to carry food, water, sleeping gear etc. I'm thinking more along the lines of travel, where I have the option of carrying only the bare essentials of clothes, toiletries and little else. Hence, a lightweight bag without support is viable.

    I can see this instructable being improved to make a bag to carry light loads for travel, in a bag that weighs no more than 100-200g. I am in fact at this very moment experimenting with daypack travel ( ie, carrying everything I need for travel at lowest weight in a daypack, not a backpack nor suitcase ). This is inspired by the no-luggage challenge (google it), but I'm not willing to go without luggage though and will compromise with a really lightweight bag.

    I'm currently looking at the Sea-To-Summit Ultra-Sil bag, which has NO support of any sort, and is essentially a shapeless lightweight rip-stop nylon bag good for maybe 3-5 lbs of weight. At such low weights, back support or proper straps are irrelevant.

    where did you get the light weight 'parachute' nylon material?  do you have a more specific name for it?   (i.e. is it just rip-stop, or some thing different all together?)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Re: Airport Security Stick a packing list (A4) page on the bundle with an explanation and contact details ! That should solve the problem ?

    1 reply

    Unfortunately, they can detain you long enough that you miss your flight - at your cost. I had the bad luck to have an old, broken Swiss army knife caught in a backpack's internal webbing (the corkscrew had wound through it at the bottom, so I missed it when packing), and it they held me for an hour with questions until they decided I was accidentally carrying a broken knife...with no blades, scissors, or anything still attached, only the corkscrew and toothpick. The packing list is a good idea though, and frankly I'm surprised TSA doesn't require it...they could X-Ray and compare easily.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    is that ripstop nylon? does it have little grid of strong fibers like those Glad trash bags? I've made a bunch of hammocks with ripstop nylon, best stuff there is. I've seen people make big cubes out of their clothes and shrink wrap. The maximum size for luggage is something like 60" when you add up length, width, and height. Any 5ht grader could tell you that is completely ridiculous and a 20" cube is the most efficient.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice FUROSHIKI link ! Thanks I have a backpack with wheels, but admit my weights are a bit out... it's about 5-6 kgs. I've traveled with a 'coffin-like' samsonite wheel suitcase too, that's maybe about 7kgs. Good question about the AIRPORT SECURITY. But what can they say... sorry, you can't fly ! Or just cut open cling wrap & then plastic wrap it again (like they normally do ?) Also, it's a multifunctional tool. The nylon 'parachute' material can be bought at any material vendor or womens habberdashery type shop. Certainly NOT intended for hiking around ! And as I said, it's for budget travellers desperate NOT to pay EXTRA for additional weight !


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with PKM - even massive travel luggage tends to weigh a few pounds now - granted, the lightweight, large-capacity bags cost a lot more, but if you seriously have a weight problem, cough it up! I like your idea for small stuff though, but I'd be worried passing through airport security...the final product may look like a bomb to TSA or a drug shipment, plus many security guards will refuse your package if they can't open and search it in a moment's notice.