My lightweight packing list

So, I got back from my California SpaceGAMBIT kick-off tour a few weeks ago. I spent 10 days there, and only took a 20L backpack which wasn’t even full.

Here’s the breakdown (part 1, just bag and clothes):


Bag: Quechua Arpenaz 20XC – decent enough backpack with good weight distribution and nice padded shoulder straps. Would’ve liked something with more pockets and more flexible storage though. The zippers seem to keep out most water which is great. Interesting color scheme makes it easy to find if amongst other bags.

Bought at: Decathlon in Shanghai, China. 150 RMB (about 25 USD)


Shoes: Newfeel Miagos – these are super lightweight and with an understated look that I can use for casual or semi-formal meetings. I’ve even scraped by in some formal situations with these. Very comfortable, though the soles are starting to wear down now. Still, they’re cheap enough that I have no qualms about replacing them with another pair exactly the same.

Bought at: Decathlon. 99 RMB (about 16 USD)

Socks: I took some standard cotton socks with me on the trip. Bad idea. They started smelling bad quickly and drying them took too long. I finally upgraded to a pair of Smartwool socks (not exactly the ones pictured, but close). They’re made of merino wool, dry fast, feel great and take a long time to start smelling. I’ll be getting more of these for sure.


T-shirts: I took a couple of shirts from Decathlon with me which had worked well before. I only had 2 T-shirts I wore regularly anyway, and wore one while the other washed and dried. They’re mostly polyester and feel nice enough. But while I was away I bought an Icebreaker merino T-shirt that I’m now wearing all the time. Comfortable, light, fast-drying. Everything I need in a shirt.

65 USD at some sportswear store in LA


Fleece: Some cheap fleece from Decathlon. Did the job, kept me warm and comfortable.

Trousers/Pants: A pair of dark gray convertible cargo pants from Decathlon. No longer available on the website it seems. Nice fit, dry fast and a decent color. Annoyingly the left leg zip is red, so my red=right mnemonic doesn’t work here. I have to think red=communist=left wing=left. Being able to convert these to shorts while I’m still wearing them is a godsend.

Underwear: A few pairs of boxer briefs from Uniqlo. Very fast drying, which means I can wash them in the shower and by the time I wake up they’re dry again. While I was there I also bought a pair of Ex Officios (26 USD), which I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about, but they’re barely better than the (much cheaper) Uniqlos.



Raincoat: A compact, foldable Raincut raincoat from Decathlon. I keep this in my bag all the time. Incredibly useful thing to always have. Rolls up really small.