I did something today I thought I’d never do.
I bought a bigger backpack!

Now before you get too excited, my new backpack is only 44L, and still fits well within carry-on guidelines. I just couldn’t do more than one season in my little 34L pack!

And really, who can live with one pack when there are so many options out there! I’ve now designated my old Kyte-36 as the “one season pack”, and my new Kyte-46 as the “multi-season pack”.

As I started packing for our trip to Africa (hot!) followed by Europe (in December = cold!) I realized I just needed a little bit more space. My first thought was to get a bigger purse, but then I’d have to carry around a bigger purse EVERY day. I decided I’d rather have a bigger pack than a bigger purse.

It’s amazing how much difference 10L can make! Between my pack and Randy’s (his is 48L) we’re able to carry small boots for the girls, our stuffable winter jackets, mitts and toques, our clothes, toiletries, laundry stuff, most of our electronics and I still have plenty of room to spare. I could’ve done it in the Kyte-36 however there was no extra space and I’m sure I’ll want room to buy a souvenir or two along the way!

I think I’ve somewhat perfected what we’ll need for this trip…I’ve been obsessing over it for months! I thought I’d share my carry-on only packing list for multi-season travel, including lots of great travel gear.

If you don’t think you can do it all in carry-on only, check out Patti’s post about what to pack in a carry-on bag for a long flight (if you’re checking luggage that is!). It’s doable, I promise, it just takes a bit of practice and some ruthless packing decisions!

So what’s in our packs?

Everything in our packs…and I mean EVERYTHING, is packed into it’s own packing cube. I’d be lost without these things. We each have our own colour, and it makes packing and unpacking so much easier.

Clothes for Mom:

I think I might have overdone it with the clothes a little bit, I even took out a few things after I saw what Randy packed. He totally shamed me!! Usually I’m the light packer but I keep getting carried away for this trip. I also stuck to the no-black or dark-blue rule to avoid getting bit by a Tse Tse fly, and tried to have a few more subdued pieces for when we’re on safari so I don’t scare away the animals!

  • 3 tank tops
  • 3 short-sleeve shirts
  • lightweight bugs-away long-sleeve shirt (coral)
  • bugs away hoodie (pink)
  • long sleeve merino wool shirt (will wear on the plane)
  • t-shirt dress (grey)
  • shorts jumper
  • skirt
  • merino wool leggings
  • 1 pair of capri pants
  • 1 pair of lightweight long pants (that push up to capris)
  • Sarong
  • 7 pairs of underwear (6 packed, 1 plane)
  • 4 pairs of wool socks (3 packed, 1 plane)
  • 2 bras (1 packed, 1 plane)
  • Bathing Suit (in Randy’s bag)
  • Fleece zip-up (will wear on the plane)
  • Stuffable down jacket (in Randy’s pack)
  • Rain jacket (in Randy’s pack)
  • comfy sandals (Sanuk yoga mats, love em’!)
  • Lems walking boots (will wear on the plane)
  • Hat
  • UV Buff ‘headband’

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

It still all packs up into this (plus the top right bag is one of the electronics bags):

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

Clothes for Dad:

Randy completely out-did me packing this time. He chose not to stick to the no-black rule, so we’ll see if he gets bit by a Tse Tse fly or not!! All his shirts are Ice Breakers, so hopefully he won’t get too stinky!!

  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve shirt (will wear on plane)
  • 1 pair or pants (will wear on the plane)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of Merino Wool long johns
  • Bathing suit (he broke down and bought a long-short speedo!)
  • 4 pairs of socks (3 packed, 1 plane)
  • 5 pairs of underwear (4 packed, 1 plane)
  • Bugs away hoodie (will wear on plane)
  • Stuffable winter jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • running shoes (will wear on plane)
  • flip flops (that he hasn’t packed yet!)
  • ball cap (will wear on plane)

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

Laundry Bag:
  • 2 pack towels
  • Dirty clothes bag
  • Universal sink plug
  • 2 clothes lines with suction cups
  • 2 inflatable hangers (just incase!)
  • Sunlight bar-laundry soap
  • Stain remover bar
  • Scrubba
  • Tide sink-laundry packs
  • Whiz Easy (it just fit the easiest in here!)

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

Bathroom Bag:
  • Kids Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, Gravol
  • Adult Tylenol, Benadryl, Gravol
  • Pepto Bismol, Tums & Ex-lax
  • Oral rehydration salts (Pedia-lyte)
  • Aqua-tabs
  • Insect-repellant wipes
  • Safety pins
  • Shampoo papers
  • Sewing kit
  • Toothbrushes and floss
  • Randy’s razor
  • Hair clips, elastics and brush
  • Sporks (4)
  • Large Binder-clip
  • Bandaids, Q-tips and Thermometer

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

Liquids Bags:
  • Sunscreen (adult, kid, face-stick & lip balm)
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Shave Cream & after-shave
  • Face Wash
  • Insect Repellant
  • Diaper Cream (ya never know when this might come in handy!)
  • Medicated drops: antibiotic, steroid, lubricating drops,
  • Medicated ointments: antibiotic, steroid, antifungal
  • After-bite
  • Peppermint essential oil

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

And then we have all the rest of the stuff:
  • Small boots for the girls (the flower ones and the orange dry bag)
  • Eye glasses and contacts
  • Winter gear – stuff jackets, toques and mini mitts for everyone
  • A parachute silk blanket
  • 2 stuffable backpacks
  • Medications (antimalarials; Ciprofloxacin & Flagel for adults, Bactrim & Clavulin for kids)
  • Scrubba & Laundry Bag (*contents above)
  • Bathroom bag
  • Go-pro bag
  • Electronics bag (cords, batteries, memory cards, external hard drive)
  • 2 rolls of toilet paper (I always carry one in my purse!)
  • Liquids containers (we’re taking 2 for all 4 of us. I had to give up conditioner to make it work!)
  • Mosquito nets (not in pic)
  • Sterile Needle Kit (not in pic)
  • Water Bottles

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

It seems like a lot of stuff, but it all fits easily into our packs. I’m sure it’s not all necessary, but a lot of it’s nice to have if needed. I think our family doctor thought we were a little crazy when we went in asking for multiple antibiotics, however I want to ensure we’re all covered for things like traveller’s diarrhea, a urinary tract infection, etc. I’d much rather have it with us and not need it then have to go searching for it if we do. We also probably don’t need the parachute silk blanket, but it’s great for the beach or a picnic, and can be used as a blanket. Since it has multiple purposes I’m okay bringing it along. It might be breaking the rules a bit for packing light for a family vacation, but if we don’t use it on this trip it might not make the cut next time!

Here’s the finished product:

Carry-on packing list for multi-season travel

There’s still plenty of space in my bag and a little bit in Randy’s. Now I just have to make sure we don’t fill it up before we go!

Wondering what’s going in the kid’s packs? Read about it HERE!!

Pin this for when you need it for your next big adventure!