Even though I caved and bought a bigger backpack to fit our multi-season travel “stuff”, I couldn’t do that for the girls.

I did, however, buy them a small cross-body bag (purse!) for their toys and distraction items. This left a bit more room in their backpacks for their clothes and more necessary items.

Although, I could argue that their distractions are necessary… mainly for my sanity, but also for everyone else around us! Here’s my list of what to pack for kids multi-season travel (in a carry-on!). 

What Backpack Should I Use?

Over the years (and many trips) we’ve tried out a few different backpacks. And while I LOVE Osprey packs for us adults, the kids Osprey Jet-18 had a torso that was just too long for my tiny little girls. Instead, we’ve settled on the REI Tarn-18. There’s enough space for the girl’s clothes inside and a special stuffy (or blanket) in the front pouch.

*The new Osprey Jet packs seem to be a bit shorter in the torso compared to the older version.

What To Pack For Kid’s MultiSeason Travel

Amazingly, I was easily able to fit almost everything into their 18L kid’s packs. The only things that didn’t make it were their winter boots, stuffable winter-jackets, toques and mitts. The toiletries are also missing since we keep them all together in on bag (in Dad’s pack!). If I really wanted to feel like a superhero I probably could have stuffed all of it in there, and made them wear their jackets, but that would just be cruel. They’re only 4 & 6 years old!!

So, what’s in their packs you’re wondering?

  • 3 t-shirts (I like the quick-dry shirts from Old Navy)
  • 4 tank tops (Also quick-dry from Old Navy)
  • 2 long sleeve Icebreakers shirts (1 lightweight packed, 1 heavier weight for the plane)
  • Safari pants (I couldn’t convince them to wear anything other than leggings unless there was something extra special about them, and they LOVE these Colombia zip-off pants!!)
  • 3 pairs of shorts (A mix of Old Navy athletics shorts and cheep cotton ones from Walmart)
  • 1 dress
  • 1 short-romper (Old Navy again for the win!)
  • Icebreakers leggings (wear on plane)
  • 2 lightweight nighties
  • 7 pairs of underwear (6 packed, 1 plane)
  • 3 pairs of socks (2 packed, 1 plane)
  • Bathingsuit
  • Fleece zip-up (we always use these NorthFace zip-ups)
  • Lightweight rain jacket (These Mountain Warehouse Pakka kid’s jackets hold up to excessive packing and keep the rain out)
  • Sanuk yoga-mat sandals (The girls didn’t love these, but I made ’em wear them anyways!)
  • UV hat
  • Cute “safari” hat (packed in my bag)
  • Pack towel (Now we love these Tesalate Towels, they keep the sand off, absorb a good amount of water and dry quickly)
  • 500mL & 1L Platypus water bottles rolled up in the side pockets.
  • Bunna (Kacela’s bunny) & Pokey (Calais blanket) – both will get stuffed in the front last minute.

One thing we didn’t pack for them was a car seat, as we don’t often need them (we take public transportation as much as possible!). If you are going to need one, check out Melissa’s tips on how to travel with car seats so you don’t lose your cool!


I rolled up the fleece zip-ups as well as the rain jackets, and secured them with elastic bands. This seemed to work so well I packed some spare elastic bands in the bathroom bag! At the very least it’ll keep them contained until we wear them.

Hanging off the outside of their packs they’ve got their cute little rabbit name tags (from Alaska), a stuffed animal toy, their Sea to Summit rain cover (the yellow thing), hand sanitizer and a lego name-tag keychain from our trip to Legoland. I can only imagine what’s going to be hanging off the outside of their bags by the time we’re done with them!!

AND…they only weigh 6lbs each!!

I know! Surprising…I thought they’d be heavier and I was feeling a little guilty. Somewhere I read that you shouldn’t make a child carry more than 25% of their body weight, which would be about 8-9lbs, so they’re good.

One welcome addition would also be a kid’s scooter. We’ve seen these all over Europe and the girls would LOVE to have one for their next trip


I’m sure now you’re wondering what ended up in their cute little cross body bags?

Find out RIGHT HERE in What to Pack in a School Kid’s Carry-on.

Pin this for when you need it later!


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