Notes on Women’s Light Packing List

The total cost of the women’s packing list posted in the menu is $1,954.57.

A couple weeks ago, I updated my men’s packing list with individual items and now I’ve done the same for the women’s packing list. That is, I’ve taken all my results from reviewing packing lists posted on the subreddits r/onebag and r/heronebag to identify the most popular products packed from January through March 2020. The women’s packing lists now reflects the consensus of these subreddits in terms of (1) what items to pack (2) in what quantities and (3) which are the preferred brands and products. There were 36 women’s packing lists posted on these subreddits during this period, against 63 for the men, and so I’m less confident of my results for the women. In many categories, the brand I’ve chosen had a lead of just one person; a few categories were tied.

As with the men’s list, I’ve made my own decisions between tied products and on the level of features within a brand. I feel less comfortable doing this for women’s products than for men’s products but I want to post a complete bag so I’ve gone ahead and tried to make a decision between different bras, women’s tee shirts, pants, etc.

The totals for each item and brand are set out at the bottom of this post so that you can see my confidence level. 

My notes for each item selected are as follows:

1. Osprey Fairview 40L – $160

Osprey was the most popular backpack on Reddit with 4 people selecting some Osprey model: 2 people picked the Fairview, 1 picked the Porter and 1 didn’t say. No other brand had more than 2 votes but 5 different brands are at 2. So the Fairview was a pretty easy choice for now. 

A men’s version of the Osprey, the Farpoint, is the leader in the men’s backpack list too, so Osprey is doing well in my lists. 

2. Timbuk2 Rift Tote – $89.00

Timbuk2 was the clear leader for day bags, with 3 votes while nothing else had more than 1. Among Timbuk2 products, there was one vote for this Rift Tote and one vote for the Crossbody. I went with the Rift Tote because I like it as a large, functional day bag. There are lots of versions of the Timbuk2 Crossbody, so it would have been hard to select among the Crossbody options.

Some of the day bag choices early in the year were more like purses and I eventually created a separate category in my spreadsheet for purses. I’m not sure about that decision because I’ll end up with a much lower count for these two separate categories and, as a result, they might both fall off my list altogether. It seems like most people either bring a purse or a day bag, so I don’t want that to happen. I might end up re-combining the day bag / purse category.

3. IKEA Förfina packing cube – $9.99

The IKEA packing cubes were chosen by 3 redditors over 2 each for Amazon Basics and Eagle Creek. IKEA is the brand I myself use, and they’re totally fine in my opinion. I wish they were sold individually rather than in a set of 6 but I think $10 is about what a packing cube set should cost. 

You could argue that I should combine the men’s and women’s lists in terms of packing cubes – and other products like headphones – because surely gender doesn’t matter in terms of packing cubes and, by combining lists, I’ll have more data and make better selections.

I’ve decided against this. I’m not really sure where gender is relevant and where it isn’t – packing cubes, headphones, toothpaste, hats. I decided a couple months ago to separate the men’s and women’s lists and I’m going to stick to it for the time being.

4. Uniqlo ultralight down jacket -$69.90

Uniqlo had the most votes for jacket at 3 over Sierra Designs and Lole Piper at 2 each. In terms of products, this ultralight down jacket was the only product that was specifically mentioned (although someone mentioned a lightweight hooded jacket, which might be the hooded version of this jacket or might be some other Uniqlo product). I’ve chosen the non-hooded version here, mostly just because I myself don’t like hoods.

5. Doc Martens Santanita – $64.80

There was a tie for most popular shoe brand – both Doc Martens and Allbirds had 4 votes each. Again, I’ve made a decision between these alternatives based on my personal preference alone. My preference is for plain black work shoes because I think they’re more versatile than sneakers. Doc Martens in general are a good choice for me. Only two types of Doc Martens were mentioned on Reddit (these Santanita and the Chelsea boots) and I like the look of these better.  

In the interests of disclosure, I get a commission whenever the link goes to Amazon but I don’t if it goes to another website. Doc Martens are sold on Amazon and Allbirds are not. I like to think that hasn’t influenced my decision, but just so you know. 

6. Athleta Viva trousers and Target jeans – $98.00 and $19.99

Most women on my list brought trousers and, of the women that did bring trousers, the mode number of trousers brought was 2. So I’ve chosen 2 trousers for this list.

Choosing brands for these two trousers is difficult. Seventeen different brands were mentioned and, with the exception of Gap’s Athleta brand, no brand was mentioned more than once. Athleta was mentioned twice – the Viva and Altitude trousers.Viva seems to be discontinued, so I’ve gone with Athleta Altitude for one pair of trousers.

Although there’s not much consistency in terms of brands, five people did bring jeans, so I think some kind of jeans should be included in this packing list. I chose Target as the least expensive. The other brands chosen by people on Reddit were Everlane, Lole, Paige and Uniqlo.

7. Uniqlo Heattech leggings – $19.90

Leggings were fairly straightforward. Twenty five people brought leggings and the top brand was Uniqlo with 3. And two of the Uniqlo people brought Heattech, so that’s what I went with.

8. Patagonia Quandary shorts – $59

I have no idea for shorts. There were seven different brands with 1 vote each.  I’m kind of partial to Patagonia as a brand and so that’s what I’ve chosen. The other brands were Champion, Columbia, Nike, North Face, Outdoor Voices, and Under Armour. 

9. Uniqlo merino sweater – $39.90

Uniqlo and Icebreaker are tied at 2 for sweaters. I chose Uniqlo because it’s cheaper and because I have a handful of Uniqlo merino sweaters in my drawer too, which I’m fond of.

10. H&M Linen blend dress – $34.99

Twenty people brought dresses and H&M was the winner with 2. No one gave a specific H&M dress. I’ve chosen this linen blend dress, which I think will be easy to combine with other things.

11. Icebreaker merino shirt – $72.25

Thirty people brought a shirt and the most popular brand was Icebreaker, with 3 votes. I don’t have much detail about the specific Icebreaker product. A couple people mentioned merino but there seem to be quite a lot of women’s Icebreaker merino shirts; I’ve just made a choice based on what looks nice to me, is relatively inexpensive, and gets reasonable reviews on Amazon. 

12. Uniqlo Airism sleeveless top – $14.90

Uniqlo was the top brand of tee shirt with 3 votes over 2 for Torrid. Within Uniqlo, one person said she brought Airism and one person said she brought Heattech. I went with Airism just because I think of Heattech as mostly underlayers, and I feel this list is a little short on items that you can wear as outerlayer tops (one sweater, one shirt, one tee shirt and one dress). Within Airism, there were several options and I chose something that looks to me like it would be a functional top that can be worn in lots of combinations.

13. Five Icebreaker Siren Hipkini underwear – $175

Icebreaker has the edge in underwear with 2 redditors, while 7 other brands have one vote each. One person said she brought Siren Hipkini. The most common number of underwear packed was 5. 

14. Two Icebreaker Siren bras – $100

For bras, 29 of the 36 redditors included them in their packing list and Icebreaker was the leading brand with 3 – nothing else got more than 1 vote. Two of these said they brought the Siren product and the third said they brought a merino bra, which might have also been the Siren.

15. Darn Tough Vertex – $63.80

Darn Tough socks are always the runaway favorite in these lists and that’s true here too – 32 people listed socks and 7 of those said Darn Tough, against 2 for Smartwool. There are lots of varieties of Darn Tough socks and I’ve chosen what I think might be a more standard option.

16. Muji folding toothbrush – $2.75

I don’t have too much toothbrush brand data. None of the women mentioned a brand. On the men’s side, 2 people brought this one from Muji, so that’s what I chose. 

17. Tom’s toothpaste – $7.96

Similarly, not too many women mentioned their brand of toothpaste – just 4 people each with a different brand: Crest, Hello Sensitive, Sensodyne and Tom’s. I went with Tom’s as a personal favorite.

18. Dr Bronner’s bar soap $25.99

Dr Bronner’s bar soap was a clear favorite: 5 people chose Bronner’s, while nothing else had more than 1 vote. Dr. Bronner’s sells liquid soap and bar soap. No one specified whether they used the bar or the liquid soap. I chose bar soap as it’s my preference.

19. Lush shampoo bar – $11.95

Two people said that they brought Lush shampoo and, on Lush’s website, I sorted the shampoo bars by bestsellers and this bar, Honey I Washed My Hair, was the first pick.

20. Matador Flatpak – $23.56

A majority of people on my list did NOT mention a soap case. I’ve included this just because I want this list to be complete and you will need something to carry your soap and shampoo around in. Where people did mention a soap case, this is the one they mentioned most often. A ziploc bag would also be a pretty good choice. This $25 bag is supposed to dry the soap out so it doesn’t get all scummy.

I’m proposing a soap bar and a shampoo bar but just one soap case, so I guess this means putting them in there together, maybe by cutting them both in half.

21. Native deodorant – $15

Seven people gave a brand of deodorant but nothing got more than 1 vote. I chose Native in spite of the expense because I think of Native as a company with pretty good ethics.

22. Feminine hygiene care

I haven’t listed anything for feminine hygiene. This wasn’t mentioned by a majority of redditors but I’ve included it for the sake of completeness. Nine people mentioned some kind of item for peroids in the packing lists and that included pads (5), tampons (3), reusable panty liners (1) and a menstrual cup (1). However, no one mentioned a brand, and I haven’t included a link.

23. iPhone SE – $399

iPhone was the winner in terms of phones. iPhone had 7 redditors and nothing else had more than 1. I chose the iPhone SE because it’s the cheapest iPhone you can order new.  I guess it’s pre-order only at the time of this writing.

24. Phone charger and USB wall plug

In addition to a phone, I’ve included a charging cable and wall plug on this list. Once again, this wasn’t mentioned by a majority of the 36 but I wanted to include it anyways. These are usually included when you buy a phone, although the wall charger should be the right one for the place you’re going.

25. Bose QuietComfort II headphones – $349.95

Twenty people said that they brought headphones or earphones, 4 people said that they brought Bose and 3 said that they brought the QuietComfort. Airpods had 3 votes and Sony had 2.

I myself do not travel with headphones for right now and this seems really expensive.

26. Loksak pouch – $26.99

Twenty people mentioned a wallet but the only 3 specific items were mentioned – Hobo International, a Loksak pouch and a dcf pouch. The Hobo wallets are nice but pretty expensive. Of the 2 pouches, I’ve gone with the Loksak.

27. Passport, tickets, housekeys, glasses or contacts and medication

These items weren’t packed by a majority of the 36 and don’t really lend themselves to particular brands (although I did see a couple brands of glasses). I just have them on the list for completeness and so that this can be used as a packing checklist.

Confidence levels

Here are all the numbers for individual items and brands, so you can see how confident I am in each pick:

23 of 36 people brought a backpack and 4 brought Osprey

19 of 36 people brought a day bag and 3 brought Timbuk2

20 of 36 people brought packing cubes and 3 brought IKEA 

22 of 36 people brought a jacket and 3 brought Uniqlo

31 of 36 people brought shoes and 4 brought Doc Martens 

28 of 36 people brought trousers, 2 brought Athleta and 1 brought Target

25 of 36 people brought leggings and 3 brought Uniqlo

19 of 36 people brought shorts and 1 brought Patagonia

26 of 36 people brought a sweater and 2 brought Uniqlo

20 of 36 people brought a dress and 2 brought H&M

30 of 36 people brought a shirt and 3 people brought Icebreaker

32 of 36 people brought a tee shirt and 3 people brought Uniqlo

33 of 36 people brought underwear and 2 brought Icebreaker

29 of 36 people brought bras and 3 brought Icebreaker

32 of 36 people brought socks and 7 brought Darn Tough

27 of 36 people brought toothbrushes and 0 brought Muji

27 of 36 people brought toothpaste and 1 brought Tom’s

26 of 36 people brought soap and 5 brought Dr Bronners

20 of 36 people brought shampoo and 2 brought Lush

4 of 36 people brought a soap case and 2 brought Matador

22 of 36 people brought deodorant and 1 brought Native

20 of 36 people brought a phone and 20 brought an iPhone

21 of 36 people brought a phone charger

20 of 36 people brought earphones or headphones and 4 brought Bose

20 of 36 people brought a wallet and 1 brought a Loksak pouch