How I Packed for A Week in Paris in an 18L Backpack


We’re headed back to Paris this week! Exactly a year ago we visited Paris for the first time and we immediately knew that we wanted to return. It’s a magical city. The architecture, the perfect little alleys, hot wine, the glow of the Eiffel tower at night, and so… much… art!

In true minimalist fashion, I packed like a boss last year and raved about how easy it was to maneuver with only a weekender bag. But, this year, I packed even lighter in an 18L backpack — aiming for true ultra-light packing! Check out our adventures via Instagram this week!


In the backpack:

  • 2 sweaters
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 cami
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Toiletries
  • Hairbrush
  • Travel guide
  • Small wristlet/crossover purse

I’m flying in: a pair of stretchy black pants, soft sweater, comfy black boots, back vest (not pictured, last minute addition), and coat.

The temperature in Paris in late November is cool but not unbearable (30-50 degrees), so layering beneath a shell coat is key. I packed a light shirt and leggings for sleeping and to be a base layer on chilly evenings. Rewearing clothes isn’t a big deal when the weather is cool and sweating is minimal.

To minimize crushing or wrinkling, I neatly rolled my clothes up like sushi and tucked the roll into the backpack. Items on the outside are less wrinkled than those in center of the roll.


Purse — During the day, I cary a small wristlet purse that perfectly holds everything needed for a day out; sunglasses, money, lip balm, portable phone charger, wall phone charger and international adapter, bandaids, ibuprofen for achy feet, ear buds to listen to tour guides, and phone. I’ve had a similar wristlet/crossbody from Target for years and love that it’s small enough to even wear under my coat.


Toiletries and Makeup — the real star of my ultra-light packing! Besides packing only the essentials, I found ways to reduce packaging, quantities, and give items a dual purpose to reduce space.

Here’s the full list of what fits inside my small cosmetic case:


Misc. items — we don’t leave for an international trip without a Lonely Planet travel guide! They’re packed full of tips and info about local life and are well worth the money and weight, especially when cell reception is spotty.

Additionally, I had a little extra room to pack a roller hairbrush — in terms of ultra-light packing, this is definitely a luxury item. Also, our Airbnb is equipped with a hairdryer; something I always look for in an amenities list.

Want to see some Paris pics and ultra-light travel in action? Check out our adventures via Instagram!

Your turn — I want to hear from you! What does packing typically look like for you? Do you have any tips for packing light? What’s your favorite packing must-have? Next year we’re headed to Athens, Greece so I want (need) your travel tips!


5 thoughts on “How I Packed for A Week in Paris in an 18L Backpack

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