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How much does your filled carryon weigh?

My RS rolling carryon is 6 lbs. I'm hoping to come in at 20 lbs. I will also have the veloce bag as my personal item...not sure how heavy that will be...I can strap it on hande to pull. I'm interested in those who aren't going barebones traveling.

Posted by
2526 posts

Bare bones? Not me. Weigh my bag? Nah. I do travel light though and re-read Rick's suggested packing list which is overkill in some ways. For example, five sets of underwear and socks. Also, a lightweight windshirt treated with a water shedding product works in the warmer months works for me in lieu of a hooded jacket. Finally, some posters (and possibly Rick depending on how you read his Packing List) recommend taking a second pair of shoes...never have done so. I do include a pair of sandals though. Determine what works best for you as to style, function, weight, etc.

Posted by
22266 posts

My wife comes in around the 16-18 lb mark with an older style Rick Steves backpack style of bag. I am generally closer to 22 to 25 lb because I get to carry the guide books, some paper, the ipad, camera, batteries, etc.

Posted by
3777 posts

My Lipault spinner (21.5" x 14" x 8") also weighs 6 pounds. I keep it at 20 pounds. If I'm over, I edit what's in it until it is 20 pounds. It seems like I almost always start out with about 22. I'm a plus size person, so my size 18 pants do weigh more and take up more space than someone else's size 8's.

I don't think I travel bare bones. I wear my heaviest/bulkiest clothes on the plane, including whatever outer garment (coat, rain jacket) I'm taking and maybe a vest or cardigan (from the list below).

The following will usually be in the spinner, although some might be in the tote that I use as a personal item. I have a spreadsheet that I alter slightly for each trip. If something obvious is missing below, it's because it goes in the tote. Ultimately, I figure the typical money belt items, my smartphone and my meds are the most important things. As long as I have those, I can cope.

I take anything that I can take in wipe or solid form so that 3-1-1 is not an issue. Things I can never take enough of for our 4+ week trips are shampoo, conditioner or body lotion, so I take 3-1-1 amounts and buy more there. We also buy funk-be-gone bathroom spray when we get there and we usually have to get body wash. Anything left over at the end of the trip gets left behind.

1 pair of shoes.

3 pairs of compression socks.

2 pairs of pants.

7 tops suitable to the anticipated weather (divided among tanks, tees, blouses, vests, cardigans, short sleeves, long sleeves).

1 pair pajamas.

2 bras.

2 shapewear tanks.

8 pairs of panties.

2 scarves.

1 Mesh laundry bag.

1 Clothes line.

Purex laundry sheets cut in 3-4 pieces each.

Sewing kit with safety pins, buttons, needles & thread.

Clothes brush.

First aid kit with moleskin, band aids, alcohol wipes, fever band.

Bacitracin, bag balm, athlete's foot cream.

Small brush.


Antibacterial wipes.


Sunscreen wipes.

Nail clippers.

Nail file.


Face wipes.



Compact style mirror.


Small sticky notes.


Extra plastic bags.

Paper clips.

Hardcopy maps.

Paper copies of important docs.

My spinner has a zipper in the lining to get access to the extension handle. I've found that to be a great place to put those paper things. They can fit between in the areas that are between the sides and the handle rods and between the handle rods themselves.

Except for the shoes and the papers, everything goes in a cube of some shape or size. I recently bought some compression cubes. We'll see how they work on the next trip for clothing items. They will help with volume, but not with weight, so I will resist (she said confidently) the temptation to add more to the bag when that volume goes down.

I'm being seriously tempted to get the smaller 19" x 13" x 6" Lipault roller carry-on. It weighs only 5 pounds. Someone on this forum listed all the stuff she got in hers and it seems to be enough for me with some slight changes in packing methods.

Posted by
333 posts

Mine was around 17 pounds stuffed to the gills (and I also had a full backpack). I'm NOT a minimalist! On my next RS tour I'm taking a regular suitcase, I really disliked having so little for a 21 day tour. I'm not in the majority with my philosophy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many people on our spring BOE tour brought regular sized luggage and their backpacks too. Just keep in mind you gotta lug it!


Posted by
14232 posts

Lulu, do remember to check to see if your airline - or connecting flight on another - has any weight restrictions for carry-ons? Our flights to Italy on Delta can involve a connecting flight on Alitalia, and they have a limit of a little over 17.5 pounds (8 kg). Some airlines allow even less.

Posted by
18557 posts

"...five sets of underwear and socks." I take three pair, one of which I wear over. I have found cotton/polyester blend underwear that never fails to dry overnight, so if I didn't mind washing in the nude just before bed, I could make do with just one pair. But I take a second pair so I could go back out while the first pair is drying. Then I take one more pair because occasionally, I don't feel like washing one night.

If you take five pairs, assuming you wash, you'll have to wash 16 times in a three week trip. With three pair, you wash 18 times. Hardly any difference. I will admit, however, that the high point in any trip comes the day I realize I have enough clean clothes to make it through the rest of the trip, and I don't have to wash anymore.

Posted by
14232 posts

But I take a second pair so I could go back out while the first pair
is drying. Then I take one more pair because occasionally, I don't
feel like washing one night.

Lee, just turn them inside out and you only have to wash every 4 days!
(just kidding)

Posted by
16887 posts

The 20-pound goal rarely just happens; it takes care to accomplish. My bag is normally over that line, confirmed when I set it on the scale at the airport check-in counter. Books/paper, shoes, toiletries/liquids, and electronics are potentially among your heaviest items, but other culprits can sneak in. For instance, if two pairs of pants are otherwise equal, take the lighter one. The bag will only get heavier as you accumulate souvenirs, local pamphlets, etc., during the trip. Glass bottles, jam jars, etc. are forbidden in my luggage until the latest possible moment before I board my plane home.

Posted by
2960 posts

On my last trip, 17 days, my RS 20" wheelie, weighed 21 lbs with genealogy paperwork, so would/will otherwise be under 20lbs, and was as I discarded paper along the way. I don't think I'm a minimalist, but I did go light so I could easily lift overhead and up stairs…I never seemed to be near an escalator. Next time I might pack one more light pair of pants and one more shirt, possibly. I had 4 tops and 2 black jeans, 1 yoga pant, 1 vest, 1 jacket, 2 scarves, 5 socks and undies, and 3 bras. I brought RS clothesline and a microfiber towel. And then my toiletries and toys. My DSLR was in my purse. I purchased one scarf and one silk pashmina. I don't mind wearing the same clothes as long as they are comfortable and look nice. After all, I don't have to look at myself. I thought this bag was very functional and the compartments were all in the right places! Wray

Posted by
18557 posts

"The 20-pound goal rarely just happens; it takes care to accomplish."

Great advice, Laura. (Except if you are flying Lufthansa, it's 17.6 lb, not 20).

But keeping the weight down requires discipline. Avoid the temptation to take everything you MIGHT need. Take only what you know you need. In emergency, you can buy things over there.

If you keep your packed weight down, you won't need a roller bag, and that will save you even more weight.

Posted by
786 posts

Usually 23-25 pounds plus a small personal size with wallet/ipad/small bag of toiletries. I am not a barebones packer and have only recently started carrying on.

Not as light as many of the others here. But it works for me and is easy to transport. And it fits the weight and size requirements of the airlines I usually fly.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks all. I will try 20, but go no further than 23. Plus I have my personal tote I keep forgetting. I'm will be expanding the suitcase and checking it on the way home because of the weight rules. I do have one italian airline flight on the way home. I'm purchased the Don't tell Rick a tote to use as my carryon.

I thougt 16 was heavy lifting it above my head, so want to be able to do that with a little more weight still. I just loved that handle on the side to be able to do that!

Posted by
11613 posts

My RS 20" rolling carryon plus Civita daybag were weighed together yesterday in Amsterdam, total was 16.7 kilo (carryon alone was just under 10).

Posted by
13530 posts


I don't go barebones traveling. My carryon shoulder sack filled is ca. 16 to 18 pounds. The 4 wheeled roller filled is from 27 to 32 lbs, a sturdy new Samsonite. I try to limit the weight to 30 lbs but it has gone up to 35.

Posted by
3493 posts

I have an original style RS carry on bag (no wheels). It weighs just under 2 pounds. Fully loaded for most tours, I am right at 20 pounds. I don't consider myself to be bare-bones because I manage to carry everything I need. The extra pounds I have to work with by not having a roller bag is a major help.

My last RS tour (Scotland) I left with the bag at 22 pounds and came home with only 18 pounds including all of the junk, I means souvenirs, bought along the way. How? I took clothing that I would wear and then discard since it was old stuff I was going to dispose of anyway.

Posted by
5697 posts

Lulu, you ask how much my filled suitcase weighs -- my answer is "too much!" Every time!! But I manage. Last trip for one month was 25 pounds (roller bag, 6 pounds empty) plus 5-10 pounds in personal bag plus winter coat and boots worn onto the plane.

Since we were not making a tight connection we felt okay checking one bag apiece. I keep hoping that the next trip, in non-winter weather, will be lighter packing ... hope springs eternal.
Have a great trip -- you deserve it.

Posted by
4383 posts

I don't know if I'm in the minority or the silent majority, but I just pack my bag with what's on my list. If it's too full, I start culling. Things DO get weighed before they go in; a 3-oz eyeglass case will beat out a 5-oz one, or perhaps that 5-oz one will really need to make its case (pun not intended). If it's too heavy to comfortably carry on my back, more things get culled. But basically I pack what I want. It makes a HUGE difference to use a serious backpack with a good padded hip belt, sternum strap, and to keep that pack riding up on your back where it belongs. I can comfortably carry 10lbs or 60lbs. I aim towards the lower end ;-) On my last European trip, I accumulated about 20lbs in beer steins within the first 3 days (planned in advance), in addition to whatever I brought with me. Then I accumulated all kinds of goodies - mostly magnets for me (small and light), scarves, some decorative plates and drinking glasses, and who knows what else! All of that was fine in my backpack - I had to be very careful about putting my pack on properly - but I carried it just fine. We're all caught up on the beer steins...for now ;-) My next major shopping will be done at the end of my next trip (already planned), so I'm perversely looking forward to my much-lighter pack. I'll get to experience what many of you aspire too LOL!

I've already decided that I'll have to weigh it after I pack for my next trip, just for my own amusement.

Posted by
22266 posts

That is right. Someone packing 48 lb is not going bare bones or even close to it. But then I always wonder what makes up that 48 lb? I have gone a month on 22, 23 lbs that was more than adequate. Basically it was two complete changes plus what I am wearing with a couple of additional shirts, and some misc. items. To hit 48 lb I would have to double everything. Four or five complete changes, several extra shirts, two maybe three pairs of shoes, etc. If the goal was to go ten days to two weeks without doing laundry I could see needing 48 lb. I think I would still have trouble hitting 48. That is a lot of stuff to be lugging around. Of course, I do think we hit that on our first trip. The hanging bag did me in. Never again. You develop the travel style you are happy with and if 48 lb make you happy. Go for it.

Posted by
18557 posts

Clothes are relatively light. If you had only clothes in your bag, I think you would exceed the allowed volume long before you exceeded the allowed weight. But carry some heavy items, like electric shavers, curling irons, books, too many electronics, etc and you'll probably exceed the weight allowance. I saved a pound, at the time about 6% of the Lufthansa allowance, by taking a disposable safety razor instead of my rechargeable one. Taking too many extra shoes is also a way to exceed the weight allowance.