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Packing report, part one: 10 days in England

Here’s part one of my packing report for my recent 10-day trip to England. I was in London May 26-30 and in Lewes, East Sussex, the first five days of June. I used my 21” Travelpro Maxlite spinner (bought in 2016) as my checked bag, my LL Bean Carryall Tote as my carryon (sadly discontinued; purchased in 2018 on the advice of a member of this forum) and my Tom Bihn Side Kick as my personal item. While I was there, I bought a Roka Canfield medium backpack and used that plus a Tom Bihn Ziptop Shop Bag as day bags. Note: it’s not that I have so much stuff I must have two day bags. The Shop Bag acted as an accessory to the Canfield, in that it held a water bottle and second phone. I had two phones because one was locked (the one I used as a camera) and the other unlocked (used for communication). And since everyone is charging for disposable grocery type bags there, I put groceries and other purchases in it when I was out and about.

Main bag (the Travelpro): I used two compression bags I bought on Amazon to try out. I was underwhelmed—I did not feel like they saved a lot of space in my spinner bag. I put my underwear, socks and terrycloth hair turban in one, and my clothes in the other. Clothes were: one pair of silk pants, one pair of tencel pants (Cut Loose brand), one J Jill Tencel, linen and spandex cardigan, one LL Bean 3/4 sleeve T-shirt, two J Jill 3/4 sleeve T-shirts (a very lightweight cotton), one silk blouse, one cotton shirt w/ ¾ sleeves (gray with hedgehogs on it—a favorite). I also packed a pair of slip-on Skechers. On the plane I wore yoga pants (can’t recall the name; I got them at Kohl’s), LL Bean Tencel Flyaway cardigan, black ¾ sleeve LL Bean cotton T-shirt, sneakers.
This year I decided not to wear my LL Bean H2Off knee length jacket, and I lived to regret it. Ha ha It was so cold and windy in London (plus it rained a bit) I ended up going to Cotswold Outdoor in Covent Garden and buying a North Face rain jacket. It’s more breathable than the Bean one and I’m very happy with it. I wore it every day. Also, I tried merino socks. The brand is 1,000 Mile and they come with a lightweight lining. As far as wearing them multiple times w/o them being stinky, I washed mine after two days—they were stinky enough for me. I was very glad to have the washer/dryer in the Airbnb in Lewes. Did all my "smalls" when I got there. I only did one day of hand washing, a pair of underpants and a pair of socks in the shower in London.

I ended up wearing the J Jill sweater and the LL Bean cardie every day. Sometimes I wore one over my pajamas because I was cold much of the time. However, I only wore each top 2x, and I could easily have done with one or two fewer. Because it was so cold, I wasn’t the usual sweaty mess I am sometimes. I might even have been able to stay with two pairs of trousers. The silk ones were too lightweight for the weather I experienced. On one or two days, I wished I’d brought my silk long underwear!
Other items in my checked bag were a small pouch of art supplies, my Tom Bihn Handy Little Thing containing sugar packets and Starbucks instant coffee packets, Tom Bihn Spiff Kit with non-liquid toiletries, hair brush, masks (just a couple) and spare pair of glasses.

I still feel like I overpacked—especially since I had made purchases while there, and I could barely zip the spinner shut. As I mentioned in another post, I use a vacuum bag for my dirty laundry and that does help a great deal with making extra space in the spinner. I also used the Canfield as my personal item on the plane on the way home.

More to come…

Posted by
7473 posts

I love reading packing posts. Thanks for sharing!

That’s difficult when you’re cold! Glad you found a nice coat to wear. I’ve worn my 32 Degree microthin long sleeve top as a pj top when we’ve traveled off-season and had a couple of chilly nights where I wanted something warmer.

Posted by
2925 posts

Thanks SandraL.
I love packing posts (don't we all?). You've given me some ideas for next year's trip to England and Ireland. You dress a lot nicer than me so I'll forego silk and cotton and stick with handwashable synthetics.
Can't wait for more of your trip report.

Posted by
1196 posts

You need a lot of layers for this country but I’m surprised you were so cold in London. I was in Bournemouth that week and in between the rain we found the weather to be quite pleasant.

I think this shows the difference between how locals will perceive temperature being used to the cool damp weather we have here compared to visitors.

Posted by
7033 posts

The Shop Bag acted as an accessory to the Canfield, in that it held a water bottle and second phone.

Did you not use the sleeve in the Canfield for your water bottle? That's what I did, and it fit fine (and mine is a small).

Posted by
699 posts

Mardee, no, I didn't. It didn't even cross my mind! LOL

I'm assuming you mean an outer side pocket?

Posted by
498 posts

Sandra, I was on the South England tour in April, I found it so much colder than expected because of the wind. I was not expecting that and I layered EVERYTHING, and wore my one wool sweater repeatedly! Fortunately I did have my knee length raincoat with a liner and I was still cold so I can really sympathize.

How did you like your TB Side Kick as your personal item?

Posted by
344 posts

Yes, so far it’s been a disappointingly cool and windy summer, even us locals are feeling it. It looks like the next week or so will be warmer, but flexible layers seem to be the way to go this summer. And checking the weather forecast as you pack!

Posted by
14293 posts

You know I love packing threads too! Thanks for all the detail.

It sounds like your new jacket is excellent. Since you didn’t take the H2Off jacket did you start with a lighter weight rain layer? Sorry you were cold!

What would you leave out next time? It looks like you had 5 shirts? And laughing at myself because when you had a pre-trip thread on your wardrobe I was sweating thinking about your 3/4 and LS shirts and wondering if you would be hot, lol. Apparently not!!

Posted by
7033 posts

I'm assuming you mean an outer side pocket?

Yes, and it has a small elastic band at the top, which makes it easier to fit things in. It's perfect for a water bottle (or my Yeti 10 oz tumbler). Ha, I'm glad you got the small! That's my favorite size, although I do have a Medium one, too, that I used as my personal bag on the plane.

Lyndash, not that you asked me, lol, but I used the TB Side Kick last year in Scotland as a personal item, and didn't really like it. It was just too small for me. I would potentially still take it (although I haven't) but would use it more as a crossbody ECB.

Posted by
699 posts

I didn't have any kind of an outer layer jacket until I bought the North Face jacket.

The Side Kick was great. I wish it was a little bigger though. I thought about the Side Hustle but decided not to get it.

I think it really was the wind that made it so cold.