What to Pack Depending on Trip

Chances are you’ve stared at an empty duffel bag or a bursting suitcase whose zipper refuses to close for so long you’ve considered canceling a trip. But packing doesn’t have to be painful. It’s not an exact science, but with a less-is-more approach and the right pieces, you’ll consider the contents of your luggage a carefully curated work of art. Here are a few different lengths of trips and items you should consider packing for each.

Red-Eye Flight

The king of carry-on bags, a bag that is approved by every airlines’ dimensions enforcers and comes with a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty, is designed and manufactured in Billings. The new Mini Boss ($245) from Red Oxx (310 N. 13th St.) easily fits up to four days worth of stuff. So if it’s a quick trip, there’s no need to check a bag.

For longer, double-digit-hour international flights, slip Savvy Travelers into your carry-on. These made-in-California disposable wipes will come to your rescue when you’re craving a shower, toothbrush (yes, they have a mouth-cleansing wipe) or simply want to freshen up with an antiperspirant wipe or makeup remover. ($15 for the Jet Set, SavvyTravelers.com.)

Road Trip

Historically road trips produce the best fodder for lifelong memories, but sitting for that long can be brutal. Since you’re confined to a car, it’s important to be comfortable. Pack pants that allow you to curl up in the car and stretch your legs at rest stops. The best part? They don’t have to be unflattering. With their elegant pleats, pockets and ruched ankles, Encircled’s Dressy Sweatpants seem more like slacks ($148, Encircled.co).

Black leggings are also a wise pair of bottoms to pack. Manduka’s Essential Leggings feature four-way stretch, so they wear like a second skin ($88, Manduka.com). Pair them with a tank top for an impromptu hike at a scenic pullout or a flowy tunic for a pit stop at a fancy restaurant along your route.

Weekend Jaunt

When you’re at home, weekends are perfect for doing laundry. When you’re traveling, it’s the last thing you want to do. So pack clothes with a high wear-to-wash ratio like these minimalist merino essentials from Unbound Merino. Created for travelers, by travelers, these antibacterial, odor-resistant pieces for men can go weeks without being washed. The brand’s best investment is its two-pack—two shirts, two pairs of socks and underwear ($200, UnboundMerino.com).

Ladies who don’t want to be seen in the same look, invest in staples like this luxurious bamboo Reversible Transfer Top from Anywhere Apparel ($65, AnywhereApparel.com). The Minneapolis-based company also has a jacket that transforms into a bag, and all of its products are made in New York. Fun fact: the brand’s founders lived out of carry-on bags while circumnavigating the globe in 17 days.

If you break down and need to do laundry in your sink—or save water and wear it while you shower—pack pieces like underwear from ExOfficio. In drying time tests, the company’s best-in-class Give-N-Go boxers and briefs beat their cotton counterparts by a landslide ($38-$42, ExOfficio.com).

Two-Week-Long Trip

The luxury of longer trips is you can sneak more luxury into your luggage. Still, look for dress clothes that are dual-purpose like Eddie Bauer’s Departure Tropical Packable Blazer for men. It’s designed to go from “tarmac to trail” and features wrinkle-free, four-way-stretch material boasting moisture-wicking and UPF 50+ protection properties. There’s an interior passport pocket holder and exterior pocket which the blazer folds into when it’s time to pack it. ($149, Rimrock Mall, 300 S. 24th St. W.)

Another jacket that folds into its pocket and comes in handy on longer trips when inclement weather is in the forecast is Orvis’ Lightweight Floral-Camo Anorak ($98, Orvis.com). Its durable water-repellent finish helps you stay dry while its floral camo print reflects the trends seen on the runways.

For Any Trip

Minimalistic jewelry that elevates a look while not being high maintenance is a must for a trip of any length. It will help you feel glam on long layovers or when your car is broken down on the side of the road. But, leave your most sentimental and valuable pieces safely at home, and opt for something like a Simplify bracelet from Life is Good ($28, LifeIsGood.com). It’s a reminder that when it comes to packing, less is often more.