Thanksgiving Weekend Packing Lists for One Bag Travel

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving weekend? Given the crowds and general craziness around Thanksgiving, there’s no doubt that traveling with just a carry-on makes for a much better experience. But is it even possible to pack only take one bag when you need clothes (including some nice ones for Thanksgiving dinner), your mobile office (if you’re working remotely), plus toiletries and other miscellaneous stuff? Read on to see how we think it can be done!


- Packing clothes for Thanksgiving
- Best bag options for long weekends
- Women’s packing guide example
- Men’s packing guide example
- Packing cube benefits
- Organizing tech
- Miscellaneous organization tips

At Knack, we’re totally familiar with having to bring a lot of stuff with us, and we’ve become experts at One Bag travel. Our secret sauce for taking only a carry-on for a long weekend like Thanksgiving is the Large Expandable Knack Pack.

What do we love about the Large Knack for One Bag, carry-on only travel?

  • At 46 liters, it falls within the carry-on dimension restrictions of most airlines.
  • It collapses to a slim, lightweight 30 liter bag for your adventures after you’ve arrived at your destination.
  • There’s multiple compartments to keep all the different stuff you need to carry organized. 
  • It’s a laptop backpack built for 17” computers, so you can travel with your giant screens.

This week, we’re sharing how we pack the Large Expandable Knack Pack with everything that we need for work and fun on Thanksgiving weekend. 

How to Pack Clothes for Thanksgiving Weekend

Clothes are undeniably one of the most challenging things to decide on and pack when you’re traveling for Thanksgiving. Not only do you need some nicer attire for Thanksgiving dinner, but you also need your everyday clothes, pajamas, and maybe something for football. And because the weather is colder this time of year, chances are that your clothes will be a bit bulkier.

How do you fit all these clothes without overpacking? The answer: Build a 5-day capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a small but strategic set of complementary clothes, which allow you to interchange pieces of clothing to create a whole assortment of outfits. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many different looks you can get from just a few pieces of clothing.

Here are some tips for building a Thanksgiving capsule wardrobe:

Wear monochromatic or neutral colors - They might not be the most exciting colors, but white, black, and gray can always go together in an outfit. 

Pick 4-5 basic lightweight tops, long sleeve or short sleeve. You can roll these up tightly to pack while layering them under your other tops. 

Bring only 3 bottoms. Pants are bulky, and others are less likely to notice if you haven’t changed your pants - particularly when they’re in dark or neutral colors. Bring one nice pair of pants or a skirt for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Bring two pairs of shoes. Bring a nice pair of shoes for Thanksgiving, and one other comfy and versatile pair to wear everywhere else. Definitely wear the bulkier pair of shoes on the plane to save space in your luggage. 

Hint: Use a compressible shoe bag.

Bring one accent piece. A nice blazer or sweater can be formal enough for most Thanksgiving dinners and you may be able to wear these pieces elsewhere. Even if this piece is colorful, you can layer it on top of your basic, monochromatic clothing. 

Bring one large, warm jacket. Since many of us will be going somewhere cold, a large overcoat that you can throw over all your other clothes is essential. And to save space, wear your bulky outerwear on the plane.

Accessorize. Accessories are a capsule wardrobe’s best friend. Hats and scarves are both fashionable and practical when it comes to cold weather, and jewelry can dress up any monochromatic outfit.

Example Capsule Wardrobe For Women

  • 4-5 gray, white, or black long sleeve and short-sleeve shirts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 skirt + leggings
  • 1 nice sweater 
  • 1 pair ankle boots
  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 5 days of underwear/socks
  • Hat and scarf
  • 1 warm parka

Example Capsule Wardrobe For Men

  • 4 gray, white, or black long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
  • 1 button up shirt
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair chino pants
  • 1 pair sweatpants
  • 1 blazer
  • 1 pair oxford shoes
  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 5 days of underwear/socks
  • 1 warm coat

Tips for packing your capsule wardrobe in a Large Travel Backpack

Use the travel compartment

The Series 1 Large Knack Pack is 30 liters when unexpanded, but the expandable travel compartment adds an additional 16 liters, which is the perfect amount of space for packing all of your Thanksgiving weekend clothes and overnight stuff.

Use compression packing cubes

Knack’s packing cubes compress to help you save space, while keeping all your stuff organized. Here’s how the Knack team uses compression packing cubes to fit clothes:

. Roll up clothes that don’t wrinkle, like t-shirts and underwear, in the medium packing cube

. Put heavier tops and pants in the large packing cube. Fold the clothes that you’re worried about wrinkling, like blazers or button up shirts. 

. Dedicate another packing cube to your toiletries, so that you can keep them all together.

Check out this article for more packing tips.

How to pack your tech for Thanksgiving weekend

Depending on the day you travel, you may need to do a little bit of work before or after the holiday - which is why it’s important to be able to bring your entire mobile office with you. Here are some tips for packing tech in the Large Knack Pack:

. Put your laptop in the padded 17” laptop pocket. Both the Series 1 and the Series 2 Knack Packs have 17” zippered, side-access padded laptop pockets with sling bottoms. 

. Pack all of your chargers in the S1 cable garage. To save space and to stay organized, try to find chargers that are compatible with multiple devices. For example, carry just one USB, one USBC, and one Lightning cable which can be used with all your tech.

. Pack your tablet in the fleece-lined inside pocket so that it won’t scratch. And of course, make sure it’s charged so that you can watch movies on the plane.

Read some really helpful tips for traveling with tech here. 

How to pack the miscellaneous stuff

Knack Packs have lots of pockets, which are awesome for all of the little things that you need to bring with you on Thanksgiving weekend - like earbuds, documents, and batteries.

When it comes to toiletries, however, you should make sure that they’re easily removable from your bag - and the best way to do this is to keep them in a small packing cube. Airport security lines during the holidays are long, so make sure that your shampoos, toothpastes, and other liquids follow TSA’s 3-1-1 guidelines.


By traveling with a Large Knack Pack for Thanksgiving Weekend, not only will you save a ton of money in baggage fees, but you'll save the hassle of waiting in long lines so you can spend more time with the people you left home to see!