~ Rachel Turner has written an excellent article for Matador Goods which I highly recommend you read if you are travelling.
She lists 10 multipurpose items that should be in everybody's luggage, all of which are compact and lightweight.
Among Rachel's suggestions are: Dental Floss (for cleaning teeth; for use as a clothesline; emergency thread; and as a cheese and bread slicer!); various all in one survival tools like a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman tool; Safety Pins for use as emergency buttons/clasps, or clothespins; a Poncho for use as a tarpaulin, picnic blanket, bag liner, and of course, to keep the rain off your head.
Women will want to pack a couple of Sarongs since, as Rachel suggests, these can be used as towels, curtains, beach mats or picnic blankets, and even as sheets when staying in hostels.
Rachel also recommends taking a good Shampoo. Ok, no surprises about the shampoo, but Rachel suggests you also use shampoo as a laundry detergent, body soap, and even for dishwashing.
Finally, there is the Credit Card Survival Tool (see image illustrating this entry). I've never heard of, or seen one of these, but as the name suggests, the Credit Card Survival Tool is the size of a credit card, made of stainless steel, cheap, and has 11 different uses including Can opener, Knife edge, Screwdriver, Ruler, 4 position wrench, Butterfly screw wrench, Saw blade, Bottle opener and more.
Now why didn’t I think of that?