In 2016 I started travelling with a single backpack and have never looked back.
Since then I've really gone for the whole "minimalist" travel route, where you reduce everything down to the core essentials, allowing you to travel light and freely without lugging around a suitcase.
When you have less than 50 things in your backpack, every purchase is significantly more important; it forces you to purchase intentionally.
Because of this, I end up spending a lot of time (and I mean a lot of time,) researching the "best" options for every purchase.
Rather than let my obsessiveness go to waste, I thought I should share what I've packed incase anyone else is looking to do some minimalist travel.
Here's what I'm packing for the next year of travel:
Three golden rules
- Minimize the amount of items by ruthless reduction.
- Minimize the weight of each item by purchasing high-quality goods.
- Err on the side of buying things you need, rather than carrying those you don't.
When it comes to minimalist travel, everything revolves around your choice of bag.
- I absolutely love this pack
- It can fit everything I could realistically want to travel with
- under international carry-on size
Alternatively, if you're looking for a travel pack, don't waste your time searching the web, pick one of these undisputed kings (trust me, I've spent hours researching this):
- Aer Travel Pack – for utilitarian style, that is a slightly heavier
- Minaal Carry on Pack – for ultra-lightweight bag, that looks a bit floppy when empty
- Goruck GR2 – for rugged as shit, and heavy as shit
- Tortuga Outbreaker – for large & smart, but slightly ugly
If you're travelling for a serious amount of time then you'll want to have another bag other than your main travel pack to take around with you day-to-day.
Despite the dorkiness, I've opted for a travel sling which in all honesty, has changed my life.
- minimalist design, small, lightweight, and functional
- hidden pocket for your passport, phone, and/or wallet
- it's black
If you're shopping around for an alternative day pack, try:
- Patagonia Atom Sling – it looks alright, people rate it.
- Katmandu Pocket Pack – if you're into that kinda thing
- Crumpler Squid – a neat viable contender if don't mind floppy bags
When doing the whole "minimalist travel thing" you have to reduce everything to its core essentials.
You basically want to be travelling with one week's worth of clothes that you cycle through. For me this means:
- 1 pair of Uniqlo black shorts
- 1 pair of Uniqlo black pants
- 7 Uniqlo shirts (grey/black)
- 7 Uniqlo underwear
- 7 H&M socks
- 1 H&M dark blue sweater
- 1 Patagonia windbreaker - this is a life saver
- 1 pair Converse Chuck Taylor 2.0s
- 1 pair Birkenstock Arizonas
- every travel blogger will tell you that using packing cubes changes everything
- It doesn't really matter which brand you buy
- I got the Amazon Basics 4-Piece Set
13-inch Macbook Pro
- This year I went down from the 15" to the 13" and couldn't be happier.
- There is plenty of screen space to work on the go (designing might be a little tight) and you can always plug into a display if need be.
- Space grey, because I'm a sheep and it's as close to black as they come.
- probably the last Apple phone I buy before making the switch to Google for good.
- It's a phone. It takes pictures. Nice.
- the worlds most comfortable headphones
- noise cancelling on these are great for removing the monotonous hum on a long flights
- They come in all black.
- will charge your phone up to 5 times
- beautiful and sleek, great build quality
- Talk about a quality product built to last.
- It's lightweight and has a replaceable fuse.
Reading & Writing
- when it comes to notebooks, I've tried them all
- Forget Moleskin, they are poor quality and overhyped
- Rhodia has high-quality paper, durable cover
- I'll be working on my second book this year while travelling
- a good portable keyboard that connects to my phone makes writing on the go a breeze
- despite loving the feel and smell of books, when I'm travelling that's a luxury my backpack can't afford.
- Kindles are a traveller's best friend, especially when you read 50+ books a year, just saying.
The thing I find difficult about travelling is that I don't have the comfort of my buckwheat zafu & zabuton (if you're into meditation and don't have a zafu, get one, it'll change your life.)
- lightweight, inflatable zafu with twin chambers for better stability
- improve posture and focus in meditation
- obviously not as great as buckwheat, but hey you're travelling
- lightweight, fast-drying, and hygienic travel towel
- forget about micro-fibre towels, they suck
- I like the designs and price of Knotty, but anyone is fine.
- this thing seriously changed my life
- compact, lightweight, tasteless water bottle
- plus it doubles as a pillow!
- ever needed to whip up a portable clothesline?
- how about a little laundry bag to carry your dirty clothes?
- this is just that, plus a few strips of soap for ad-hoc washes
I hope you found this useful. Give me a shout out if there is anything that you think would improve my travel setup 👋