Minimalist Travel Gear Packing List: Insanely Light Luggage Edition

It is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer.

William of Occam (1288-1348)

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)

“Where’s your luggage?” asked me the Israeli security officer. “That’s all I got” – I replied, a little bit stressed of the very real possibility of missing my flight. I received a lot of confused looks in my last 7 months in the far east, and I wish I’d take a picture of every person I had told that I’m traveling with basically nothing.

I still get emails from plenty of continents, all from people I stumbled upon on my journey, thanking me for inspiring them to minimize their travel belongings. Minimalism is truly a privilege of the rich, and I believe in it with all my heart. Or as my fellow Filipino friend Nolan said to me: “It’s not about your clothes – it’s about your heart”.

In October 2011, whilst peacefully living in the Philippines, this was the status proudly standing out on my Facebook wall:

My Minimalism Facebook Status - October 2011

Now, that’s Hebrew which you probably don’t understand, but what I actually said is:

“Four months already with a single shirt and a single pair of pants, and life was never richer. Every day, I keep thinking of the enormous amount of trash being accumulated by the human race. Instead of a house that will shackle me down, a car which I’ll worry lest scratched, clothes which I’ll have to select every morning and waste valuable time, and a cell phone that’ll consume my health and patience — I’ll take life, and even a smile or two.”

Simplifying Life

We all know the somewhat-classic look of ‘travelers’ abroad. Bracelets on their arms, a Lonely Planet on their hand, and a huge NASA rocket on their back. Luggage, they call it. I find it much crazier traveling with all that ‘equipment’ than traveling with absolutely nothing. What the heck do they put inside?

Back then in the Israeli army, I got the fetid privilege of spending months in the desert, and Mother Hummus be my witness – neither I nor my fellow soldiers ever carried that amount of luggage that I see harnessed on the back of innocent travelers all around the world.

This joke becomes funnier when I prove them how better equipped I am, while still carrying around twenty kilograms less. You can only wear a single set of clothes in any given moment, and I’m more on the side of maximizing the efficiency of this one set, and forget about the rest. Less is more.

Stick to the golden rules of travel – if something doesn’t help you – it hinders you. Additional clothes will require additional laundry, carrying and caring. Not even once in the last 7 months did I regret not taking more. Don’t get me wrong though – I don’t recommend on stinking like a dog (Army style), but I do recommend equipping yourself smartly and efficiently.

I got to think a lot about the whole concept of minimalism during my travel, a concept which was fueled a lot by the writings of philosopher David Henry Thoreau. It might be a little suspicious to be attending the airport carrying nothing, but you’ll feel as free and mobile as a bird on any given moment. As Thoreau said, I believe the true cost of things is not the money you spend for it, but the time, effort and life you have to spend later on worrying, cleaning and deciding what to do with it.

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

I have given my entire wardrobe to charity before I left Israel. All my materialistic life during my travel squeezed down to a shirt, one pair of pants, two pairs of underwear, and a laptop from which I was building a money-making online machine. Today I can safely say that minimalism feels like a life improvement (for me) compared to the materialistic alternative.

It’s amazing how quickly a ‘thing’ loses its value and meaning once you forget it ever existed. That said, I’ll have to admit that I was a little bit emotional about letters from the past and just couldn’t get rid of them. Sissy me.

My Closet - Simplifying Life

Less is more. Simplifying Life – Part One.

The emotional letters. These include all my memories from the army girls, basically.

The emotional letters. These include all my memories from the army girls, basically.

Benefits of Traveling Light

  • You won’t have to wait at the airport for your bag, or even worse – get frustrated when its lost (it happens more than you think). Generally speaking,  going on and off the airport will go flash-fast, and you’ll sometimes even get the privilege of ordering a ‘carry on luggage only’ cheaper flight ticket. Yay.
  • Flexibility and comfort. You won’t have to waste time worrying, making laundries, having back aches, tiredness, and finding a place to accommodate your luggage each time you want to go somewhere. Traveling light, you’ll be able to take your ‘stuff’ anywhere you go, without ever thinking about all of the above. That, my friends – is what I call total freedom. You’ll love it. You’ll be ready for any adventure within minutes if not seconds.
  • You’ll merge better with the local culture. There is some sort of a disrespect in coming all the way to a far-away land (and usually poor as well) and look like a walking spaceship from the western world. That’s also the reason why I never carry a big-ass DSLR, and settle on something more modest. If you come with minimum gear, you won’t look like the average tourist screaming ‘Rip me off!’. You’ll look more like an expat or something.
  • You simply don’t need more. I give you my word. Cyril Northcote Parkinson was known for his disrespect for the lack of efficiency of the human race to manage its resources. he was the one to come up with ‘Parkinson’s Law’, suggesting that ‘the work expands in such a way that it takes away all the available resources for its completion’. Meaning, we have this weird natural tendency to stretch the amount of time we have to put on a task for completing it, to the amount of time that is actually available to us. Here’s a daily example.

Your boss gives you a task to complete in 8 hours. Your natural tendency will be to complete it in 8 hours. If that same boss tells you to finish it in two hours and go home – it’s very likely that you’ll find a way to finish it in two hours. Humans are just not efficient at managing resources, and it means something to us travelers, too. No matter what size of a bag you’ll take – you’ll always find something to fill it up with. The things you didn’t take – most chances are that you won’t even notice you need them (cause you probably don’t). Humans are a funny creature.

How Did I Circle South East Asia With Close to Zero Carry On Luggage?

So, as I said – you want to gear up intelligently. You’re going to be carrying very few items, and it’s important to make sure these are as efficient as possible. One of the mistakes I see travelers doing over and over, is the choice of fabric. The vast majority of people comes with gazillion cotton clothes, some even show up with fancy ‘special traveling gear’ made out of stinky synthetic fabrics.

Cotton is devil. It’s a very bad fabric for almost any weather. You want something that will wick sweat away quickly and efficiently, which cotton falls badly at. You want something that will keep your body warm when it’s cold outside, and something that will dry very quickly when wet. Cotton is a bad choice for each one of the three, let alone all of them. Every Israeli soldier you’ll meet can tell you how bad cotton performs under training – it stinks, feels very ‘sweaty’, and doesn’t keep your body warm in winter (Hypothermia, anyone?).

The answer is not as common as you’d imagine: Wool. Wool has antibacterial properties by its nature, which gives you the privilege of not washing it every day, without it stinking. I usually wash my wool shirts once every few days of travel. They just don’t stink. It also dries up quickly and wicks sweat away effectively, and regulates body temperature very effectively. The only disadvantage is the price, but you get what you pay for, right? For me, it was well worth it, since that’s the only shirt I was traveling with for quite a long time.

Special thanks to Tynan who helped a lot with the travel clothing and trip packing list. He’s the one who introduced me to some of the travel wear items below.

Minimalist Travel Gear Packing List

Basic Merino Wool Layer: Icebreaker Bodyfit-150 Atlas S/S

Icebreaker is a brand from New Zealand specializing in 100% merino wool clothing. Merino, if you’re wondering, is a type of sheep from the mountains of New Zealand. I’ve made a little online research before going on my journey, and Icebreaker looked like the leading brand when it comes to wool. The shirt is a little bit expensive and cost me around 40 to 50 US dollars.

In fact, that’s the only shirt I was traveling with for the first four months, and it was really more than enough for me. I sent it back to Icebreaker for a replacement (awesome service, they have) and continued with a cotton tank-top I received as a gift from a fellow Filipino dude of mine from a village I was living in. The difference in ‘aroma’ was very noticeable.

Icebreaker Bodyfit-150 Atlas S/S

At first, I used to wash it every day, but quickly discovered through trial and error that it’s not necessary and moved to about once every 4 or 5 days, even though I was sweating a lot in it. This shirt’s a wonder, and every time I was inside a frozen bus/train/plane – I felt grateful again for buying this shirt.

I also went for the Icebreaker brand since it was very important for me to buy ‘ethical’ wool. Icebreaker are very transparent when it comes to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the company, and you’ll even get a green ‘baa-code’ with every product, with which you can source the wool farm location and see videos from there.

It’s the only shirt you’ll ever need. Guaranteed.

Buy either from Icebreaker itself or from Amazon.

Icebreaker Merino Wool Shirt

Pants: Brushed Nylon or Wool (If you can find it)

I personally used a basic pair of convertible travel pants by Wildcat, an Israeli brand. They were very cheap, good-looking and effective at the beginning of the journey. The smell-difference between them and the wool shirt became very noticeable, which is why I’d recommend trying to find some sort of a wool pair of pants. It’s pretty rare to find good-looking ones, as the vast majority of them will make you look like a baron from the seventeenth century.

If you cant’ find any wool pants, I’d recommend going for brushed-nylon pants, just like me. Sweating is more of a problem in the upper body region, and the merino wool shirt takes care of that. It’s less of a problem in your legs though, but still.

I also highly recommend buying a pair of pants with an internal pocket where you can safely keep your money and credit card. If you don’t find any – you can visit a local tailor and do it cheaply.

There are loads of brushed-nylon pants on Amazon.

Wildcat Brushed Nylon Pants

Underwear: ExOfficio Give N’ Go Briefs or Icebreaker Merino Wool Briefs

I personally used two pairs of ExOfficio undies, and I’m very, very satisfied with them. I bought them in Israel, and they cost me around $20 each. Well worth it if you ask me. However, I’ll be curious to try Icebreaker merino wool briefs as well, I bet they will perform just as good as their shirts, and my shirt always dried up quicker than the ExOfficios.

ExOfficio briefs wick sweat away very effectively and don’t smell nearly as bad as the regular undies. They are also the most comfortable undies I’ve ever put. That said, I’d still try Icebreaker and see how they compare.

For those of you prone to chaffing, I recommend going for the boxers version to minimize rubbing.

ExOfficio Give N' Go Briefs

Towel: MSR PackTowl Ultralite

This thing is beyond amazing. This towel is so tiny that you can easily put it inside any pocket, and is so effective that I was using it even in my own home instead of the regular heavy classic towels we all know. I let my sister use it too when she was in army, and she called me one day, extremely shocked by the fact that she’s just finished a shower, used the towel, hung it outside, went to the Shequem (Hebrew word for a small store of daily groceries inside military bases), and found the towel completely dry when she came back after 8 minutes. Yes, EIGHT.

You can buy the towel from amazon, and I really recommend going for the L or XL sizes, as the sizes are really small for some reason. Amazing towel. Highly, highly recommended.

By the way, I lost the towel somewhere in Cambodia and continued the journey without it. Remember ‘Parkinson’s Law’ we were talking about earlier? That’s exactly what happened. Once I lost the towel, I never felt the need for it again. Somehow, I always found a way to dry myself (towels from the guesthouses or people I was staying with, or just shaking myself like a wet dog under the ceilings full of Asian gecko lizards). I used a number of microfiber towels before, and MSR is by far the most effective yet lightest one. Get it.

MSR Packtowl UltraliteFootwear: XeroShoes Huaraches

The most amazing ‘footwear’ I have ever worn. I have been exposed to the science behind barefoot running last year, and it only made my feelings stronger. What feelings, you’re asking? I always found it pretty reasonable for humans to walk, run and jump barefoot. That’s how we all evolved, right?

The huaraches are the traditional sandals of the Mexican Tarahumara tribe, and the XeroShoes are a modern take of them by Steven Sashen. The original ones were made out of a thin leather or rubber sole that was tied to the foot with similar materials.

Say hello to the XeroShoes Huaraches. This ‘shoe’ allows you to keep the natural functionality of the human foot, while still providing protection from ‘modern things’ like broken glass and similar stuff. I personally prefer running completely barefoot (usually in the beach), but would definitely consider the huaraches if I’d run on asphalt or rocky terrains.

InvisibleShoes Huaraches

Me and an Australian dude (CyWalsh.com) I met in Cambodia. Excitement it was.

Even more, these sandals are totally cool. I had a lot of curious faces looking at them in the last year. I highly recommend them for the health of your foot. When you walk, jog or run with ‘regular’ shoes – you ‘heel-strike’ the ground first, which causes a bad, bad impact on your posterior chain (Your back!). When you’re barefoot (or practically barefoot, huaraches-style) – the ‘ball’ part of the foot touches the land first, acting as a kind of a natural shock absorber . Embrace evolution, shoes companies be mad.

Not only that, but your foot will have more ‘air to breath’. and you’ll minimize your chance to develop bacteria on your foot nails, something that is usually caused by the moisture and darkness inside a closed shoe. Your foot is also ‘spread properly’ with the Huaraches, allowing your foot to have its natural grip, with the proper space between each toe – unlike a regular shoe that traps them all inside.

As I wrote in Xero Shoes review, I felt a little illuminated when I lived with the Pounongs in the Khmer mountains for a few days and noticed how different their feet were compared to the western ones. Much stronger-gripping, wide-spread and overall healthy looking. These were barefoot dudes out there. That’s right, shoes hinder your foot development from an early age.

Anyway, get those Huaraches while you can. They’re healthy, cool and affordable footwear, and I never looked back. Worth every penny. If you’re going somewhere too cold for sandals, try buying special merino-wool socks for the huaraches or just buy some winter-friendly barefoot shoes/boots. I never tried Terra Plana, but many people recommend them.

Deodorant: Crystal Stone Aluminum-Free Deodorant or Baking Soda

In other words: Potassium Alum. This natural salt mineral will kill every god-damn aroma-causing bateria in your underarm or any other area of the body. Very effective, and non-dangerous (unlike the regular anti-perspiration ones). Also, it doesn’t leave any strange stains on your clothes, which is a huge plus.

Keep in mind that two kinds of crystal stone deodorants are sold: Potassium Alum and Ammonium Alum. Potassium is the natural form, whereas Ammoniom is the synthetic one, which seems to be less effective according to online rumors.

Buy the stone from Amazon.

Deodorant Stone

You can also go for baking soda instead. I’ve used it in the first two weeks of my journey and it worked like a charm as well. The only issue is that it is a bit messy compared to the stone, but a lot lighter as well on the other hand. Both will work.

Baking Soda

Waterproof Fenix LD01 Flashlight

I’ve read and heard a lot about Fenix. They are known for their awesome ratio of light-power to size. I was looking for a flashlight that will easily fit my pocket and the Fenix LD01 was perfect. The elite police deparment in Israel use Fenix as well, by the way. They’re super sturdy, reliable, powerful, waterproof and very effective for their size.

I thanked myself a thousand times for buying it when I encountered the very common blackouts in South East Asia. It’s not nice walking alone in the darkness of a deserted Cambodian ally. Fenix be your savior.

Fenix LD01

Fenix LD01

Titanic Revisited: FOX40 Safety Whistle

Whistle to the bus. Whistle to your french friends after you lost them in the Khmer darkness in the middle of sneaking to the Angkorian temples. Make Macaque monkeys run away when you’re alone in caves. Whistle for help when your ship sank, à la Titanic. Whistle when you’re stuck in the toilet. I’ve done it all, there are many uses to carrying a whistle, and FOX40 is the crème de la crème of safety whistles. The’re high-pitched noisy bastards that might save your life one day.

Fox40 Safety Whistle

HumanGear GoToob + Dr. Bronner Organic Magic Soap

The GoToob is essentially a small silicon container for liquids. We all know the frustrating feeling that accompanies a random look at your bag, noticing that the whole shampoo bottle is open and leaking all over our clothes. That’s exactly what GoToob comes to prevent. This bottle literally seals the liquids, and is made out of a substance that doesn’t react chemically with other common substances you might be using. You can even ‘stick’ it on the wall using its vacuum holder. Highly recommended if you got some liquids to take care of.

GoToob Bottles

I have used these bottles to accomodate the soap I was using – Dr. Bronner Magic Soap All-In-One. That’s the best soup you’ll ever use. It’s organic and contains only natural plant-based substances (without the industrial chemicals and stuff), and you can use it for 18 different purposes. The bottles and labels are made out of recycled materials, and the Broner family itself is proud to be a part of the Fair Trade supporters worldwide. Highly recommend this soap, it’s so concentrated that you can make it last for ages. One droplet is enough for a shower.

Dr. Bronner Magic Soap

Travel Camera: Olympus XZ-1

I’ve already stated why I hate traveling with big DSLRs. They’re heavy, clumsy, and makes you stand out like a sore thumb and look way above the poor locals. I have researched the subject a lot before I ventured out to Asia, and the Olympus XZ1 seemed like the most solid choice for a camera. Its image quality was the closest I could find to a DSLR back then (in the ‘compact camera’ family), although it’s quite large for a compact (275 grams).

It’s image quality is beyond AMAZING, it’s aperture stays at 1.8 (!!!) to 2.5 at a focal length of 120mm approximately. A-m-a-z-i-n-g. The size is the only issue (still pretty portable though). I’d also like to thank Jeff Sarris from Spyr Media for taking the time and helping me out with my neverending emails. Thanks, Jeff!

UPDATE 2013: I no longer use the Olympus. Fortunately for us travelers, Sony came up with the INSANE RX-100. The technology is an absolute breakthrough, and will let you take DSLR-like quality photos in a camera the size of a very small compact. It’s much smaller than the Olympus and the quality is much closer to DSLR. You can buy it here. It will blow your mind.

Olympus XZ-1

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Confucius (551-479 BC)

That’s It?!

Yep, that’s about it. All of the above equipment perfectly fits my pants pockets. No need for neither a bag nor a vest. I haven’t listed the laptop I was carrying (for which I tailored a special carrying sack in Cambodia), but I highly recommend going without a laptop if you don’t need one. If you’re an author or writer, like me, a laptop is very useful though.

I also had a small foldable toothbrush and some toothpaste, of course. And also carried a Light My Fire Spork which wasn’t worth its size.

What Happens When It’s Cold?

If you’re traveling in tropical or other hot regions (Middle east?), there’s definitely no need for anything else. If, however, you plan to go to Iceland or something – you’ll need a waterproof windbreaking layer. Check out the amazing Marmot windbreakers for that. They’re very effective and lightweight, but expensive as well. You may also want to consider a layer of fleece between the windbreaker and the basic Icebreaker shirt. Regarding shoes, try to look for closed barefoot footwear, like Terra Plana.

Marmot Windbreaker

What About a Smartphone?

One more thing – today I understand the major benefits of carrying a smartphone when traveling. Even though I never had one, I’ll surely buy one soon, and I recommend you pick one too for your travels. Here’s why:

You can shove in a translation application inside this little bastard, as well as books or travel guides if you’re into that, and even a log for your workouts/diet diving/vaccines or whatever you’re tracking. Include an alarm clock, some music, maps, GPS, Skype, train and bus times, flight search engines and statistics applications for webmasters (Google Analytics, etc), and you’ve got the most powerful device you could ever ask for.

You’ll be able to log in the internet quickly (without unpacking your clumsy laptop), and write ideas and notes whenever you feel like it, instead of carrying a pen and paper which pack larger than a smartphone only by themselves. See where I’m going?

You can also use the smartphone camera if the quality is enough for you. One little super-powerful device, and that’s without even talking about the ability to shove in a local SIM card wherever you are.

Update, September 2013: I found the PERFECT smartphone for traveling, and yeah – it’s waterproof. Read my new Sony Xperia ZR review to understand why it’s so awesome for the Mark Twains of us. You can buy it from Amazon.

The Sony Xperia ZR is built for underwater photography.

The Sony Xperia ZR is the wet dream of savvy travelers.

No Lonely Planet Handbook?!

You don’t really need a guidebook, in my opinion. Even if you do – you can shove a digital one inside your smartphone. These kind of books gets you into ‘passive-mode’, instead of otherwise approaching people and do the most basic thing humans can do – ask questions and socially-interact. That’s how you build social intelligence and self-confidence out of the comfort zone.

One of the side effects of these popular books — the places listed there quickly become flooded with tourists. So, basically, you invite yourself to the same place everyone else is going to. This site is here to make you throw away the lonely planet and go explore on your own, discovering places you never imagined existed. And guess what? Good chances you’ll be the only traveler there.

I’m Gonna Wear The Same Clothes Every Day?!

Yep! And you know the cool thing? Nobody will notice. I guarantee. People are so busy with themselves that they pay no attention to their surroundings, let alone the clothes you’re wearing. Once you detach your ego from your belongings, everything else becomes just a little bit easier. From my experience, people will be inspired if you tell them you wear the same clothes, and the philosophy behind it.

You are not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.

Fight Club

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

Socrates (469-399BC)

I also have in mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

That’s it. I’d love to read your thoughts (and maybe personal packing lists?), and your’e welcome to use the comment box below for just about anything ;)

Safe travels.

Regev Elya

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28 Responses to “Minimalist Travel Gear Packing List: Insanely Light Luggage Edition”

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  1. Regev, I love your article. I found it very useful. I hope you don’t mind, but I was just improving my “About” page when I discovered your site, and the Saint-Exupery quote was just perfect for what I’ve written a few moments ago, so I “borrowed” it.

    I am funny with packing: I fill a couple of bags with heaps of stuff, then I start taking away. I usually end up with a small bag, regardless for how long I travel.

    • Regev Elya says:

      Of course that’s completely fine

      Yeah, at some point you just realize that ‘heaps of stuff’ are not only unnecessary, but are a serious burden. Thanks for your words, glad you liked it.

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are the only person I know who travels lighter than I do! And most people think I’m insane travelling with under 7kg carry on! Maybe I just need to try harder – but I’m not giving up bras at the age, just saying

  3. Shani says:

    Oh my goodness, I absolutly loved this article!! honestly, I read it twice! and I loved your hummus reference lmao but honestly I have no idea how you do it. On my way back to the U.S. I was thinking of you and how you managed to do that cause I know I was regretting all the pointless crap I ended up carrying.

    I never thought it would be possible to pack like that, but it’s people like you that prove me wrong. I somehow always over pack and carry things that I regret later. So I must say your article was very helpful! Props to you!

  4. Kick-ass article Reg! O_O Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I’m a chronic over-packer. I used to fill up one of those massive family-size suitcases, plus have one of those carry-on bags AND handbag filled to bursting point.

    I’ve improved somewhat lately, mainly because I’ve realised I only ever use a fraction of what I pack. I’ve cut down to one of those mini-suitcases, plus a handbag, when I travel (thanks to my Kindle, I’ve also been able to eliminate the pile of books I usually bring with me). With your encouragement, I think I can take that further! :D

    Reading your list, I still feel my mind racing at extra things I would need to pack. Medication, glasses, hairbrush (no way am I going army-style!), sunscreen, makeup…. Hmm, I MIGHT be able to skip bringing a dress and high-heels if I wasn’t going to go anywhere fancy. Gawd, I’m such a girl.

    Speaking of which, any of your girl friends have recommendations for a decent sports bra/ crop top? I almost never wear a bra anymore (underwires are the devil, even if they do give uber cleavage), but I’ve yet to find a crop that doesn’t make my rib cage stink like sin after a day of heat. For some reason, sports underwear is almost always synthetic, and we all know what happens with synthetic materials. And I hardly even sweat.

    I have another question for you too. What do you wear when you’re washing your clothes? You might get away with waltzing about in nothing but your spare briefs, but I’m thinking a girl doing the same might turn some heads! :P

    Great article dude, keep it up!

    • Regev Elya says:

      Thanks Belinda!

      “mainly because I’ve realised I only ever use a fraction of what I pack.” – ’nuff said.

      All these girly stuff of yours can actually be put easily inside cargo-pants pockets, but I doubt you’re gonna wear one of these. They won’t really fit your high-heels

      I’ll ask my friends for the bra, but If you ask me – Icebreaker manufactures merino wool bras and underwear, I assume they’ll be a wonderful addition to your traveling wardrobe. Or you can just go-all-natural as you said, some of us men got a thing for that!

      I usually wash my clothes when I’m taking a shower (Killing two birds with one stone!) at night, and they’re always ready wen I wake up.

      • “Or you can just go-all-natural as you said, some of us men got a thing for that!”

        Men go for that until the lady hits 50 and her nipples are brushing her belly-button! :P I try to at least wear a crop top when I go out- helps to defy gravity for a little longer! I’ll check out Icebreaker. :D

        “I usually wash my clothes when I’m taking a shower at night”

        Dude, why didn’t I think of that???

    • A sarong Belinda – most useful item of clothing/towel/top sheet EVERY invented

  5. Aaron says:

    Very cool post. I have a history of over-packing, and with our kids starting to get interested in traveling, I definitely want to minimize my gear.

    About the Invisible Shoes: I have been wearing them a lot over the past year. They are incredible, and, aside from barefoot, are my favorite running/walking footwear.

    To make them a bit more structured and secure, I replaced the stock nylon strings with 1/2 nylon straps and plastic buckles. The modification cost about $10. There are lots of how-to videos on line to help with the process. I find the straps/buckles work better for me, especially when running and on technical terrain.

    I am definitely going to check out the products you recommend.

    Thanks!

  6. Kirsten says:

    You know, travelling with three children, travelling light is sort of a contradiction in terms – or that’s what I’ve thought every time I’ve seen discussions about it with your or Liz. But – scanning through this post, I do think we can do better. For starters, just having the right clothes (eg things that dry quickly) can make a big difference.

    We are trying to simplify, pare down, and declutter our home, both for its own sake, and because in 2014 we are looking at going o/s again, but this time hopefully for about 6 months. So we will need someone to house-sit. I am hoping we will be able to pare down a LOT in preparation for that, but I’m also hoping that the trip itself will give my kids a taste of really simple living. I’ll be coming back to this post before we start thinking about packing for that!

  7. Flip says:

    Thanks for all the info you shared here regev… didnt know about those things especially the cool looking flip flops and the quick dry and lightweight clothes…

  8. Dogson says:

    This is the best article on minimalism I’ve ever read. You’re a badass, man!

    I’m headed to India this weekend and had already decided to bring only one outfit. While trying on my gear, I found this article just looking for other travelers rolling like this. My gear is pretty similar:

    -Airblaster’s Merino Wool ninja suit as my base layer

    -White 686 Snowboard pants (tough, thigh vents, tons of sealed zip pockets) with the liner removed

    -Matix MJ Waffle top layer, because it’s super comfy as pyjamas, doesn’t look hyper-tech, and is awesome

    -Merino wool socks and saucony sneakers (for cold nights)

    -Vibram 5fingers for hot desert wandering

    -Binchotan charcoal toothbrush and charcoal exfoliating / deodorizing pumice stone from occultier.com

    I’m an author and music producer as well, so I’m taking my Dakine backpack for laptop, a few books for long bus and train rides, and my taoist herbs and raw chocolate. I’ll be leaving the backpack in the hotel while I hit up the kumbh mela, then decamp back to rishikesh when I’ve gathered enough material to write about.

    Really excited to travel ultra-minimalist, man! Thanks for the added inspiration and heads up about some majorly awesome gear.

  9. Grzegorz says:

    I would like to thank you. I live in Scotland, but I sometimes travel to warmer places, and your tips are priceless. After reading your article almost a year ago, I completely switched to merino base layers and usage of Alum; not only when traveling, but also on daily basis. What brought me to your website, was the mention of huaraches, which I use personally for couple of years, and I share your enthusiasm towards them.

    You had a very positive influence on my lifestyle. Thanks again.

  10. Reynard says:

    I really agree with the heart of what you’re writing, here — but smartphones and laptops and other mod-con technology is the exact direction you shouldn’t desire to go, as a minimalist and adventurer!

    The most fun in adventuring around is not having a smart phone or a laptop with GPS and a translator and all this bullshit to make it feel comfortable and distracting like home! Yes, I understand that it’s CONVENIENT and REALLY COOL to be able to play Angry Birds on the long bus ride into Lhasa. It’s still ridiculous, though, and something real is lost in doing it.

    …It’s so sad, when I go to a hostel, and find the common area full of dead eyes and blank faces staring into the glow from their laps!

    • Regev Elya says:

      I agree and that really depends on the situation.

      If i’d go for a month-long trip to ‘calibrate’ in nature – I’d leave the laptop and smartphone behind. But if you’re living mobile 365 days a year, and especially if you NEED your laptop to support yourself financially – it wouldn’t be very smart to stop using them.

      It’s about balance really. Used with the right dose, smartphones can be very useful and valuable. Too much of them does the opposite.

      The Kindle is AMAZING though and id take it anywhere. 2 kilograms of 10 books or 150g of 1000? technology can be very useful and life-enriching as you see.

      with all that being said,

      i feel like there’s a steep learning curve to go through. when you’re just traveling for the very first times, you learn a lot, and fast. the lack of those technological devices in that case can be quite beneficial because it helps you make it tougher and expand your comfort zone farther. But the moment you hit that specific comfort-zone spot, and when the excitement and novelty of first travels is gone, I feel like the value those devices bring to your life is much much higher than the ‘personality-growth’ bonus points you get without them.

      I started traveling with technology from day one to be honest, but that’s only because travel feels like a joke compared to the first year of the Israeli army back there in the desert.

  11. Great article, exactly what i was looking for. I think i’m gonna buy a few stuff, especialy an icebreaker short sleeve… really wanna try to light my backpack !

  12. Jessica says:

    Love this! When I was in Istanbul last year I met a girl on a bus – we got chatting because we were both just starting out on trips through Eastern Europe. She had one of those colossal gap year backpack things – must have been 80l or so looked like it weighed as much as she did. I had an ancient nike school bag – maybe 20l and most of that was laptop. We were both planning on travelling for the same length of time – she couldn’t get her head around it! Nothing compares to the freedom of packing super-light.

  13. Storm says:

    Hey dude awesome! I was just wondering if you ever though about hemp as a clothing option? It really does work the same as merino ( warm when cold, cool when hot) not too mention you don’t have to wash it for 4-5 days also. You seem like the kind of guy is aware of the environment and though the benefits of merino are great. Hemp in general is truly superior.
    Peace

  14. Storm says:

    Oh and also moccasins dude they are perfect for the colder harsher climates ( I’m a bit of a naturalist )

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