Minimalist Travel Gear Packing List: Insanely Light Luggage Edition

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?”

“That’s all I got.”

This is always how it begins. This is always how Israeli security officers in Ben-Gurion airport respond when they see me – sometimes with a tiny backpack, sometimes completely bagless – flying abroad. And I then have to disarm suspicions and convince them that I am neither a lunatic nor a terrorist. They become excited by the idea, so I send them to this page.

What’s this page, you’re asking?

It is your travel guide to serendipity, freedom, and joy of life.

You see, for the past few years, I’ve traveled the world almost nonstop thanks to my online money-making machine. One of the first things I noticed was how much of an impact your belongings have on the joy of your trip. I quickly realized that minimalism is truly a privilege of the rich. Those gurus weren’t lying. So I started to minimize my belongings, trying to carefully sculpture my travel gear to a point where it offers maximum comfort and peace of mind. The result?

After plenty of field testing and 40 countries later, I’ve managed to refine and squeeze my gear to a point where I don’t even need a backpack anymore. I call this No Bags Travel. If I do carry a laptop for work, I only use a tiny bag. But regardless, I am always as mobile as a bird.

Minimalist Travel = Simplifying Life

It is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer. (William of Occam, 1288-1348)

Know the classic “backpacker” look? You know what I’m talking about. Those colorful bracelets all over their arms, that massive Lonely Planet in their hands, and that huge NASA rocket harnessed on their backs. “Luggage” they call it. But what the hell do they fill it with? To me, that’s insanity. Back in the Israeli army, I had the fetid privilege of spending months in the harsh desert. And Father Hummus be my witness, neither myself nor my fellows ever carried so much “luggage”.

The joke becomes even more ridiculous when I prove to travelers how better equipped I am. They can’t believe it at first. How can this guy carry dozens of pounds less than us, and still be ready for anything? The “secret” is elegantly simple: You only wear one set of clothes at any given time, so why not maximize the efficiency of this set and ditch the rest? Why not pick something that never stinks, barely needs laundry, and looks great?

Less is indeed more. And this is what this guide is for.

Benefits of Traveling Light

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)

  • Less frustration and wasted time. You won’t have to wait at the airport for your luggage, or worse, become frustrated when you lose it (more common than you think). Going on and off airports will go blazingly fast.
  • Cheaper flight fares. Most low-cost airlines charge additional money for anything more than a tiny handbag. Under my philosophy, you’ll either go bagless or with a tiny backpack that fits low-cost airlines onboard luggage policies. In other words, you’ll save money. (Related: How to Find Cheap Flight Tickets)
  • Flexibility and comfort. You won’t have to waste time, energy and worries carrying or finding somewhere to accommodate your luggage whenever you want to go somewhere. You’ll have less back pain and be less exhausted. You’ll do MUCH less laundry. Traveling light is beauty. It allows you to jump on opportunities as they come. Serendipity will find you. This, my friends, is total freedom. Stick to the golden rule of travel: What doesn’t help you, hurts you.
  • Better merge with the local culture. There is some degree of disrespect when you come all the way to a third-world nation and look like a walking spaceship from the West. This is also the reason why I never carry a big DSLR, and settle on something more modest in size. Because of this, you’ll be more inviting and attract more interactions with the locals.
  • Less risk. Because you’ll be traveling with minimum gear, you won’t look like the average tourist. Vendors will be less likely to rip you off you because you’ll look more like an expat. More importantly, malicious people will be less likely to rob you because you’ll look like you don’t posess much. (Related: Best Way to Take Money Abroad and Avoid Being Robbed)
  • You just don’t need more. I give you my word. Cyril Northcote Parkinson was known for his disrespect to the lack of human efficiency at managing resources. His ‘Parkinson’s Law’ suggests that “work expands so as to fill the time available to its completion”. Likewise, luggage expands so as to fill the bag available to its storage. Your boss gives you eight hours to complete a task and it’s going to take you eight hours to complete it. But if he tells you you’re free to go home if you finish it in two hours, I bet you’ll find a way. Likewise, no matter what size of bag you take, you’ll always have the tendency to fill it up.
  • You begin to appreciate simplicity. Before embarking on my first long minimalist trip abroad, I had given my entire wardrobe to charity. I won’t lie, giving everything away did itch. But it was a great lesson, a reminder of the enormous amounts of trash that the human race accumulates. And shortly after, I learned a refreshing lesson: An unnecessary item you owned quickly loses its meaning once gone. You forget it ever existed. When you travel without physical burdens, I find that you’re more aware and focused on the world itself.
My Closet - Simplifying Life

A few years ago, before embarking to South East Asia. I donated the whole wardrobe to charity.

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

Only thing I kept was letters from my army chicks and past students.

Minimalist Travel Gear Packing List

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)

Again, my philosophy isn’t to stick like a dog and stride the travel road like a barefoot hippy. I recommend being efficient. You want to gear up intelligently. We’re going to carry only a few items, so it’s extra important to make the right choices and make sure we’re as efficient as possible. Our hero:

Wool.

The most blatant mistake I see on the travel trail is the fabric of choice. Most travelers travel with either cotton or synthetic ‘special travel gear’. The latter may dry quickly and wick sweat away, but it stinks like a mofo. The former not only stinks, but it gets sweaty, takes ages to dry, and doesn’t regulate body temperature properly. So our savior is going to be wool.

Why wool?

  • Doesn’t stink. Wool is naturally anti-microbial and odor-resistant. And it quickly evaporates sweat into the air. That means you’ll rarely have to wash it. You can go weeks with a single shirt and a single short. When you do wash it, it’s going to be because of food stains and not the stink of sweat.
  • Properly regulates body temperature. Wool is both naturally breathable and insulating. This means it excels in both keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. And again, it quickly evaporates sweat which is important in all seasons.
  • Dries incredibly fast. This feels like having a superpower. If you’re caught under tropical rain with wool, you’ll be dry again before you know it. If you wear cotton… good luck.
  • Doesn’t wrinkle. Wool is naturally resistant to wrinkles because of its fibers’ structure.

We are specifically going to use New Zealand merino wool. You can use Cashmere too if you want. Or any type of wool really. I use Merino. It’s an extremely soft type of wool, and it doesn’t itch like those sweaters your grandma knitted for you when you were a child. So without further ado, let’s go.

Travel Gear: Minimalist Packing List (Updated, 2015)

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. (Socrates, 469-399BC)

Shirt: Icebreaker / Smartwool / Minus33 / Wool&Prince / Wooly

These shirts are expensive, yes, but they’re worth every penny. How much is your freedom worth to you? As I said, you’ll rarely have to do laundry, so you only have to go with one. Originally, I was traveling with Icebreaker BodyFit 150. It was great. But it was stolen from me recently, so I replaced it with an amazing Wool & Prince polo. They also have a beautiful button-down version, which looks so good I’d wear it even to my friends’ weddings. I should also give credit to Icebreaker’s AMAZING customer service and transparency of production. I can say only great things about them.

If you don’t give a shit about visuals, you’re good to go with any shirt that’s 100% wool. It’s the only shirt you’ll ever need. Guaranteed. Whatever you choose, wear them for a couple of days straight, and then do the same with cotton. Smell it? The difference in aroma is huge.

Icebreaker Bodyfit-150 Atlas S/S

Wool&Prince Travel Gear

Pants: Wool&Prince Wool Shorts / Anything From Wool

On my first trips, I used a bushed nylon convertible travel pants. The problem was that the smell difference between them and my wool shirt was very noticeable. So luckily, Wool&Prince lately came up with their wool shorts, which I now use. I’m not sure it’s available anymore, because I can’t see it on their site. My advice: If their shorts aren’t available, go on eBay and hunt for any shorts/jeans made out of wool. They’re very rare, so good luck. If you can’t find anything wooly, just go with convertible brushed nylon trousers, or any swimming/surfing shorts with pockets. Jeans can also work well, because they’re sturdy, and sweating isn’t much of a problem in the lower body for most people.

P.S: I highly recommend stitching an internal pocket to safely keep your money and credit card. That’s the best way to take money abroad.

Underwear: Minus33 / Smartwool / Icebreaker / Wool&Prince / Wooly

I used to wear the famous ExOfficio Give N’ Go briefs, but I moved entirely to wool now. The reason? ExOfficio took more time to dry than my shirt. I now use a pair of Minus33, which I’m very satisfied with. For those of you prone to chaffing, I recommend minimizing rubbing by going with the boxers version.

If the idea of wearing one underwear is repellent to you, you can pack two and alternate between them. Wear one while you wash the other.

Footwear: Xero Shoes / Earth Runners

Those are the most amazing footwear I’ve ever worn. Humans have evolved to walk, run, sprint, jump and climb barefoot, right? Those shoes works with our nature instead of against it, like most shoes today. Modern shoes ‘heel strike’ the ground first, badly impacting your posterior chain (Your back!). When you’re barefoot (or practically-barefoot, like with the huaraches), the ball of your feet lands first, providing a natural shock absorb.

If you notice, they’re both very similar. Both are a modern take on the ‘huaraches’, the traditional sandals of the Mexican Tarahumara. And both keep this natural functionality of our human foot while still providing protection from modern things like broken glass and pollution.

And they’re perfect for travel. They give your feet a lot more ‘air to breath’, minimizing chances for fungi to develop on your nails. This usually happens in moist, dark environments, like closed shoes. Also, your feet and fingers have more room to spread, allowing you to embrace a stronger grip, non-trapped. Also, they’re very cool. People constantly commend on them and strike a conversation.

I previously wrote a Xero Shoes review, and the benefits also apply to Earth Runners. If you’re going somewhere cold, you can either buy wool socks for them. If that looks too dorky for you, get a pair of closed barefoot shoes/boots. In winter, I just use flat-soled leather moccasins with wool socks.

Should you get the Xero Shoes or Earth Runners? I’ve tried them both and they’re all great. The Xero Shoes are lighter, the Earth Runners feel more solid. For my last trip, I took the EarthRunners Circadian.

P.S: If you have small children, let them wear those shoes from a young age. When I was traveling Cambodia, I had the privilege of witnessing the Pounongs in the Khmer mountains. Many of them grew barefoot, and they feet were very wide, strong and healthy. Modern shoes hinder feet development.

InvisibleShoes Huaraches

The original Xero Shoes (Back then they were called Invisible Shoes).

Camera (optional): Sony RX-100 III

I love photography, but I never travel with big DSLRs. They’re heavy, clumsy and make you stand out like a sore thumb. If you’re a National Geographic photographer out for a photography venture, I can understand a DSLR. But if you’re just a photography enthusiast in no need of crazy zooms, the new Sony RX-100 III is perfect. Sony came up with this technology recently, and it’s an absolute breakthrough. It lets you take DSLR-like quality photos in a camera the size of a tiny compact. It will blow your mind. If it’s too expensive for you, check out the Sony RX-100, and Sony RX-100 II. They’re still great. However, if you only care about uploading your photos to Facebook and Instagram, any new iPhone/Android will probably suffice.

Sony RX-100 III (Minimalist Packing List)

Smartphone (optional): Any

On didn’t use a smartphone on my first trips. I now do (sometimes). It’s like a super-device. You can use it to book flights and train tickets, read books, log your workouts, dives, vaccines, etc. You can use it as a clock. You can use it for music, maps or Skype. You can manage your business from the road. You can easily get online without unpacking a clumsy laptop. You can store ideas and notes whenever luck strikes you. And if the camera quality is enough for you, you just saved yourself the space of a separate camera. Met a cute local chick or a bunch of new friends? Get their phone numbers and use a local SIM to keep in contact. Smartphones are very powerful.

HOWEVER, the easiest way to ruin your travel is to constantly check your emails, browse Facebook and get a false sense of home. It can bring back old habits and really lower the overall sense of adventure from your trip. Unless you’re a digital nomad abroad 365 days a year, I recommend using your phone on airplane mode most of the time. And never take it with an international SIM. Self-discipline is overrated. If you have a separate camera, you might not need a phone at all.

The Sony Xperia ZR is built for underwater photography.

Waterproof phones are extremely handy for travel. I used to have the Xperia ZR, though I now use a simple iPhone.

Deodorant (optional): Crystal Stone / Baking Soda

What causes sweat to stink is not the sweat itself, but your underarm bacteria. Regular anti-perspiration deodorants are dangerous, toxic and leave disgusting stains on your clothes. The solution is either baking soda or Potassium Alum, a crystal stone. Both of them prevent bacterias from growing. Baking Soda is lighter and a bit more messy, Potassium Alum is more comfy to apply but weighs more. If you go with the stone, careful not to take Ammonium Alum instead. Ammonium is the synthetic one, and it seems to be less effective. For my last trip I took baking soda. Other times I just went caveman and used nothing.

Baking Soda

Towel (optional): MSR PackTowl Ultralite

This towel is beyond amazing. It’s so thin and tiny it can easily fits your pockets. And it’s so effective that before I lost it, I was using it back home too. I let my sister have it in her first few weeks in the army, and she was shocked when she took a shower, dried herself, hung the towel on a clothesline, went to buy something from her base’s groceries store, and came back less than ten minutes later to find the towel COMPLETELY dry.

The sizes are really small, so take either L or XL. Personally, I no longer use them. Most places that I stay in have towels. If I’m in showering in the wilderness, I shake myself like a wet dog and let the sun dry me off. Had I gone to a long trip in the wild, I’d definitely carry an MSR PackTowl.

MSR Packtowl Ultralite

Flashlight (optional): Fenix LD01

I used to carry this flashlight in South East Asia. It’s great. The weight:power ratio is amazing. Our elite police units in Israel use Fenix too. They’re sturdy, reliable, powerful and waterproof. They’re very useful in blackouts, remote islands, and jungles. That being said, I no longer use one. It was stolen from me and I didn’t bother to get a replacement. I just use my smartphone as a flashlight today.

Fenix LD01

Whistle (optional): FOX40 Safety Whistle

Taxi running away? Lost your friends in the middle of the jungle? Macaque monkeys threatening you in a cave? Diving boat left you and you’re now lost in the ocean? Fox40 to your rescue. It’s the crème de la crème of safety whistles, a high-pitche bastards in a tiny package. Who knows? It might just save your life one day. Personally, I no longer bother to take one.

Fox40 Safety Whistle

Soap (optional): Dr. Bronner Organic Magic Liquid Soap + HumanGear GoToob

Though it doesn’t smell as good as regular soaps, Dr. Bronner magic soap is interesting. It contains only plant based, organic substances, and you can use it for almost anything (“All In One”). Also, it’s so concentrated you can use a droplet or two for a shower. It lasts for ages. If you take it, use a GoToob to store it. It’s a small silicon container for liquids that seals the content from leaking all over your clothes. Personally? I no longer use it. Most places supply soap bars, and my head is shaven so shampoo is not needed.

GoToob Bottles

eReader (optional): Kindle Voyage

Ever since I got my first Kindle, I’ve never touched a physical book again. The Kindle is absolutely amazing, and even more so for travel. It lets you carry thousands of books in your pocket while weighing less than a paperback. And since books delivery is instant, you can read a lot more books per year.

What’s more amazing is that the Kindle lasts for weeks on a single charge. I took it to the Caucasus for a month, read almost every day, and didn’t even bring a charger. Also, reading on the Kindle feels much like reading from paper. Thanks to their e-ink technology, you can easily read under direct sunlight with zero glare. It also has built-in light, so you don’t need a lamp if you read before sleep. And the device shuts itself down after a few minutes of inactivity, so you’ll never fall asleep with the lights on. Also, your eyes won’t strain because the light shoots front to back.

More benefits? You can take notes and highlights and comfortably retrieve them in your Amazon account online. There’s a built in vocabulary. You can change text size (useful if your vision isn’t great). The books are stored in the cloud, so if you ever lose your Kindle they’re safe. Why not just get a tablet? First, their batteries suck. Second, their backlit screens are uncomfortable for long reading sessions. And third, there are too many distractions on them. The Kindle eliminates social media and other crap and lets you get soaked into your reading. It’s awesome.

I usually carry my Kindle for long vagabonding trips (along with my laptop). For shorter ones where I’d just like to ‘unplug’, I won’t take it. Also, if you already have a big smartphone and don’t read much, this could also perfectly fit. If you do take the Kindle, I recommend the cheapest Voyage version (Wifi-only, With Special Offers). The special offers don’t bother AT ALL, and wifi is enough for buying books.

Another photo of my Kindle Paperwhite in Petra, Jordan

Reading on my old Kindle Paperwhite in Petra, Jordan. I now use the Voyage.

Headgear (optional): Wool Buff

This thing is AMAZING. I mostly use it to cover my eyes in flights, defend myself against mosquitos in jungle areas, and warm my head against windy and cold climates (balaclava style). It can also work as a scarf or a warmer for your ears. Or as protection from the sun. If I go on long vagabonds, I’ll always take it.

Laptop (optional): Macbook / Macbook Pro Retina

For the vast, vast majority of people, I do NOT recommend taking a laptop on your trips. It is completely unnecessary. I only bring it whenever I go on very long vagabonds where I relocate for a long period and plan to do some work. If you’re not a writer, a ‘digital nomad’, or a business owner relocating – you’ll do yourself a great favor by not taking a laptop at all.

I like to see my trips as ‘unplugged’ time.  If you still need a machine, I highly recommend the new Macbook if you’re a writer. It’s thin, light, has a huge battery, and has a huge resolution (2304×1440) which is the most important factor for productivity. If you need more power (editing videos?), take the Macbook Pro Retina. If you’re a devout anti-Apple zealot, just take a thin, light Windows machine with a similar resolution.

I used to own Windows machines, but I now use Apple exclusively because of its operation system and sealed ecosystem. It gives me safety, speed, ease of use and reliability over bloatware, viruses and blue screens.

Macbook for Minimalist Travel Gear

Bag (optional): Tom Bihn Synapse 19

Again, you do NOT need a bag if you don’t need a laptop. All the above gear, except for the laptop, can easily fit your pockets. If I go on short, 1-2 months ‘unplugged’ respites, I’ll never take a bag. But whenever I relocate for a while, my weapon of choice is the brilliant Tom Bihn Synapse 19. If you decide to take it, go on and take an extra shirt and undies. You’ll have plenty of empty space anyway

Tom Bihn Synapse 19 Minimalist Travel

Winter Clothing (optional): Fleece / Down Jacket / Merino Sweater / Merino HoodieMarmot Windbreaker

I mostly travel to tropical or warm areas. This is all enough for those regions. But if you plan to go to Iceland or something, you’ll want two more layers on top. One is an insulating layer. You can use any fleece or down jacket. If the cold isn’t extreme, you can just use a merino wool sweater. Also pack a Marmot windbreaker if it’s going to be extremely rainy/snowy/windy. Though expensive, they’re very effective and lightweight. Notice that you still don’t need a bag, even with this extra gear.

Marmot Windbreaker

THAT’S EVERYTHING?! IS THIS ALL YOUR TRAVEL GEAR?!

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. (Confucius, 551-479 BC)

Yep, that’s about it. Add a small toothbrush and some toothpaste and you’re gold. For my last packing, for an unplugged month in Ethiopia, I packed only 1x merino wool shirt, shorts and undies, and took a smartphone (with no internet, of course) to use as a camera and note keeper. Everything fit my pockets. No need for either a bag or vest.

But Regev! What about a Lonely Planet?!

I’ve never in my life used a travel guidebook. This kind of books brings you into a passive mode. Instead of approaching people, interacting with your environment, and building your own ‘legend’, you’ll find yourself following a book. The problem is not the book, but that the places listed there quickly become flooded with tourism. Go out there, explore, and your unique path will mold itself organically. Nothing feels more refreshing than being the only foreigner in a far-away land.

But Regev! Am I going to wear the same thing every day?!

Yep! Know what’s cool? Nobody’s going to notice. People are so busy with their own appearance that they never remember what someone else was wearing the previous day. Once you detach your ego from your belongings, everything else becomes just a little bit easier. Also, a positive side effect is that people appreciate you more once you explain to them the philosophy behind your minimalist travel gear.

The Minimalist Travel Approach Is Now Yours to Enjoy

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. You now have in your disposal the only minimalist packing list you’ll ever need. Go out, use it, and enjoy freedom. I wish you the safest of travels.

Regev Elya

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Comments

  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

      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

    • Regev Elya

      Haha, try merino wool bras !

  3. Shani

    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!

    • Regev Elya

      Thanks a lot for the very warm words Shani

      It’s all about the Hummus baby.

  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

      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???

  5. Aaron

    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!

    • Regev Elya

      awesome Aaron,
      safe travels and great advice for the huaraches

    • Marna Marie' Strauss

      Regev, thanks for your positive influence in my life…….You rock man!

      @Aaron – I’d love to chat to you and see a photo of how you modified your hauraches if you don’t mind? I bought a pair of Xeroshoes and in March and haven’t looked back..I love them they are just a little unsecure as I’d love to use them for running…

      Would love to hear from you if you don’t mind!

      Thanks!
      Marna Marie’ Strauss
      Cape Town,

  6. 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!

    • Regev Elya

      That’s awesome Kirsten
      have a blast with your kids overseas and stay safe.

  7. 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…

    • Regev Elya

      anytime amigo

  8. Dogson

    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.

    • Regev Elya

      muchas gracias Dogson,
      good luck there in India~

  9. Grzegorz

    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.

    • Regev Elya

      You just made my week Grzegorz
      im very very happy to hear that

  10. Reynard

    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

      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 !

    • Regev Elya

      cheers Louis, thanks

  12. 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

    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

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

  15. I enjoyed reading your article.
    Question: is there a similar clothing list for the ladies?
    I don’t particularly like dressing like a guy.
    Thank you.

    • Regev Elya

      Just get the same stuff for girls. Add in a merino wool bra and you’re gold.

  16. Awesome tips and well explained. I have slowly been minimizing my life for the last four years, layer by layering realizing how much I do not need. Still I want to get rid of more. I feel physically lighter and my brain is less chaotic and flustered when I have little stuff to deal with.
    So true how having to pick out an outfit every morning can waste precious time if there are too many choices.
    Thank you for sharing!

  17. Diana

    Could you make a nice cheet-sheet out of it? you know, like a minimalist travel checklist PDF or something? would be awesome to have one

  18. Rosh

    Best minimalist packing list Ive found! thanks a lot from Canada :) been looking around for travel light gear and yours looks like a good combo of minimum weight to maximum efficiency

  19. Oren

    Hey Regev!

    Shava tova!

    I an finishing my army service next week, and booked a round trip Tel Aviv->New York for 3 months for $750 :)

    This reminded me of your first flight abroad haha.

    Anyways I wanted to ask where you currently are, and if you’re in the states by any chance maybe we could meet up for a beer.

    I’m also gearing up now, re-reading your gear post.
    Have there been any advancements/new stuff since you wrote it?

    Thanks for being an inspiration for me to live an alternative lifestyle,
    Oren.

    • Regev Elya

      Baaaaaaaam.
      Gear list just updated.

  20. thanks! there’s a couple of useful products i didn’t know yet

  21. Alfredo

    Hi,
    Really like you article here, it is rather inspiring at least. I am not by far that minimalist yet, but will definitely try some of your ideas.
    Just one comment, if you travel without any bag at all, how do you deal with basic misc items? like:
    – charging cables (for camera and/or smartphone)
    – keys
    – ID documentation (e.g. passport)
    Thank you!

    • Regev Elya

      I always have a charging cable and a passport in my pocket. It’s all small stuff.

  22. Kbumbum

    I’m a bit late to the party…just read the article while looking for needed travel inspiration. Lately I graduated from a childs’ size suitcase to the grown up kind and wanted to get back to a freer traveling me, I would like to use the ‘chick’ excuse, to allow me a second pair of shoes (whatever works).
    I generally travel to warm places so a sarong or a bed linen works as versatile/multifunctional chick outfits and leaves room for the shoes! Dr. Bronners = check, I have a length of stretchy neutral fiber than works to wrap or headband my tresses and quadruples as a bracelet or necklace. A mini kit of water color paint, a pad, a swimsuit, skirt or pants (sarong can do this also) toothpaste, toothbrush, tweezers, deodorant and a few creamy items pretty much tops off my list. Cell phone is 50/50 nice for photos but nice to leave it behind.
    Now, the crystal thingy works?! Really, really? That is my big question and thanks for your blog.

    • Regev Elya

      The crystal thing does work, but I now use baking soda more often. It’s very effective, and it’s easier to fit in your pockets if you’re traveling bag-less. I suppose it doesn’t matter much if you’re with a backpack, so by all means go for the crystal if you can get your hands on one. You’ll love it.

  23. Julie

    Is it really possible for a woman to travel light? I’m not vain or anything, but I still end up bringing a lot of stuff no matter how hard I try to keep my bag light.

    • Regev Elya

      I can’t speak for the hygiene items. But as for clothing, just get merino wool. You can even get merino wool bras.

  24. Mark

    Great info I bought the super flip flops you recommended andd gave you credit to the manufacturer when I made the order Thanks for good logical travel suggestions

    • Regev Elya

      Awesome, thanks. You’ll enjoy them.

  25. Sergiu

    Hey there,
    I’m Sergiu and I’m from Romania. I’ve read your article about your Xperia ZR and I was happy to see that you’ve actually been to Romania.
    I’d like to travel Romania using the same phillosophy you are: carrying around the bare minimum and I was wondering if you have any tips for beginner travellers like me.
    I plan on sticking to Romania for now, just so I can learn the “ropes” of travelling, before adventuring in Europe or further.

    I hope to hear back from you soon,
    Sergiu :)

    • Regev Elya

      Forget the tips, just climb over your back fence and start exploring. You’ll figure it out. You know what, I’ll give you two tips: 1. Wear merino wool. 2. Use common sense.

  26. John

    Awesome minimalist gear Regev! I’m definitely going to adopt some of the tips here. Thanks. I myself travel with a pretty minimalist travel wardrobe, but I never imagined it can be done with no bags at all.

  27. Rickey Ponting

    I love to read books since i was 7 year old and i switch to e-book and my friend gift me Kindle. Really according to me it is the best gadget i have ever come across in my life. Now Kindle is mine pligramge and E-book is my god.

    • Linda Lee

      I am also a kindle fan without doubt. My kindle is still kindle paperwhite, I like its weight and size. Well, mostly the weight!

  28. Tim

    Great stuff mate. Was impressed when I met you in Burma. Pure travelling dude! Keep me posted about the book! :)

  29. April

    Do you have a Wool&Prince type recommendation for women’s clothing? Love this post I just donated over 3/4 of my clothing. Didn’t get rid of everything because I need something to where while I work on finding the perfect pieces :). Now trying to do the same with other things in my house….

  30. Mira Gorden

    Incredible packing ideas in this article! My job is connected with a lot of traveling and I pack luggage often. The truth is that it is hard to decide what to take and what to leave at home. So, thank you for the tips again!

  31. Cinthia

    hi Reggie,

    I found your blog by accident and loved your minimalist travel gear tips. I would love to have your courage to drop everything and travel the world with nearly nothing. I did drop everything, but I stopped in a few cities to live and I carry luggage around, unfortunately. I wish you all the best and hope you get to see as much of the world as it’s possible. This is my dream.
    Cinthia

  32. Chelsea

    Awesome article, really appreciate the tips! Just one question – do you think a merino wool cardigan would be too warm for Singapore/Koh Samui/Hanoi/Siem Reap in July?? I feel the cold so may need an extra layer at night but not sure if the humidity would make the wool uncomfortable? Thank you!

  33. Talal

    Thanks for the wonderful site. Enjoyed, very much reading. Especially the About section.

    All the best !

    BTW, I am from Kuwait :)

    Cheers!

  34. Wendy

    Found you through “secrets to cheap flights.” Very helpful, thanks! Love your site, by the way.
    Great advice in this article. I try to travel light, but do end up with luggage, just not oodles of bags’ worth. Unfortunately, when you go to visit friends, one shirt ain’t gonna cut it. ;o)

    Have a question for you though… what do you do if you’re allergic to wool? I can’t wear it. Period. So, what’s next best?

  35. Love this radical approach to packing – I thought I was being badass when I wore the same black jeans, black sneakers and black leather jacket for one week in Paris. I had a small pull along suitcase and a backpack though, which was handy when bringing back pots of mustard, back when we could do things like that without checking a bag. However, sadly, I AM ALLERGIC TO WOOL :( – any suggestions for an alternative? Thanks!!

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