Traveling with only a backpack is one thing – but to get really hardcore about minimalist travel – we recommend traveling and packing ultra-light.
Ultra-light packing is traveling with no more than 15 lbs, including your backpack. Don’t think it’s possible? Check out this awesome example of 2 months distilled down to 13lbs of packing – and that includes camera gear and a laptop!
Want to make this happen your next trip? Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling and packing Ultra Light.
Pick the Right Bag
The first place to start shedding weight is the backpack. Since you won’t be packing that much, you’ll want something compact, simple, light and durable. Skip the bulky travel bags with tons of compartments, you won’t need them. Pick a small-ish bag that will serve your needs and force you to consider how much you pack. The smaller the bag, the more considerate you’ll have to be about what you bring along. Be careful though, pick something too small, and you may end up with an overstuffed bag with items that are hard to reach and unorganized. It’ll end up being a huge mess. The perfect bag will fit all of your gear, with a little extra room for something you pick up along the way and have everything neatly organized and easily assessable.
Merino wool is your friend
If you’re going to go Ultra Light, you’ll have to reduce items like T-shirts, socks and underwear down to two or three. Unbound Merino’s wool is antibacterial and odour controlling and will help you reduce items while minimizing laundry days.
Pack for 2 days
No matter how long the trip, pack no more than what you’ll need for 2 days and every situation you’ll experience in 48 hours. This will have you covered for months of endless travel. With Merino wool, you’ll be able to air out 1 set of clothing while wearing the other. Should your stuff eventually start feeling like it needs a wash, the occasional laundry day will you have good as new – but it’s not uncommon for Unbound travelers to go weeks without having to do laundry.
Ditch the “just-in-case” clutter
Before packing anything inside your travel bag, ask yourself “Will I 100% use this item”. If the answer is “maybe”, ditch it. If the answer is “but what if I need it!!!” ditch it. Should the need actually arise, you can always grab it at a local shop, borrow it, or figure out a creative work around.
If it’s bulky – Wear it. Don’t Pack it.
Things like sweaters, shoes, jeans...these are perfect for travel days and keeping the actual bag light.
Layer-Up Don’t Bulk Up.
If you’ll be traveling somewhere with colder nights, or a colder climate in general, think in layers and pick technical fabrics that are insulators but are light weight.
Find lighter alternatives to traditionally heavy items.
These days there are plenty of lighter, more technical alternatives to traditionally bulky items. When it comes to pants, we recommend a pair of climbing pants that still look sleek and fit well. These will get you by in most travel situations and have you looking sharp, but are super durable, lightweight, and fold down to nothing compared to heavy jeans.
Only pack neutral colors that all match and compliment each other and you’ll be able to mix and match any item for endless options and situations.
Air out and hand wash your stuff.
Obviously you’ll be wearing the same socks, underwear and T-shirts and other items daily. Luckily, because of the antibacterial properties of our clothing, they’ll stay clean and fresh for much longer than traditional cotton clothes. Refresh clothing daily by airing it out every night, ideally near a window or air-vent. When your clothing does need a quick wash, hand washing is your friend. Pack a sink stopper to make sure that you can plug a sink anywhere you go. This is a great brand for hand washing wool and even comes with travel packs.
Huge thanks for Unbound traveler r/jonsimo for giving us permission to use his photos.
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