Work Gear (L to R):
Seagate 1 TB Hard Drive: Memory is getting cheaper and cheaper, so I picked up a 1 TB drive, which is more than I need right now, for like $75. I’ll be taking lots of pictures and video, so it’s wise to backup everything while I’m traveling. I also have a few flash drives and a 32GB SD card.
iPhone: Although I will have the cellular receiver turned off, it’s good to have a smartphone for note taking, apps, maps, wifi, reminders, etc. We’ll see how much I actually use it, but it’s size-to-utility ratio made it an easy decision to throw in the bag.
Passport: We gettin staaaaaaaaamps playaaaaaaa.
Kindle Keyboard 3G: For obvious reasons, a kindle is a no-brainer for minimal travel (if you’re planning on reading, which I am… Voraciously). There’s no sense in bringing physical books. Additionally, I got this particular version of the kindle, because it’s the only one that comes with free 3G anywhere in the world (where there is 3G connection). This means that in a bind, without wifi, I can shoot off an e-mail. The browser is super stripped down, so you can’t do much on it, but it’s a nice option to have.
Sony RX100 Cybershot Camera (and mini tripod): I can’t say enough about this camera, and I’ve only had it for a month and still don’t know what the hell I’m doing with it. You pretty much can’t take a bad picture with it, and you can take really incredible ones if you’re decent with its settings. From all accounts this camera is groundbreaking technology; it’s taking DSLR quality pictures out of a pocket camera body. I wanted to take “once in a lifetime pictures” as my friend Anthony put it, so this was a serious investment I decided to make. The pictures on this site will be the proof on the putting green, as they say… So to speak…
Writer’s Blok Notebook: In theory this may be a superfluous item for the true minimal traveler; I could do all of my writing on a computer. But this was a gift from my brother Nick, and I love to have a space to jot things down and actually write with a pen in my hand; it creates a different kind of memory. This notebook is small, durable, and high quality, so as far as notebooks go, it’s a perfect fit.
Acer Aspire 1 Netbook: In regards to computers, everyone has slightly or drastically different needs. I wanted something small, reasonably powerful, and cheap. At $250 (I found a pretty good deal), this netbook isn’t a huge loss if it’s damaged or lost, and it allows me to upgrade computers more often without as much investment. A MacBook Air would be awesome, but it just wasn’t right for what I’m looking for at the moment (mostly cost-wise). With 8GB RAM, 1.4 Ghz processor, 300GB Hard Drive, and so on, I’ve got what I need to do what I need to do, and it’s a minimal investment.
Clothing (L to R)
Marmot Windbreaker: I’m having trouble finding the exact model, but I got this bad boy at Adventure 16. I’m mostly traveling in warm climates, but this jacket protects really well against wind and holds up pretty decently against rain. It has a fleece lining on the inside, so it provides more insulation than most minimal windbreakers/rain shells. Also, It packs up into a packing cube that’s the same size as my toiletries bag.
Ice Breaker Wool Boxer Briefs: Merino Wool clothing is fantastic; it’s comfortable, breathable, absorbs moisture, insulates really well and most importantly is anti-microbial, so you can wear it for multiple days in a row without smelling bad or feeling gross. That’s huge when you can only bring a limited amount of clothing items. I know I lose some people on this one, but trust me, this stuff is high quality (and the price reflects it… $30 underwear).
ExOfficio Give-and-Go Boxer Briefs: These are not merino wool, but they purport to accomplish the same thing and the reviews are great. ExOfficio is a good travel clothing brand, and these are half the price of Ice Breaker underwear, so I decided to give them a shot alongside the woolies. They are sweat-wicking, anti-microbial, quick dry, and comfortable.
Smart Wool Socks: Same wool, different body part. Fantastic. Comfortable, durable, anti-microbial, insulated. All around the ultimate sock, even if you aren’t traveling.
ExOfficio Insect Shield Bandana: I wanted a bandana because… Bandanas are awesome? This one has insect repellent in the fabric, which, in parts of the world where insects are bothersome, seems like a good idea. The jury is out on this one. Also should probably look into the Chernobyl-like effects that this fabric may have on human beings. But it looks pretty cool!
ExOfficio Nomad Shorts: I was looking for shorts that were really functional (lightweight, quick dry, good pockets) but weren’t completely dorky or prohibitively bulky. You’d be surprised how hard that is to find, but ExOfficio nailed it with these. Two zipper pockets, five total pockets, pretty not-dorky looking, and functional material. Great find.
H&M Slacks: Nothing about these is particularly special. They are plain, cheap, grey khaki-like pants that I’ve had for a while. I figured I’d want something to wear if I didn’t want to look like a total dork Indiana jones wannabe. They pack pretty small.
Ice Breaker / Smartwool T-Shirts: Same as the boxers and socks, these T-Shirts are all you need to stay comfortable and clean without bringing too many items of clothing. At $65 a piece (you can find them cheaper sometimes), they better be damn good pieces of fabric.
Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove Shoes: Most of you have probably seen the Vibram 5-Finger shoes that look like your foot is wearing a weird glove. Those are cool and I like all of the benefits of reverting to a more barefoot style of footwear (muscle development, natural arch, back health, etc.). But they are pretty funny looking and aren’t really practical for everyday, everywhere use. These Merrell’s have a Vibram sole, and accomplish a similar style of “barefoot” style footwear, while being a little bit more of an actual shoe. And unlike the Vibram 5-Fingers, you don’t have to have a 15 minute conversation about your footwear with everyone you come across.
Utility Gear (L to R)
Kikkerland Universal Power Adapter: This little thing claims to adapt virtually every power source to every power outlet. Most devices accept a range of voltage, so conversion isn’t necessary.
QMadix 3-in-1 USB Charging/Sync cable: This is awesome: it has an iPhone charger, mini-USB charger, and micro-USB charger all in one, that connects to USB on the other end. It also retracts it’s cable into a little coil. All of my chargers… In the palm of my hand…. That’s… Innovation… (I should do a commercial).
Master Lock Padlock: This will come in handy for hostel lockers. That’s basically it. I also got two luggage locks (not pictured) so I can lock the zippers of my backpack if I feel like I need to.
Whistle: Ever been lost in the middle of the jungle in Thailand with nobody in site and NO whistle to blow? Me either… And I don’t plan on it.
Swiss+Tech Utili-key Multi Tool: This key sized multi tool packs some nice utility for it’s size: flat screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, a micro-sized screwdriver, wire cutter, wire stripper, bottle opener, a nail file and nail cleaner. But most importantly – you can bring it on planes. I’d love to have a nice Leatherman with me at all times, but when you aren’t checking luggage you have to be mindful of airline regulations.
Bucky 40 Ultralight Eyemask: Nothing too special here, but I think for planes, trains, and hostels, a sleep mask is a damn fine item to bring on the road. I also got some Hearos Extreme Protection ear plugs (not pictured) for the same reasons. Both cheap on Amazon and take up relatively no space.
REI Clothesline: This was my mom’s idea when we went to REI together and I think it’s a great one. With so few clothes, I’ll be washing them on the reg. Wool clothing should be hang-dried, so this will be super helpful to dry my clothes on the go; it has suction cups and Velcro straps so you can hang it just about anywhere.
Eagle Creek Wallet: Didn’t want to bring a bulky, leather wallet. Stripped down to the bare essentials and got a smaller, more durable little wallet.
Black Diamond Headlamp: This was an unintentionally perfect Christmas gift from my grandfather (I don’t think he knew about my trip at that point). For flashlight snobs this might not be powerful enough, but it’s plenty bright for me and it straps around your head which is fantastic/hilarious. A flashlight is a must, so this just happened to work out perfectly.
Platypus Water Bottle: It folds/rolls up to fit just about anywhere when it’s empty. Some places we’re going won’t have drinkable faucet water so it’ll be good to be able to carry some extra drinkable water wherever we go.
Miscellaneous (L to R)
REI Travel Sleep Sack: We both discovered these at REI and they were exactly what we needed. Most sleeping bags are too big to make any sense with a backpack as small as ours. This sleep sack is only rated at 55 degrees which isn’t much against real cold climates. But even in warm climates, when you’re staying in hostels, camping, or napping in a wild boar den, it’s good to have something to sleep in. This fits in my backpack easily, it’s about the size of an American football.
REI Ultra-lite towel: Another no-brainer. It’s either one of these or no towel at all. These towels absorb tons more water than their own weight and dry impressively quickly.
Eagle Creek Toiletries w/ Go Toobs: This Eagle Creek thing is actually just a 1/4 packing cube, but I’m using it as a toiletries case (I have another one to pack my Marmot Windbreaker in). Go Toobs are great little leak/explosion-proof liquid containers. I’ve filled them with Dr. Bronner’s All Purpose Soap (for washing body, hair, clothes, and anything else).
Ogio Backpack: This was given to me at work a while back and I decided to make it work. 20 Liter Life, right? I’d say somewhere between 19 and 25 Liters is a pretty solid goal for minimal travel. It had a really lame Harley Davidson logo on the front (it was a promotional item), so I got the California patch to represent the home land. The whole “Americans are hated” while traveling stigma is way over touted. Idiots are hated, worldwide. So don’t be an idiot, and it won’t matter where you’re from.
Wilson Pro Staff Tennis Racket: Obviously this makes no sense for traveling minimally. However, Franklin and I both love playing tennis and wanted to play on our trip. We reasoned that if we didn’t bring them, we might play a few times, but if we had to carry them and see them every day, we’d make tennis more of a priority. Honestly, it’s pretty easy to carry around with the backpack, and the case even provides a little extra storage if needed.
Dorfman Pacific Adventure Hat: For those of us who are sensitive to the sun and it’s beautiful rays, a hat may be a wise, if not necessary, investment. Franklin’s is way more breathable and functional, but he looks way less like Indiana Jones than I do. You be the judge of who made the right decision (he did). I may eventually switch to something a bit lighter, more comfortable, etc.
Not pictured/not mentioned minimal travel gear: Sony earbud headphones, Invisalign case, laptop charger, flower-print button up shirt (wait for pictures), malaria pills, pens/pencil, bandaids.
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