How to pack like a minimalist
Why can some travelers take only a 40L bag to travel for a week but you will need two 40inch suitcases? Carrying too much to travel may not be an issue until you need to run to catch a train, or carry the heavy bags to climb the stairs to reach your hotel room.
I started living a minimalist lifestyle in August 2020, not only have I decluttered my house, but also applied minimalism to my passion – travel.
I’m going to share my packing list for a weekend so you can also pack like a minimalist.
So whether you are packing for a light weekend away, a two-month backpacking trip, or a bucket list trip.
Minimalist packing can help save you on overpacking and bringing unnecessary things. These tips and tricks can have huge benefits and can be brought into any type of packing for travel, especially when you are hiking. There are massive benefits of being a minimalist hiker.
For today I have prepared a packing list for a weekend backcountry in England. Let’s dive into
- How to pack like a Minimalist
- 1. A sensibly sized backpack
- 2. Capsule wardrobe – mix and match
- 3. Waterproof clothing
- 4. Fleece jacket
- 5. Packable insulated jacket
- 6. Base layers x 2
- 7. Hoodie or Jumper x 1
- 8. Sleeping clothing set (top and bottom)
- 9. Socks x 2
- 10. Underwear x 2
- 11. Toiletries bag
- 12. Small hip bag
- 13. Flask/water bottle
- 14. Portable Charger
- 15. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
- Final pack like a minimalist tip:
How to pack like a Minimalist
30 – 40L – carry on
A good bag will make you pack more efficiently and allow you to carry it around hassle-free. As a minimalist hiker, I only have two day packs and one carry-on bag.
A carry-on backpack serves the needs for a weekend or a week, and it can also be carried onto a plane, which can save my time waiting for the suitcase and spend more time exploring!
Because I only own a couple of bags, it is key for the bag to be functional with different compartments, lightweight, and a comfortable design for my back and soft grip when I want to carry it with hands.
A compartment with a soft cushion for my laptop would add an extra point because sometimes I want to bring my laptop to edit photos and videos.
That is why I love this Osprey bag, it is perfect, functional and small enough to carry on the plane.
2. Capsule wardrobe – mix and match
Learn the importance of owning and using a capsule wardrobe. Mixing and matching are essential to pack like a minimalist.
In order to keep your bag lightweight, pack only essential clothes. Make sure that all items match and are interchangable.
Layering is also very useful in travels, especially for colder weather. Layering is great because it can keep you warm and dry.
It also allows you to dress for many different temperatures, which comes in handy in England. The heat can be trapped between layers, so you can ensure that you are always warm.
Also, layering makes it easy to simply take off a layer when you are too hot.
Umbrellas to travelers are not very user-friendly. First, you need to use one hand to hold it, which means you lose that hand for anything else you might need it for.
Second, it can be disturbing to others if you are trying to work your way through a crowd.
Lastly, in strong winds, you will spend the majority of your time fighting to keep hold of it!
I prefer a waterproof jacket and pants because they will not limit your movement in wind and rain. They can also be extra layers when it is cold on top of your base layers and pants.
Giving you that extra heat when you need it while also keeping you warm.
Fleece jackets are essential when traveling. In any temperate areas or places with big temperature differences between day and night. They are perfect for giving you that extra warmth when you need it most.
My fleece jacket is used as my top layer both days when traveling, it also serves as a jacket in the morning when I am still in pajamas.
Not only that, but they are also great for adding layers to your outfit and providing that extra warmth when you need it most.
It depends on the season you are traveling, however, a packable insulated jacket can give you extra warmth when you need it and doesn’t take up that much extra space.
Personally, I prefer a synthetic insulated jacket because it is easier to pack, which saves a lot of space in your bag.
It can also serve as a pillow on some occasions such as on a train or camping.
6. Base layers x 2
For weekend trips, there is no time to wait for washed clothes to dry. So I like to stick to this rule. I bring one base layer for every day I am packing for.
Baselayers are the foundation of a great minimalist wardrobe. They are the starting blocks to how you are going to dress. Having good baselayers that you love is key to living a minimalist traveler lifestyle.
They also make great pajamas if you don’t want to bring any.
Be smart when packing your baselayers and don’t overpack them. However, if you know there is a high chance that it might rain and they could get wet, you might want to bring an extra set. This will help ensure that you don’t have to wear wet clothes.
7. Hoodie or Jumper x 1
I tend to get cold when traveling, even when I am traveling to tropical climates. Not only that, but I find planes freezing and always need something warmer when I travel. That is why I always travel with a hoodie or jumper.
They are lifesavers not only on the planes but when my friends are blasting the AC and I can’t escape it.
It is important to never forget your hoodie.
While some people will wear their baselayers as their sleeping clothes or even be naked, I prefer taking a set of sleeping clothes.
It is nothing special but just a cotton long sleeve and cotton loose pants. To me, I enjoy having breakfast or dinner in my relaxing sleeping clothes, rather than the clothes I wear outside the whole day.
This is really a preference thing. It is nice to have a spare set of clothes that is always nice and clean to sleep in.
9. Socks x 2
Similar to baselayers, I will prepare one pair of socks for every day I am gone. However, even if I am traveling for one night, I always bring two pairs just in case they are soaked in rain.
Nothing is worse than being cold and not having a pair of dry socks to put on. It is very important to keep your feet dry and warm.
10. Underwear x 2
This goes back to the base layers and socks. Only pack a pair of underwear for every day you will be gone. I also never pack more than a week’s worth of underwear. Mainly because it is easy to wash in the sink and reuse. You do not need to bring a lot of underwear with you.
I will prepare two sets of underwear including two bras/sports bras and two panties for weekend trips.
11. Toiletries bag
I always put all my wet and dry toiletries into the same bag. This will make your life easier when unpacking because everything will be together in one place. Keep it simple and easy.
When you are packing like a minimalist, the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple and don’t overdo it.
This is all I carry in my toiletries bag:
-Travel size toothpaste
-Face towel (My skin is very sensitive so I can’t use towels provided from the hotel/Airbnb to clean my face)
-Vaseline/ lip chap
When traveling, I carry only the essential makeup products. Less is better.
On a hiking/nature trip, I will not take an eye shadow palette as it is unnecessary.
To make my life easier I also put all my makeup products in an extra zip lock bag in my toiletries bag. This keeps them altogether and easy to access.
This is the only makeup I bring when traveling:
-Primer (also provide moisturize function)
-Blending sponge (optional)
12. Small hip bag
I found a small bag is super important when traveling. A small bag is handy when you unload everything in the hotel and want to wander around the area or head to a restaurant with only your essentials.
Using a smaller bag is also great for keeping all my essentials in. I always keep my phone, passport, keys, wallet, tissue paper in the hip bag even when I have my backpack.
Having items you will need to access more often in your easy-to-access bag will save you from having to dig into your big bag all the time.
I always carry a water bottle because it is environmentally friendly, for places like the UK I can get drinkable water from the tap so I can save the money to buy bottled water.
A flask is also a good option because you can keep either hot or cold drinks whenever you like!
Once I brought my flask to a weekend trip to Wales. At night, we decided to go to the beach to have a short walk and enjoy the starry sky.
To keep me warm, I made hot chocolate and poured it into the flask. I felt lucky as at that time all the shops closed and it would be impossible to buy a drink anywhere nearby.
14. Portable Charger
I always bring a portable charger when I travel. You never know when you are going to need an extra boost of power and when you will be unable to get it.
I also always keep all my electronic products together in a small compartment in my backpack. Keeping everything neat, organized, and together is a key component to being a minimalist.
15. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Snacks are my must in all my journeys, but of course optional to anyone else. They are a great way to avoid hanger and any unnecessary arguments.
Sometimes, when I am traveling, I want to go to as many places as I can quickly. I get busy jumping between trains and buses and may not have enough time for me to sit down in a restaurant to eat.
Snacks have saved me many times. So much so that I never leave home without them. Energy bars are my lifesavers.
Final pack like a minimalist tip:
The variations of the packing list depends on your habits and the destination you are heading:
If you are not the kind of person that wears makeup, than don’t pack any. Planning a trip to tropics? Leave the insulated jacket behind.
Remember, always make a list before packing. Not only will it save you time, but it will also help you avoid bringing unnecessary items and ensure you don’t forget to bring something important.