LESS > IS < MORE

This could not be truer when traveling. Less luggage saves you energy with every step, giving you more stamina to explore and accomplish what you’ve set out to do.

Here are the two simple steps I use when deciding what items get an exclusive invite into my backpack:

1. Define your purpose and goals for traveling.

I am traveling to _________, for the purpose of ______________.

Not sure where or why you want to travel? Then ditch your bag entirely. Put your passport and some cash in your pocket, and start exploring. You’ll find both yourself and why you want to travel much faster that way.

2. List what items are necessary for your given purpose and required for survival?

Deciding what items are necessary and required is where we get hung up. Rule of thumb: if you can’t immediately decide, you’re better off without it.

Ideally, every item in your pack could be split into one of these two categories:

  1. Survival Safety Items (eg. passport, cash, clothes, toiletries)
  2. Purpose Driven Equipment (like an avalanche beacon if you’re going on a backcountry ski trip)

It’s uncomfortable at first, to set out with a backpack that’s lighter than the one you went to grade school with, but as a friend and mentor wisely said it:


The 2 Steps In Action (for my trip to Asia):

1. I am traveling to Southeast Asia, for the purpose of learning about the culture of entomophagy while running my online business.

2. The essentials required for my destination and mission, revised 3 months of traveling:

  • Survival Items:
    • Clothing – 2 pairs of socks and underwear, formal outfit, active outfit, hoodie, rain jacket, shoes, sandals).
    • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, fingernail clippers, deodorant, cologne, wipes, tweezers, razor, toilet seat covers).
    • Saftey – wallet, passport, knife, lock, mosquito net, bug spray.
  • Purpose Driven Equipment:
    • Laptop, phone, GoPro, GoPro accessories, cords, power converter, WIFI hotspot, external hard-drive, spork, sewing kit, tape, fanny pack, flashlight, journal, books, folder with important docs.

15lbs later, I’m running all over Southeast Asia with a light load that doesn’t hold me back!


Best practices for efficient minimal packing:

  • Don’t pack what you can get on the road or once you reach your destination.
  • Ensure your pack meets standard aircraft carry-on measurements.
  • Bring clothing that can be layered to change your look.
  • Merino wool is super-lightweight, drys fast, keeps you warm in cold weather, cool in hot weather, wear it for weeks on end, and it still won’t smell.
  • If it doesn’t keep you safe or directly contribute to your traveling goals, it’s only going to slow you down.
  • Here’s what’s in my pack with more tips on strategic packing to achieve your traveling goals.

The lighter you are on your feet,

the more that you can defeat.