If you often find yourself gazing jealously at that one guy who can fit all of his stuff into a 30L backpack while you’re straining to contain all your earthly possessions in an 80L behemoth, perhaps you need to rethink what you’re actually counting as essential to your nomadic travels. Becoming more of a minimalist will take the strain off your back and make packing a dream, instead of a horrible nightmare from which you can’t wake.
Check out the following tips to lighten your load and slim down your backpack:
Most nomadic travellers think that they are doing pretty well with the small capsule wardrobes they carry, but the fact is that most of us could do better. Travelling with only two of everything essential, so that you can wear one and wash one will help to free up some space in your pack and is ideal for nomadic travellers. You can make this work extra-well by purchasing neutral clothing in a similar style. So that you can mix and match and still look great.
Thanks to social media, lots of travellers are now packing every cosmetic under the sun in an attempt to look ‘Instagram ready’ at all times. This is plain stupid. They’re filling precious backpack space and making their load heavier just out of vanity. If you’re serious about travelling minimally, all you really need is a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and a hairbrush, along with a small first aid kit.That will keep you clean enough for the most part. You can even minimize that list by replacing soap and toothpaste with Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap!
If you plan to spend a lot of time sleeping outdoors, some sort of shelter will be necessary, but ‘standard’ tents just take up too much space. Instead of buying an overly expensive impractical tent, take the time to find all there is about survival shelters online. Many survival shelters are extremely light and in some cases, can be made from your surroundings, to lighten your load. Failing that, asking your local camping retailer to recommend a good backpacking tent should suffice.
If you want to be minimalist, you’re going to have to give up the Apple Mac. If you need regular access to the internet, you can visit an internet café or hostel to get online instead. If you really must, you could pack a tablet, but there really is no need when most places have somewhere you can log on.
Phones can be a real lifeline when you’re travelling, enabling you to get help quickly in an emergency, but instead of carrying a distracting smartphone with you everywhere, why not buy a cheap throwaway at every location you visit? It’ll already be setup to work in your location, and you can donate it or pass it on to another traveller when you move on.
If you’re the kind of traveller who can’t go a day without reading a good book, investing in a Kindle might be worthwhile. They’re very small and compact, so although they will take up some space in your pack which might technically be ‘unnecessary’ because they are so small and because they allow you to carry a whole library around with you, they could be a worthwhile addition.
How do you minimize the contents of your backpack when you’re travelling?