By Nick Rader
After traveling to 66 countries, including North Korea and riding a motorcycle across Africa for 6 months, I’ve learned a few things regarding packing light. One thing I've learned is – one pair of underwear for 6 months is a little too extreme. But the main thing I've learned is that traveling is so much more enjoyable when you don’t have a lot to carry.
Here are 5 tips you can use to keep that luggage light!
1. Less is More
You don’t need a lot, and you definitely need less than you think. Everything should fit in a 20 liter backpack – that’s all you need, whether you’re going away for a weekend or a month. It should be able to handle any environment, from freezing temperatures with snow to sweltering jungle conditions.
2. Have Versatile Clothing
This is what TEREN is all about. The key to minimalist travel is to have pieces of gear that can be worn in many different circumstances. Pants that can be worn out to a nice restaurant or hike in the mountains. Shorts that can do the same, as well as doubling as a swimsuit. This is why I like Astral Footwear – if you're going to walk on the beach and get your feet wet or hike on the granite boulders, you only need one pair of shoes.
My kit is typically as follows:
- 2 Merino Tees (1 long & 1 short)
- 2 Pairs of Performance Underwear. (Saxx Quest line are my favorite)
- 2 Pairs Merino wool socks (I prefer Sockwell)
- 1 Pair of Versatile Shorts
- 1 Pair of Versatile Pants
- 1 Lightweight Puffy Jacket
- 1 Breathable Rain Shell
- 1 Mid-Weight Layer
- 1 Pair of shoes
This set up can easily fit into a day pack and can handle anything. I’ve camped in the winter when it was 6 degrees out and stayed warm, I’ve also spent 3 weeks of the summer in Thailand with no issue. However whatever the weather is I still bring the entire kit. The reason for that is I know I am always prepared and can be comfortable no matter what. If you are planning a trip to the Bahamas in the summer I still suggest bringing everything, it doesn’t take much to get cold and wish you had a puffy jacket. It may have been 90 degrees out all day, but once the sun goes down and you decide to jump in a cool pool or ocean and that wind hits, it's easy to wish you had something to keep you warm.
3. A World of Stores
It's way too easy to overpack trying to be prepared for everything. Going on a 2 week trip? Gotta bring those nail clippers, right? Wrong! Bring your minimalist kit and anything else you need can be bought anywhere you decide to go. People in Asia trim their nails too. Worst case scenario is you buy some nail clippers there. Even things like beard or hair care, worst case scenario if you go find a barber in one of the cities you stay in get a vacation haircut and shave. It’s a fun experience and usually a unique haircut for the trip. Leave the unessentials at home. You don’t need them and if you do, you can find a solution on the trip that is usually fun or ends up being a souvenir.
4. Leave the Camera at Home
I know that may sound like blasphemy, but (unless you’re a photographer) leave the DSLR at home. Most people (myself included) don’t know how to take amazing photos with a fancy cameras, and in the majority of cases your smartphone camera will take as good a photo as an expensive camera. Don’t lug around a camera that takes up as much space as all the clothes you brought on your trip.
5. Wash It There
You can always find a sink or at a laundromat, so don’t pack a new pair of clothes for each day of your trip. Why bring 10 shirts on a 10-day trip, when you really only need two? No one is going to call you out for wearing the same shirt everyday. Instead, choose clothing that can be worn for several days without stinking. We makes some great merino wool shirts (Daily Driver Merino Tee) & our Traveler pants are anti-microbial, so they stay fresh for long trips.