My Definition of Minimalist Packing

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This post is slightly overdue. I was meant to post this before I left for a backpacking tour through the Balkan region. Anyhow, I want to share the list of items I have taken along with me.

I am not a hardcore minimalist traveller who is not like he needs only the clothes he is wearing and a passport to meet the definition of travelling in a minimalist way. With that said, a bunch of trips in the past have taught me to cut out the unnecessary items and travel fairly light. Not only do I end up carrying less physically but my mind feels unburdened and I waste less energy deciding whether I am going to wear the blue or green socks. Although I travel with relatively few items, there is a select few essential items that I do not like to travel without:

Ready to Roll


1. My French handmade leather sandals have been a loyal companion and literally kept me on my feet on many trips. I have had the soles renewed and they are better when I bought them because they have broken in and adjusted to my foot anatomy.

2. I just got these minimalist Merrell Vapor Glove shoes that fall into the barefoot shoes category. I have dabbled into barefoot shoes before and had not found the ideal modell for myself. Until now. The Merrells definitely fit the bill as they are just superb: no height difference between the heel and the ball of the foot coupled with a sturdy yet flexible Vibram sole give me the most enjoyable walking experience I have had so far in any barefoot shoes. They fit my relatively narrow feet really well and people in the public won’t notice them, unlike the Vibram Five Fingers which look ridiculous in my opinion.

3. I am taking 1 long pants, 2 short pants, 3 T-shirts, 1 pair of socks, 3 underpants, 1 Merino wool sweater. This will be more than enough for the humid Balkan weather. My previous experience is that I ended up just wearing one pair of short pants and a couple of  T-shirts during the course of a similar trip. If anything gets too dirty or shabby, I just wash it in the sink. My underpants are packed into a tight sack below the Lacrosse Ball.

4. The big red bag in the upper right corners makes up my 1-man tent weighing roughly 2 kg. It is optimal for one person but I will happily invite my girlfriend to share the little space available. THIS is the tent that has served me well for the past 4 years.

5. Next to the Swiss pocket knife is the rolled up microfiber towel which can be rinsed super easy and dries completely in the matter of two hours.

6. I bought THIS summer sleeping bag for EUR 20 because it was light (600 g) and could be strap-compressed to a pretty small space.

7. Since I usually try not to check in any luggage to save time and money, I had to make sure that the pocket knife I took with me did not have a blade that is longer than 6 cm. A blade longer than that and security would have taken it away.

8. Below the passport and the Lonely Planet Guide is my portable waterbag which I have written about HERE. It can store up to 2 litres of liquid and can be handled very flexibly in the backpack. One problem I have with it though is that there is a noticeable plastic taste whenever I drink water from it.

9. My Lacrosse Ball is coming with me wherever I go. For this trip, it will be particularly great for treating muscular adhesions in the legs after arduous hikes in the Albanian mountains.

10. I am not a fan of sunglasses but for this trip I have decided to a pair along. The brightness of the sun is relentless in mid-August so it can be a relieve for the eyes. Rather than taking a bulky plastic sunglass case with me, I put my „not-so-expensive-shades“ in a soft cloth.

That’s it. I am sure others can pack lighter but this is my definition of packing lightly.

Anybody wanna share some of their own experiences or give some advice on how to hack the packing experience?

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