Minimalist Travel Packing List for 2024 [Ultralight & Compact]

Minimalist traveler walking down street in Puerto Morelos, Mexico
My Minimalist Travel Packing List & Favorite Gear for Ultralight Efficiency

Executing ultralight minimalist travel is simple:

  • Choose a suitable bag that you can carry onto an airplane
  • Fill it with clothing, gear, and other travel essentials
  • Leave everything else behind

By doing so, you’ll experience the world feeling light as a feather, unbothered by the burden of unnecessary stuff.

I’ve learned the value of minimalist travel through visiting dozens of countries over years of travel experience.

Everything I need to travel, work full-time, and film/photograph my adventures fits in an ultralight 25-liter personal item-sized bag.

I’m here to share the packing list I use to prepare for minimalist trips of a week or more and analyze every piece of gear I bring along.

Stay tuned; it’s time to lighten up.

Why Bring Less Stuff?

Packing the minimum you need to explore your destination comfortably, much like ultralight backpacking, will reduce the weight on your back as you move from place to place.

The less weight on your back, the more mobile you will be.

In well-executed minimalist travel, everything in your bag serves a purpose, benefits your journey, and pushes you forward.

If you ever have to ask yourself, “Why did I bring this item again?” you probably should have never packed it in the first place.

Believe me, I overpacked for years.

I used to be the guy who hauled around an 80-liter backpack and was overwhelmed and exhausted daily by the sheer number of possessions I had as I traveled.

It wasn’t worth it.

When I say that minimalist travel is the most liberating way to move about the world, it comes from years of experience.

By packing less, we free up time, space, energy, and money to experience our journey without any dead weight holding us back.

Now, let’s dive into my up-to-date minimalist packing list for 2024.

Minimalist Travel Bag

Travel Backpack

Zpacks Bagger ULTRA 25 backpack

Ultralight Daypack: Zpacks Bagger ULTRA 25

In the world of minimalist travel, it all starts with a personal item-sized backpack. I’m over the moon with my ultralight Zpacks Bagger ULTRA 25-liter pack, which is waterproof and weighs a ridiculous 10.7 ounces. Can’t afford to fork out 250 bucks? Check out the Matador Freerain28.

BUY ON ZPACKS

Minimalist Packing Essentials

Cell Phone

Wallet/Purse

Passport/Visa

Cash/Credit Cards

Insurance Documents

Copies of Passport/Visa

Grey iPhone 13 Pro smartphone

Do-it-All Cell Phone: iPhone 13 Pro

A smartphone should be a key cog of anyone’s travel packing list. My iPhone 13 Pro has a ton of storage (512 GB), a fast processor, an incredible camera, and a beautiful display. Yes, it’s one of the pricier smartphones out there, but I got a considerable discount buying refurbished.

BUY ON APPLE

Black Slimfold soft shell minimalist travel wallet

Minimalist Wallet: Slimfold Soft Shell

There’s no room for gigantic, bulging wallets in minimalist travel, so keep it simple. The Slimfold Soft Shell wallet does everything you’ll ever ask of it while never being a bother. It’s RFID-blocking, waterproof, and super comfortable to carry. Did I mention it weighs half an ounce?

BUY ON SLIMFOLD

Worn Clothing While In-Transit

Sweatshirt

Shirt

Pants

 Shoes

Hat

Sunglasses

Underwear

Socks

 Belt

Grey American Giant packable sweatshirt

Sweatshirt: American Giant

I almost always travel in a sweatshirt, even when visiting a warmer destination. I love its coziness in airports, airplanes, trains, lounges, and other environments with heavy air conditioning. My sweatshirt is a bit bulky, so it never goes in my backpack.

BUY ON AMERICAN GIANT

Black merino Wool&Prince t-shirt

Merino Wool T-Shirt: Wool&Prince

If you bump into me while I’m traveling, chances are I’ll be wearing a Wool&Prince tee. These shirts are soft, comfortable, odor-resistant, and fit my frame well. They stay smelling fresh even after several days of use in a row. Thanks, merino wool!

BUY ON WOOL&PRINCE

Dark blue Outlier Slim Dungaree travel pants

Do-it-All Travel Pants: Outlier Slim Dungarees

I only bring one pair of pants when I’m minimalist traveling, so they’d better be top quality. My drawers of choice are from a fabric-obsessed NYC-based brand called Outlier. In their words, “If you only own a single pair of pants, these are the ones.” They’re a splurge, but worth it.

BUY ON OUTLIER

Lems Primal Zens barefoot zero drop shoes

Versatile Shoes: Lems Primal Zen

My style of travel — lots of hiking, exploring, and city strolling — calls for a durable and versatile set of shoes. To meet all of these needs, I chose the Lens Primal Zens. These zero-drop shoes can handle the gym, backcountry, sidewalks, and everything in between.

BUY ON LEMS

Grey baseball hat

Baseball Hat: Proof Rover

Like many minimalist travelers, I can’t be bothered with styling my hair every single day. For that reason, I always travel with a trusty baseball hat. The stylish and versatile Rover allows me to get up and go without looking into a mirror first.

BUY ON HUCKBERRY

Retro black polarized sunglasses

Retro Sunglasses: Knockaround Fast Lanes

I’ve tried other sunglasses brands but always keep returning to the Knockaround Fast Lanes. They’ve got a classic look, polarized lenses, and ring in around 30 bucks. They elevate my minimalist travel swagger but don’t break the bank.

BUY ON KNOCKAROUND

Blue Mack Weldon Everyday boxer briefs

Breathable Underwear: Mack Weldon

Comfortable underwear is oh so crucial in the world of minimalist travel, and that’s why the Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Boxer Briefs are my new favorite undies for the road. They’re exceptionally soft and wick away moisture, keeping the stink of travel at bay.

BUY ON MACK WELDON

Darn Tough Crew merino wool socks

Super-Comfortable Socks: Darn Tough Crew

I’m a sock snob. That’s why I’ll only buy Darn Tough brand socks, even if they cost $20 a pair. They’re expertly crafted from an ultra-comfortable Merino wool blend, and each pair comes with a lifetime guarantee, though they’re so durable you may never need to use it.

BUY ON DARN TOUGH

Black and brown Perry Ellis reversible belt

Reversible Belt: Perry Ellis

I used to sport an Arcade Ranger stretchy belt, but it was a little too stretchy, and my pants would slowly start to sag as the day wore on. I recently switched to this reversible leather belt that still allows some stretch but just the right amount.

BUY ON AMAZON

Packed Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

Button-Down Shirt

T-Shirts (3)

Athletic Shorts

Underwear (2)

Socks (2)

Packing Cubes

Man wearing a blue Japanese Oxford button-down shirt

Button-Down Shirt: Everlane Japanese Oxford

Though I’m a t-shirt guy through and through, I always bring a button-down shirt for fancier occasions. This is my favorite shirt of its kind in my at-home wardrobe, and thus, it has earned a spot in my backpack. It fits perfectly, looks great buttoned or unbuttoned, and has held up for years.

BUY ON EVERLANE

Man wearing a blue Wool&Prince merino travel tee

Merino Wool T-Shirt: Wool&Prince

Well, hello again, incredible Wool&Prince Merino wool t-shirt! I usually pack an extra one of these when I’m traveling to stay fresh and switch up my color schemes as needed. As I mentioned earlier, these rarely trap odor, so they can be worn for days on end without raising a stink.

BUY ON WOOL&PRINCE

Man wearing a blue performance t-shirt

Performance Tee: Bluffworks Threshold (2)

Though I love my Wool&Prince tees, I’d rather not beat them up when working out, having a beach day, or going on a rigorous hike. That’s where my Bluffworks Tresholds come in. They’re made from polyester and elastane and are meant for high-intensity activities.

BUY ON BLUFFWORKS

Black gym shorts for travel, gym, swimming, and more

Versatile Athletic Shorts: Olivers All Over

I throw on my All Overs when washing my travel pants or need something to wear while working out or swimming. They’re comfortable, can be worn out on the town, and take up barely any space in my bag. They make my minimalist wardrobe all the more versatile.

BUY ON OLIVERS

Blue Mack Weldon Everyday boxer briefs

Breathable Underwear: Mack Weldon (2)

I’m addicted to my Mack Weldons; they’re the only underwear I ever want to wear. When minimalist traveling, I cycle between three pairs of these and wash them frequently. I can stretch their usage an extra day or two between washes if needed.

BUY ON MACK WELDON

Two black no-show wool socks

Super-Comfortable Socks: Darn Tough No Show (2)

When I find a product I love, I sing its praises. That said, my Darn Toughs are so delightful — so utterly comfortable — that I will give you some advice: buy these socks. When traveling, I bring one pair of crew socks and two no-shows. I wash them regularly, usually by hand.

BUY ON DARN TOUGH

Grey TOM BIHN grid packing cube

Packing Cube/Shoulder Bag: TOM BIHN

In the world of extreme minimalist travel, real estate inside my bag is at a premium. To maximize the space, I use a packing cube to store my clothing. My functional TOM BIHN cube also doubles as a shoulder bag when used in conjunction with a shoulder strap.

BUY ON TOM BIHN

Optional Cold and/or Rainy Weather Clothing

Winter Jacket

Rain Jacket

Long Underwear

Headwear

Gloves

Arc'teryx Cerium LT puffy jacket

Lightweight Down Jacket: Arc’teryx Cerium LT

For cold-weather trips, a packable down jacket should be part of every minimalist traveler’s arsenal. I travel with my trusty Arc’teryx Cerium LT, which weighs 10 ounces and packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle. It keeps me toasty warm into temperatures well below freezing.

BUY ON REI

Wrinkly Montbell Versalite ultralight rain jacket

Ultralight Rain Jacket: Montbell Versalite

If I plan on hiking or visiting a wet climate, a rain jacket is an essential part of my minimalist packing list. Weighing only 6.4 oz, the Montbell Versalite is incredibly lightweight and packable and has become my rain jacket of choice. It’ll always have a spot in my bag.

READ MY REVIEW

Patagonia Capilene long underwear

Long Underwear: Patagonia Capilene

If the weather on my upcoming trip is chilly enough to pack a down jacket, I’m also packing my long underwear. I bring the ultra-packable 5.3 oz Patagonia Capilene bottoms to insulate my lower half on my adventures to cold-weather destinations.

BUY ON REI

Man wearing a camo merino wool head covering

Multifunctional Headwear: KUIU Ultra Merino

Neck warmer, bandana, face mask, beanie – this KUIU Ultra Merino Buff can transform into whatever type of headwear I need. It takes up zero space in my pack and is far more versatile than a typical lightweight winter hat. It’s a minimalist traveler’s cold-weather dream.

BUY ON KUIU

Computer, Photography & Other Tech Gear

Laptop

Laptop Case

Bluetooth Keyboard

Bluetooth Mouse

Laptop Stand

Camera + Lens

Tripod

Microphone

Power Bank

Camera Case

Camera Clip

Headphones

Speaker

Cables

Travel Adapter

MacBook Pro 14 laptop for travel and digital nomad

Laptop: MacBook Pro 14

I know a laptop is so not ultra-minimalist, but I’m a travel blogger and rely on my computer to make a living. For now, it’s an essential part of my weeklong minimalist travel packing list. I’ve considered switching it out for an iPad Pro, but I’m not there yet.

BUY ON APPLE

Black Macbook Pro 14 laptop case

Laptop Sleeve: tomtoc 360°

I rely dearly on my laptop and must keep it protected at all costs. This well-padded, water-resistant case shields my computer from the harsh rigors of travel and fits perfectly into the back mesh pocket on the outside of my Zpacks Bagger ULTRA 25 backpack.

BUY ON AMAZON

Black foldable laptop stand for travel and remote working

Laptop Stand: Roost

I’ve been dealing with a herniated disc in my lower back recently, and this super lightweight and portable laptop stand has been a godsend. It raises my computer to eye level, reduces hunching, fixes my posture, and takes the strain off my back.

BUY ON AMAZON

White Apple Magic bluetooth keyboard

Bluetooth Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard 2

Since I use a stand to elevate my laptop, I need a Bluetooth keyboard so I don’t have to reach up to my computer to type. Though there are slightly more compact options on the market, my Magic Keyboard is a comfortable clone of my MacBook’s keyboard.

BUY ON APPLE

White Apple Magic Mouse

Bluetooth Mouse: Apple Magic Mouse

My old Keychron mouse broke, so I ran towards the brand I trust regarding computers. This mouse has been excellent for me and has stood up well to life on the road. What can I say? I love Apple products, and they all work seamlessly together.

BUY ON APPLE

Black Fujifilm X-T4 camera and a 16mm lens

Lightweight Travel Camera + Lens: Fujifilm X-T4

A camera isn’t necessary for most minimalist travelers since most cell phones take great photos. That said, I’m about to dive into YouTube soon (gulp), and I recently purchased this camera and lens. Expensive? Yes. The best mirrorless camera kit at its price point? Also yes.

BUY ON AMAZON

PEDCO Ultrapod 3 mini tripod

Mini Tripod: PEDCO Ultrapod 3

What good is a fancy vlogging camera if you don’t have something to hold it steady? Though it’s a bit diminutive, this is the tripod I’ll pack when I start earning my chops as a videographer. It only weighs a few ounces and will stash away easily in my pack.

BUY ON AMAZON

Rode VideoMicro mini travel microphone

Mini Microphone: Rode VideoMicro

A badass camera deserves a worthy microphone. Though this compact little fella won’t capture audio as well as some of the higher-end options on the market, it has done a respectful job for me in the past. It only weighs a few ounces and packs away unnoticed.

BUY ON AMAZON

Nitecore SCL10 power bank/high-CRI photography light

Power Bank/Camera Lighting: Nitecore SCL10

Minimalist travelers love items that serve multiple purposes, which is why I’m ecstatic I found the Nitecore SCL10. It’s both a 10,000mAh power bank and a high-CRI lighting unit in a compact package. It’ll charge my gadgets while in transit and provide lighting when I’m filming.

BUY ON AMAZON

Black ultralight camera pod

Ultralight Camera Case: HMG Camera Pod

It’s not easy to find a lightweight yet protective camera case, yet here we are. As an ultralight backpacking gear nerd, I’m familiar with Hyperlite Mountain Gear and their super-light and innovative products. I recently stumbled upon this space-age camera case that weighs only a couple of ounces.

BUY ON HYPERLITE MOUNTAIN GEAR

Peak Design Capture V3 camera clip

Minimalist Camera Clip: Peak Design Capture V3

If you’re a minimalist traveling with a camera, and this clip isn’t part of your packing list, you’re doing it wrong. This ergonomic and lightweight clip allows you to stash your camera safely on your belt, backpack strap, or any other number of convenient places. It’s incredible.

BUY ON PEAK DESIGN

Apple AirPods Pro earbuds for minimalist travel packing list

Lightweight Earbuds: Apple AirPods Pro

I used to travel with cheap $10 Panasonic headphones until I tried out my friend’s AirPods Pros. Now, I can never go back. These little beasts pump out the best sound of any headphones I’ve ever owned and have three different settings to control the amount of external sound that comes in.

BUY ON APPLE

Small black JBL bluetooth travel speaker

Compact Bluetooth Speaker: JBL Go 3

As much as I adore my AirPods, I always pack a speaker to play tunes in my Airbnb, hotel room, or at the park. My compact little JBL Go 3 is waterproof, has a solid battery life, and can get surprisingly loud. This is the most “luxury” item that I travel with.

BUY ON AMAZON

Lightning charging cable and MacBook pro charging cable

Charging Cables: Apple

No, these aren’t the most exciting items on my packing list, but they are some of the most necessary. They help keep my precious MacBook Pro, iPhone, and AirPods charged, and I’ll never take them for granted. To juice up my camera, light, and speaker, I use this tiny 6-inch USB-C cable.

BUY ON APPLE

Anker 735 PD travel adapter

Wall Adapter: Anker 735

As far as I know, this is about the lightest adapter on the market that’ll charge my MacBook Pro. It’s far smaller than anything I’ve used in the past and has come in handy during domestic and international travels. It has one micro-USB port and two USB-C ports.

BUY ON AMAZON

Minimalist Travel Toiletry Kit

Toiletries Bag

Soap

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Deodorant

Dental Floss

Glasses/Contacts

Contact Solution/Case

Ear Cleaner/Swabs

Razor

Nail Clippers

Tweezers

Medications

Advil

Sleep Aid

Multivitamins

Black ultralight ditty bag with seam-sealed zipper

Toiletries Bag: UltraLite Sacks

No, this ditty bag (Regular size) isn’t advertised as a toiletries kit, but it works perfectly for my current travel hygiene needs. It’s lightweight, durable, waterproof, and fits like a glove inside my pack. I use an ultralight trail wallet and a small zippered pouch for extra organization inside.

BUY ON ULTRALITE SACKS

Mini Dr. Bronner's biodegradable lavender soap

Biodegradable Liquid Soap: Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s is the perfect minimalist travel soap. Why is it so special? For starters, it’s a liquid soap, making it extremely easy to travel with. It’s highly potent and has 18 different uses: body wash, dishwashing liquid, and laundry soap, to name a few.

BUY ON AMAZON

Minimalist bamboo toothbrush for toiletries

Bamboo Toothbrush: SeaTurtle

This isn’t the exact bamboo toothbrush I use, but life goes on. So, why do I use a bamboo toothbrush when I travel? For starters, it’s a far more environmentally responsible choice than using a traditional plastic toothbrush. It works just as well and is entirely biodegradable.

BUY ON AMAZON

Tom's small toothpaste

Travel-Sized Toothpaste: Tom’s

The Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap I mentioned earlier can be used to brush your teeth, but I’ve tried that before and I’m just not feeling it. That said, Tom’s makes toothpaste full of high-quality ingredients that are good for your body and the environment.

BUY ON AMAZON

Plackers Micro Mint flossers for dental hygeine

Flosser Sticks: Plackers Micro Mint

Traditional floss can get tangled, grimy, and messy during travel, so I bring these handy flosser sticks instead. They’re washable and reusable and make flossing your teeth quick and convenient. Two or three of these should be all you need for a week of minimalist travel.

BUY ON AMAZON

White stick of bergamot + lime Schmidt's travel-sized deodorant

All-Natural Deodorant: Schmidt’s

My search for an all-natural deodorant that can stand up to the rigors of travel seemed hopeless until I came across Schmidt’s. This stuff keeps my B.O. at bay and smells excellent. It also comes in a compact .7-ounce travel-size, which frees up a lot of space in my toiletries kit.

BUY ON AMAZON

Mudder ear pick for travel toiletries

Ear Cleaner: Mudder Ear Pick

Traveling with a ton of pesky q-tips is annoying, wasteful, and inefficient. That’s why a metal ear pick will always be a part of my minimalist packing list. It’s compact, easy to clean, and healthier for ear hygiene than traditional q-tips.

BUY ON AMAZON

Pink and yellow earplugs for airplanes and hostel rooms

Noise-Deadening Ear Plugs: Howard Leight

Earplugs are one of the most underrated travel items that exist. They’re like a mute button for the constant annoyances of travel. Screaming baby on an airplane? Loud party outside of your hotel room? Snoring in the bed next to you? Pop these in and enjoy the sweet silence.

BUY ON AMAZON

Other Personal Items

Journal

Pen

Water Bottle

Moleskine Soft Cover travel journal

Travel Journal: Moleskine Soft Cover

Whenever I travel without a journal, I feel naked, and I’m a hell of a lot less productive. But when I do bring my journal, I use it to take notes, make to-do lists, and recap my days. When my memory fails me one day, I’ll have my Moleskines to pore over and relive my glory years.

BUY ON AMAZON

Fischer Space Bullet pen knockoff

Waterproof Pen: Fisher Space Bullet

A durable travel journal deserves a reliable pen that will get ink on the paper under any circumstances. For me, that pen is the Fisher Space Bullet, which can write underwater, in extreme temperatures, and at any angle. This pen is sleek, timeless, and minimalist.

BUY ON AMAZON

Blue titanium Snow Peak Aurora ultralight water bottle

Titanium Water Bottle: Snow Peak Aurora

Staying hydrated while traveling can be difficult, so I bring an ultralight titanium water bottle everywhere I go. This bottle is a joy to travel with and a testament to perfectionist Japanese engineering. It’s expensive, but I’m a gear nerd and couldn’t help myself.

BUY ON SNOW PEAK

Minimalist Travel Packing List Variations

Ready to travel with way less?

Great, because I’ve given you the exact packing list I use for minimalist trips of a week or more.

I don’t pack the same way for every trip, though, so here’s a brief overview of my setup and a few variations depending on my type of trip.

Note: None of the following weights include the ‘in-transit clothing’ I wear while traveling.

Fully-Loaded (Four Season)

Weight of Backpack: 19.0 lb | 8.6 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list, including cold-weather clothing. I can travel in cold climates, take professional-quality photos and videos, and work on my blog full-time with this setup.

Fully-Loaded (Warm Weather)

Weight of Backpack: 17.5 lb | 7.9 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my cold-weather clothing. I can travel in mild-to-warm climates, take professional-quality photos and videos, and work on my blog full-time with this setup.

No Laptop (Four Season)

Weight of Backpack: 13.7 lb | 6.2 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my laptop, keyboard, mouse, and carrying case. I can travel in cold climates and take professional-quality photos and videos with this setup.

No Laptop (Warm Weather)

Weight of Backpack: 12.2 lb | 5.5 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my laptop, keyboard, mouse, carrying case, and cold-weather clothing. I can travel in mild-to-warm climates and take professional-quality photos and videos with this setup.

No Camera Gear (Four Season)

Weight of Backpack: 16.1 lb | 7.2 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my camera equipment. I can travel in cold climates and work on my blog full-time with this setup.

No Camera Gear (Warm Weather)

Weight of Backpack: 14.6 lb | 6.6 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my camera equipment and cold-weather clothing. I can travel in mild-to-warm weather and work on my blog full-time with this setup.

Bare Bones (Four Season)

Weight of Backpack: 10.8 lb | 4.9 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my laptop, keyboard, mouse, carrying case, and camera equipment. I use this setup for cold-weather adventures when I won’t need my computer or camera.

Bare Bones (Warm Weather)

Weight of Backpack: 9.3 lb | 4.2 kg

This setup includes everything on my minimalist packing list except for my cold-weather clothing, laptop, keyboard, mouse, carrying case, and camera equipment. I use this setup for mild-to-warm-weather adventures when I won’t need my computer or camera.

Remember this as you review my packing list: What works for me might not work for you.

Want to bring along your favorite pair of sandals?

Do you think Bluetooth speakers are entirely unnecessary?

Don’t want to bring your camera?

Great! Bring what’s essential for you and leave everything else behind.

And if, after reading over this packing list, you’re convinced that minimalist travel will leave you cold, dirty, and underprepared, try it anyway. Y

ou’ll be pleasantly surprised by how little you need.

Is Minimalist Travel Too Extreme?

Minimalist travel doesn’t come naturally to most people.

When traveling, we rely on our possessions for comfort and familiarity, so packing next to nothing can make us feel a bit vulnerable. I get it.

But if minimalist travel were too extreme, I’d never have written this article.

Because choosing to pack only what adds value, and nothing more, is liberating and eye-opening.

Less is more in the world of travel, and all it takes is one perfectly-packed minimalist trip to understand why.

So, before your next trip — whether it’s a day, a week, or a year — I challenge you to give minimalist packing a chance.

You’ll experience the world light on your feet, with a clear mind and a heavy weight off your shoulders.

Last Updated on July 1, 2024

Photo of author

Noel Krasomil

Hey, I'm Noel Krasomil, the founder of The Packable Life. I pack light and explore the globe searching for awe-inspiring hiking trails, rich cultural experiences, and ways to continue traveling indefinitely.

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