Minimalist Travel [DIY Packing List + Best Ultralight Gear]

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

Minimalist travel — these two words sound a tad extreme, don’t they?

If they conjure up images of a sunburnt drifter hobbling down the sidewalk with ragged clothes and nothing to their name, I can’t blame you.

But, it’s not like that, I swear.

Minimalist travel is anything but an aimless struggle. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

Traveling with less means thinking deeply about what actually matters and leaving the rest behind. It means experiencing the world feeling light as a feather, unbothered by the burden of a bunch of unnecessary stuff.

So, let me share some of the minimalist travel wisdom I’ve gained over the years. I’ll give you the exact packing list I use to prepare for minimalist trips of a week or more, and analyze every single piece of gear I bring along.

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

Stay tuned, it’s time to lighten up.

What is Minimalist Travel, Exactly?

Before we jump in, I’ll try my best to answer this tricky little question.

In my eyes, minimalist travel is the art of packing the minimum you need to explore your destination comfortably. Much like ultralight backpacking, the goal is to trim the fat and only pack the essentials.

But there are no set rules for minimalist travel. What’s essential to one person might be expendable for the next. The truth is that ‘minimalism’ has a different meaning depending on who you ask.

However you define it, minimalist travel is the most liberating way to move about the world. By packing less, we free up time, space, energy, and money to experience our journey without any dead weight holding us back.

Here’s the exact gear I use and my personal packing list for all my minimalist escapades.

Minimalist Travel Bag

Black minimalist travel bag sitting on a bench at a light rail station
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.


Minimalist Packing Essentials

Wallet, phone, and passport on a wooden floor
Minimalist Packing Essentials

Cell Phone



Cash/Credit Cards

Insurance Documents

Copies of Passport/Visa

iPhone 13 Pro smartphone

Do-it-All Cell Phone: iPhone 13 Pro

A quality 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, this is an expensive smartphone, but I got a huge discount buying refurbished.


Black soft shell 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.


Worn Clothing While In-Transit

Shirt, pants, belt, shoes, hat, socks, boxer briefs, and sunglasses on a wooden floor
In-Transit Travel Clothing










Blue American Giant sweatshirt

Sweatshirt: American Giant

I almost always travel in a sweatshirt, even if I’m visiting a destination with a warmer climate. I just love the coziness it offers when I’m in airports, airplanes, trains, lounges, and other environments with heavy A/C. It’s a bit bulky, so it never goes in my backpack.


Black merino Wool&Prince t-shirt

Merino Wool T-Shirt: Wool&Prince

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


Dark grey 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 good. 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 so worth it.


Black GORUCK Ballistic Trainer shoe

Versatile Shoes: GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

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 GORUCK Ballistic Trainers. These lightweight fitness shoes can handle the gym, backcountry, sidewalks, and everything in between.


Maroon baseball hat with a Patagonia logo

Baseball Hat: Patagonia Funfarer

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 Funfarer allows me to get up and go without needing to look into a mirror first.


Retro tortoise shell sunglasses

Retro Sunglasses: Vallon Howlin’

I don’t own these shades yet — I’m waiting until I get back into the US to buy them — but I’m giddy to add them to my arsenal. They’ve got a sweet retro look, polarized lenses, and a detachable head strap. They should instantly elevate my minimalist travel swagger.


ExOfficio black boxer briefs

Breathable Underwear: ExOfficio Give ‘n’ Go

Antimicrobial underwear is oh so important in the world of minimalist travel, and that’s why the Give-N-Go’s have been my go-to boxer brief for nearly 10 years. They are exceptionally comfortable and wick away moisture while consistently keeping the stink of travel at bay.


Darn Tough Crew merino wool socks

Super-Comfortable Socks: Darn Tough Crew

I’m a sock snob, I’ll admit it. 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.


Stretchy black travel belt

Stretchy Belt: Arcade Ranger

This is the most comfortable belt I’ve ever owned, hands down. It’s super stretchy, which works perfectly with my lifestyle. Unlike belts of the past, it never digs into my hips or needs to be adjusted. I can wear it to a coworking space, on the trail, or to a fancy dinner.


Packed Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

Minimalist travel clothing laid out across a wooden floor
Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

Button-Down Shirt

T-Shirts (3)

Athletic Shorts

Underwear (2)

Socks (2)

Packing Cubes

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 shirt of its kind in my at-home wardrobe, and thus has earned a spot in my backpack. It fits perfectly, looks great buttoned or unbuttoned, and has held up for years.


Blue Wool&Prince merino t-shirt

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, so I can 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.


Man wearing a grey performance t-shirt

Performance Tee: Bluffworks Threshold (2)

Though I love my Wool&Prince tees, I’d rather not beat them up when I’m 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.


Black gym shorts for travel

Versatile Athletic Shorts: Olivers All Over

When I’m washing my travel pants or need something to wear when I’m working out or swimming, I throw on my All Overs. 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.


ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxer briefs

Breathable Underwear: ExOfficio Give-N-Go (2)

I’m a bit addicted to the Give-N-Gos; they’re the only underwear I’ll ever buy. When minimalist traveling, I cycle between three pairs of the Give ‘n’ Gos and wash them frequently. If needed, I can stretch their usage an extra day or two between washes.


Black no-show sock

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’m going to give you some advice: buy these socks. When traveling, I bring one pair of crew socks and two no-shows. I, of course, wash them regularly.


SuitedNomad compression packing cubes for travel

Compression Packing Cube: SuitedNomad

In the world of extreme minimalist travel, real estate inside my bag is at a premium. To maximize the space, I use a big packing cube to store my clothing, and a small one for my socks, shorts, and undies. The cubes compress my clothing into the tightest space possible.


Optional Cold and/or Rainy Weather Clothing

Packable Cold-Weather Clothing

Winter Jacket

Rain Jacket

Long Underwear



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.


Montbell Versalite ultralight rain jacket

Ultralight Rain Jacket: Montbell Versalite

If I plan on hiking on a given trip, 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.


Patagonia Capilene long underwear

Long Underwear: Patagonia Capilene

If the weather on my upcoming trip is chilly enough to pack a down jacket, then I’m likely packing my long underwear, too. I bring the ultra-packable 4.7 oz Patagonia Capilene bottoms to insulate my lower half on my adventures to cold-weather destinations.


Merino Wool Buff face covering

Multifunctional Headwear: Merino Wool Buff

Neck warmer, bandana, face mask, beanie – this Merino Wool Buff can transform into whatever type of headwear I need it to be. 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.


Lightweight touchscreen liner gloves

Merino Wool Gloves: SmartWool Touchscreen Liner

Looking for warm set of minimalist gloves that’ll allow you to use your smartphone? These SmartWools are perfect for the job, and while I’ll admit they’re not the warmest gloves on the market, they’ll give your hands plenty of protection and functionality on your adventures.


Computer, Photography & Other Tech Gear

Computer, headphones, adapter, charging cable, camera, batteries, and clip on a wooden floor
Tech and Photography Gear


Laptop Case

Bluetooth Keyboard

Bluetooth Mouse

Laptop Stand

Camera + Lens



Power Bank

Camera Case

Camera Clip




Travel Adapter

MacBook Pro 14 laptop

Laptop: MacBook Pro 14

I know, a laptop is so not ultra-minimalist, but I’m a travel blogger, and I 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.


Blue Macbook Pro 14 laptop sleeve

Laptop Sleeve: ICON

I rely dearly on my laptop and I need to keep it protected at all costs. This sturdy, water-resistant sleeve 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.


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, eliminates hunching over while typing, fixes my posture, and takes strain off my back.


White 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 more compact options on the market, my Magic Keyboard is essentially a comfortable clone of my MacBook’s keyboard.


Black bluetooth mouse for travel packing

Bluetooth Mouse: Keychron M3

I could have gone all-out Apple and sprung for one of their mouses, but I went for a lighter and more affordable option recommended to me by a tech nerd that I trust. This mouse has been excellent for me so far, and has stood up well to life on the road.


Fujifilm X-T5 with lens attached

Lightweight Travel Camera + Lens: Fujifilm X-T5

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’ll purchase this kit when I get back to the States. Expensive? Yes. The best mirrorless camera kit at its price point? Also yes.


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 be packing with me when I start earning my chops as a videographer. It only weighs a few ounces and will stash away easily in my pack.


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.


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 10,000 mAh 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.


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 few ounces. Yes, please.


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, plain and simple.


Apple AirPods Pro

Lightweight Earbuds: Apple AirPods Pro

I used to travel with cheap $10 Panasonic headphones until I tried out my friends 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.


Small bluetooth travel speaker

Compact Bluetooth Speaker: JBL Go 3

As much as I adore my AirPods, I always pack a speaker to play tunes when I’m 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 biggest “luxury” item that I travel with.


Lightning charging cable

Charging Cable: Apple

No, this isn’t the most exciting item on my packing list, but it is one of the most necessary. It helps keep my precious iPhone and AirPods charged and I’ll never take it for granted. To charge my camera, light, and speaker, I use this tiny 6-inch USB-C cable.


Aukey international travel adapter

Charger/International Adapter: Aukey

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


Minimalist Travel Toiletry Kit

Travel packing list toiletries kit on a wooden floor
Minimalist Travel Toiletries

Toiletries Bag





Dental Floss


Contact Solution/Case

Ear Cleaner/Swabs


Nail Clippers




Sleep Aid


Black ultralight ditty bag with 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.


Dr. Bronner's biodegradable lavender soap

Biodegradable Liquid Soap: Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s is the perfect minimalist travel soap, hands down. Why is it so special? For starters, it’s a liquid soap, which makes 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.


Bamboo toothbrush

Bamboo Toothbrush: SeaTurtle

I’ll admit it: 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 a using traditional plastic toothbrush. It works just as well and is completely biodegradable.


Dr. Bronner's Peppermint toothpaste

Travel-Sized Toothpaste: Dr. Bronner’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, the company does make actual toothpaste that is full of high-quality ingredients that are good for your body and the environment.


Plackers Micro Mint flossers

Flosser Sticks: Plackers Micro Mint

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


White stick of lavender + sage 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 great. It also comes in a compact .7-ounce travel-size, which frees up a lot of space in my toiletries kit.


Mudder Ear Pick

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 is healthier for ear hygiene than using traditional q-tips.


Pink and yellow earplugs

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? Someone snoring in the bed next to you? Pop these in and enjoy the silence.


Other Personal Items

Travel journal, pen, and water pouch on a wooden floor
Personal Items



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, at least I’ll have my Moleskines to pore over and relive my glory years.


Fischer Space Bullet pen

Waterproof Pen: Fischer 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 Fischer Space Bullet, which can write underwater, in extreme temperatures, and at any angle. This pen is sleek, timeless, and minimalist.


Blue titanium water bottle

Titanium Water Bottle: Snow Peak Aurora

Staying hydrated while traveling can be difficult, so I bring along an ultralight titanium water bottle everywhere I go. This isn’t my exact water bottle yet (I’m currently using this one), but I’m going to buy it as soon as I’m done traveling. It’s expensive, but I’m a gear nerd and can’t help myself.


Minimalist Travel Packing List Variations

Ready to travel with way less?

Great, because I’m going to give you the exact packing list I use for minimalist trips of a week or more. I don’t pack the same way for every single trip, though, so here’s a brief overview of my setup, and a few different variations depending on my type of trip.

Note: None of the following weights include the ‘in-transit clothing’ I wear while I’m 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 chilly 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 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, 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, carrying case, charger, 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, case, charger, 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 look over 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 speaker are completely 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, give it a try anyway. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how little you actually need.

Is Minimalist Travel Too Extreme?

Minimalist travel doesn’t come naturally to most people, plain and simple. We rely on our possessions for comfort and familiarity when traveling, 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 a liberating and eye-opening experience. 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 this Minimalist packing list a chance. You’ll experience the world light on your feet, with a clear mind and a heavy weight off your shoulders.

More Lightweight Travel & Hiking Packing Lists

Ultralight travel and hiking gear laid out across a wooden floor
My 7.8-Pound Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

Want more help planning your next journey? Here are a couple more personal packing lists that I’ve used to travel and backpack throughout the world.

Carry-On Travel Packing List

For those of you that still aren’t ready to give ultralight travel a chance, I’ve got just the packing list for you. This carry-on-only travel packing list is more luxurious while still being lightweight and portable. It comes in at just about 25 pounds and is carry-on friendly.

Though I no longer travel with this much gear, I’ve used this exact packing list for several unforgettable trips in my past: a spontaneous motorbike adventure through Vietnam, a wild five-day jaunt through Hong Kong, and an exhilarating trip to Mexico City and its infamous black market.

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

In addition to being an extreme minimalist traveler, I’m a hiking and ultralight backpacking junkie. I keep my ultralight backpacking gear setup as simple and lightweight as possible. My base weight — everything besides food, water, fuel, and consumables — is just under 9 pounds.

My gear holds up to nasty weather and has allowed me to hike for a week without resupply. With this setup, I’ve hiked the life-changing ‘O’ Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park, solo trekked into the Atacama Desert, and traversed over glaciers on the Huemul Circuit.

More Travel Gear Resources & Recommendations

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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.

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and end up making a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links help support this website and keep it 100% ad-free.

20 thoughts on “Minimalist Travel [DIY Packing List + Best Ultralight Gear]”

  1. Hey, this is a fantastic list! I have a similar one that I am trying to upgrade for winter travel in pretty cold climates and wanted to get your thoughts:
    1. Do you layer the Versalite over the cerium LT when it’s really warm or windy? I’m considering the versalite or something more substantial as a winter shell. Do you think the versalite works as a winter shell? Do you even find it necessary?
    2. How cold can you get down to with all of the winter gear on?

    Your list is obviously super well thought out and I really enjoyed the read! One thing I often throw in for urban travel would be a lightweight umbrella, like the ones sold at Montbell 🙂


    • Hey, Tyler! I’m glad you enjoy the list and practice ultra-minimalist travel of your own. It’s definitely the most efficient way to move around the world.

      Let me answer your questions:

      1. I can remember layering the Versalite over the Cerium LT on a couple of occasions during cold rain/snow and it worked very well at keeping precipitation from seeping into the down jacket. That said, the Cerium LT is a very, very warm jacket and does pretty well at blocking wind on its own. The Versalite will work well as a winter shell, mainly for blocking moisture rather than wind. I would travel with the Versalite when you are going to cold/humid environments since the Cerium LT doesn’t shed moisture well.

      2. On its own, the Cerium LT is very, very warm. If I pair it with my thermal layers, the Versalite, my Buff, and some gloves, I feel comfortable in temperatures well below freezing. I haven’t yet taken this setup out into brutally low temps, but I’d venture a guess that it would keep me warm down into the 0-10 degree Fahrenheit range. I’d definitely consider getting warmer gloves than my Smartwools and possibly a more substantial hat, though, if you’re visiting places with temps this low.

      Thanks for the kind words about the blog post! I put a lot of thought, time, effort (and money) into it. I’ve never been much of an umbrella person, as I usually fall back on rain gear, but I might change my tune with more of an ultralight version like the ones sold at Montbell or Zpacks. I’ll consider one for my next wet-climate trip!

      Take care, thanks for the feedback, and keep me posted on your travels! I’d love to hear what gear systems you end up putting together.

      • Thanks, Noel. That is super useful information.

        I previously traveled long term in 40-90 F weather with a OR helium 2 rain jacket and a synthetic insulated jacket, but that combo wouldn’t be adequate for freezing temperatures. I’ll be spending this winter in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, so need something pretty legit. The versalite + cerium LT seems like a killer combo. I guess I can try that out and see if I need to upgrade anything later. Glad you found the versalite works well as a winter shell, I was a bit worried because of it’s thinness. Also was looking into some of the Arcteryx FL options (like zeta FL). But worried about breathability and packability.

        Out of curiosity:

        1. Do you ever wear a windshirt? Or does the versalite do a good job at being breathable over the thermal layers? Some people have different opinions on the necessity of windshirts.. I would prefer wearing one instead of a rain jacket if it’s cold and not raining, but I dont know if I’d call it a ‘necessity’. Do you have any thoughts on that? The houdini only weighs 100g but it’s a bit redundant with the rain jacket.

        2. Do your WP trail runners do well in the snow? This would be my only concern. I have a pair of Salomon trail runners (sense ride, non-WP) but I think my feet would get wet if hiking on snowy trails. Thinking about picking up some waterproof trail runners if they will do the trick in snow.

        My personal packing list happens to be really similar to yours (with a few substitutions from your winter list) after tuning it obsessively for quite a while. So there must be something to it! Here’s my lighterpack if you’re curious:

        Thanks again for your advise!

        • Tyler, it seems like you’re just as obsessive with your gear list as I am! Always happy to chat with another gear nerd about the inner workings of our packs. Our lists do have a lot in common, even down to the headphone splitter! (I need to add that to my post.)

          Sound like you’ll be in for a very cold winter, so getting your down jacket game dialed in key. As I said, the Cerium LT is incredibly warm, but I’ve never tested it in temperatures below zero. I imagine it would perform well, but I can’t tell you with 100% certainty. I think it would be a great addition to your pack, though, and if it doesn’t keep you completely warm, you can always add another layer to your setup.

          1. I pack the 48 gram Zpacks Ventum Wind Shell when I’m hiking and backpacking, but don’t normally take it with me when I travel. I usually don’t use it as a shell over my Cerium LT, since the jacket has been warm enough so far, but I imagine it would be great at stopping the wind and adding some warmth in the frigid winter temperatures you’ll be dealing with. It packs down insanely small (slightly smaller than a tennis ball) so it might be a nice non-redundant addition to your pack.

          2. I actually just sent my WP trail runners back to REI because they weren’t breathable enough for me. I head the GORE-TEX versions are much more breathable than the ones treated with Climashield, so keep that in mind. They were extremely comfortable but would leave my feet sweating in normal conditions. It doesn’t help that my feet run hot to begin with. I haven’t removed them from my website because I haven’t decided on a suitable replacement quite yet. I imagine the GORE-TEX Salomon Trail runners would work well in the snow but know that they won’t keep your feet dry in snow above your ankles. Snow will enter the shoe from above, melt, and get your feet wet. You might want to consider a Salomon boot if you’ll be hiking in deep snow. I’ve used the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX in the past, but they might not be minimalist enough for your needs. These ones could be a good compromise between boots and trail runners for the deeper snow you’ll likely be experiencing up north.

          I hope this reply helped you out a little bit more. Feel free to keep asking questions, I’m always glad to help if I can. I do leave for the Colorado Trail on Saturday the 15th, so I’ll be out of range starting then.

          Feel free to check out my ultralight backpacking gear list if you haven’t already, as I think you might also find it useful.

          Thanks again for the feedback!

          Take care.

          • Hey Noel,

            Thanks for the advice on the windshell and boots, i’ll keep those in mind.

            BTW, the versalite and cerium LT arrived a few hours ago and I’m extremely happy with them. The cerium fits great and is insanely warm, as you said. The versalite has a really nice design too for the most part. Definitely a huge upgrade from the helium 2! Certainly keeping the and thanks again for the recommendation and answering my detailed questions 🙂

            I did check out your backpacking post as well and really enjoyed it. I only go backpacking a few times a year and don’t have too much gear of my own. But I do enjoy learning about how to live and survive as simply as possible, so I always like studying the systems people use for backpacking. A lot of them I’ve incorporated in my own travel systems.

            I think you’ve answered my questions for now, thanks again. And hope you enjoy yourself on the colorado trail!

          • Oh, man… the feeling when new gear arrives in the mail. Can’t beat it!

            So glad your first impressions of the gear are positive; I think the Cerium LT and Versalite will serve you well during your travels.

            Keep me posted on your gear/travel journey, and always feel free to stop by and drop a comment. I’d be happy to chat any time (especially about gear, hiking, and traveling).

            Thanks again for reaching out. I always appreciate the feedback.

            Take care, and stay tuned for some Colorado Trail content coming this fall.

          • Hey Noel, I had one last question for you:
            I noticed you have the Montbell puffy now. I didn’t end up keeping the cerium LT because it was pretty tight on my armpits when layering and was actually checking out the Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka. I thought it might be warmer and lighter than the cerium LT (even though I really liked the fit and finish of the cerium and may just size up). Do you have any thoughts on how the two jackets compare? Also eyeing the EOS from feathered friends. Thanks!

          • Hello again! Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been hiking the Colorado Trail for the last month and just returned. I’ve been completely off the grid!

            The Plasma 1000 is a much looser fit and will work better for layering underneath. You might want to give it a go if you can digest the price tag. Both jackets are extremely warm; it’s hard to say which is warmer. Keep me posted!

  2. Hey, hope you had a great time on the Colorado Trail! I went with a custom down jacket from goosefeet gear. For a similar price to the cerium and plasma, it seemed like the way to go (custom fit, a bit more down (4oz fill), and lighter (~8oz)). Only thing is I’ll need to wait several weeks to get it! I’m sure it will be comparable to the other two options, thanks for all of your advice!

  3. I should mention this one has hood, full zip, and 950 fill power, DWR treated down (downtek) and I went with a burlier 20D face fabric for durability, wind, and moisture protection. Will report on it, or might make a full review at some point.

    • Congrats! Sounds like an incredible jacket. Please do report back once you get it, as I’ve been interested in their gear for a while now. I’ve been considering buying a pair of their down socks for my winter backpacking endeavors. Hope your jacket arrives quickly!

      • Hey Noel, the jacket from Goosefeet gear is great! 4oz of 950 FP down and came in at 9.1oz. So it’s a little warmer than the Montbell one, which has 3.4 oz of 1000FP and a weight of 8.4oz. I did end up getting some extra internal pockets, which added about 0.5 oz or so. And also am glad I went with the 20 denier outer fabric because I’m already super paranoid about ripping it. I’d say it’s a great jacket but it sounds like if you’re happy with the montbell, you can’t go wrong with that one :). They are probably very similar at the end of the day
        Take care!

        • Thanks for the update, Tyler! Your jacket does sound a little warmer and less delicate than mine (I’m pretty sure my jacket is 7 denier!), so good work finding it! I’d love to see a picture of it if wouldn’t be too much trouble to send one to my email, I’m highly considering Goosefeet Gear’s down socks and down pants for winter hiking/backpacking. Glad you got the perfect jacket for your needs, and I hope it kicks ass for you this winter.

  4. Bare Bones (Warm Weather)
    Weight of Backpack: 3.6 lb | 3.2 kg
    Volume of Setup: 16 liters

    There’s a mistake in the weight conversion here, 3.6lb is 1.6kg, not 3.2kg. I was confused why the Warm Weather bag was heavier than the Cold weather bag when I was looking through.

  5. Great lists! Mine are fairly similar with minor alterations such as an extra set of clothing, swim trunks, a merino hoodie etc. The biggest difference is my pharmacy. I have everything from muscle relaxers, inhalers(prescription) sunscreen, aloe vera, throat lozenges, bite cream, anti-odor spray, anti-fungal cream, nasal spray etc. So much but needed at one point in the past. It’s all well and good to travel without in my own country but nothing beats walking around Kutaisi trying to ask for anti-histamines in broken Georgian; showing people how bad your mozzie bites are. lol

    • Glad you like the list, Michael. I’m going to be updating mine soon, as it has changed over the last year or so. I like your compact traveling pharmacy! I don’t bring much of one, but have ended up regretting it in the past. How do you enjoy traveling in Georgia? It’s always been a pretty fascinating place in my eyes.

      Happy travels!

  6. Hi Noel,

    I prefer to travel light myself. Your post is helpful and inspiring. So thank you! My pack for 2 months of work travel in Vietnam and Nigeria is now very similar to yours. Have to take semi-formal wears for meetings and presentations :).


    • Thanks for commenting, Kaus! Traveling light is definitely the way to go. How did you enjoy Vietnam? One of my favorite countries. My packing list has changed a bit and is definitely due for an update, so stay posted.



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