Minimalist Backpacking Tips: Travel Light

Tips to minimize space when traveling

When traveling, are you someone that packs everything plus the kitchen sink? Really all you need is a decent sized backpack to pack just what you need. Don't give me that look. I see you! Here are some tips for essential items to pack and no, it does not include 20 pairs of trousers and tops and 5 pairs of shoes just because you never know

Choosing the Right Backpack

Size and weight: 

Look for a backpack that is lightweight and compact, as this will make it easier to carry and travel with. Consider the size of the backpack and whether it will be able to hold all your essential items without being too bulky or heavy.


Since you will be relying on your backpack to carry all your belongings, choose one that is durable and built to last. Look for backpacks made from high-quality materials that can withstand the wear and tear of travel.


Comfort is key when it comes to choosing a backpack for minimalist living. Look for backpacks with padded straps and back panels, as well as adjustable straps that can be customized to fit your body. This will ensure that you can carry your backpack comfortably for long periods of time.

2 recommendations of the best backpacks to buy are the Osprey Farpoint 40 and the REI Co-op Ruckpack 40

Essential Items

Clothing essentials: 

Pack versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Choose lightweight and quick-drying fabrics that are suitable for a variety of climates. Consider packing a few basic tops, bottoms, and layers that can be easily layered or removed as needed. You can read my minimalist capsule wardrobe guide as well, if you want to? No? Oh ok.

Toiletries and personal care items: 

Keep your toiletries and personal care items to a minimum. Opt for travel-sized products or invest in reusable containers to minimize waste. Consider packing a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, and any other personal care items you can't live without.

Electronics and gadgets: 

If you rely on electronics and gadgets for work or entertainment, choose one or two at most key items to bring with you. This could include a smartphone, e-reader, or camera. Remember to pack the necessary chargers and adapters as well!

First aid kit and emergency supplies: 

It's always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit and emergency supplies on hand. Pack essentials such as band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary prescription medications. Consider also packing a flashlight, a multi-tool, and a portable charger for emergencies.

You might also like to read Would you move to a tiny house?

Use packing tubes for your backpack traveling

Tips for Packing Efficiently and Effectively

Make a packing list: 

Before you start packing, make a list of all the essential items you need to bring. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you don't forget anything important.

Roll your clothes: 

Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can help save space in your backpack. This technique also helps to minimize wrinkles and keep your clothes organized.

Use packing cubes or compression bags: 

Packing cubes or compression bags can help you maximize the space in your backpack and keep your belongings organized. These tools allow you to compress your clothes and other items, making them more compact and easier to pack.

Pack versatile clothing items: 

Choose clothing items that can be worn in multiple ways and for different occasions. This will allow you to create a variety of outfits with fewer items.

Minimize toiletries and personal care items: 

Only pack the essentials when it comes to toiletries and personal care items. Consider using solid or multi-purpose products to minimize the number of items you need to bring.

Consider the climate and activities: 

Pack clothing and gear that is suitable for the climate and activities you will be engaging in. Be mindful of the weather conditions and pack accordingly.

Pack for a week: 

Aim to pack enough clothing for about a week, regardless of the length of your trip. This will ensure that you have enough clean clothes without overpacking.

Use travel-sized containers: 

Invest in travel-sized containers for your toiletries and personal care items. This will help you save space and minimize waste.

How to Maintain a Minimalist Lifestyle on the Road

Practice mindful consumption: 

Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you really need the item and if it aligns with your minimalist values. Consider the long-term value of the item and whether it will truly enhance your life.

Embrace the concept of "one in, one out": 

For every new item you bring into your life, consider getting rid of something else. This will help you maintain a clutter-free lifestyle and prevent your possessions from accumulating.

Regularly declutter and reevaluate your belongings: 

Take the time to regularly declutter your belongings and reevaluate what you truly need. This will help you stay organized and prevent your possessions from becoming overwhelming.

Avoid impulse purchases: 

When you're traveling, it can be tempting to buy souvenirs or other items on a whim. Before making a purchase, take a moment to consider if it aligns with your minimalist values and if it's something you truly need or want. 

Engage in minimalist-friendly activities: 

Seek out activities that align with your minimalist values, such as hiking, exploring nature, or visiting local markets. These types of activities often focus on experiences rather than material possessions.

Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials for Travellers

Basic tops: 

Pack a few basic tops in neutral colors that can be easily mixed and matched. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics that can be layered or worn on their own.


Opt for versatile bottoms such as jeans, leggings, or shorts that can be dressed up or down. Choose fabrics that are comfortable and easy to care for.


Pack a few lightweight layers such as cardigans or jackets that can be added or removed as needed. This will allow you to adapt to different weather conditions.


Choose a couple of pairs of shoes that are comfortable and versatile. Consider packing a pair of sneakers or walking shoes, sandals, and a pair of dressier shoes if needed.


Keep accessories to a minimum and choose versatile pieces that can be worn with multiple outfits. Consider packing a scarf, a hat, and a few pieces of jewelry that can add variety to your outfits.

When creating a capsule wardrobe for travel, choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Stick to a color palette that is cohesive and choose pieces that can be layered or worn in different ways.

I hope you have found this little guide helpful. Please say hello on Twitter or read all topics about minimalist living on Minimalist Father and if you want some more help regarding decluttering, I have you covered as well.


jennyinneverland said...

I'll be honest, I don't go backpacking or camping or anything like that but I'm terrible when it comes to packing, I always want to take everything everywhere, just in case!

Minimalist Father said...

Haha, I think most people are like that to be fair. I always pack light, even for non backpacking trips. I pack the least possible and never need much space.