The Minimalist Packing List

Today I wanted to show you the gear I take with me when I travel. I am trying to move toward creating a TV show so I have been deep diving into video lately. Let me know what you think of this new format.

This is a video post. If you are reading this via e-mail, you may need to click through. I recommend watching in fullscreen so that you can see the gear more clearly. Unfortunately, this also makes me appear bigger. Sorry about that! :-p

My Adventure Packing List:

Always Packed:

Roller bag

When picking a case, I recommend looking for these three features:

First, it is not black so it is easy to spot on at a baggage claim (most people have black suitcases which means black blends in)

Secondly, it should roll with four smart wheels. At first I thought this design was dorky but I quickly realized it is much more practical for walking long distances. I will likely never go back to the traditional two wheel suitcase.

Lastly, I recommend going with a hard case. They are heavier but last longer and are better at protecting your gear.

I recommend something like this roller bag.

Toiletries

  1. Foam Earplugs (I recommend these foamy guys)
  2. Travel toothbrush (I just bought a toothbrush/paste combo to save money: 3-in-1 dental kit
  3. Travel toothpaste
  4. Fingernail/toenail clippers (It might be easier to buy one of these locally to avoid shipping. Alternatively, just get something like these toenail clippers)
  5. Floss (This floss is awesome: Tom’s Floss)
  6. Condoms (Umm, I’ll let you pick these out. :-p)
  7. Heat resistant deodorant (I went with a pack of six: Tom’s natural unscented deodorant stick) Note: I no longer recommend this as the makers added zinc to the new version of the deodorant which causes skin irritation.
  8. Sunscreen (If you travel in the US make sure it meets the TSA security rules for size)

Bag of bags

  1. Three garbage bags (Bonus points if you go eco-friendly: eco-friendly tall kitchen trash bags)
  2. Three zip locks (I recommend going with the big sized ones: Ziploc gallon sized bags)

Electronics

  1. Macbook Pro (Always go with the 15 inch version)
  2. Laptop charger with extension Edison cable (This is clutch: Apple AC Extension Cord)
  3. Unlocked iPhone 5 (Right now the cheapest way to get one of these legally in the US is through T-Mobile. $99 up-front. Alternatively you can check amazon or eBay by searching: Apple iPhone 5 (Unlocked))
  4. iPhone headphones (Comes with phone)
  5. iPhone charger (Comes with phone)
  6. 1 pen (Most useful for airport documentation)
  7. 1 USB thumbdrive (Look for a price cheaper than $1.00 per 1 Gigabyte such as this one Kingston 64GB thumbdrive)
  8. A universal plug adapter (This thing is awesome! – Kensington all-in-one plug adapter)

Paperwork

  1. Laminated vaccination documentation (Look for a travel focused doctor at local Universities)
  2. Credit Cards (See this post on my cards. Note, it might be slightly outdated. Thanks to Nancy for suggesting this!)
  3. Passport (See this post on how to get two. Thanks again Nancy!)

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Packed On-Demand:

Ideally, I would keep my suitcase always packed. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough clothes to do that.

Clothes

Roughly 3/5th ratio for clothes/days

That’s it! Everything else I sort out once I get to my location if necessary. If it is really cold, I rent or buy a jacket there (this is what I did for Antarctica). If it is really hot, I buy a super cheap pair of shorts (which usually only survive the trip).

Notice that I don’t have a razor, shaving cream, soap or really any body maintenance products. I have found them useless to pack as you can buy these common items very inexpensively in practically any city.

In this way I stay super lean while traveling.

One Warning On Gear

The trick to traveling smart is not really gear at all. I don’t have a top secret batman style utility belt. Instead, I have a lot of normal things. My most important items are actually habits not objects. I am writing a short story about these so check back on the blog on the coming months.

I hope this was helpful and please leave me comments on this new format in the comments below.

Stay light!

P.S. Some of the gear selections above contain affiliate links. This means I get paid a small percentage of the normal price if you choose to buy something. Don’t feel any pressure to buy, I am just testing out the concept. Remember, it is not the gear that will save you on an adventure, it is the habits.

14 comments… add one

  • Ryan Eller Apr 24, 2013

    Danny! I love the info here! I love a good list obviously, I will double check this one when I go on my travels.

    Ryan

  • Nancy Naidoo Apr 24, 2013

    Danny so nice to see you…..
    My travel tip:
    Toothbrush, credit card, passport, clean pair of socks:-)

    • Danny Dover Apr 24, 2013

      :-) Aww, credit card and passport! Those are the quickest way to guarantee a ruined trip. Adding those to the post! Thanks Nancy!

  • Nancy Naidoo Apr 24, 2013

    ps. Just remembered your black t-shirt and white senakers!!!

    • Danny Dover Apr 24, 2013

      Yup, there is a method to my madness. I might look like a tech geek but at least I am staying light :-p

  • Jacob Puhl Apr 24, 2013

    Danny – love the practical stuff like this. Something I’ve just added to the arsenal the last trip was a small power strip with 3 plugs. Worked really well so I could plug the strip into that lonely outlet wherever I found it (airport, cafe, wherever) and charge the iphone, ipad, iphone, camera battery, or anything else all together with a high voltage charge faster than the USB would charge. People in the group could also use it. Little bulky, but very useful…

  • barb dover Apr 24, 2013

    Danny thanks so much for all of your helpful hints. Most of us pack way too much when we travel- so it is an important reminder to bring just the bare necesssities. Great post!

  • Nancy Naidoo Apr 25, 2013

    ps. No7 under toiletries reminds me of your request on New Years Eve at the Hotel in BA :) Good times!!!

    Also given as you know what my career entails. Always notify your Bank of intended foreign spend as you dont want to have declined cards and no access to cash. Fraud prevention methods dictate cards can be stopped under any actvity deemed suspcious. Location of the swiped cards can take precedence over amount!!

    Happy Travels!!!

  • mikevallano Apr 25, 2013

    Nice, Danny! I love seeing how other travelers do it.

    I’m kind of jealous of your smart-wheel choice. I’ve gone with a small backpack and laptop bag. It makes travel days inconvenient, but other than that it’s pretty nice.

    The bag of bags is a good idea too, though I’ve not fortunate enough to be in a place that lacks in plastic bags :).

    One recent addition I made was rubber bands. Those things always come in handy.

    And as for duct tape, you can wrap some around a pencil or something for a small roll for traveling.

    We did a similar breakdown (sans video) of our travel items here if you’re interested: http://viajaryamore.com/2013/02/01/how-much-stuff-is-just-enough-stuff/.

    Cheers!

    • Danny Dover Apr 29, 2013

      Hey Mike!

      Great to hear from you as always. :-) Excellent tips on the travel duct tape and and rubber bands. I am going to add those to my bag and test them out going forward. Looking forward to reading your post! (clicking now)

  • Michael May 10, 2014

    Hey Danny, what do you use to take pictures and video? The iPhone? Recording my adventures is as important to me as going on them, strange but I want to look back on my memories years from now, I’m just not sure my iPhone is enough quality to get the job done. Recommend carrying any type of camera or hand held video player?

    Thanks Bud!

    • Danny Dover May 19, 2014

      Hey Michael!

      The iPhone will probably be enough as the conveniences of it typically outweigh the small cons of image quality (The best camera in the world is the one you have with you!). That said, now that I am more into video work, I carry a Canon t4i around with me on adventures. It is much bigger than the iPhone but has all of the features I need for my kind of work. Hope that helps!

  • Kimwei Sep 6, 2014

    Hi Danny,
    I’ve been reading through your blog I love the fact you you include a lot of practical info like this, as well as anecdotes and philosophical ideas. It’s exactly this sort of thing that’s helpful to people who are looking into alternative ways of living. Recently I’ve been researching minimalism myself, and living with less stuff than I ever have. There are a lot of articles out there entitled “The 100 Things I Own” or similar. These are helpful, but it would also be helpful to see the counter – “100 Things I Learned To Live Without”. I’m planning to write an article on this topic and would love your input. Were there particular things you thought you could never give up and happily? How did you adapt do not having that item? What were the most significant? I’m not talking about sentimental things such as the shirts that you mentioned having a hard time getting rid of, rather practical every day items.
    So for example “I used to have a whole sock drawer but now I only have 2 pairs of socks. I wash 1 pair in the shower every day, and they always dry in time because I use quick drying sports socks”.

    • Danny Dover Sep 8, 2014

      Hey there!

      Great question! I have a few:

      1. The news (in any medium, I found I hear about the important stuff anyways)
      2. A car
      3. Physical books (although I have lots of e-books)
      4. A TV (or tablet)
      5. Sweatshirts.

      Hope that helps! Neat idea!

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