With the release of the Oxna, Arcido is challenging backpackers to slim down their packing list. Of course, with the compression packing cube, it is possible to fit plenty of items into this 28-liter backpack, but the less you carry the more mobile you will be and the more efficient you can be when it comes to packing and unpacking. For many people, however, it can be hard to know where to start. How do you know which items it is okay to cut from your packing list?
It can be so tempting to add one more t-shirt or a small umbrella, just in case you need it. Humans are hardwired to emphasize and exaggerate the chances of a worst-case scenario, making it hard to free yourself from unnecessary baggage. Trust in your ability to adapt and use the tips below to start minimizing your packing list today.
Get a Smaller Backpack
If you have a massive backpack, then you will always have the urge to fill it. Conversely, if you have a smaller bag like the Oxna, then you are constrained to just that volume. This instantly provides you with a target that should be achievable for anyone. A good target is to make sure that your bag easily qualifies as a carry on item and won’t be checked into the hold by any airline. Even this limit is pretty big though, so be more ambitious and find a backpack that fits under the seat in front of you and could easily pass for a day bag.
Choosing something like the Oxna will give you maximum organization, so you can bring more, but make sure you have a specific place for each item. If you can’t find everything immediately, then you have too much stuff. You should know exactly where everything is if you want to travel efficiently. To get to this point, start by finding a backpack with a smaller volume.
Lay Everything Out on the Floor
Once you have the perfect backpack, it is time to start filling it. But wait! If you throw items straight into your bag, you will forget what has already gone in there. This can lead to double packing the same item or maybe forgetting something essential. Instead, lay everything out onto the floor so that you can clearly see each and every item.
From here, you can start to adjust the packing list. Go through each and every item and consider its value. Why have you chosen to pack it? This will help you to quickly spot any items that you are unsure about. You can then remove these and take another look at what remains. Visualize what would happen if you didn’t have certain products. If you think you will cope fine, then it is probably worth leaving behind. You can then consider how easy the object would be to obtain if you left it behind only to find that you desperately needed it. Is it cheaply available in many stores? If so, then take the risk of not packing it.
Bring Higher Quality Clothing
The bulk of your packing list will be clothing, so consider each and every item carefully. Opting for higher quality materials will enable you to bring less. You may be used to wearing cheap cotton shirts, but they absorb sweat, which is why they tend to smell after just one or two wears. If you go for a polyester or merino wool material, then you will find that they wick away sweat and can, therefore, be worn for longer. They are also quick-dry, meaning that they can be washed and then dried overnight.
Search sports, travel, outdoor, and camping stores for these odors resistant and quick-dry clothes. They cost a bit more, but you will only need to buy two or three of each to last you, even if you are traveling indefinitely. In particular, invest in high-quality underwear and base layers. These will need washing the most, but it is worth a couple of minutes spent washing your socks each night for the benefit of an ultra-light packing list.
Aim for Multifunctionality
If you can take one item that does two jobs, rather than taking two items that do one job each, then reducing your load becomes easy. For instance, you could bring a pair of casual shoes, hiking boots, and running shoes, but you will have a hard time carrying it all. Instead, go for an all-round sneaker. Something which looks casual enough with a pair of jeans to be worn in a bar, but with enough padding and support for rugged mountainous terrains, is your best bet.
Specialist travel gear is another good option here. Lightweight shirts designed by outdoor companies can look smart and cool enough for a social dinner, but don’t need to be ironed or washed too often. A beanie hat can double as an eye mask, while a camping spork is preferable to a full set of cutlery. Every time you find a multifunctional item, your backpack gets a little bit lighter.
Technology is a minimalist’s best friend. You might be old school, still reading physical books and printing out your boarding passes. If you are committed to packing light, however, you need to embrace the digital world. Forget wads of cash and stick to using a card for payments, which can be placed in a small cardholder rather than a bulky wallet. Save all documents as PDFs and use the apps that most airlines offer to store your flight ticket and information.
E-readers, mp3s, and online maps are the best way to cut unnecessary clutter from your backpack. You might be surprised at how many items can be replaced by their digital versions. Just be sure to back everything up to the cloud so that it can still be accessed if one of your devices breaks. It may also be worth upgrading your tech to the latest version if you can afford it since newer laptops and phones tend to be lighter than older ones. Remember multifunctionality in tech as well: can you use a 2-in-1 laptop rather than bringing a separate tablet?
Ditch the “Just in Case” Mentality
Ultimately, packing light requires the right mentality. You have to be willing to let go of desires and embrace the uncertainty of living with fewer possessions. You may feel nervous, constantly worrying that you will be stuck in a situation without the thing you need. This leads to “just in case” thinking, where you pack an extra charger even though you have a perfectly good one, or a sweater despite the weather report suggesting a warm and sunny trip.
Being an ultra-light packer requires an element of risk. If you have put an item in there that you might need just in case, then remove it. Be willing to adapt and cope if things get difficult. Other than potentially life-saving equipment like first aid kits, most of your “just in case” items are not required and should be left behind. You’ll be surprised at how little you really need to get by.
Almost everyone can pack a little bit lighter and most feel better having done so. You will be light on your feet, moving through urban environments with more efficiency than ever before. With these tips, getting started on your journey towards ultra-minimalism will be so much easier. You will be amazed at how much more free and self-sufficient you feel when you are able to rely on significantly fewer items.