How to Pack Like an Idiot!

A lot of stories about how to pack light for trips make the task sound really challenging.

In reality, however, all you have to do is take a lot less than you think you’ll need, put everything in a backpack, and go.

Yours truly at Fukuoka Airport, Japan, about to start my latest journey (Feb 21,2023)

Five of the advantages of packing light are:

  • You’ll save a lot of money when flying, since you won’t have to pay baggage fees.
  • You won’t get a sore back from schlepping all of your stuff around.
  • You’ll have an easier time when riding crowded buses and trains.
  • You’ll get good at decluttering your life.
  • You’ll impress some of your friends (especially those in LA).

Three of the disadvantages of packing light are:

  • You’ll be forced to wear the same clothes over and over and over again.
  • You won’t have much space for gifts or souvenirs.
  • You’ll be made fun of by your friends who aren’t impressed.

At the moment, I am traveling indefinitely so I actually have a lot more than I would take if I knew I’d only be in warmer or colder parts of the world.

Here’s a look at everything I have, which is all packed into my Patagonia Refugio 30L backpack!


  • Cargo pants: Decathlon
  • Trail Pants: REI

Two pairs of pants is plenty. They are both very comfortable, pretty light, and relatively fast drying. The pair on the right is actually a tiny bit short, so I might replace it when I have the chance. I don’t have jeans because they are heavy and bulky and take ages to dry.


  • Trail Shorts (Trail Pants minus the legs): Columbia
  • Running Shorts: Nike
  • Basketball Shorts: Under Armour

I would probably be fine with just two pairs of shorts, but I decided to take three along because they are so small and because I mostly only use the Nike shorts for running or swimming. You’ll usually see me wearing the Under Armour shorts.


  • Athletic T-Shirt: Uniqlo
  • Tank Top: Target
  • Wool T-Shirt: Smart Wool

I could have also gotten away with just two shirts, such as one tank top and one T-shirt, but I feel like now I have two T-shirts to switch between and the tank top for running or really hot days.

Hoodie and Sun Protection:

  • Zip-Up Hoodie: Uniqlo
  • Cap: Uniqlo
  • Shades: Uniqlo

The hoodie obviously helps keep me warm in cooler weather and acts as an extra layer of warmth in the winter.

I used to have a running hat that I got as swag from a triathlon that I participated in, but I was tired of it, so I bought this Roger Federer “baseball” hat recently. I’m not a tennis fan, but I decided to buy the hat because it has a nice fit and shape, is relatively lightweight, was (but is no longer) a lovely bright red, and did not cost very much. The hat serves two purposes: I use it as protection from the sun in everyday situations and as a running cap.

I don’t wear shades that often, but I really like this pair that I found when I was buying the cap. The sunglasses, like the hat, serve two purposes: they protect my eyes from UV light in everyday situations and protect my eyes whenever I ride a scooter (which I plan to do often).

Socks and Underwear:

  • Socks: Smart Wool
  • Underwear: Uniqlo

The socks are made of wool, so they dry relatively fast and help keep my feet warm in winter. I actually own four pairs but left one behind since three is plenty. If I really needed to save space or weight, I could even travel with two pairs of socks, but they are so small and light that I’m allowing myself the luxury of having a third pair.

I’m sure a lot of you think I’m crazy to only have two pairs of underwear, but I’ve even gone on trips with just one pair because the kind I have dry super fast. When I only have one pair, I wash it, wring it out in a towel, and put it back on. The underwear can dry in as little as 10 minutes on hot days, but even on cool or cold days my body temperature will dry the underwear quickly. When I have two pairs, one is obviously on me and the other is on standby.

Winter gear:

  • Neck Warmer: Shop in Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Beanie: REI
  • 850 Down Hoodie: REI
  • Long-Sleeve Base Layer: The North Face
  • Gloves: NYC Marathon
  • Long Underwear: Uniqlo, Japan

The neck warmer can really help on extra cold days.

My beanie isn’t very thick but it keeps my bald head pretty warm.

The jacket, pictured as it will look inside my backpack, is stuffed with 850 fill down, which is a bit pricey, but when you’re a minimalist it’s good to spend a bit of money on good quality gear.

The base layer is my only long-sleeve shirt and definitely helps to keep me warm in winter.

My gloves are pretty thin and made of cotton, so they don’t keep me very warm and take a while to dry. However, most other gloves would be bulkier and heavier so I’m happy with these.

The long underwear helps to help keep my legs warm on cold days, since my pants are pretty thin.

Swim Gear:

  • Goggles: Speedo
  • Goggles Case: Daiso
  • Swim Cap: Lithuania
  • Swim Shorts: Speedo

I’m an avid swimmer, so I took swim gear along. I don’t always need the swim cap, but not taking it along might be problematic at some pools. I used to have longer “jammer” swim shorts, but I went with these shorts to save some space. I should probably even go with a pair of briefs!


  • Running Shoes: Nike
  • Trail Shoes: Nike
  • Flip-Flops: Waves

I’m not just an avid swimmer but also an avid runner, so running shoes are a must. I could use the running shoes for walking, too, so that I just carry one pair of shoes, but I decided to bring along a second pair for everything but running.

Shortly before departing on my trip, I came across the trail shoes and snagged them, since I also love to hike and don’t want to bring along a separate pair of shoes just for hiking.

I bought the flip-flops, in Sri Lanka, since they are what everyone wears here (and in other countries that are usually warm/hot).

That’s all of my clothing. Just about everything is light and quick-dry, so I can wash most of my gear in the sink if a washing machine is not available. I obviously wear the same things countless times, but I don’t care.

You can always buy or borrow additional items as you travel, depending on the conditions you find yourself in.

Now let’s move on to everything else I am carrying.


  • Charging cords for laptop, phone, watch, and earbuds
  • Plug adapters for various countries
  • Earbuds
  • Laptop
  • Phone

On my current trip, I have used everything in the picture except for the “O-Type” plug adapter (pictured at top right). I found it once while traveling and figured I’d be able to use it eventually, but I have yet to do so. If I really wanted to save space and weight, I could acquire whatever adapters I need along the way rather than carrying them with me (sometimes needlessly).


Until a couple of weeks ago, I was carrying around a slightly smaller blue “pencil case” which I used as a toiletries case, but then I found this one (here) in Sri Lanka, so, after about 20 years(!), I finally have a new one. I’ll spare you the photos of everything that’s inside, but the list looks a bit like this:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Picks
  • Disposable Razors
  • Nail Clipper
  • Ear and Nose Hair Trimmer
  • Plastic Spoon
  • Ballpoint Pen
  • Some other miscellaneous items

Other than that, I am only carrying a few extra things, such as:

  • Paper money and a few coins from various countries (I plan to get rid of the coins)
  • A handful of masks (from the Covid days)
  • A small notebook (which is probably unnecessary since I can easily use Google Keep, for example)
  • A small pouch for carrying credit cards, transportation cards, and various ID cards
  • A tiny, lightweight daypack
  • Two lightweight belts, although I only need one

Items that I do not carry that some people may insist on taking:

  • Books
  • Neck Pillow
  • Rain Gear
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Towel

I even recently cut up most of my credit cards in an effort to save a little more weight and space, since I have my cards in my Google Wallet.

So there you have it. Now you know how to pack like an idiot!

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