I haven’t always traveled like a minimalist. I never used to be a one-bag ultralight traveler. In fact, on my first international trip across the sea to the Philippines, I was grossly overburdened. I have learned a lot since then, and even when I travel with my children and wife, you will never see me with more than a 30L backpack as my minimalist travel bag.
What is one-bag travel? Ultralight travel?
“You can call it whatever you want: ultralight travel, minimalist travel, freestyle travel – the idea goes by a number of different names. But the concept is the same: traveling to a destination with only a minimal number of clothes, shoes, and gear. Usually, this means carrying only one small backpack, messenger bag, or suitcase.”Moneycrashers.com
I have found that even if you are staying a week or more if you invest in breathable clothing that doesn’t tend to stink, like Merino Wool socks, or BauBax Bamboo T-shirts, you don’t have to pack as many items of clothing.
You won’t be spending all your time washing your clothes in your hotel bathroom either.
But once you have gathered all the items in your minimalist packing guide, you will need a bag or backpack that is big enough to hold everything and small enough to allow you freedom of movement and of the right dimensions that will enable you to carry on everything and not have to check any baggage.
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The Best Minimalist Travel Bag
I will warn you before we continue, that even though I am a notorious cheapskate, the bags I chose, tend toward a higher price range, and it wasn’t intentional. I picked bags based on usefulness, accessibility, and utility without regard to price because I believe if you want quality, you usually have to pay for it (my wife is tired of hearing me say that).
Here are the bags.
The Prima System Modular Backpack from Boundary Supply
The Prima modular system of bags is perfect for a weekend trip or a long-term stay, depending on how well you stuck to your minimalist packing list.
“The Prima System’s adaptable storage and dynamic modular components make life more comfortable by providing a simple carry solution when commuting and traveling. The Prima Backpack, Verge Case and Fieldspace provide unbeatable organization and its adaptable modular features provide extra stowage when you need it most. Unique magnetic trims, YKK Stormguard® zippers and high-performance fabrics provide worry free storage and effortless access. The Prima System’s Modular Components expand from 25–35 liters the perfect cross over travel/photography pack for daily use or extended weekend travels.”Boundary Supply
Why I Want It
The Boundary Prima System is everything I want in a bag in terms of comfort, utility, minimalist look, and carry on ability. It comes in three colors, and the 500D Kodra nylon material is made to last, so I won’t have to invest in another bag for some time, no matter how much I travel
Note: I am told Boundary Supply is offering all its products at 30% off this spring.
Nomatic 30L Travel Bag
This bag is another excellent carry-on-sized backpack by Nomatic that has me drooling over my keyboard and dreaming of long walks through airport terminals and sliding it into overhead compartments. The Nomatic 30L Travel Bag is the perfect minimalist one-bag travel bag, with compartments for everything including one for liquids that could otherwise ruin a bag if spilled.
“The NOMATIC 30L Travel Bag is the perfect go anywhere, do anything bag. It is made with durable, water-resistant materials and zippers. The patented strap system allows you to go from duffel to backpack carry for those times when you need more flexibility. The shoe compartment has a ventilated door with a water resistant flap allowing you to choose if you want to keep water out or allow for ventilation. Over 20 features make our 30L bag the perfect choice for everything from a day at the gym to a weekend vacation.”From Nomatic.com
Nomatic 30L Travel Bag >>> $269.99
The Pakt One Travel Duffle
If you have seen the movie Minimalism, you have probably seen a bag like this. After the movie, when the public made 1000s of requests for it, Malcolm Fontier and The Minimalists teamed up with Sprout Studios and videographer Matt D’Avella to introduce a new, improved version – The One.
The Pakt One Travel Duffle is everything you want in a minimalist bag, with a place for everything that ensures you can put all your stuff and carry it with you wherever you go.
“It packs like a suitcase, carries like a duffel, and travels like a pro. The One has been perfected through five+ years and hundreds of thousands of miles of global travel testing. See why so many people say it’s now the only bag they’ll ever carry.”From the Pakt website
Pakt One Travel Duffle >>> $275.00
It Matters What You Put In It
You can buy the best bag in the world, but if you don’t know what to put in it, it is almost worthless. I’ve scoured the web for the best minimalist, one-bag, ultralight packing lists, so you always know exactly what should go with you.
- Minimalist Packing For Normal People – Tortuga Backpacks
- How to Pack Light: The Complete Guide to Ultralight, Minimalist Travel – James Clear
- A Traveler’s Guide to Minimalist Packing – Smarter Travel
Wherever you go, and whatever you do, make sure the little you carry is high-quality. You don’t want to bring a threadbare, cotton T-shirt and a pair of ripped jeans that will smell after one use when you could wear a quality, breathable shirt from BauBax for women or men, paired with a Merino Wool blend pants for men or women.
Sure, you have to pay for quality, just like you do with travel bags, but a little smart investing upfront will ensure that you don’t run into unforeseen circumstances along the way.
Good luck in your travels.