Seriously, Stop packing so much:

James Turner
6 min readJun 21, 2015

The minimalist packing list v2

We’re 6 months into 2015 and I’ve taken 8 flights. Every flight reaffirms my lightweight travel decision. From packing up my life in 5 minutes, to breezing through airport security.

It’s been 6 months since I wrote the original minimalist packing list. Since then, 86k people have read it which is amazing. So amazing infact that I think it’s time for an update.


My Tom Bihn Smart Alec is over a year old now. It’s not been looked after very well, but has held up brilliantly.

After giving it a detailed look over, I can only find 2 areas of damage. The first is some stitching on the inside pocket which is coming undone.

The second is some small scuffs on the outside fabric.

I’ve owned a lot of backpacks in my life, ranging from the cheap high school versions, to the overpriced Swedish ones. Out of all of them, it’s amazing how much abuse the Smart Alec has stood up to. Without doubt, it’s the best $200 I’ve ever spent.


I carry an external hard drive to maintain a Time Machine backup. My Samsung 2TB is still holding on, but I don’t expect it to be reliable by the end of this year. I’m planning on replacing it with the new Samsung T1 external SSD when the price falls below £300.

My previous setup of a Roost laptop stand and Anker Bluetooth keyboard didn’t last very long. The Anker keyboard was horrible to type on so I was recommened replacing it with a Logitech K811. It’s backlit, has an internal battery charged from micro-USB and pairs with 3 devices. It’s much better and has brought the Roost back into use.

The Roost version 2 is being Kickstarted at time of writing. It looks to be a much improved, lighter design. They’ve got my backing.

Being back in Europe means I’m making regular trips back to the UK. So my Mu folding charger is still my favourite Type-G USB charger. Infact, I’ve now got 4 of them.

Why 4? Well on my last trip back, my original 3 year old Mu stopped charging my phone. A quick Tweet to Mu led to a phone call with Matthew, one of their co-founders who arranged to meet me in London that day. He brought along a few replacements and saved the day. Thanks Matthew.

For when we’re in Europe, I have a SANSYS 4 port USB charger which replaced the 2 pin, US version. The Wifi Bear Extender got trashed as it no longer works with OSX Yosemite. I’ve also gained a pair of Bluebuds X bluetooth headphones and a phone holding armband, which is a great combination for running.


My move from SE Asia to Western Europe has probably required the biggest change. Thanks to staying in washing machine equipped AirBnbs, and having to ‘fit-in’ with the trendies of Lyon and Berlin, the shorts and flip-flops had to go.

It speaks more to our lifestyle at the moment. I’m not a ‘traveller’ in the common sense. We live a ordinary life, but we just change cities every few months. This means my clothes are pretty normal.

The Icebreaker Tech-Ts are great for staying cool in humid climates and hand washing in the sink. But they don’t look as smart of a stretch fit Gap t-shirts, which also feel luxurious in comparison.

I still have my Oliver shorts but they haven’t got much use this year. My Patagonia super light Houdini jacket is still a staple though, and it still looks impressively good.

I currently have 3 pairs of shoes (normal leather boots, running shoes and Vans), non of which are particularly travel friendly, but more amenable to everyday life.


The Oral B Cross Action electric toothbrush is still the best travel toothbrush I’ve found. It takes AA rechargeable batteries, lasts over a week and is the perfect size.

When I travel between cities, I still don’t pack any liquids, just a stick deodorant and my toothbrush. Everything else I need I just pickup in the new city. The price of a toothpaste tube is worth less than the hassle of carrying a half full one across the continent.

The only addition has been a Braun beard trimmer. I have to cut my hair every week and keep my beard in check. In SE Asia it was pretty cheap to visit a barber weekly, but that’s more expensive in Europe. So it’s paid for itself already.

Everything else

My spork is still in my pack. It’s only been used a handful of times in the last 6 months, but that’s enough to be worth it. Our RX100 mk3 is still going strong, but did get a slight bump a few months ago.

The damage to our RX100 after a drop

I also now carry a Apple Pentalobe screwdriver to get into my Mac and clean out the fans periodically.

I upgraded my portable USB charger to an Anker Astro v2. It has a 6400mAh battery and delivers a 2A charge. This tops up my Moto X much faster than the old one and is worth the extra weight.


And that’s it. Packing like this also means you’re always changing and perfecting the few things you carry. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in another 6 months.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter at @jamesturnerux.

Kit list

Tom Bihn Backpack Smart Alec 26L

1 x Tom Bihn Cache laptop sleeve

1 x Macbook 15inch Retina

Pack-It quarter cube

1 x 2TB USB3 Samsung drive

1 x Mighty mouse

1 x Roost folding laptop stand

1 x Logitech K811 Bluetooth keyboard

2 x Mu folding UK USB plug

1 x 4 port EU USB plug

2 x Threaded micro USB cable

1 x Anker Astro 2nd Gen 6400mAh portable charger

1 x Thin ethernet cable

1 x Thunderbolt ethernet adaptor

1 x Airline headphone adaptor

1 x Headphone splitter

1 x Magsafe 3 adaptor

1 x USB drive 32GB

1 x Apple AA battery charger

1 x Audio line-in cable

1 x Sennheiser PX 100 Headphones

1 x Bluebuds X Bluetooth headphones

Pack-It Specter quarter cube (x2)

4 x Gap t-shirts

1 x Hooded top

1 x Running vest

1 x Oliver Apparel shorts

1 x Levi jeans

4 x Patagonia CAPILENE 2 boxers

4 x Tilley Travel socks

1 x Sports socks

1 x Patagonia Houdini Jacket (waterproof)

Transparent wash bag

1 x Oral-B Cross Action Power Toothbrush + heads

1 x Bar of soap

1 x Deodorant stick

Pack-It Sac Medium

1 x Ziploc bag

1 x Passport

1 x Photocopy of passport

1 x 2nd bank account cards

1 x Emergency credit card

1 x Google backup codes

Main compartment

1 x Running trainers

1 x Macbook charger + EU charging cable + UK plug

1 x Kindle paperwhite

1 x Moleskin notebook

1 x Titanium spork

1 x Mini tripod

1 x Sony RX100 M3 camera

1 x Hard glasses case

1 x Spare glasses

1 x Carabiner

1 x Sea to Summit waterproof cover



James Turner

I’m James, a UX designer and researcher working in the healthcare sector.