Wednesday, January 28, 2015
There’s an interesting article posted over at artofmanliness.com about a person that traveled for 12 months all over the world with just a small backpack, taking a just a laptop computer, camera, couple spare set of socks and underwear and little else, focusing on high quality, lightweight gear. I think it’s a great exercise on minimalist travel and it goes to show how in today’s world you can basically live and travel all over the planet with a passport, credit card and some cash to move around. Of course this means you’ll be sleeping mostly indoors, eating out and sticking to urban areas. Such a minimalist approach obviously doesn’t include much in terms of preparedness, but given that in our community so many people stuff massive backpacks full of gear, in many cases items that aren’t needed, this would be a great place to start and only then build up from there.
Although not as minimalistic, I have backpacked in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, taking a 45L backpack. I did need to bring along a tent, sleeping bag, food and cookware since I spend most of my time outdoors, but I did learned to appreciate the freedom of not having a huge, heavy pack.
One of the things I liked the most about the article was his focus on quality, light weight gear. A lot of his clothes are made of merino wool, which is an excellent material for this kind of task. Carefully selected clothes go a long way.
In terms of shelter he went for a Sea to Summit Silk Liner, which isnt much and you sure can’t sleep outdoors in cold climates with this alone unless you work hard in improvising better shelter. It is better than nothing but a something along the lines of Naturehike Outdoor Sleeping Bag would be better if sleeping outdoors is expected.
What I Would Take
I completely agree on going for high quality clothes. Merino Wool base layers make a lot of sense given that merino wool is comfortable to wear, warm enough in winter, keeps you fresh enough in hot climates, wicks most away from your skin, reduces odor and has antibacterial properties.
Arc'teryx Alpha FL Jacket
I’d go for Icebreaker base layer top and bottom. For a midlayer, a good softshell such as Arc'teryx Epsilon LT Jacket. A waterproof hooded jacket such as Columbia’s Watertight II Packable Rain Jacket or Arc'teryx Alpha FL Jacket would complete the setup to deal with most climates.
5.11 TacLite Pro Pant
As for pants, no question about it, 5.11 TacLite Pro Pant are what I would wear if I could only have one pair. They are tough, repel water, dry quickly, comfortable and with big enough pockets. They aren’t very warm but would do well with long underwear.
Salomon Quest with Goretex.
Oh, and an Iphone? For traveling around the world?? Hell no. I’d go for a waterproof Samsung Galaxy S5 Active.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.