Updated: May 30, 2019
I'm planning to do a whole lot more travel in 2019 and after my previous trip I definitely have a whole bunch of gear I want to get or upgrade in order to travel smarter, simpler and more minimally. If you haven't been convinced to travel minimally yet, I hope this can show you some things that make it easier! Some of these products have released recently and some have been around for years - Let me know if you have any of them and what you think!
So in the past I have said I hate backpacks, and I still do, but not all backpacks. I still think anything more than 55L is too much, looks ridiculous and just makes you a target. Everyone can minimise their packing into at least a 55L, like this Kathmandu one, even if you're a notorious over packer. However if you want to go carry on only this is the pack for you.
1. Kathmandu Federate Adapt Women's Pack
Welcome to the pack of the future. As their page says: "Want a carry-on you can also check in and use as a daypack?" The Federate Adapt Pack is the new all in one pack from Kathmandu, keeping with my carry on only philosophy this pack will be great for all my needs. I love having the option of expanding my pack, especially for long term travel because sometimes you need to buy a jacket if you're starting a trip in summer and going into winter. I probably wouldn't use this much as a day pack if I'm just walking around town, but great for day trips when you need to take extra gear, like towels and clothes etc. It comes with a removable packing cell that can clip in which you can keep all your non-daypack stuff in at your accomodation.
So the three sizes are 28L day pack, 38L carry-on and 50L check-in. The pack also comes with a shoulder strap if that's your thing. It has a fully function ventilated harness that can be zipped away. The sizes are easily adjustable with the straps that hook into different points in the bag, and it had a full suitcase style opening from the back as well as a top opening. The women's version comes in blue, and the men's version comes in black, both packs are identical except for the harness size so it just depends how tall you are.
2. ONA The Bond Street Camera Bag
I'm looking to upgrade my camera setup but still keep it minimal and the ONA bond street is perfect for a minimal camera set up. It has a main compartment thats padded to protect your gear, a pocket at the front for spare batteries, memory cards and other bits and bobs, two side pockets for very small items like pens or lip balm, etc. and then one zipped pocket at the back for your more valuable items, like a phone, small wallet or passport for travel. ONA makes a slightly larger version called The Bowery which is also great if you have a larger camera, however the back pocket on the bowery doesn't have a zip so it's slightly less secure. On that note it leads me to the next item...
3. Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera
I currently use the Sony DSCWX500, which is a small point and shoot camera, but I've been wanting to upgrade my camera to something bigger and better. However with my minimal travel complex traditional DSLRs pose a challenge, so after some extensive research I came across the new breed of mirrorless cameras in particular the Canon EOS M50. It's super compact with great features and quality results. You can watch and read the tons of reviews that I have if you wanna know more details about the features and specs.
You can also buy the Canon EOS M50 in a twin lens kit which is a great option if you're wanting a telephoto lens as well as an everyday lens.
4. BAGSMART Travel Cable Organiser
This one is pretty self explanatory but if you plan on bringing electronics you're gonna need chargers, and that means cables, lots of cables, that need to be organised. The BAGSMART Travel Cable Organiser in particular has two larger slots that I would use for my hard drive and a portable charger. This organiser is also compact enough to fit in the 'iPad' pocket in the aforementioned backpack. Organisers like these come in various sizes depending on your needs.
5. TSA Approved Toiletry Bag
You know how when you go through security at the airport and you have to take out your liquids and they have to be in a 1L clear bag, well this bag solves the problem of having to switch everything in and out of different bags, since its clear and correctly sized. What I like about this bag is that it has 3 compartments for all your toiletries and makeup, so everything stays together, but you can separate the liquids into the bottom pouch which is see through and put the non-liquids in the top two pouches. I also like that this bag can be hung up as we all know the struggles of limited/any counter space. This may seem quite small but as a minimalist traveller it almost forces me to keep my kit simple.
6. Face Halo
If you wear any makeup ever, you should get a face halo, not only if you're travelling. Basically these little circles just need water and they will remove all your makeup. Which makes them perfect for travel so you don't need to fuss with wipes or micellar water or any of that stuff. Two added bonuses are that they are eco friendly and reduce your waste on a daily basis and they will save you a ton of money.
7. MAC IN A SAC
Everyone needs a solid raincoat, rain happens and staying dry is the optimal situation. MAC IN A SAC makes super compact super durable shell style raincoats which are perfect for travel or you handbag, and condense into a pouch the size of a small cup. Also great to have an extra layer if its cold, it acts as a windbreaker as well.
8. Multi-use clothing: ASOS Denim Jacket
This nifty and stylish Jacket from ASOS Design has a detachable lining that you can zip in or out depending on the weather. These kind of clothing items are perfect for travellers because it allows you to have more options with less clothing. Unfortunately it only comes in one colour, khaki (which is okay for me because I love khaki) and I haven't found any other denim jackets like this.
9. Birkenstock Arizona Eva Black
Like the jacket above this is a new take on a classic designed for practicality. I have a pair of the original black Arizona sandals by Birkenstock which I love for their style and comfortability, however if I ever used them in a wet environment e.g. beach, cenote, pool etc. they were less than ideal as the footbeds are not designed to get wet. However this new sandal is designed for exactly that making it one of the most versatile sandals, from beach to bar to town the Birkenstock Arizona Eva's in Black are designed with durability, comfortability and style in mind.
10. Travel Herbs and Spice Kit
As you may have seen in my post about the Best Hostels in South and Central America, most hostels these days have kitchens in which you can make simple meals that save you money. What doesn't save you money though is buying herbs and spices on the go and then tossing them and then buying again due to their inconvenient size or structure. This is where a Travel Herb and Spice Kit comes in handy, you can buy pre-made ones like this one or buy containers like these ones from muji and make you own. My advice for making your own; keep it simple, think about your go-to easy meals you make at home and what little things you might need for those, also pick things that are versatile like Italian herbs, that can be used in pastas, on chicken or potatoes.
That's all folks! Hopefully some of these things can help you travel lighter, simpler and smarter in 2019.