Everything you need to know to prepare your low impact, Zero waste and minimalist backpack

Do you often pack thinking: ‘OMG how the hell am I going to get all my clothes in that luggage?!’ or saying ‘I need to take that absolutely, and that, and that…’? But do you also know that you only use 10% of what you bring, each time? Do you want to change and start preparing your trip mindfully, in order to reduce your carbon footprint and the waste you are going to make in the country that is welcoming you? I know I do. And if you do too, you will find precious information in this article too! Now let’s start!

 

How bad is the plane?

 

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Since I travel, I’ve been said a lot: ‘If you care about ecology, stop taking the plane so much.’ After a bit of research and mostly because of the guilt this sentence has been creating in me each time someone spilled it out, I looked up on the Internet, went to several workshops on the subject and found out that in fact only 3% of carbon’s emissions are due to airplanes! Phew, I’m feeling a little bit better. The biggest ones staying: the cattle industry and digital (yes! If Internet was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest source of electricity and data stocking for example is a huge creator of emissions.) If you too are shocked, I know, I’m also terrified. Ok, I’m feeling less guilty about travelling now! Although I still travel with lots of digital stuff and usually eating chicken, damn it, it’s impossible to be perfect! xD

 

How much waste do I create?

 

Other fact and this one will be shorter. When you are in your own country, you create approximately 1kg of waste every day whether when you are in another country, you create around 3,5kg of waste every day. How crazy is that? It’s not only due to you but mostly because of how the hotel industry is working. For example, most of buffet food is going to waste at the end of the day if it hasn’t been eaten. The little soaps and other little things you can have for free in your hotel room go to waste after you leave, even if you haven’t use them! I learned this one recently and felt bad about all the packaging I then didn’t use during my last trip in Costa Rica thinking: ‘If I don’t use it, they won’t have to replace it and someone else will use it’. Ouch, I was wrong.

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That being said, I’ll share what I’ve learned to do your own part of the job and keep your trip as low impact as possible!

 

Which minimalist backpack?

 

  • 40L backpack is a must. Not too big, not too small, perfect size for a carry-on luggage in the plane.
  • Less than 2kg empty.
  • Not more than 8kg full.
  • Protections around the waist
  • Good ways to aircond the back of the bag
  • An ugly keychain to recognize your bag (why ugly? Because if it’s too pretty, it will be stolen and then you won’t recognize it again!)
  • A waterproof protection
  • Little pockets inside (because we all have mess)

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If you are good on the backpack, we can now move on to what’s inside it!

 

Papers

 

The essential papers that you need to have with you at all times are:

  • Passport
  • Identity card
  • Credit Card (or Debit Card)
  • Insurance paper
  • Health paper (vaccines proofs)
  • Money from the country
  • International Driver Licence

 

It is obvious that you know you need to carry them around but it is still a good reminder before leaving your home to double check 😉

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Accessories

 

  • Sunglasses
  • Light scarf
  • Smartphone (always handy especially with all the apps!)
  • Small handbag
  • Little shower towels (preferably in microfibres)
  • Water bottle (in plastic or stainless steel material). If you are going in a region of the world where water is not sure to be safe, I encourage you to bring with you a Lifestraw with you. It will help you clear the water and make it drinkable.
  • Cutlery (preferably wood or stainless steel).
  • 1 Tupperware (preferably plastic if you don’t want your bag to be too heavy)
  • 2 tote bags (always useful)
  • 1 front torch
  • Hat
  • Swimsuits
  • External battery

 

For the digital, it is really up to you. I know I never travel without my computer (to watch movies or write articles) but you can also bring a tablet or nothing! If you are a photographer too, you will have all your gear. You can consider then taking another specific backpack. I personally love Wrandrd (I have been dreaming of these ones on Instagram since ages but never actually tried them for the moment but you can buy the separate photography backpack or the duffel bag where you can also put your gear, your choice! But if you try this brand thanks to this article or already use another brand, I’d be curious to know which one so don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments!).

 

Pharmacy

 

  • Aspirin
  • Band Aid
  • Home-made insect repellent (coconut oil + 5 drops of geranium essential oils + 1à drops of lavender essential oils + 15 drops of lemongrass essential oils)
  • Contraception
  • If you are a woman, periods solution (special panties, cups…)
  • Disinfectant

 

This is a short-list of course, if you have any special medication, bring it with you too!

 

Toilet bag

 

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste (preferably a solid one, recipe here)
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair elastic
  • Some make up if you want it
  • A reusable cotton swab
  • Razor (preferably a reusable one, you can find a lot of them on the Internet now)
  • Deodorant (preferably a solid one, recipe here)
  • Washable cotton pads (you can easily made them with old cotton clothes or buy them at your specialized market)
  • Cream/oil
  • Soap for the body
  • Shampoo (preferably a solid one, recipe here)
  • Nail clipper
  • Twizzers
  • Home-made sunscream, good for your skin and the reefs too (recipe here)

 

 

Clothes

 

  • 4 panties
  • 2 bras
  • 2 pairs of low socks
  • 1 pair of high socks
  • 2 leggings
  • 3 T-Shirts
  • 1 pull-over
  • 1 K-Way
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 clothe that you feel gorgeous in (it can be a dress for a woman or something else!)

 

I know this is soooooo small for the clothes. But I’ve actually always travelled with lots of clothes without using all of them so many times that I believe it is doable. I’m sure you’ve been in that situation too and that’s why it would be such a great challenge to try this new low impact, Zero Waste and minimalist backpack at least once to see how it works and try something new. It is also a great challenge to help save the planet, right? Now, let’s go! Where do you want to go? Me, it would be New Zealand, and you? 😀

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