I think of myself as a minimalist. I’m writing this after I have been traveling for 10 days.
Air travel is a mess, my solution to avoid problems is to go the minimalism route. I never want to have to check a bag on a flight.
The goal was less than 20L a bag weight under 7kg (15.43 pounds). This should avoid any problems with low cost airlines in SEA.
I didn’t pack for what ifs. My thought process is that there will be convenience stores all over the cities I would be flying into.
In fact a convenience store is likely one of the first things I will look for upon landing in a new city. Liquids are heavy and easily replaceable. I have a small shampoo bar in the event I end up somewhere without shampoo for a night. Some small chucks of bar soap and a few wet wipes can make all the difference. Only need enough for a couple days as replacements will be easy to find in any urban or tourist area.
The process of elimination
My bag is a ULA Equipment Dragonfly. 22L capacity with 3 outer pocket that can expand to add an additional 8L of space. 834g (29.4 oz).
Perfect for staying light… If you’re willing to make sacrifices.
Camera - Sony ZV-1
The autofocus on the Sony ZV-1 was too good to pass up for the price. The ZV-1 has an MSRP of $750 and had been out for ~2 years when I bought mine used for $500. They are available from eBay, Amazon, and KEH.
It came with:
- Joby gorillapod 1K kit
- SmallRig wooden grip
- Rode Video Micro II
- Second Sony NP-BX1 battery
- 2 third party batteries
- Third part USB micro or USB-C charger
My plan when purchasing it was to sell the gorillapod, SmallRig wooden grip, and possibly the Rode Video Micro II. I already had a Sennheiser MKE 200 when I bought the ZV-1 lot off eBay.
Either way, I’ll be down to one shotgun mic, which means selling the one that didn’t make the cut. I will update when I have sold everying.
I had looked for other sub $500 options in the Panasonic GF7 and Olympus E-PL6. Unfortunately, their video capabilities just couldn’t come close to the Sony ZV-1.
My thought process was that I would look for cheap cameras when I visted a country. Then size and weight don’t have to face the brutal size and weight limits of carry on luggage.
Zoom F2-BT - Lavalier Mic
The Zoom F2-BT is a 2x AAA powered field recorder that came with a lav mic and can record Float32 audio. The advantage of 32 bit audio being that it is basically impossible to clip the audio recording. Has bluetooth connectivity and control. Very handy.
Overall I’ve been happy. I can see the advantages of a wireless system, but the battery life of the F2-BT is unbeatable. IMO, a great value used. Available on Amazon and eBay.
I temporarily had two options that I spent 5 minutes testing head to head. The Sennheiser MKE 200 and the Rode Video Micro II.
I plugged them both into the ZV-1 and didn’t change or adjust any settings. I did quick outdoor tests with the wind muffs on and off. Plus the small deadcat that comes with the ZV-1.
In my opinion, the Rode Video Micro II picked up more background noise than the Sennheiser MKE 200. Not having a giant logo was also a big selling point for me.
The Rode quickly sold for $59.95, which made my purchase of the ZV-1 a great deal.
I’m worried I’m taking too much stuff. Especially because of how much everything weighs.
Laptop - Lenovo X13 Gen 1
1,290g - I wish the screen was better and it was lighter. That said, it has 32GB of RAM and a Ryzen 4750U processor. That provides 8 cores and 16 threads at 15W. Incredible for my needs!
The keyboard is comfortable to type on. The keys feel great when pressed, with a nice rebound. Not noisy at all and backlit. The touchpad and trackpoint are also nice. There are lots of used ones on eBay.
The laptop gets hot when the CPU is constantly running at the max boost speed. I have my power profiles set to the lowest settings, even when plugged into power. I’m able to run virtual machines, web servers, run PyCharm, and have multiple web browsers open without issue.
Running a Windows VM does cause the laptop to get hot, but I rarely run one. Even then it is for a short amount of time.
Here’s my criteria for an upgrade:
- Under $500 used
- Under 1,000 grams
- Similar performance
- Higher color gamut screen
- Better battery life
Unless my current laptop breaks, I’m expecting it to be a while before I switch to anything else.
Phone - Pixel 6
I can’t stand the bloated instals and skins that come on other phones. I don’t like Apple products. If it comes down to it, I can replace the ROM.
I bought mine used off eBay. I don’t think I would have been happy if I had paid MSRP. It gets a little hot and I find it slightly too large.
Charger - Used Innergie 60C 60 Watt PD 3.0 USB-C Charger
It has international adapters that can be swapped out. I purchased it in 2021 “used” for $38. The package was crushed. The adapter and all other parts were undamaged.
Some can still be found on eBay. The international adapter version I have isn’t available on Amazon on it’s on. It is available as a bundle on Amazon.
So much smaller and lighter than the USB-C power adapter that came with my laptop.
Logitech MX Anywhere 3
I don’t think I can give up using a mouse. I’m not a fan of trackpoints or trackpads. Both are good on the laptop I have.
I just find that the percision that I can get with a mouse is much higher, while also being faster.
As a challenge, I have been trying to avoid using the mouse to get more accustomed to using the trackpoint and trackpad. I have also been thinking about how I might be able to edit my workflows to rely less on a mouse.
It’s been an incredible mouse. It works on every surface and the charge lasts for seemingly forever. I would highly reccomend this mouse if you’re looking for a wireless bluetooth mouse. Available on Amazon and eBay.
PowerBank - NiteCore NB10000
I was worried this was going to be overkill, coming in at a whoping 152g, but is has been surprisingly useful.
Hand washing clothing works great when clothing will quickly dry. I booked an inexpensive hotel in Bangkok that didn’t have a balcony or a strong fan for the bathroom.
Despite rolling the clothes up in a towel, they were not getting dry. The solution I found was to get a small USB fan so that I could rig it up to blow on wet clothes. The NB10000 made sure that the fan didn’t die.
This was a life saver because I was there during a heat wave where is was over 40°C (104°F). Dry underwear was so nice to have.
I haven’t needed the powerbank to charge my phone or camera. I’m not a heavy user phone user, so it will last for days on its own.
It can also charge the ZV-1, but I have 2 batteries. I’d rather carry the second battery because it is smaller, lighter, and I don’t end up needing to use it.
It comes with a scratch off validation code to verify the authenticity of the product. That’s an incredible testiment to the state of counterfeit products available, especially online. I purchased mine from Amazon.
AA & AAA Battery Charger - Panasonic BQ-CC87
I have 2 AA and 2 AAA Eneloop batteries. The main reason I ended up with this solution was from difficulting in finding a cordless trimmer. A secondary reason was so that I could pickup a cheap flash if the need arose.
My Zoom F2-BT audio recorder uses AAA batteries.
I’m also able to bring along a Wahl Peanut cordless hair trimmer. It uses 1 AA battery.
The BQ-CC887 has the ability to be turned into a battery bank, which I haven’t needed to do.
It can also charge batteries on the go with the NiteCore NB10000.
Overall I would rather have the USB version than the AC version. I have extra USB chargers around. The powerbank feature is too good to pass up considering it costs the same as a AC version. You can find them on Amazon or eBay.
UGreen USB-C SD & MicroSD Card Reader
I wish everything I owned could be USB-C. This can be used on my phone and won’t block any ports on my laptop. I have a couple USB-A readers that will block adjacent ports when in use. That’s no acceptable.
These over various thumb drives for misc backup or transfer.
6M USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable
The luxury of reach at the cost of a small amount of weight. The cable is not going to be capable of high speed data transfers, or it might not even be able to transfer data.
Hand washing to the rescue! I would rather hand wash a small amount of clothing than carry more than I would need for 3 days. If I was going somewhere cold I would pack more layers of clothing.
I would rather be in the situation where if I needed more clothing, I could buy more clothing. Keep in mind that the nice thing about buying clothing at your location is that it will be appropriate for the current climate.
- Socks - Darn Tough, 2 pairs. They can go several days without needing to be cleaned. Plus, I will likley be wearing sandals all of the time.
- Underwear - 3 paids. I like doing yoga and exercising, which can result in the need for a mid day shower and underwear change.
- Pants - One pair.
- Shorts - Two pairs.
- Shirts - Patagonia Capilene long and short sleeve that are the same color. This makes it less noticeable when the short sleeve is worn as a base layer.
- A sun hoodie - A small amount of warmth and utility in the tropics. I didn’t want to bring a puffer.
- Shoes - Lems.
- Sandals - Shamma sandals. I can’t find the exact model name right now…