The Art of Packing light

Remember in that movie “Up in the Air”, when George Clooney gave that speech about backpacks and asked us all “How much does your life weigh“?

That was a great scene and what he said was right; moving is living.
And having more material stuff will only end up weighing us down.

“The slower we move, the faster we die,” and learning to declutter ourselves from our worldly possession is an important discipline to master when it comes to travel. 

There’s definitely some skill and tact required to live such a minimalistic lifestyle. I’ve embraced the ‘carry-on’ culture for years now and I’m constantly challenging myself to go even lighter.

When I trekked Everest Base Camp in 2014, my backpack weighed about 8 kg and even then I felt it could have been lighter. There’s a certain sense of liberation to be had from carrying such a light load and I often relished in my own mobility.

My pack for the next few months weighs a total of 6 kg:
5 kg backpack and 1 kg Dive bag.

I love the SAF’s utility bags. They’re cheap, durable, and you wouldn’t think twice about strapping it to the top of a dirty bus or a moving train. The army market at the Golden Mile Food Centre is a backpacker’s haven for travel supplies and other knick-knacks you’ll need for the road. I always make it a point to head down to pick up any last minute items before a big trip.

Here’s a look of some of the things I’ll be taking with me to Thailand:

FullSizeRender (1)


  • Four pairs of shirts—I brought three tops (including an air force singlet) for training and one black tee for everything else. Because I’ll be training at twice a day, six days a week, these will get dirty real quick; laundry is key.
  • Three pairs of shorts—including one that doubles as a swimming trunk (God bless Uniqlo).
  • One cargo pants
  • Three pairs of socks
  • Five pairs of underwear—come on, I’m not an animal.
  • Water resistant parka—for when riding around town or when it rains.
  • A quick dry towel


  • One pair of sandals—bought and paid for via e-mart credits.
  • One pair of running shoes—the green SAF ones.


  • Macbook Air 11″—probably the most expensive item on the list. I plan to get some writing done during my free time there.
  • iPhone 5s—doubles as my camera.
  • Charging cables
  • Travel adaptor


  • 2 lbs Whey Protein—strawberry and banana flavour, got a problem with that?
  • Creatine
  • Vitamin C Tablets—training over there can take a real toil on the body, I’ll do whatever I can to try and keep myself in tip top shape.

Med Kit

  • Band aids
  • Bunch of medication—Panadol, flu, food poisoning, the works.
  • Yoko yoko—for when I get my ass handed to me.
  • Vaseline—for cuts and minor wounds.

And that’s about it.

Other miscellaneous items include toiletries (the usual soap, shampoo, toothpaste,etc.) which don’t need much mentioning. Sunscreen, lotions, insect repellant, and maybe a good book for the flight and long train/bus rides. I intend to buy everything else that I’ll need over there, including my training gear (Gloves, Hand wraps, Mouth/Shin guards, etc.) so I’ve left some empty room in my backpack for those as well.

The trick is to get rid of that inner voice inside you that keeps asking, “Do I need this?”.
90% of the time you won’t, and on the off-chance that you do need it, you could always borrow or just buy it.

I mean, do you really need that hair dryer and curler? And for goodness sake, only wankers bring their ukuleles with them, leave that shit at home.



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