The Perfect Minimalist Backpack to Travel Lightly

Inside: Here you’ll find my favorite minimalist backpack for traveling lightly. *This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience at no additional cost to you.

minimalist backpack

He who would travel happily, must travel light. – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Traveling is a big part of my life. Day trips, weekend getaways and grand adventures, I love them all. I mean who doesn’t?

Oh that’s right, my husband, that’s who. That man, God bless him, would be perfectly content never leaving the state of Michigan except for maybe a visit to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico during those midwestern polar vortexes. Now, in his defense we do live in a pretty incredible state. But the world is big, beautiful, and delicious. I feel a personal responsibility to honor the innovation of people like the Wright Brothers and see as much of it as humanly possible. It’s really the least I can I do. 

Minimalist Travel

While I’ve always loved to travel, the one thing that has changed in recent years is the quantity of stuff I tow along with me. I used to try and take everything with me, scrambling to reach, yet not exceed that maximum weight limit for each of my bags. I used to think taking lots of stuff along with me would make for a more relaxing vacation.

Becoming a minimalist changed all that.

minimalist backpack
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We decluttered our home, our schedules and our oversized suitcases. Traveling lightly with a minimalist backpack has since become my most favorite way to experience the world.

It Takes Practice

In early 2017, we took our first trip with just backpacks and prepping for it was all kinds of stressful. Dwindling down to just the essentials was hard, awkward and nerve wracking work. Especially since we were in the habit of doing just the opposite. I mean, in 2014 I took six pairs of shoes on a six day trip to Paris. Six!

That first minimalist trip turned out to be pretty great. We forgot some things, learned some things, but most importantly, we realized traveling minimally was 100% for us.

We’ve come a long way since that first trip. After a lot of practice, patience, and research, we decided to upgrade our backpacks to better fit our travel needs.

NOTE: If you have never taken a trip with just a backpack I would suggest you practice doing that prior to investing in this more quality minimalist backpack. I spent over two years practicing with just a simple Swiss Army backpack I picked up at T.J.Maxx. You can’t purchase your way to simplicity. You must start by eliminating the excess first. 

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, l’d like to introduce you to my perfect minimalist backpack…and new best friend.

My Favorite Minimalist Backpack for Traveling Simply

The Osprey Fairvew 40

minimalist backpack
View from our hotel room this summer at the Hotel Hostallilo in Tamariu, Spain.

Isn’t she just adorable?

There are just so many things to love about her! First, she’s large enough to comfortably hold all of my essentials. I hate an overstuffed backpack. Yet she’s small enough to qualify for carry on status. The Osprey Fairview 40 fits comfortably in airplane overhead compartments.

Keep in mind, while we do enjoy day hikes, we are not traveling for weeks at a time through the Appalachian Mountains or anything. I’m typically backpacking my way from one hotel to another. Carry on capability was my number one goal when selecting a pack. This backpack is perfect for travel such as this and perhaps smaller camping trips.

The Osprey Fairview 40 comes in two different size options. Extra small/Small or Small/Medium. This is the smaller of the two which technically makes it a 38L. I bought mine at Moosejaw in my home town, so I was able to try on a variety of packs to make sure I bought the best one for me. The color is technically called Misty Grey, but I’d consider it more of an olive green.

I’m all about them straps

Whether it’s eight days in Europe or one night in Sandusky, Ohio, this minimalist backpack adjusts nicely. Those straps on the back allow you to cinch it down for even more simplified travel or loosen it up for longer trips.

The other straps that make my heart, as well as my back, happy are these ones here located on the top of the pack. They help keep the backpack as close as possible to my body. When tightened, the pack instantly feels lighter.

minimalist backpack

The straps around the waist are helpful as well. When they aren’t needed I simply tuck them behind my back, but they help to redistribute the weight of the pack when walking longer distances or standing in line for a rental car or at customs.

minimalist backpack

The number one reason I was ready to upgrade my pack was because I was tired of digging through to the bottom of my backpack searching for small items. This pack functions much like a suitcase as it unzips all of the way making it easy to access everything.

minimalist backpack

My Husband’s Minimalist Backpack

Osprey Porter 46

My husband Paul went with the Osprey Porter 46. While this pack is larger, he has had no trouble using it as a carry on. It also fits easily into the overhead compartment.

minimalist backpack
The only way I was going to snap a photo of him with his new pack was to lag behind him in the airport parking lot. For some reason he isn’t keen on becoming one of the #husbandsofinstagram.

His pack has all of the same straps as mine except his waist straps can be tucked inside the backpack when not in use. The Porter 46 also unzips all of the way and has the same shoulder straps as my Fairview 40. It’s just larger and has a few extra pockets.

If you’re committed to minimalist travel and in need of a new backpack, I’d highly recommend the Fairview 40 or the Porter 46.

Travel with less, and experience more.

For More Travel Related Posts Read:

6 Convincing Reasons to Travel Like a Minimalist

8 Easy Steps to Pack Like a Minimalist

8 Easy Tips to Simplify Traveling With Kids

Why The Best Bucket List is the One You Never Make


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2 thoughts on “The Perfect Minimalist Backpack to Travel Lightly

  1. I have the Osprey Porter too! I love it. It opens up widely to put everything in. I carried it for a month around Europe. Great quality backpack.

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