The Minimalist Wardrobe Project

The author is fully naked at the time of this writing.

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How much time did you spend thinking about what you’re wearing right now?

It’s a funny question— even I have trouble being totally honest —but chances are, it’s more than a few minutes a day. I think of at least three things each and every time I open up a dresser drawer:

  • Am I dressed for the weather?
  • Am I dressed for everything I’m doing?
  • Do I look fashionable/presentable?

Finding clothing that simplified this daily mental conundrum became a passion project. Mired somewhere between buzzwords like wrinkle-free, breathable, quick-drying, odor-resistant, ripstop, and travel-friendly was a single wardrobe I could use on any trip, for any occasion, anywhere in the world.

This is a travel wardrobe, a backbone for adventuring anywhere and doing anything. It’s also more than that for me; formal choices are gaps being filled so that this wardrobe can cover everything in my life, the work in between the adventures.

At the core of the Minimalist Wardrobe, there are a few goals:

1. Stay Clean

I am cutting down to the absolute bare essentials for a daily wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with ever smelling or looking grundgy. Part of minimizing what you own is sacrifice, but your cleanliness shouldn’t be on the table. Staying clean allows you to interact with other people, keeps you healthy, and keeps your clothes lasting longer.

The answer to any question about odor is that I tested extensively to make sure that the fabrics I chose are appropriately stink-free, that any clothing intended for use more than once between washings can handle it, and that everything is hand-washable every night, if you’re so inclined.

2. Stay Classy

I’m not a fashion guru, but I care about first impressions. As a professional, meeting a client or meeting a new contact requires me to look decent. I also find that, from a travel perspective, dressing well affords you leniency for things like sitting in coffeeshops to work, sitting near an outlet to charge, or being given the benefit of the doubt during something like a bag inspection or a border crossing.

When it comes to my basic items, I tried to avoid any brand logos that scream “American.” A simple black shirt, some simple pants, logo-free travel shoes and an eye for “classic” looking pieces makes most of my outfits innocuous.

If you’re a business mogul, you’ll probably need more dress clothes. If you work at a law firm, a couple of ties isn’t going to do it for you, obviously. My life, however, has me dressed business-casual; only the occasional wedding has me fully formal.

3. Travel Light

The final goal is the most important. I want to travel as light as I can for as many circumstances as I can. Extra socks, extra underwear, extra T-shirts, extra anything is eliminated. This wardrobe should be just what I need, and no more.

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Everything fits into an Arcteryx Index 10+10, which in turn fits into all my bags and acts as a second “messenger” style pack for extra storage, or a quick shopping trip while I’m traveling.

The Minimalist Wardrobe

Here’s everything I wear:

  • Two pairs of pants
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Three T-shirts, one short-sleeved and two long
  • Three dress shirts
  • Two pairs of briefs, one pair of boxers
  • Five pairs of socks
  • One Handkerchief
  • One fleece jacket
  • One winter jacket
  • One rain jacket
  • Two pairs of shoes

Additional Hiking/Biking/Adventure Clothes:

  • Two old T-shirts, long-sleeved
  • One pair compression shorts
  • One pair biking shorts
  • One pair rain pants
  • One pair rain mitts, waterproof socks
  • One flannel
  • Extra fleece
  • Puffy Jacket
  • Cycling shoes, hiking boots, water shoes
  • Sun hat, cycling hat
  • Winter gloves, hat

That’s it.

1. Pants

 

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Prana Stretch Zion pants are the best I’ve tried, no question.

I wear two pairs of pants and two pairs of shorts, rotated based on what I’m doing.

The staple of my wardrobe is definitely the Prana Stretch Zion Pants, and I wear them 90% of the time. I reviewed these pants last April, and after three more months of near-constant use, they still look new. These pants check all the boxes; for me, the subdued brown matches everything else I own perfectly. The fabric is highly abrasion-resistant, and scrambling through ice and rock on hiking trips has done nothing to scratch or tear them anywhere.

The seams are all double-sewn for durability, and the reinforced belt loops stand up to hanging an occasional nalgene while rock climbing. There’s also snaps near the bottom so you can roll them into capris when the weather gets warm. I’ve traveled weeks in these, bike toured in these, snowshoed in these, commuted, climbed, danced, and everything else.

That being said, the Prana Stretch Zion Pants aren’t dressy enough for professional engagements. I use the Aviator Chinos from Ministry of Supply when my day includes less free time, and as a rotation pair on extended trips. The Aviator Chinos aren’t quite as bombproof as the Zion’s, but they’ll definitely outlive your cotton slacks. These pants are moisture-wicking and highly breathable, and defend well against stains, spills, and unexpected weather.

I rely on the Aviator Chinos for just about everything you’d possibly expect to do in dress pants, and a bit more. As a test, my buddy Jim and I wore these for a few weeks straight through every type of activity, from bike commuting to weekend camping trips. These pants felt effortlessly comfortable through our sweatiest, dirtiest, roughest activities and washed up quick in the sink for another 24 hour gauntlet.

I especially loved these for all-night formal dances and weddings, where everyone shows up classy but ends up inebriated, flailing wildly to the hits of the 90’s and drenched in sweat. It’s nice to be the only one who’s still comfortable at the end of the night.

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My running shorts are the Mountain Hardwear Refueler Shorts, but I cut out the wicking liner with a pair of scissors to save weight. This pushes these to just a few ounces of lightweight fabric, and they’re loose enough that they never bind, no matter what contortions I’m doing. I use these as a bathing suit, exercise shorts, and pajamas on hot nights, and they dry fast enough to be cleaned in between activities in just an hour or two.

My everyday shorts are the Prana Mojo Shorts, which occasionally see double-duty as a bathing suit but are most often used for hanging around and hiking. I wouldn’t rock climb in these, as they’re a little bit more binding than I like, but they do the job for most of my adventures. They pack down small and are dry in minutes, and are durable enough that I don’t ever have to baby them.

2. Shirts

 

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For everyday shirts, I only wear Merino Wool. This isn’t your grandmother’s wool sweater; merino wool is lightweight, comfortable, and itch-free.

It’s also highly antibacterial, meaning repeated use doesn’t mean smelling like you live in a van down by the river. That’s because, unlike your cotton and polyester, merino wool comes from a living, breathing sheep that relies on its coat for moisture management, temperature regulation, and skin health. Wool fibers don’t absorb moisture, so they never feel clammy and heavy, even when soaked. I’ve gone tubing in merino wool and found it warm and comfortable when I took an unexpected dive into the rapids on the Deerfield River.

Wool also outlasts cotton if you take care of it; it won’t shred to bits in the wash after ten cycles, and it won’t break and de-thread along seams. My wool clothes last much longer than my cotton clothing used to, which justifies the high price for me.

I use the Wool & Prince Crew Neck T-shirt, the same fabric as the one I tested earlier this year. It’s perfect even in the hottest weather, including the dry heat of Las Vegas and the wet, humid Northeast summer we’re experiencing now.

For days that aren’t boiling, I use the Ibex 17.5 Nelson Long Sleeve Tee. It’s pricy, like most wool shirts, but it’s an investment. A nice, high crew-neck collar and a butter-smooth finish make this the perfect shirt for looking clean and sophisticated every day of the year. I wear black because it goes with everything, won’t stain, and dries faster in the sun.

Finally, for especially cold days, I’ve got an Ibex VT 1/2 Zip Sweater, which layers perfectly over any of my other shirts, including a button-up.

I prefer Ibex over Smartwool, since I’ve found the quality of stitching is top-notch and the wool itself is much less itchy. Your mileage may vary, but spending an extra $10-20 for one of the premium wool brands usually pays off in dividends in quality, longevity, and comfort. I will say, though; cheap Fox River wool socks seem to last a lifetime.

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For dress shirts, I need a bit of variety in case I’m working 5 days a week.

My first two shirts are simple cotton dress shirts. The white one is a Patagonia button-down I picked up used, and the other is a Polo Ralph Lauren dress shirt I got as a birthday gift. These mostly live in my closet, only coming out of hiding for internships, weddings, funerals, and dates. Not shown is a Ralph Lauren dress jacket and a pair of silk bow-ties, one grey and one red.

The plaid shirt, however, is worn on a regular basis over one of my other shirts. This is the Better Button-Down from Wool & Prince, and it’s anything but a regular button-down. Made from worsted merino wool, it’s remarkably durable and good-looking, not floppy like most wool shirts. It also never stinks; I wore one almost daily from January to April without managing to cause so much as a wrinkle. As part of a marketing campaign, the boys over at W&P wore this shirt for over 100 days straight, smashing through their Kickstarter funding and making the best travel dress shirt I’ve tested to date.

Full disclosure; I am a product tester for Wool and Prince. You can come to your own conclusions on bias, but I’m happy to endorse them!

3. The Sock Drawer

 

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“Three pairs of underwear?! You disgusting slob!” -Everyone I talk to.

In all seriousness, I’m most often rotating between just two pairs. Why would I do this? Why?!

There’s an idea ingrained in modern fashion that every individual needs to own at least 2x as many pairs of underwear as there are days between laundry cycles. In reality, hand-washing underwear can cut your number down to just two pairs. Again, here, I use merino wool for the itch-free and stink-free comfort I need when I might be sitting on a train for 72 hours. Shown are the Smartwool Briefs, but I’ve actually since switched to Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Briefs, and the two are pretty comparable.

I’ve occasionally been stuck wearing a single pair for days on end. Airport layovers and train rides can make even cleaning clothes in a sink impossible, since these take a few hours to dry. However, the odorproofing still held up, and they stayed comfortable, and I felt -dare I say it?- CLEAN when I finally got around to changing them. I’m not advocating to stop wearing clean underwear, but I don’t think it’s possible to find a better pair for the worst of what you might face.

The extra ExOfficio Boxer Brief also remain. The merino is still better at managing odor, but on the absolute hottest days, these briefs manage just a bit more comfortably. I might be fine with a wool T-shirt when it’s 101º, but that doesn’t fly downtown.

My socks are a revolving door of whatever I haven’t put holes in. Surprisingly, the winners here are the SmartWool Phd® Toe Socks, which have managed to out-live everything else, including the legendary Darn Tough socks from Vermont. That said, they’re also 40% nylon, which is more durable than pure Merino Wool, which means they need to be washed a bit more often to keep from getting stinky.

Merino wool socks definitely keep my feet healthier and happier, and none of my shoes stink. I won’t use anything else anymore.

Finally I have a pair of Ibex Woolies Long Underwear. So I’m obsessed with swaddling myself in wool, so what?! These get worn 7 months out of the year in the Northeast, from September to May. If I could wear them in the summer, I would. Ibex lasts longer than Smartwool here, which developed holes in the seat after about 300 days of wear (still, admirable).

 4. Outerwear

 

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I’m a cyclist. Outerwear matters.

For rain gear, I use the EMS Helix Anorak and some Gore-Tex 2.5 layer Rain Pants. The EMS Shell is the cheapest 3-layer Neoshell jacket I can find, which is more breathable and stretchier than Gore-Tex. It’s head and shoulders above every other rain jacket material aside from eVent, and I’ve tried most. Investing a bit more into a rain shell is the difference between getting wet after 20 minutes or staying dry after three hours.

I also use a Rab Ventus Pull-On Wind Jacket for 3-season riding. I always pick something high-visibility when it comes to my cycling gear, because not getting hit by a car matters more to me than looking cool.

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For cold weather, I use a Patagonia 1/4 Zip Fleece that they actually don’t make anymore, and an Arcteryx Atom SV Hoody that has served me well for two winters now. I always choose fleece and synthetic insulation for my outerwear because it’s warm even when it get wet. Down is superior for warmth and packability, but it’s useless and soggy if you end up caught in an unexpected snowstorm overnight.

I also have an older Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T that I use as a “campfire” fleece, since I don’t care as much about a stray ember melting a hole in it. I’d be bummed if I melted a hole in one of my nicer jackets. When the temperature gets down to -20ºF like it did last winter, I might break out all three at once.

For dressier engagements, a classic L.L. Bean Wool Jacket  in charcoal looks good and will last longer than I will. Also, wool!

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A Mountain Khakis Peaks Flannel Shirt rounds out my warmer layers, but it’s anything but a normal flannel. A blend of wool, polyester, and lycra performs like your favorite active-wear piece, like a softshell disguised as a button-down. I love this shirt for biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and traveling, because it goes day after day without wrinkling or smelling, and it’s nice and cozy. I don’t mind sweating in it because it’s quick-drying, and a bit of stretch means the shoulders won’t tear when I lean down to pick up a heavy pack.

High-quality buttons, exceptional detailing, and dashing good looks make this piece one of my favorite “finds” because it instantly replaced three or four cotton flannels I had kept as around-the-house pieces. It’s a lot easier going minimalist when the few items you do own do the job of several.

5. Shoes

 

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I own four pairs of shoes, though I probably need five.

For running and hiking, I use the Brooks PureConnect 2 Running Shoes, and I’ve probably put a couple hundred miles on them. They’re zero-drop, which is good for my ankles and calves and my mid-foot strike, but they’re also nice and cushioned to protect my joints. I love these sneakers, and I’ll get a pair just like them when they wear out.

For snowshoeing, I admit I’m not psyched to need  pair of boots in my quiver, but the Garmont Zenith Mid Hiking Boot works with a wide toe-box and durable Vibram sole. I wear them about fifteen times a year, so they should last until I die.

I converted to barefoot shoes after several foot surgeries left me with a lot of muscle that needed rebuilding, but I’m a convert now. I use the Vivobarefoot Gobi as a dress and casual shoe, since the more they wear in, the more it looks like I intended it. I’ll probably have to add another pair of dress shoes for weddings, as these are starting to look more casual than dress. Finally a pair of Vibram Fivefingers sees use as my camp shoes, water shoes, hiking shoes, travel shoes, and long-walks-in-the-city shoes. I wear these whenever my girlfriend is going to be distracted enough not to berate my absent fashion sense.

Everything Else

This stuff makes up my everyday clothing, but I do admit to having a little mesh bag with some other stuff. Gloves and a hat for winter hiking, bicycle shorts, gloves and shoes, my old pair of Vibrams for the ocean so my current ones don’t smell like an aquarium, and two old wool baselayers that got a hole or two from other hikes and tours make up the “non-minimalist” side of my wardrobe. I don’t have stacks and stacks of T-shirts, but I do have more than a single carry-on bag worth of stuff.

Point being, regulate your personal choices by what makes sense for you. I can’t restrict my lifestyle because owning more than two shirts feels heretic to the word “minimalism.”

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How It Feels To Be A Minimalist

I’ve been keeping to this wardrobe since April of this year, and I’ve addressed problems like laundry and wear-and-tear as they’ve come up. I had some ambition to keep everything matching, but as you can see from the socks, sometimes purpose outweighs aesthetics.

I definitely spend less time thinking about what I’m wearing. Waking up every day and grabbing a black shirt, my brown pants, and a pair of shoes is so unexpectedly satisfying. I have started working minimalism into my identity, too, ridding myself of worries or thoughts that revolve around material goods. I know, I know- this whole post is material. But honestly, by making one smart choice instead of fifteen mindless purchases, I find I’ve better prepared myself for daily life and removed a whole theme of consumerism from my life. I don’t buy something just because I see it in the store, I wait until my one T-shirt or pants needs replacing and then I get one specific thing. Brilliant!

Minimalism isn’t for everyone, and I don’t dare suppose to say those who own several of each item for dressing up are wrong. If anything, I’ll defend your right to look good to the death.

For me, however, I’m content with keeping that part of my life simple, and the joy in connecting with others on a parameter other than what I’m wearing is it’s own reward. As long as my first impression is classy, I’m fine with the occasional person mentioning “Didn’t you wear that yesterday?” And honestly, it happens less than you think.

My girlfriend Kelley doesn’t mind much and you bet she’d tell me if I smelled; she subconsciously shed herself of about half of her wardrobe over the last three months, so I think minimalism might be contagious. So, try it! Put your extras in storage and live minimally.

Jim, the lucky bastard, inherited most of what I used to wear.

 

9 thoughts on “The Minimalist Wardrobe Project

  1. You have the right idea, in that you are being deliberate about your choices. Having an informal lifestyle makes a minimalist wardrobe much easier, but you can go a long way with a good sweater, a button down shirt and a well made sport jacket. One trick for looking dressier for travel mixed with outdoor activities is to find polo/golf shirts that have good base layer qualities: they are really just a t-shirt with a collar. There are a number of bicycling clothing designers that are making items aimed at commuters and at least hitting the business casual mark. The old travel trick is the rule of threes: three tops and three bottoms equals nine possible combinations. That also leaves room for a one worn, one clean, one dirty rotation. I want more socks at home, but three are plenty for travel.

    Thoreau’s chapter “Economy” in “Walden” covers this well. I like the concept of “100 things,” where you get to own 100 items. I would have to temper that a bit to have tools and hiking gear, but the core principle is quite attainable. I came up with a variation of having all my possessions fitting into a one meter cube. Just doing it as an academic exercise is very illuminating and helps to separate your wants and needs. Setting a limit is the thing. Freedom is the goal: to not be owned by your possessions.

    A good concept to grasp is that you can have ANYTHING you want, but your can’t have EVERYTHING you want. If you are going to have one bowl to eat from, it can be a bowl that suits your wants and your needs, but it is just ONE bowl. It might be cut crystal for now, and if your needs change, you can give it away and buy a titanium one for travel.

    “I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt? Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man’s life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed, and one hundred acres of land, tillage, mowing, pasture, and woodlot!” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1847

    1. I love the one-meter experiment. I think I’m probably under it if I compress my sleeping bags…

      In all seriousness, there is an eeking personal metaphor here buried under gear reviews and packing tips… I’m starting to understand that freedom from the driving need to buy a new shirt because it fits, and it’s in front of me, and it goes with the pants I have at home. Minimalism is about deliberate reduction, some kind of zen in the face of chaos.

      It’s also about understanding that my budget is limited, and my life is at a turning point where my financial decisions become habits, and my habits come to define whether I live with credit card debt or whether I live with a nest egg. I choose the latter.

      I also want to write for a living, though, so consumerism insists on Amazon links on my blog posts. The things we do for freedom…

  2. Brilliant post. The Zion stretch were a great investment, I truly do love them.
    Your surgery intrigues me, Can you elaborate on that? As someone with feet problems myself (flat feet), I truly wish I could embrace the Gobi’s and Vibram 5fingers. I’ve read about the “strengthening your feet” etc and the logic is there, I’m just terrified to attempt it.

  3. The One Meter Cube concept is easy for a good portion of the residents of this planet. The real sticking points on clothing are fashion and lifestyle. If you have an informal lifestyle, you drop a whole category of clothing: suits, ties, shiny shoes, overcoat, etc are off the list. Fashion is easy for me as I like the outdoorsy look anyway, so synthetic tees, nylon pants, full zip fleece “cardigans” and rain parkas work for me and come right out of my hiking gear locker.

    Hobbies are traps for adding to you possessions and a bicycle makes a good example. “I’m going to buy a bike,” you say, which seems to be a move to a simpler lifestyle. But you may need to accessorize the bike with lights, bell, fenders, racks, bags and locks, and you need a helmet, a pump, tools and patch kit. If you jump into the rabbit hole with both feet, you add a whole other wardrobe of cycling specific gear. So our simple mode of transportation just got a little more complicated.

    Backpacking is certainly a possession trap for the unwary. Hopefully you can use most of the clothing for day to day.

    Buy a sea kayak and the accessories to make it work can nearly double the costs.

    Photographic gear? Careful there!

    Jump into woodworking or pottery and you can feel the chain wrapping about your ankle. Now those are areas where some sort of cooperative venue would be fantastic. I’ve seen cooperative pottery and glass studios. A wood working venue with monthly dues like a gym would be fantastic.

    Getting back to wardrobe, I buy 95% of my clothing and many household items from thrift stores and yard sales— 100% recycled. That does take time and effort and there are traps as the stuff is so cheap that you can easily load yourself up. I’ve done this for decades and you come to realize that this cornucopia of good cheap used merchandise isn’t going to close and you don’t have to buy every bargain you find. In terms of minimalism, it is the same mindset as buying retail and you don’t get to wiggle off the hook because it is recycled and cheap. Your closets will explode if you aren’t careful. Adopting a “one in, one out” policy is a good cure: upgrade to your content, but shed the duplicated item, selling it or donating it back into the cornucopia.

    The paradox is minimalism vs what I call hypermaterialism. Living simply and deliberately ties to educated purchasing and a careful analysis of products. Buying fewer items can allow buying better quality goods. Ultralight hiking gear is a good model for this, where every item is scrutinized for function, performance and weight. It is a “best of” approach and that is quite materialistic, but with a mind to quality, not quantity.

    It can seem curmudgeonly but there can be some joy in this. You can have what you like, just like Donovan and his shirt:

    Do you have a shirt that you really love
    One that you feel so groovy in?
    You don’t even mind if it starts to fade
    That only makes it nicer still

    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely
    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely

    Do you have some jeans that you really love
    Ones that you feel so groovy in?
    You don’t even mind if they start to fray
    That only makes them nicer still

    I love my jeans, I love my jeans
    My jeans are so comfortably lovely
    I love my jeans, I love my jeans
    My jeans are so comfortably lovely

    When I take them to the cleaners
    I can’t wait to get them home again
    Yes, I take them to the cleaners
    I’d rather wash them in a stream
    (Scrub a dub dub dub)
    I’d rather wash them in a stream
    Know what I mean

    Do you have some shoes that you really love
    Ones that you feel so flash in?
    You don’t even mind if they start to get some holes in
    That only makes them nicer still

    I love my shoes, I love my shoes
    My shoes are so comfortably lovely
    I love my jeans, I love my jeans
    My jeans are so comfortably lovely
    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    In fact I love my wardrobe

    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely
    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely…

  4. The One Meter Cube concept is easy for a good portion of the residents of this planet. The real sticking points on clothing are fashion and lifestyle. If you have an informal lifestyle, you drop a whole category of clothing: suits, ties, shiny shoes, overcoat, etc are off the list. Fashion is easy for me as I like the outdoorsy look anyway, so synthetic tees, nylon pants, full zip fleece “cardigans” and rain parkas work for me and come right out of my hiking gear locker.

    Hobbies are traps for adding to you possessions and a bicycle makes a good example. “I’m going to buy a bike,” you say, which seems to be a move to a simpler lifestyle. But you may need to accessorize the bike with lights, bell, fenders, racks, bags and locks, and you need a helmet, a pump, tools and patch kit. If you jump into the rabbit hole with both feet, you add a whole other wardrobe of cycling specific gear. So our simple mode of transportation just got a little more complicated.

    Backpacking is certainly a possession trap for the unwary. Hopefully you can use most of the clothing for day to day.

    Buy a sea kayak and the accessories to make it work can nearly double the costs.

    Photographic gear? Careful there!

    Jump into woodworking or pottery and you can feel the chain wrapping about your ankle. Now those are areas where some sort of cooperative venue would be fantastic. I’ve seen cooperative pottery and glass studios. A wood working venue with monthly dues like a gym would be fantastic.

    Getting back to wardrobe, I buy 95% of my clothing and many household items from thrift stores and yard sales— 100% recycled. That does take time and effort and there are traps as the stuff is so cheap that you can easily load yourself up. I’ve done this for decades and you come to realize that this cornucopia of good cheap used merchandise isn’t going to close and you don’t have to buy every bargain you find. In terms of minimalism, it is the same mindset as buying retail and you don’t get to wiggle off the hook because it is recycled and cheap. Your closets will explode if you aren’t careful. Adopting a “one in, one out” policy is a good cure: upgrade to your content, but shed the duplicated item, selling it or donating it back into the cornucopia.

    The paradox is minimalism vs what I call hypermaterialism. Living simply and deliberately ties to educated purchasing and a careful analysis of products. Buying fewer items can allow buying better quality goods. Ultralight hiking gear is a good model for this, where every item is scrutinized for function, performance and weight. It is a “best of” approach and that is quite materialistic, but with a mind to quality, not quantity.

    It can seem curmudgeonly but there can be some joy in this. You can have what you like, just like Donovan and his shirt:

    Do you have a shirt that you really love
    One that you feel so groovy in?
    You don’t even mind if it starts to fade
    That only makes it nicer still

    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely
    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely

    Do you have some jeans that you really love
    Ones that you feel so groovy in?
    You don’t even mind if they start to fray
    That only makes them nicer still

    I love my jeans, I love my jeans
    My jeans are so comfortably lovely
    I love my jeans, I love my jeans
    My jeans are so comfortably lovely

    When I take them to the cleaners
    I can’t wait to get them home again
    Yes, I take them to the cleaners
    I’d rather wash them in a stream
    (Scrub a dub dub dub)
    I’d rather wash them in a stream
    Know what I mean

    Do you have some shoes that you really love
    Ones that you feel so flash in?
    You don’t even mind if they start to get some holes in
    That only makes them nicer still

    I love my shoes, I love my shoes
    My shoes are so comfortably lovely
    I love my jeans, I love my jeans
    My jeans are so comfortably lovely
    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    In fact I love my wardrobe

    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely
    I love my shirt, I love my shirt
    My shirt is so comfortably lovely…

  5. Hey, great call on the Arc’teryx Index 10+10! I’m a one-bag traveler, and I’ve been carrying all my clothes in a pair of Eagle Creek folders for the past half year. They’re okay, but it’s hard to get them to compress well, and there’s always empty space around the folders since they form kind of a trapezoid shape when closed. I’d never heard of the Arc’teryx Index before seeing your article, but the price wasn’t your typical Arc’teryx price and there happened to be a store near me, so I decided to see if they had one. Turns out they did! My clothes fit perfectly, the zippers help compress it down really easily, and I get a nice carrying bag out of it to boot. Assuming the construction is sturdy, I think it’s definitely a keeper.

  6. Hey there,

    Great article, I’ve been working towards a similar setup for a while and just stumbled upon this to reinforce that I’m headed the right direction!

    Question though… what do you use for rainy-weather footwear? For both casual and outdoor biking/hiking.

    1. I wear boots if it’s a quick commute or something. In really bad weather, I wear my cycling shoes with Outdoor Research Snowshoe gaiters, which cover the shoe in a neoprene bootie. I’ll be doing a full winter commuting gear post this weekend, so keep your eyes peeled… and thanks for visiting.

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