I’ve been variably using this ultralight clothing packing minimalist hack for as long as I’ve been a nomad and it’s served me well.
“Modern vagabonding is like a professional trade that requires a specific system of equipment for the nomadic lifestyle of indefinite world travel. As such, there are tools for the trade and ways to carry them.” -Edwin Way Teale
The ‘Rule of 3’ Nomadic Packing Hack is a simple method of travel packing of clothing for a minimum of 3 days to as long as 3 months. But if you can pack for 3 months, then you’re essentially packing for an indefinite amount of time.
So to be clear, with 3 days worth of clothing, you can in many cases, use that for 3 months and beyond.
It’s not called the ‘Rule of 3’ because of that, but because of the amount of clothing that’s supposed to be packed. And that is 3 pieces / sets of all apparel and underwear.
For example, my clothing packing list follows this strictly: 3 t-shirts, 3 long sleeve tops, 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of briefs and 3 pairs of pants (1 being shorts).
Plus or minus 1 from any of that, I’ve been living a life on the road and all around the world since 2012. This doesn’t mean I’ve had all of the same clothing since, quite the contrary. I switch them out or replace them as frequently as needed, especially the socks.
This is a very minimalistic approach to nomadic packing but it works perfectly and the rewards of being ultralight goes a long way. But it takes work.
So what about cleanliness and laundry with such little clothing? Even as a globetrotter, I like to stick around South East Asian countries. This means hot as fuck weather all year long. This also means I’m sweating buckets all the time. But I keep my shit fresh and clean.
I achieve this through itemized laundry, not bulk. Meaning I don’t wait to have a full load of dirty clothing to do laundry.
Check out this post for more details.
If you’ve served in the military or have a good deal of experience in trekking, the ‘Rule of 3’ Vagabond Clothing Packing Hack should come naturally. For everyone else, it should be just as effective with a bit of testing and experimenting.
Now you can always have something fresh to wear without lugging a loadout full of unnecessary clothing.