The Minimalist Packing List

PLEASE NOTE: The dress featured in this set is SOLD OUT. It was originally from

The 4 Piece Minimalista Packing List 2012

For an updated version of this packing list, please refer to the Spring 2013 6 Piece Minimalista Packing List.

This Travel Fashion Girl Minimalist Travel Packing List is inspired by Deanne Ballard, a backpacker from Canada traveling Latin America with just a day pack and 4 items of travel clothing for women. Read her story here.

How to know if the Minimalista Packing List is for you:

Use the Minimalist Packing List if you’re the type of traveler that wants the least bulk while on the go. If you want to pack ultra-light and use a carryon bag or less, this is the packing list for you. For minimalist travel, choose ultralight travel clothing for women that provides form, function, and fashion. Technical travel clothes with quick dry fabrics and convertible abilities can be useful.

To learn more about customizing TFG’s Packing Lists to meet your needs, please read this guide.

Where and when are you traveling?

This 4 piece packing list is ideal for low maintenance girls traveling in one region or areas with a warm climate. It includes the essential items every traveler needs in their travel bag and key pieces that will help you plan strategically for a minimalist travel style. You can use this for a weekend or even a long term trip if you use travel clothing with quick dry properties and plan to hand wash your clothing daily.


Hand washing is a good idea with the Minimalista Packing List because you only travel with 4 clothing items.  Long term travelers and backpackers tend to wear travel clothes for several days in between washings so you can also wait to have your laundry done.

For a minimalist packing trip with under 10 clothing items, you’ll probably be doing lots of hand washing so you might also want to get a few additional items like a universal rubber sink plug, laundry clothesline, and a few handy laundry soap sheets to make this process a breeze!

Guidelines to choose appropriate items:

As with all the lists, it is important to select clothing items that work well together and can be used interchangeably.

  • Color: One Color Story – solids, patterns within the same color story
  • Fabric: Durable, quick dry, synthetics
  • Cut: Good Fit, classic styles that match with everything
  • Style: Appropriate in various settings: Beach, Temples, Villages, Cities, Treks, etc
  • Travel Bag: 35 Liter Backpack suggested or carryon size weekender bag.

 For a complete guide to choosing your perfect wardrobe, sign up for the free Minimalista Packing Guide e-book.

4 Piece Minimalista Packing List

2 Tops + 1 Pants + 1 Dress

1. One Tank Top/Short Sleeve Top in the heat or One Long Sleeve for Cooler Climates – Synthetic fabric, quick dry, solid colors or simple prints. Classic cuts that can be worn under dress or button up shirt to match and provide extra coverage if needed

2. One Long Sleeve Button Up Shirt – Light Fabric, Synthetics, polyester, or silk blend. Able to layer over other tops and dresses as a light jacket or cover up

3. One set of pants - Travel Pants or light cargo pants are good and have multiple uses. Water Resistant properties encouraged but quick dry fabrics are important due to the minimal amount of clothing. Jeans okay on short trips or cool climates

4. One Travel Dress – Light Fabric, Solid Vibrant Color/Print or Neutral Khaki or Little Black Dress. A sun dress is idea that can be worn casually during the day and dressed up at night. Convertible dress/skirts are ideal

5. Outerwear – One Fleece/Hoodie/Cardigan and /or Water Resistant Jacket/Coat depending on weather

6. One Bathing Suit - Reversible bathing suits allow you to mix and match. Choose one that has a neutral shade on one side so it can easily double up as a bra under your tops

7. One Bra – neutral color that matches with all your tops. Read about choosing the best bras for travel.

8. One Sports Bra – if you plan on doing activities or have long bumpy transportation journeys

9. Five Pairs of Travel Underwear - quick dry, avoid 100% cotton

10. Two pairs of shoes – Depending on your activities One Pair of Flip Flops/Sandals/Flats and One Pair of Trainers/Hiking Hybrids. Read more about finding fashionable and comfortable travel shoes.

11. One belt that can be worn with pants and dress for practical style

12. Earrings and/or another jewelery item of your choice

13. Multi-use Stick (check out the Nars Multiple Stick)

14. Mascara or Eye Liner

If you want to pack light but need more than a handful of clothing items, check out the other Universal Packing Lists and to shop functional and stylish travel gear, check out the Travel Fashion Girl Shop.

To find out how you can mix and match these four pieces you can also check out our Minimalista Style-Mix for fun ideas to maximize your minimalist travel wardrobe!

Don’t forget to check out Diane Ballard’s interview - the backpacker who inspired the minimalist travel packing list! If you found this post helpful, please re-tweet and share. Thanks!

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