Hi, I'm Jeremy!
I’m all about making things from scratch, either with my hands or on the internet. I recently dropped out of Cal Poly to build physical products used by thousands of people in nearly a hundred countries and digital projects used by probably fewer people.
Lately I've been hooked on minimalism and travel, which I take to the extreme by carrying everything I own (wip) in my backpack every day for the ability to catch a flight at any moment. I’m also interested in space, XR, quantified health, and building the next decade’s tech now. I currently live in NYC, working on a health biz I kickstarter'd in 2016. Let’s grab ☕️?
Everything I own
things owned: 36 • bag size: 10x6x17in • bag weight: 15.8lbs • countries visited: 20 • flights flown: 38
• Macbook Pro 13" 2014
• Magsafe charger
• EU adapter
• iPhone 7
• Backup phones
• Lightning charger
• 12W power adapter
• Apple Watch gen0
• 0.3M USB charger
• iPad Air 2
• Snapchat Spectacles
• Charging cable
• Seagate 2TB hard drive
• Charging cable
• RAVPower power bank
• Micro USB charger
I view onebagging as the absolute form of freedom. Minimalism is all about simplifying your life and removing distractions, and when it reaches the point where you can fit everything you own in a backpack it eliminates a lot of friction you never knew existed.
everything I own (EWR 2/28/18)
I don't think the onebag minimalist lifestyle is for everyone, but I do think that minimalism – the idea of downsizing to just the things you need – is something anyone can do. It just happens that for me those things are few enough that they can fit inside a laptop backpack.
The goal of minimalism is to own only the essentials, and when you own just a few things you find it's important for those things to be high quality. So while I live cheaply I tend to always go for the best when it comes to my possessions. However I also still have a lot to improve, since I'm self-employed and tend to not have much disposable income to spend upgrading my stuff.
I do sometimes buy amenities when I'm in a location for a while (a sheet for a bed, a frying pan for a kitchen, etc), but whenever I do I treat that purchase as something for the sublease or wherever I'm staying rather than for myself. I can define those types of purchases by just thinking "when I leave will I want to take it" and if the answer's "no" then I don't include it on this list.
Why I onebag
Because of massive improvements in compact tech in the past couple years, becoming a backpack minimalist is now insanely easy. Doing this five years ago would have been impossible, but now that we have drones that fold to the size of a fist, laptops as thin as smartphones and heavy jackets that fold into their own pockets, I'm honestly surprised there aren't more people like me.
There are quite a few people who onebag (the r/onebag subreddit has over 30k subscribers), but from what I can tell I am one of the very few who continue the lifestyle even when not traveling. I have no idea why it suits me better than other people, but ever since I made the transition into this lifestyle starting two years ago I've been confident in saying I plan to continue it for a while (likely the next 2-3 years).
🎒 still need to take one of those 'everything i own spread out on the floor' pics
Some perks of carrying everything you own in your backpack include always having everything you need with you, not being able to waste money shopping, and being able to travel at any given moment (literally if you feel like visiting another country all you need to do is call an uber to the airport).
My favorite part about living out of a backpack though is probably the fact that when you can travel without the burden of luggage, you no longer become a tourist and can actually stay in a location like you're a local. When I travel I never view myself as a tourist, since from all appearances and actions I seem like somebody who lives in that location. This alone makes onebagging worth it.
I have a few packing hacks that make living out of a backpack simple. The goal is to make living this compact even easier than a 'normal' standard of living. Personally, I like to think my backpack is so well packed that it's the real life equivalent of the infinite-capacity bag trope from Harry Potter and other films – when someone asks if I have something and I pull it out of my bag it sometimes feel like magic.
My favorite (and least known) hack is the process of rolling a day's worth of clothes into single rolls. While technically this method doesn't take less space than alternate methods like folding or using packing cubes, it makes everything more convenient. I've been doing it for over a year and I couldn't imagine going back to another form of clothing storage.
To pack a day pack, simple fold a shirt in half, place your underwear at the top and a pair of socks on top of that, and roll. The socks should form the center of the cylinder and the shirt is the outside. By rolling instead of folding, creases don't form and it's much easier to reorganize clothes inside your bag. It's usually best to roll your clothes after finishing a load of laundry and you can keep each roll together using a rubber band.
This method of packing simplifies your clothes-related needs, since whenever you need a change of clothes – such as when jumping into the shower in the morning – all you need to do is grab a roll.
Another hack is to mentally track how often and when you use items, and to organize your backpack accordingly. For instance while traveling in Southeast Asia it's handy to keep an umbrella or raincoat at the top of your bag, but when you visit Africa you can hide them at the bottom. Same for jackets and charging adapters. And of course, I optimize it all for minimal friction while going through airport security.
This page lists everything I own, plus my thoughts on each item and things I like or dislike. Writing this took a surprising amount of time – even though I've been onebagging for a while I realized I've never really taken any photos or notes of my experience. Wish I had some pics of my backpack in cool places to attach. I guess that goes to show onebagging really is an integrated part of my lifestyle.
I added a few affiliate links on this page, but I'm confident in saying that I am unbiased. If I received something for free I will always disclose it, and I will always try to link to the cheapest site. I abhor guides that only recommend products that give high commissions *cough* wirecutter *cough*
Things I got rid of recently: REI sleeping bag (never used it), Bose QC25 headphones (Airpods are better), metal water bottle (switched to disposable ones)
Things I plan to buy: Mavic Air (obviously), FLIR ONE (useful gadget), Celluon PicoBit (best pico projector), Moment lens + case (once I get an iPhone X), Apple Airpower Pad (seems handy)
Timbuk2 Division backpack
What I need out of a backpack: light, durable, waterproof, easy to access and small enough to fit under an airplane seat. My ideal backpack would also have an aesthetically-pleasing design that stands out, but not in a way that paints the backpack as high value when traveling through poor countries. And of course it would have to be comfortable enough to accommodate my lifestyle of walking 10-20 miles a day, sometimes even jogging with it. And lastly it would be small enough that I wouldn't need a daypack and can be classified as a 'personal item' rather than 'carryon' while flying budget airlines.
I've gone through dozens of backpacks, including many of Timbuk2's bags, and the Division is the closest I've been able to find to the perfect backpack (most other bags fail at some of the simpler stuff, like being waterproof or not hurting my back after walking between two countries). Since the main compartment unzips all the way to the bottom it's as easy to live out of as a suitcase, but functionally it's still a laptop backpack. I modified my bag by cutting away the elastic webbing on the inside to make it even easier to access. I also tossed the waist strap since I never use it. timbuk2.com, amazon.com
With my mods, the Timbuk2 Division is an amazing backpack. However, it's still not completely perfect so eventually I plan to make a custom backpack. Been planning to for a while; the idea is to integrate tech in a way that works frictionlessly with my lifestyle. My perfect bag would likely include a solar panel, battery pack, charging ports on shoulder straps and a lot more. Planning to attempt the build soon.
Macbook Pro 13"
My 13” mid-2014 Macbook Pro is definitely an overall solid, reliable laptop, but at 3.5lbs it weighs almost 50% more than today's Macbooks so I'm looking to replace it with a newer model soon. A lot of other nomads switch to Windows laptops since they tend to be lighter, but I'm too committed to Apple's ecosystem to back out now. apple.com
In addition to my main iPhone 7, I also carry a backup iPhone 6 and iPhone 5. I do this partly in case one gets lost or stolen, but also because sometimes it's better to keep one locked to a primary phone number and switch SIMs in the other. The best travel SIM varies, I used to use T-Mobile’s One Plus biz plan ($95/mo for *unlimited* LTE data in 70+ countries), but last year it was downgraded to 256kb/ps so it's no longer the best. apple.com
Some apps worth checking out: Croissant (coworking, trial link), Tunnelbear (VPN), Spacious (coworking), Mealpal (food), MoviePass (free movies), Workfrom (workplace finder), Cafe Wifi (cafe finder), Breather (workplace rentals, $45 credit), and Gyroscope (quantified health tracker).
After wearing my watch for over 25,000 hours (3 years x 23.5 hours a day), it's become as much of a necessity as my phone. I find it particularly useful for activity tracking while traveling, but also for controlling my Airpods, checking the weather, and 'Hey Siri' (which I use dozens of times a day), among other uses. Though I do sometimes dislike how shiny and expensive it looks, I'll usually take it off when traveling in third world countries.
I almost always wear the watch with Apple's rubber sports band, since it looks good in so many situations and never needs to be changed. I modified mine by hole-punching the band to improve air circulation between the watch and my wrist, sort of like a DIY Nike band. I also carry a spare leather band and metal link band in my tech kit, just in case I feel like dressing up for an event. apple.com
iPad Air 2
I use my iPad often for art, usually using either Procreate (for drawing and painting) or Paper (for sketching and storyboarding). Since I have an iPad Air 2 I have to settle with using a capacitive bluetooth stylus which I carry in my art kit, but it's not ideal so I'm looking forward to eventually upgrading to an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. apple.com
Another use case for the iPad is as a second screen to my Macbook, using a Mountie to hold it in place. Most of the time I use Airdrop, Continuity and Apple's Files app to work between the two, but I sometimes plug the iPad in and use Duet to sync the two screens for a full dual screen setup.
I've gone through many wallets over the past few years and each iteration just gets more minimalist. My current wallet is simply a rubber band around a few cards and a tracking device. I'll usually also stick a bit of cash in it too plus any temporary memberships (gym/wework/etc).
The cards I carry currently include my debit and credit cards (Wells Fargo for personal banking and Chase for business banking), my MoviePass card, my NYC MetroCard, and my Aspiration debit card (I totally recommend it for travelers – it refunds all fees including international ATM fees). Keep in mind all my cards and banks are American, since I will always have a home base in the US.
Easily the best tech purchase I made in 2017. Airpods are magical for traveling, assuming you don't have a tendency to lose small objects or need noise cancellation for flights. Personally they check every box I want in a pair of headphones and I couldn't imagine a better product. apple.com
Snap Specs' absolute best use case is for travelers, since it makes recording an adventure happen seamlessly without forcing you to miss an experience in a way that taking out your phone does. Looking back over the past year of footage filmed from my eyes, I'm glad I wore my Specs every day (I customized my Specs to make them look like normal sunglasses since it was difficult to wear them in public when they had that ridiculous default frame). Storing hundreds of hours of my POV is a lot like that Black Mirror episode though... spectacles.com
Ten One Design Mountie
I've been using Ten One Design's Mounties for over five years for attaching my iPad to my Macbook and using it as a second screen. I'd like to think it makes me more productive, but I'm pretty sure I use the second screen for streaming movies like 80% of the time. Can also be combined with a lightning cable and Duet for full dual-screening capabilities. Recommend this product 100% for anyone who travels and carries both a laptop and tablet. tenonedesign.com, amazon.com
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB hard drive
I used to carry a WD wireless 1TB hard drive, but I realized I never used the wireless connection so I recently upgraded to a Seagate 2TB drive, which actually cost less on Amazon than what I sold my 1TB hard drive for on eBay. This new drive seems perfect, the only reason I'd upgrade from this is if I decide I want USB-C compatibility, in which case I'd probably get the 2TB LaCie drive. amazon.com
RAVPower 26,800mAH battery
After going through dozens of different batteries over several years, RAVPower became my favorite brand because they make really compact high-capacity batteries that don't weigh very much. The 26,800mAH model holds about a dozen iPhone charges. Ideally I would go bigger in terms of capacity, but this is the biggest some airlines will allow on board. amazon.com
Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket
Love this jacket. Compresses to the size of a fist and is 100% waterproof. As a rule of thumb this company makes the best travel clothing. My only dislike is that the hood can't be tightened, which makes running in the rain very difficult since it's impossible to keep the hood on my head. I also notice I rarely use it since I prefer using an umbrella over putting on a raincoat, so it's edging towards being something I plan to get rid of. outdoorresearch.com, amazon.com
Outdoor Research Transcendent down jacket
I tested several jackets before deciding on Outdoor Research's jacket. I was considering the Montbell Plasma 1000 since it's slightly better quality, but it doesn't have pockets and for me that's a dealbreaker. The OR Transcendent jacket is compressible enough to fold into its pocket and disappear in the bottom of your bag, while the 650 fillpower means it's also warm enough to allow you to travel anywhere in the world short of Antarctica, when worn in addition to a hoodie. outdoorresearch.com, amazon.com
A generic startup swag hoodie – my current one reps The Hustle newsletter which is neat since I've had people recognize it around the world. After a year of travel it's starting to fall apart though. I wear my hoodie almost every day and sleep in it at least once a week, so hopefully I'll eventually find a more durable replacement. Ideally I'd find a water-resistant hoodie to replace it with, since that would allow me to get rid of my rain jacket and minimize even further.
Most of my 6 t-shirts are startup swag shirts. My strategy is to keep the highest-quality ones from the hundreds that get sent my way from VC-funded startups and toss/donate the rest. Virtually all of them ended up being American Apparel 50/50 material shirts, since they’re super comfortable and great for cold weather, but also really thin and packable.
I plan to eventually take the Zuckerberg approach and buy six of one color shirt to simplify my wardrobe even further. I'll almost certainly buy merino wool shirts. It's just hard to decide on a color though...
Levi's 511 Slim Fit jeans. Nothing fancy. Been wearing these pants for a while and love how durable they are. I also wear a cheap blue belt, which I'm sure any well-dressed person would describe as one of the worst-looking belts in existence, but I love belts with metal weight-clasps since they can be used for other purposes, such as projects that involves tightening stuff together. amazon.com
Just a $10 pair of Amazon sweatpants. It was a pretty good purchase for ten bucks (for me it was actually a profitable purchase since Amazon f'ed up the delivery so they refunded it and + gave me credit). The pants are comfy and provide decent protection in subzero weather. I'll probably try to upgrade them to a higher quality pair of pants at some point soon though, since they're not very compact and the cheap material is starting to become rougher each laundry cycle I put it through. amazon.com
Darn Tough merino wool socks. Undebatably the best socks for literally anything, they're comfy, stay clean, wash quickly, work in warm AND cold weather, and are so durable that if they break Darn Tough will ship you a brand new pair. Before getting them I found it difficult to justify spending $15-20 on a single pair of socks, but it was easily one of my best clothing purchase decisions ever. amazon.com
I wear Uniqlo Airism boxer briefs, which are rated as one of the best boxers on virtually every travel review site for good reason since they're both durable and comfortable. They're also the only clothing product I've purchased in a physical retail store in quite a few years. uniqlo.com.
I love Allbirds, but I absolutely do not recommend them as travel shoes. They're built to be worn indoors by Silicon Valley startup folk who have never gone outside, so on the feet of someone like me who walks 20k steps on a slow day they fall apart in a week. They also soak up rain like a sponge. I am definitely not the target user of these shoes. They are super comfortable though. allbirds.com
I keep a Buff headscarf in my down jacket's breast pocket for whenever it's cold enough to warrant a face mask. I used carry a handkerchief but I recently replaced it. amazon.com
Since I don't care very much about my appearance, my toiletry kit is extremely simple. I used to carry almost twice as many items, but I quickly realized I almost never used things like conditioner, mouthwash or my comb and got rid of them. I currently store all the items spread out in various pockets in my bag but I'll probably eventually get a pouch to keep everything together.
I use a Quip electric toothbrush, my favorite brand since their products both work and look awesome. I pair it with generic travel sized convenience store toothpaste and Glide dental floss (might need to find a replacement though since I've confused my floss with my Airpods a few times). My razor is usually a Dollar Shave Club razor with a couple replacement blades and shaving cream.
PackTowl is the go-to brand for travelers since they're absorbent, dry fast, and pack small. It can be pretty difficult to make the switch from a normal towel, but once you adapt it's worth it (for me it was easy but for most people looking to onebag I'd imagine this would be one of the biggest hurdles – many people don't make the switch and just stay in places that provide towels). packtowl.com
A cheap $15 6.8" compact travel umbrella from ShedRain, sold only at Target. Surprisingly this umbrella is the smallest I've found of the literal dozens I've tried, even out of the more expensive ones (~1.5" diameter compared to the average 2.5"). It's not automatic though, and has relatively small coverage (I think 32"), which I don't mind but other people might. target.com
I carry a small collection of art tools for when I feel like being creative. I currently store everything but the notebook in a metal pencil box I purchased from an art supply store.
I use a Moleskin notebook, my favorite sketchbook since it's durable and looks awesome. I write and draw in it using a .05mm Staedtler ink pen, my favorite pen for the past decade. I also draw with an artists' HB Pencil, a 4B (soft) pencil, a Prismacolor blue marker, a Staedtler plastic pencil eraser and a simple pencil sharpener. For my iPad, I've been using Ten One Design's Pogo Connect 2 ever since I got my first iPad four years ago. Back then it was incredible, but now that I've gotten used to more-precise products like Wacom Cintiqs and the Apple Pencil it's a pretty crappy stylus by comparison.
Misc personal items
My two (US and CA) passports and some miscellaneous personal and biz documents.
I recently tossed my full-size bendy iPhone tripod for a more compact replacement, since I rarely had a use for the flexible legs and I figured I'd probably use a tripod more often if I could carry it in my pocket instead of in my backpack. The JOBY Griptight ONE was the obvious choice since it's insanely small and can actually fit inside that mini pocket all Levi's jeans seem to have. amazon.com
My goal is to be prepared for anything – if there's a medical problem I want to have a magic fix for it in my bag. It's also useful since a lot of my adventures tend to be dangerous, and I don’t always travel alone so it's nice to be able to help a friend if they need something. The medkit I carry is pretty basic though.
Every medkit should contain Ibuprofen or Advil, in my case the former purchased from Walgreens for $5 for 50 tablets. Since the plastic containers they come in are always bulky and terrible for traveling I empty the tablets into a little 2x3in plastic pouch that lays flat. For some drugs it’s useful to keep the product label so airport security doesn’t confiscate it, but I think Advil/Ibuprofen is an exception and I’ve never had any problems traveling with an unlabeled pouch.
My medkit also contains ~50 bandaids, a few gauze bandages, a few elastic bandages, a roll of medical tape, a few pairs of disposable latex gloves, a dozen cotton swabs, a dozen antiseptic wipes, a dozen alcohol swabs, a few gauze pads, condoms, tweezers, fungicidal cream, and first aid cream.
I plan to add more disaster-scenario medical supplies to this list eventually, including water purification tablets, insect protection, and maybe some more wound treatment materials.
I still have a lot to improve on before I achieve perfect onebag minimalist status. To get there I need to focus more on my bank account so I can afford all the upgrades I want (my wishlist totals about $12k), so if you want to buy my products like Carbonshade or Disrupt Cards please do since every dollar I make brings me a little bit closer to perfection :)
Still deciding whether I'll keep updating this page with future changes or have this page be a blog post and create a new post later. I'll figure that out some other time. Right now this site is built with Carrd so I'll probably have to rebuild it if I decide I want to turn this into a blog.
Tweet at me @jeremymaluf if you have any feedback!
My to-do list
This has been an ongoing list for several years, and I plan to keep adding items as I think of them.
• speak mandarin
• speak french
• speak japanese
• do a backflip
• learn how to bartend
• master lucid dreaming
• play the piano
• learn quantum physics
• visit all 7 continents
• visit every country in the world
• visit every US state
• travel 100k miles in a month
• fly private between us & eu/asia
• hike the pacific crest trail
• barefoot run the kalalau trail
walk between two countries
• dive off a 50ft cliff
spontaneously book flight at airport
• book first flight out at airport
• run a marathon
• run 100 miles in a month
• run 100 miles in a week
• run 100 miles in a day (ultra)
100 pushups every day for a month
• 200 pushups every day for a month
100 pushups in one set
• 200 pushups in one set
• work out every day for a month
• touch toes with palm
• bench own weight
build a startup
run a kickstarter campaign
make $100k self-employed
• make $1m self-employed
• have $100k in bank account
• have $1m in bank account
• do something related to space
• do something related to XR
wake up at 6am everyday for a month
• wake up at 5am everyday for a month
• read 1 book a day for a month
live in san francisco
live in new york city
• own 10,000+ sq/ft in new york city
• own a fully stocked bar
• get 1m followers on a social platform
• have lunch w/ elon musk
• get a skydiving license
• base jump off a skyscraper
• break a world record
• break out of the simulation