Minimalist Gear

iPhone not shown in photo above.

Everyone loves a good gear post and as I find myself waiting patiently for the Rapid Express to Takenami station (武並) I thought I’d break down what I’m carrying with me on my Nakasendō walk from Takenami to Mitake (御嵩町) today.

I hate clutter at home and that extends to hikes, walks, and bike rides too so like a lot of like-minded outdoor lovers I’ve been trying to cut down gear to the bare minimum, with one or two exceptions. This morning I think I’ve found a sweet spot, for now at least.

Here is a run down of everything I am carrying right now. Non-affiliated links included for most items.


An iPhone XR. This isn’t a phone to me as I rarely use it as such. It’s a mini-computer that I use to check maps, weather, train times, messages from family, and more. It’s also what I use to log GPS locations for all of the photos taken using the Panasonic Image Sync app. I also use it for music when on the train (never when actually walking), and also for writing impromptu posts like this one while I wait for the train. If I didn’t own this XR I’d get an iPhone Mini.

Bowers and Wilkins P14 earphones for the train journey. I also have a pair of Power Beats Pro that I use but the case is too clunky for today’s walk.

Panasonic LUMIX S5 and a Panasonic 50mm f1.8 with two spare batteries and memory cards – I adore this camera. It’s perfect. If I wasn’t a camera snob I’d use the iPhone but I still don’t believe the hype about iPhone cameras. I enjoy picking a lens, choosing my own aperture, shutter speed etc, and using a larger sensor. I occasionally bring my Leica M6 along too but those days are rare. I pick between one of three lenses before leaving the house – Panasonic 50mm f1.8, Panasonic 24-105 f4, Sigma 35mm f2.

Peak Design Slide camera strap – I often switch between their main camera strap, the Cuff wrist strap, or the Clip system they have depending on what I’m doing.

Garmin Instinct – Used to navigate and clock calories etc. I used to wear this daily but have stopped now because it gives me a skin rash which is unfortunate so I only wear it for outdoor activities.


Salomon trail running Sensibelt with water bottle. This is the biggie today. Can I get away with carrying this instead of a backpack or shoulder back? So far the answer seems to be, absolutely! But that’s because the weather is nice.

Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 5 – This is looped onto the Salomon Sensibelt and has my camera batteries, memory cards, wallet, and wind breaker in it.


Cumulus Windy Wendy Jacket – A ridiculously light wind breaker that I take everywhere. It’s so small it’s foolish not to take it.

Ciele visor – in the last couple of years I’ve been relying more and more on trail running gear and this visor is superb at keeping the sun out of my eyes and absorbing all the sweat I produce. But the first thing I did after buying it was peel off the awful logo.

DHB merino long sleeved base layer.

Smart Wool merino boxers.

Salomon Wayfarer hiking trousers and Sense t-shirt (discontinued it seems?). 

Salomon Sonic 4 running shoes. 

A mask for the train and indoor spaces. Welcome to Japan. I’ll be damned if I wear one outdoors now. 

Prescription sunglasses from Zoff. Life changing. I used to wear contact lenses but these are far better. 

C3 Fit paper fibre fingered (toed?!) socks. These are great for hiking, running, and walking. I swear they give you more balance and help you connect with the terrain more although I my mind may be playing tricks on me.

Food & Drink

LMNT sports drink. These are pricy but by far the best sports drink I’ve ever used. Some funky flavours too.

No food. I never bring food along on these walks and since autumn 2020 I’ve been doing the 16/8 diet and skipping breakfast. If I really need food there’s always a place nearby to fuel up.


Sunscreen. A tiny bottle of Sunplay Super Block SPF50+ PA++++ which I doubt is very good for your skin. I stay mostly covered up though so use it sparingly.

Wallet with ¥20,000 cash, and all the usual cards. There’s an Apple Air Tag in it as well.

That’s all. Are there any things you’d recommend I add?

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