From a brief appearance on Netflix to $1.1 million in crowdfunding, this 'ultimate travel bag' has become a favorite item of the world's most famous minimalists
- The Pakt One travel bag made a brief appearance in the popular Netflix doc "Minimalism."
- At first only 300 bags were made by Malcolm Fontier, a designer, entrepreneur, and environmentalist.
- After Netflix, Fontier teamed up with The Minimalists, and together they put the bag on Indiegogo, where it has raised over $1.1 million.
Every once in a while a product comes along that really catches my attention. In this case it's a bag, but not just any bag. It's a travel bag that has been featured in a popular Netflix documentary, been praised by the world's best-known minimalists, and raised over $1.1 million on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
The Pakt One, a durable and lightweight travel bag, is a collaboration between Malcolm Fontier, a designer, entrepreneur, and environmentalist, and The Minimalists, who, if you're not familiar with, are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Millburn and Nicodemus host the popular "Minimalists" podcast and star in the Netflix hit "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things."
They call the Pakt One "the ultimate travel bag for those who know the benefits of traveling light and avoiding airline headaches" - combining "the casual versatility of a duffel with the organization of a suitcase." It's going for $235 right now on Indiegogo, but once that campaign ends, in a day or two, it'll go up to $300.
More and more, whenever I travel these days - and no matter for how long - I try to limit myself to a single carry-on, so the Pakt appealed to me instantly. I recently got hold of a Pakt and used it on a weeklong trip down South, and if that trip was any indication, the Pakt could become my go-to for travel for years to come. It's simple, light, and clean looking, and it does pack a lot. I also like that it has no exterior logos but lots of pockets and storage, all thoughtfully designed to make packing and finding my stuff easy.
Like some others, I first noticed the bag while I was watching Millburn and Nicodemus' Netflix hit, which introduced me to the idea of modern minimalist living and, among other things, challenged me to reconsider all the things I own and whether I find real value in owning them. Now, I don't travel nearly as much as Millburn, but as someone who values travel and tries to take a handful of trips a year, I'm always on the lookout for anything that could improve the experience. And the Pakt bag looked as if it might check those boxes. It also makes for a nice weekend-away or even overnight bag.
For the past decade or so, I've used one of those rolling travel cases, and it's served me OK but has always felt clunky in certain situations - down cobblestoned streets, in and out of Ubers, or up and down stairs in busy train stations. And, frankly, it's bigger than I really ever need. The Pakt is a good bit smaller (specs here), thankfully, and as an all-around bag it serves as a duffel, shoulder bag, messenger bag, and suitcase all in one. (But if you are looking for a proper backpack, this just isn't your bag.)
And yes, there is obviously something of a paradox about getting excited about a possession that I discovered while watching a documentary about giving up possessions. But it actually makes some sense, because one of the tenets of minimalism, as I see it, is valuing experiences over possessions. So if you value travel, and all the things it brings, it's better to invest in an exceptional bag versus, say, a new smartphone. At the same time, The Minimalists have been clear about saying that most people will probably not need this bag and definitely shouldn't buy it if they can't afford it.
As for me, I had at one point about a dozen different bags hanging in my closet, most of which I've now sold or donated. Each did one or two things well, but none checked all the boxes. Over the next several months I'm going to see whether the Pakt One can step up to the task, and I'll report back.
Here are some more details I really liked about the Pakt bag: