Around The World World Packing List

by | Jul 27, 2016 | 0 comments

More people ask about my around the world packing list than anything else. Here’s what I’m carrying for a year around the world.

[UPDATES] These are updates after 14 months on the road (October 2017)

 

Packs

I and many others will tell you to buy the smallest pack you can manage. Everyone is different so this means different things to different people. Personally, I use a 46L main pack and an 18L daypack. It’s nice to be able to leave your main pack at your base camp and head out for the day with just a day pack. However, it’s much easier to be on the move with just one bag so when moving from spot to spot I make sure I have enough room in my main pack to fit my day pack inside of it along with everything else.

There are many advantages to traveling with just one small pack. It’s less to keep track of when on public transport, you can keep it strapped to you at all times if need be, and if it’s small enough (~46L and below), it will fit in an airline overhead even on the extra small intra-country planes.

Sigh. I am a sucker for a good pack. I used the REI Trail 40 for a long time as my go to travel pack but I always look around at what’s new and upcoming. I saw the new Osprey Kestrel 48 one day and decided to give it a go. This is now the current pack I am using (size S, net 46L)

[UPDATE] I might not need all this space. Might downsize back to the REI Trail 40 when we stop home in November 2017.

I love the Miwok 18 because it’s a small day pack with all the features of a big pack.

[UPDATE] I might not need all those features though. When we get home I’m going to swap this out for the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil

Travel Clothes

Clothes are obviously a very personal choice. I’ve tried a lot of combinations to come up with my own perfect set below. My advice to you would be to do the same. Either try on in person or buy from places online that you can easily return to if things don’t workout.

REI has a one year return policy on the gear they sell so always a great choice. Remember that you can buy clothes pretty much anywhere. It is nice to have at least one quality set though.

A hard shell is great not only for rain but also as a layering piece and wind stopper. It’s the top layer of my layering system.

[UPDATE] Still love this jacket and will keep for mountaineering, but more than I need for basic travel. Swapping out for the more packable and lighter OR Helium II

My all time favorite jacket. Lightweight, super comfortable, extremely packable, great in a variety of weather conditions. If I could take only one jacket, this would be the one.

[UPDATE] Still my fav jacket but I’ve noticed the stretch sides let the wind in. Swapping out for the smaller, lighter, and warmer MH Ghost Whisperer

An insulating layer for up in the mountains when it’s too cold for just a jacket and shell.  The R1 hoody is revered among the alpine crowd for its warmth to weight ratio and balaclava like hood.

[UPDATE] Once I get my MH Ghost Whisperer, I won’t need this layer anymore so will leave at home. Still an amazingly warm fleece.

I like merino wool for a base layer. It’s soft and comfortable, antimicrobial, and wicking. I’ve spent an entire week in the mountains and never once took this off. Wore it trekking every day and slept in it every night. Didn’t smell even one bit.

[UPDATE] I sent this home after Nepal, didn’t end up “needing” it again until climbing Kilimanjaro, but made due with what I had.

Same benefits as above for the merino wool in a super light packable shirt. My go to every day shirts if I’m not in my tank top.

[UPDATE] Sent 2 of 3 home after picking up a Columbia l/s on sale and another random souvenir shirt.

Volcom Tank Top
volcom tank top

I picked this up at a thrift shop for like 2 bucks. It’s super light weight and takes up no room. I pretty much live in it when its warm.

[UPDATE] Wore this out and actually picked up 3 more (Chang, FMP, Bin Tang) in SE Asia. I still live in my tanks mostly.

Two pairs of pants is probably overkill, but I don’t carry rain pants so if one gets soaked it’s nice to have a backup. That said these pants resist water very well and the stretch fabrics is unmatched. My favorite pants.

[UPDATE] After trekking in Nepal, 2 pairs is definitly overkill, could easily lose 1 pair.

A couple pairs of shorts. Wear one, wash one. Same benefits as the pants above.

[UPDATE] Burned a hole in one pair, so I’m down to one. Supplemented with a couple pairs of board shorts.

Very lightweight, fast drying, and comfortable. You can use these for everything thanks to the stretch fabric. I wear them out, swimming, climbing, lounging, everything.

[UPDATE] I sadly lost thse somewhere. I’ve picked up a couple pairs of board shorts as replacements along the way

My favorite running shorts from when I was still running on the regular! Great for sleep shorts or just to throw on quick.

[UPDATE] Still going strong and I use them more than I thought I would!

At your discretion how many underoos you bring. With the advantages in merino wool technology I only bring 2 good pairs.

[UPDATE] TMI but I pretty much dont use these. I’m either in board shorts or I just live free in my hiking shorts/pants.

The rule of twos applies here too. I’m generally sockless in my Chacos if I can help it, but carry a couple pairs of sturdy socks for when hiking in my shoes.

[UPDATE] After hiking in Nepal I pretty much dont use these as I’m always in flops or my Chacos. I could cut down to one pair easily.

Chacos. Ask any river guide, great for everything. They are a little on the heavy side for sandals but they are very robust. I generally live in these unless its cold or the terrain is extreme.

[UPDATE] Still got my Chacos, still love them. Going strong.

A good shoe is essential for any long term trip as you’ll obviously be spending most of your time in them. I stumbled on these on sale one day and ended up loving them. I’m on my second pair. The GTX version is waterproof.

[UPDATE] These crapped out after like 40 days hiking in Nepal. After like 4 months of emails to Salewa they finally sent me a new pair … to my USA address. I picked up a pair of Merrell Moabs for Kilimanjaro climb and they are working really well in the interim.

 

 

Electronics

Pretty much a must have in this day and age. Before setting off to travel full time I worked in IT so I am a bit of a tech nerd. I try to limit myself as much as possible.

The smallest, lightest Macbook available and still plenty powerful for my needs. Retina display is unmatched.
Not much to say here. Smartphones are swiss army do everything devices. I do all my photography with this as well.
Because I use my iPhone for photography along with everything else I use a battery pack. This one gives one additional full charge and is surprisingly light.
[UPDATE] I still don’t use this as much as I probably should. I just take video on my iPhone and only use this snorkeling/diving. I think I will switch it out for the Hero5 Session at some point, or just get an iPhone 7 and ditch it all together.

Game changer if you’re a reader. Endless books at your fingertips in one small package. Bus, train, plane rides become a lot shorter with a good book.

[UPDATE] I’m crushing book series after series on this. So happy to have it.

An overindulgence sure, but I love noise canceling.  Especially useful on trains/planes/busses. They still work ok even if not charged up.

{UPDATE] These are going strong and podcasts are my new best friend.

If you have a new Macbook with the USB-C port, this is the first real thumb drive that is compatible without and adapter. Saves on size weight of the actual device and having to carry around yet another cable.

If you want to charge anything overseas you’ll need an adapter. This one has built in USB charging as well so you can charge 2 USB devices as well as a normal plug.

 

 

A power bank is a nice add when you may be without electricity for awhile. This is one of the smallest and lightest and packs a massive 10,000mAh.

 

 

Accessories

I love hats almost as much as backpacks. I’m sure this will change several times over but this is my go to for now.

[UPDATE] I’ve gone through several hats. Currently rocking a Waiheke Island Brewery from NZ

 

Wool on the outside, fleece on the inside. Warm and comfy.

My favorite sunglasses ever. I’ve had several pairs over the years after losing them in the ocean. Comfortable fit and cheap 3rd party replacement lenses keep me coming back.

[UPDATE] Lost these in the Ocean in Australia swatting a fly off my head while sitting on a deck. Replaced with a cheap pair.

If you’ve never heard of a Buff, go to their website and you’ll understand why its the most versatile piece of fabric ever invented. Must have.
The one watch to rule them all. I used to have multiple watches for multiple activities. This watch does everything and its stylish to boot. It’s pricey, but you’ll never need another watch.
As with the Sherpa wool cap, these have wool outers and fleece inners. Might ditch these and the hat after Nepal trekking season.
Basic wallet, cheap, minimalist, and effective. I don’t carry much.
Separate small RFID wallet for passport, immunization records, backup cards, emergency cash etc. Generally stays locked in my bag.

Essentials

I never thought I would carry a neck pillow, but being inflatable this one packs down to nothing.

[UPDATE] I very rarely use this, but since it’s so small I’ll hang onto it until we get home, then I’m ditching it.

Save some money and the environment and carry your own reusable water bottle. Nalgene is pretty much indestructible.

[UPDATE] Left this at an art light installation at Uluru Australia. Replaced with a Kathmandu bottle.

Great to have when you don’t have electricity or when you can’t exactly turn on the lights in the hostel dorm. Buy a good brand with high lumens, you’ll thank me later.

Sadly water purification is a must for a lot of the world. The Sawyer Squeeze is simple, does a great job filtering and is small and compact.

 

 

Basic small pack lock for locking your hostel locker or bag to something in sketchy places/overnight bus rides.
As you’ve seen above, I pack only a pair of Chaco sandals and my trekking shoes. When I’m wearing one, the other goes inside these in my pack. Worth it to not get grunge all over the rest of my gear.
Random
I carry a tight small wrap of some paracord that has many crazy uses but mostly use as a clothesline and earplugs which are essential to sleeping in any environment with other people.

Bath/Medicine

I like the hanging type. Everyone has their preference. In it I keep: Folding toothbrush, toothpaste, tongue scraper, floss, liquid soap/shampoo combo, small poof, nail clippers, deodorant, & qtips
Always good to carry your own towel, you never know where you’ll end up. Quick drying, anti-microbial, and packable are what you want here.
Custom First Aid Kit

Personally, I don’t bother with the pre-made first aid kits. They generally have more than you need and never exactly what you want. Grab a ziplock and put in what YOU personally need, it’s cheaper that way anyway. Myself I bring: various band-aids and gauze, medical tape, antibiotic cream, anti-fungal, anti-itch, Tylenol & moleskin. Just a small amount of your personal choices is all you need, you can reload on the road for much cheaper than in the USA anyway.

Medicine
Check out our post on Travel Vaccines & Medicine (coming soon!)

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