What I Packed For a Year of Traveling The World
The most important part of travel preparation: “What do I pack?”
Everyone has their own styles, some prefer minimalist, others prefer bringing everything but the kitchen sink. What both of those people have in common is the search for quality equipment. I will show you the gear that I have honed in over years of traveling the world, through countries like Australia, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and so many more.
One thing I would like to mention is that this gear is tailored to me, and the type of traveling I am expecting to do on my world tour. So feel free to use these as recommendations to help you find the gear for your needs.
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You don’t need to spend $200+ for all the best features, a cheap bag like this will do just fine for most people. 60L Waterproof hiking backpack
My requirements for a backpack were:
- 55-70 Liters
- Straps that fit my torso comfortably
- Nothing too flashy
- Top & Bottom Loading, or Front Loading
My all time favorite backpack, and I stumbled upon this beautiful creation on a trip into REI for a rain jacket. It was the perfect blend between the Osprey Farpoint 70 and a proper hiking backpack. The harness was adjustable, and extremely comfortable, which was clearly REI’s contribution to the luggage/backpack design.
I am not affiliated with REI at all, but this backpack is the best. It zips down like a suitcase, but has the harness and frame of a hiking backpack.
This was my first choice for a backpack with the features I was looking for. I have seen hundreds of travelers over the years using this bag to great effect. It comes with a built in day pack that can unzip from the main backpack and be used as a carry-on or personal item.
The Farpoint is like attaching backpack straps to a suitcase, it’s plenty strong, but you can’t adjust the shoulder strap harness to fit your torso length. In layman terms, it’s hard to walk a long way because it is a one size fits most.
Honorable Mention: 5.11 makes the most solid backpacks that I have ever used. I have never had a zipper get stuck, or rip a hole, or break anything on this bag. I’ve used it on and off for over a decade and it just won’t die. At 55 Liters this is a perfect size for a travel backpack and will fit in most airlines carry-on limits.
You can pack it from the top down, or open the front like a suitcase. It comes with a cummerbund (waist strap) that can be tucked into the sides when not in use, and a front pouch. It’s useful when you forget your towel and don’t want to unpack your entire bag to store it.
This was my number one choice to travel with for months leading up to our departure. The more I thought about it, being an American and walking around with a tactical backpack could draw unwanted attention. We aren’t sure exactly what countries we will end up in but I would prefer blending into the crowd.
Originally the REI Ruckpack daypack seemed to be slightly too small, but it was big enough to fit my laptop in unlike the Farpoint’s removable daypack. The more I used it, the more I realized that it only appeared to be smaller because of the top loading zipper.
After using the daypack for a few months, I still love the sleek minimalist design. The size also prevents me from carrying anything but the essentials. I have a bad habit of filling any bag no matter the size.
There are two downsides to this bag. One: the water bottle pouch doesn’t fit my 32 oz bottle (my fault for buying a big bottle), and two: the zipper gets caught on the fabric more often than I’d like.
Even still, I love this bag.
Not only have these bad boys come back into fashion, but they are super useful to grab and go. All of the pocket clutter fits into a small form factor. If I take my daypack, this gets thrown inside so I never have more than one back to keep track of.
Typically the contents of the bag are:
|Hand Sanitizer||Two Weeks of Medication|
|Lip Balm||Two Weeks of Lactaid Pills|
|Ibuprofen||Fischer Space Pen|
|Snack bar||Pocket Mask & Rubber Gloves|
I could talk for hours about electronics, so I will try to keep it short and sweet
Laptop – Asus Zephyrus G14 2022
This laptop is compact, powerful, and includes all of the features for traveling and working out of a backpack. The one trade off other than cost is that it is a little dense, but since it will be in my personal item on any plane I get on size was more of a concern than weight.
If you are interested in this laptop, look for the 2022 version. It comes with some software, and hardware upgrades as well as a webcam for video chatting.
High quality, light weight, and most importantly wireless. The battery can last for weeks depending on how much you use it, and it has thumb buttons!
GoPro Hero 8
Any of the newer GoPro’s will be waterproof, have really nice stabilization software, etc., but they will also be battery hogs. I would recommend two or more spare batteries if you plan to take a lot of videos.
A new addition for this trip, and a I already can’t live without them. The ability to turn off ambient sound with the active noise cancellation is worth every cent. As someone who can be a bit stingy with money, I cannot express how wonderful the immediate silence is. One button, and it’s as good as gun range ear protection.
Absolute must have.
Another absolute must have for every traveler is an adapter plug. People used to buy one travel adapter for each country they went to, but now they have one combined adapter for almost every country you can think of.
It also brings the power from 220v (European standard) to 110v (US standard) so that your electronics don’t fry.
These are a little bigger than some portable speakers, but I have found this to be one of the most rugged and reliable on the market. Just be careful leaving these lying around, they are also a very common item to steal…
10,000mah can charge your smartphone 2 to 3 times, which is plenty for most travelers. Chargers have become so accessible that you may only need a small battery to get you through a day at most.
The exact battery we have isn’t listed on amazon, but the one I’ve listed has the same specs.
Any headlamp will do, the important thing is that you don’t need a hand to hold it, and that it has a red light. Why? Red light is very useful when you have to pack your backpack in a hostel full of sleeping people. The red light wont wake people up, and it will help you make friends by not disturbing anyone’s sleep.
These are the workhorse of my trip. There’s a reason why these shoes have been mostly unchanged for over 15 years. They are fantastic.
I chose the version with a low cut so that it would still be comfortable in the city and when it is hot, but still functional for outdoor excursions.
Hey Dude makes great back up shoes for traveling. I don’t know if they meant to make them that way, but they are exactly what I was looking for.
A lightweight design means my backpack won’t be heavier than necessary, and they pack flat for easy storage. Dressing them up is easy to do for the few classy occasions we might run into.
The cheap $2 generic flip flops for a short trip to the beach, or into a questionable shower. The cheaper they are, the easier it is to throw away when they inevitably break.
Darn Tough socks are about as expensive as a 12 pack of cheap socks. But these Marino Wool socks are comfortable, and more importantly they don’t smell as much as regular socks.
They also come with a lifetime warranty, so if you ever get a hole in them you can mail them back and get a replacement pair for free!
|1x||Smartwool Intraknit 200 Base Layer Bottoms – Men’s|
|2x||REI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve T-Shirt – Men’s|
|1x||KUHL Interceptr Full-Zip Jacket – Men’s|
|1x||REI Co-op Stratocloud Down Hoodie – Men’s|
|6x||Short sleeve T-shirts|
|4x||Wrangler Outdoor Performance Utility Shorts|
|1x||Long Sleeve Rash Guard|
|8x||Pair of Thieves underwear|
|4x||Darn Tough No Show Hike Trek sock|
|1x||REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket – Men’s Cheap Alternative|
|1x||Colombia Stretchy Belt|
First Aid Kit
- Medical Shears
- 2x Powder quick clot
- Pocket sized CPR mask
- 6x Cloth finger bandage
- 6x Butterfly Bandage
- 4x antiseptic wipes
- 4x pair of gloves
- 18x Imodium tablets (3 days worth)
- 2x roll of gauze
- Moleskin for foot pain
- 3x antibiotic ointment
- 2x Backup motion sickness (Meclizine Hydrochloride)
- Bar of soap
- Nail Clippers
- Disposable Razor
- Travel Towel
- Heavy Duty Thread
- Velcro for Cable Management
- Zip Ties
If you have never used a compression sack, or packing cube to pack your clothes, you are missing out. Camping has taught me a dozen different ways to store clothes in a backpack.
None of those ways have anything on packing cubes. Separate your clothes however you like, roll them up, place inside, and zip it closed. New packing cubes have one extra step; compression. Once you zip the last zipper tight your clothes will take up half the space they did before.
I will never pack clothes in anything other than a packing cube, they make a seriously big difference.
One aspect about neck pillows I always despised was the clip that holds the sides together. It was never tight enough, and my head always ended up spilling out of the front.
This neck pillow has Velcro, and you can get this bad boy tight like a neck brace and it will never unclip. 10/10.
Cheap, and polarized. So if they’re scratched, broken, lost, who cares!
You can drink the tap water in any first world country, but in places like Laos will warn you before you even get off the plane to avoid any source of water that is not bottled. Yet there are a few bottled water manufacturers who are not safe to drink either. This is where a water filter can bridge the gap by filtering out bacteria and making unsafe water safe to drink.
Yet another must have when travelling are TSA cable locks. Most hostels have lockers where you can put your bags, and you will need something to make sure you are the only one who can open it. TSA approved locks are not the strongest, but they will keep the average thief from accessing your belongings.
You should also be aware, TSA approved locks have had the master key leaked to the market. Most people don’t keep a set of TSA keys readily available, but it could happen.
I like how sturdy and satisfying a good Moleskin Notebook is. These are great for journaling, and for keeping track of all of your buses, flights, activities, hostels, and any other details. Travelling is fun, but keeping track of your itinerary is essential to keeping things running smoothly.
Add a Fischer Space Pen and a Sharpe to stay with the notebook.
You definitely don’t want to mix your clean clothes and dirty clothes together, especially after a long day of exploring. A Laundry Bag that has some kind of waterproofing is preferred to lock in the smell, but also prevent wet and sweaty clothes from sharing with your clean clothes.
Dive Computer and Dive Mask
Cressi Leonardo’s are not known for their complexity, but for their reliability. For under $250, these computers could outlive you. I have hundreds of dives on mine, in terrible conditions and it still works beautifully.
Everyone has a different shaped face, so I brought a mask that I liked. You probably won’t need one, but I wanted to make sure I was prepared incase I accepted a job as a diver.
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Every trip I take I learn something new. A new perspective, a new trick, or simply something I didn’t like. The more you travel the more you learn what, and how, to pack. You will always bring things you don’t use, and you will always leave out things you needed. Try not to stress over the small stuff, just do the best you can and soak up every moment.
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”