Living out of a Backpack

I have my big backpack filled with everything I need for the trip.  I also have a daypack.

I seem to have packed my backpack with so many things that I thought I would need.  But, haven’t used at all.  I guess it’s good to be prepared.  I read many different guides stating what to bring on trip.  I just realize now that you can mostly find things everywhere.  Even small towns have pharmacies and shops.  All you have to do is describe your ailment and usually they can understand.  It’s crazy to have all my things packed together.  Sometimes I find things that I forgot I had packed.  It’s easy to buy t-shirts, underwear, sarongs, hat, sunglasses and socks along to way.  It seems that both my backpack and daypack have gotten heavier.  I think it’s good to pack light.

Here’s what I recommend taking on a trip around the world:

2 pants (Northface is nice – 1 pair that turns into a pair of shorts), cotton dress, dress shirt, 2 cotton t-shirts, underwear for a week (Ex-Officio makes good underwear), beach shorts, 3 bras (1 black), 3-4 pairs of socks, bathing suit, light rain jacket, silk liner (great to use when you’re sleeping on a bus), hair ties, iPod, money belt, cheap watch with an alarm, earplugs, sleep mask, travel towel, headlamp (Petzl is the best!!), pen, Sharpie, strong eyeglass holder (if you wear glasses), toothbrush, small toothpaste, good waterproof shoes (Merrell or Northface), flip-flops or waterproof sandals

First aid – some band-aids, antiseptic, anti-histamine, aspirin, tape, lozenge, rehydration salts, sewing kit

Medicine – any that you need like allergy medicine or antibiotics  For women – Birth control can be bought cheap in Thailand at Boots or Tesco Lotus

Nalgene containers are great for liquids like for Beauty products.
Beauty Products – lotion, shampoo, razor, small perfume, moisturizer, exfoliator

Make-up – small bag filled with a lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, mascara

A great bag is made by Eagle Creek called sacs.  I really like the X-small, Small, Medium and Large sacs.  They hold everything.  I have my make-up in one bag.  Toiletries in another..underwear, socks and bras in another.

Expect to lose things if you’re backpacking.  It’s hard to always remember to check the hostel/hotel room you’re in for things you’ve left.  I have lost a few things like tweezers, a sharpie, contact lens holder and a nalgene container filled shampoo.  I remember before I went traveling.  I asked a backpacker about carrying the backpack and traveling.  She told me that your clean clothes are with your dirty clothes – so everything starts to smell.  I decided to bring a big plastic bag to put my dirty clothes in.

It’s hard to buy souvenirs.  I have bought some for friends and family.  It’s best to ship it home.  If it’s light, I just keep it in my bag.

I actually like carrying light.  It’s convenient since my backpack is on my back and my daypack is in the front.  I see carrying around luggage and it just seems much harder.  My big backpack weight is 22 pounds.  That’s not too bad.

I didn’t even know how to pack things so the weight was distributed well.  REI has a good page with expert advice.   It definitely helps where the weight is.  I put too many heavy things on top and my backpack felt about twice as heavy.  Some people like to fold their clothes while others roll them.  I do both.  Just do what you like.  It seems that clothes in your backpack are bound to get wrinkled.  When you’re backpacking, you don’t care much about your appearance.  But, I guess folding it might be better for less wrinkles.  I think rolling is good to save space especially when you have to stuff things into small spaces.

I was really set on doing my own laundry.  I bought a clothing line, drain stopper and Campsuds.  Campsuds is for washing clothes and even hair.  You don’t need much I did buy two pairs of Ex-Officio underwear that is lightweight and dries very quickly.  That has come in handy.  It’s very cheap and easy to get laundry done on the road.  Sometimes you do have to pay to get it ironed.  Of course, sometimes you do wash your own clothes.  The clothesline has come in handy for letting bathing suits or clothes dry.

Travel Gear Resources:
Northface – great clothes and backpacks
Walkabout Travel Gear
The Container Store – Nalgene containers


2 thoughts on “Living out of a Backpack

  1. Lots of excellent advice, Jen! Thanks!

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