This is definitely one of the most searched aspects of long term travel. The most worrying aspect of travelling isn’t safety, health, budgets, but your packing list. It may sound irrelevant in the face of some of the other aspects but! When you’re travelling for a year or more, then your backpack is your home. I am travelling in warm climates mainly so this makes my packing list that bit easier to prepare for. I will be hiking, spending time in cities, beaching it, busing, flying, camping and staying in hostels. Amongst other things. So it’s difficult to prepare for everything but this is what I have researched and believe will keep me going.
I have two backpacks, my main larger one and a day pack.
Main Backpack is 60L (approx.). It is an old backpack I bought for Thailand and came with a zip on day pack on the front. I’ve discarded the front pack so it’s about 60L.
Day Pack is 20L. I loved researching this one and picked up a good deal from Blacks Outdoor after looking at so many places. I bought an Osprey Tempest 20 and I love it. Light weight, strong and really comfortable. It reviews so well on other blogs and outdoor sites, here’s a few links to give you an idea:
So this bag is going to be out of my sight the most while travelling. Stored under the bus, checked in for flights, left at the hostel during the day, you get the picture. So there is minimal items in this that are expensive or will be a huge loss if it does get stolen.
2 x leggings (decent quality that will hold out as long as possible, one pair sports leggings)
2 x shirts (great to throw on when it gets chilly)
3 x t-shirts
3 x vests/singlets
2 x long sleeved thermals
2 x jumpers
1 x waterproof jacket
6 x underwear
5 x socks
2 x sports bras
2 x normal bras
1 x cap
1 x sarong
1 x bikini
1 x microfibre travel towel
2 x dresses (lightweight and nice enough for a night out)
4 x shorts (denim and cotton)
1 x black jean leggings
1 x hiking boots
1 x Nikes for walking around cities
1 x flip flops
1 x dress sandals
1 x sleeping bag liner
Contact solution and cases
Body wash, shampoo/conditioner
Hair cream (luxury but a necessity, getting rid of big bottles helps)
Travel meds (antibiotics, Imodium, paracetamol etc, see my vaccination post for more details)
Chargers (limited by taking one adapter instead of multiple plugs)
1 x medical kit
1 x head torch (crucial!)
1 x ear plugs
1 x eye mask
1 x neck pillow
1 x ultra light down parka
iPhone SE (smaller, cheaper and it’s impossible to stay connected with family and friends without one)
Fujifilm XT10 plus batteries, etc.
Hard Drive 1TB
4 x padlocks (2 for main bag, 1 for day pack and 1 large padlock for lockers in the hostels)
Security Belt for while travelling on buses
It was actually harder than it looks to write all this down. It sounds like a lot but now that I’m 5 months into my travels, I can say that I’ve used everything at one point or another. I’ve been on beaches, in mountains at -10 degrees and in cities during torrential rain. Whatever the weather or situation, I’ve manged to pack almost everything I needed without overpacking.
Things I would remove:
- Number of travel wallets, they take up space and you only need the bare minimum so one wallet should do.
- I’ve gotten rid of one pair of shoes but bought another pair of sneakers so I guess that evens me out again.
- One less dress, obviously I’m not much of a girly girl. Hence I have loads of shorts.
Things I have added:
- A big jumper. I needed it for hiking in the mountains.
- A beanie.
- A pair of gloves,
- Three hiking socks.
- Two thick pairs of leggings. Again all for hiking in the mountains but helped me out a lot in Bolivia as well.
- A wifi extension (looking to buy that shortly).
One thing to always remember is that you can buy more if you need it. There are so many shops along the way. I’m aiming to use all the heavy weight leggings, gloves, beanie and jumper to come into use in Patagonia. After that I’ll be dumping them and lightening the pack for Brazil.
You have to adapt and as you travel things get used up, your backpack gets lighter and you find your rhythm.
Thanks for reading!