When we began planning this adventure, we did quite a bit of research on packing lists, with the goal of limiting ourselves to one backpack each (plus a small day pack). It seemed a daunting task, but reading the suggestions of others proved to be very helpful. To start, here is a link to our packing list we used for this trip:
After nearly one year on the road, we thought we’d revisit our original packing list, to discuss what we did not need as well as what we wish we’d had:
Below, we’ve provided some information about the items that we considered essential on this trip. Whether for saving space or just organizing some of the miscellaneous items we’ve been carrying, we’ve been exceedingly happy to have each of these.
If you’re not interested in these particular brands (or the items have been discontinued or are out-of-stock), hopefully this at least provides a starting point for a packing list, and for finding something that best suits your needs (and budget).
Water bottle – Klean Kanteen, Classic 27 oz. (800 mL) ($21)
- This is an old favorite. We’ve had our current Klean Kanteen bottles since 2008 and mine is never more than a meter from me on a daily basis (whether traveling or at home). I’ve always had problems staying hydrated, and this bottle has been my savior.
- Reusable = sustainable; reduces waste from plastic water bottle consumption.
- Stainless steel, BPA-free
- Leakproof cap (this is a reasonably accurate claim – mine occasionally leaks a small amount if turned sideways, but overall it’s quite good).
- Company is committed to sustainable practices and philanthropy (a portion of profits are donated to charity, and employees are given paid time for community service).
Minimalist wallet – Flowfold Card Holder Wallet ($10)
- Manufactured in the U.S. by a small company in Lewiston, ME, the wallet is made from repurposed sailcloth (lightweight and durable) and is 100% vegan
- Capacity is listed as 8–11 plastic cards plus a few bills. I currently am carrying 6 cards and some bills easily, though I think 11 cards would be a squeeze (err on the lower end of the specs).
- Love it! Takes up so much less space than a traditional wallet, which is critical for long-term travel, and really kind of nice even for day-to-day use.
Light-weight travel towel – REI MultiTowel Lite (X-Large, 54” x 25”) ($22.50)
- Microfiber fabric is quick-dry, and towel packs down into a small (included) pouch.
Universal Travel Adapter – Road Warrior ($28)
- Compact, lightweight, and versatile (compatible with outlets for 150+ countries)… what more could you ask for?
Shoe Pouch – Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Shoe Sac ($14)
- Item number one of our apparent Eagle Creek obsession. Each shoe bag held two pairs of footwear – a pair of flip flops and a pair of minimalist running shoes. We found the shoe pouches to be an absolute must-have for packing away dirty shoes and keeping them off of clean clothes. This pouch is also washable… bonus!
Toiletry Kit – Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Wallaby ($37)
- Enough compartments to keep everything organized, included one removable, clear, zippered pouch, and small (shatterproof) mirror.
- Kit has a handle, if carrying separately for flying or such.
- Kit also has a hanger, which seems to be a desired feature for many travelers.
Water-resistant zippered pouch – Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Sac, Small (6” x 8”) ($9)
- Good pouch for organizing miscellaneous smaller items. I used mine for medications, as (1) it was water-repellant, and (2) I could just throw the small pouch in whichever backpack I was carrying (I always carry headache and stomach meds, as well as Benadryl, in case of a random, unknown allergic reaction while out and about).
Money belt – Eagle Creek, Undercover Money Belt DLX ($21)
- While we never used the money belt as an actual belt, I was still glad I had the option if needed. It’s moisture-wicking if you do wear it, made of lightweight nylon. Although not used for its true, intended purpose, it did provide a convenient, compact, and secure means to compartmentalize passports, money, and passport photos.
Travel laundry bag – Reisenthel (The Container Store) ($10)
- We selected this laundry bag based on great reviews from other travelers. While I’ve never used another laundry bag, and consequently can’t speak to its superiority, it certainly has been great for us. It comes with a little pouch (with snap enclosure) and, when all folded down and snapped up, is not much bigger than a matchbook. Fantastic for storage when not in use, and essential for segregating stinky laundry when travelling long-term.
Men’s travel underwear – Exofficio, Give-N-Go Boxer ($26/pair)
- This underwear is perfect for traveling – lightweight, comfortable, and they pack down to about 1/3 the size of a pair of standard, cotton boxers. Moreover, they dry almost instantaneously, making them a fantastic choice when you’re doing sink laundry and line drying.