My Travel Gear & Carry on Packing List

My Travel Gear & Carry on Packing ListAre you looking to travel with one bag and considering what should be included in your carry on packing list?

Well, you have come to the right place –  packing list blog posts have always been one of my favourites to read while planning my next adventure.

I find creating a carry on packing list helps to make sure all the essentials are covered.

At the same time, writing everything down helps to identify any unnecessaries and reduce the chances of overpacking.

Although the essentials will always stand the test of time, over the years my travel gear has been smashed, ripped or just worn out. Other items have become obsolete, replaced by my ultrabook or smartphone.

“There is always a sadness about packing. I guess you wonder if where you’re going is as good as where you’ve been.”

― Richard Proenneke, One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey

Creating a Carry on Packing List

Creating a carry on packing list for the first time can be a bit of a headache.

For me, the packing part is enjoyable because it signals the start of something new. The headache part is trying to plan for events that will be happening weeks or even months ahead of time.

Even if you’ve done plenty of backpacking or travel for work before, it doesn’t mean the temptation to overpack has completely disappeared. I don’t think they ever will. It’s just that past experiences can help us make an educated judgement in what items are (really) needed.

So what items should be added to your carry on packing list?

In theory, you could just jump on a flight with passport in hand, a bank card and the clothes you are wearing. Rolf Potts did an experiment where he travelled around the world for six weeks with no luggage at all.

In larger towns, inner city or CBD locations there are usually more transport options available. However, for some more remote locations consider there may be long walking distances involved as public transport could be few and far between.

To a certain extent, your travel bag starts to become your life after a few months away from home, but it doesn’t mean you have to bring your home in it.

A carry on bag restricts how much you can pack and the smaller the travel bag is, the less it becomes a burden.

Cabin Suitcase or a Backpack?

First of all, if you want to travel stress-free, then it’s essential to choose a carry on bag that’s comfortable for you to lug around.

Some people prefer hard case suitcases with wheels attached as they keep clothes flat and protect internal contents from getting crushed.

A wheeled suitcase or soft duffel excels in urban environments which have plenty of flat surfaces. However, the downside is once you get off the beaten track those rollers soon get jammed up with dirt, or worse break!

I’ve used with wheeled suitcases in the past for my old job but now prefer to use a backpack. It just offers more flexibility for my style of travel.

When using a backpack your current strength and fitness levels will play a role in how much weight you can carry around and for how long.

As a general rule, the less weight packed the further the distance you can walk before tossing the backpack on the floor and swearing at it! Click To Tweet

In 2012 I purchased a Porter 46 Backpack as my sole bag for carry on only travel.

Osprey Porter 46 carry on pack with all my travel gear in Malaysia

At 46 litres the Porter is the maximum carry on size for most airlines. Like many backpacks in the maximum carry on category, its style is very box-like to allow it to fit perfectly inside the cabin bag testers found in airports.

I’ve met a quite a few travellers over the years who prefer to use a bag like this as it avoids paying extra for check-in baggage fees and waiting around to collect luggage.

The Porter 46 is perfect as a carry on bag, and I still use it today occasionally for some of my trips.

However, since I started culling my gear further for 2018 I now only travel with an even smaller 34L pack.

Travel Gear

2018 Update

So, what’s changed in my carry on packing list in 2018?

Well, my focus over the last year has been streamlining my travel gear and either replacing or getting rid of altogether any items that weren’t working for me.

Apart from changing my 46L pack to a 34L one, wear and tear took its toll on clothing, and I took the opportunity to replace any worn out items with lightweight synthetic or merino wool variants.

Footwear

Sadly after nearly four years of hard travel use, a trip to Cradle Mountain finally killed my barefoot Merrell running shoes.

My 'new' Merrell barefoot shoes purchased in Hong Kong 2014

Sure they had holes in the sides for what seemed like ages. Plus the Vibram soles had worn through in places, so it wasn’t surprising when they finally let go.

Although the Merrells didn’t offer much padding or protection, they had a roomy toe box, and I loved the fit.

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say they travelled to more countries than I can remember and were one of the best pairs of shoes I’ve ever owned!

Choosing their replacement was always going to be hard, but the Inov8 235 F-Lite cross trainer seemed to offer a good compromise. They aren’t quite as ‘minimalist’ as the Merrell’s but do have the advantage providing a little more protection during day hikes and while running.

Inov8 F-lite 235

Electronics

Apart from clothing and footwear one of the most significant changes I made to my carry on packing list was systematically going through all my electronics and making the switch to USB power.

Making the switch to USB power might sound a little excessive, but I’m finding now it’s much simpler managing my electronics.

Just a few USB cables are required for everything apart from my ultrabook.

I replaced the following items:

As the shaver, toothbrush and battery charger were mains operated I now have three fewer plugs to get tangled up with other things.

Eliminating the need carry spare AA and AA batteries for the torch and noise cancelling headphones has also helped to make life easier.

For my camera, I replaced my Sigma 19mm lens with a Rokinon 12mm ultra wide-angle version.  The Sigma was a great lens, but I was struggling to fit everything in close up shots. The Rokinon offers a wider view similar to what you get on a smartphone camera. 

Tip: sell your old travel gear on eBay. 

The past year hasn’t been about reinventing my carry on packing list but about refining what works for me and making travel more streamlined for 2018.

Fewer cables, clutter and stress.

So now I’ve gone through what has changed for 2018, here’s my carry travel packing list and all the gear I currently take travelling:

Everyday Carry

Everyday carry covers what I have with me when wandering around and doing day to day stuff. Everything I either carry in my daypack or store in my pockets.

A decent daypack should be light enough to carry around for a long afternoon of city exploring but still have enough space for any extras such as a camera, laptop, charger, sunscreen, sunglasses, rain jacket and water bottle.

I like that the Radial 34 backpack I’m using has a separate laptop compartment which allows me to access my ultrabook without pulling everything else out first.

For wet weather protection, a rain cover is a must as I frequently will use a bicycle or scooter on my trips.

So should you take a laptop travelling?

It’s true that once upon a time it was standard advice not to pack electronics like laptops and other gadgets as they were expensive, cumbersome and could be a target for thieves. Today lightweight ultrabooks and smartphones are what enable travellers like me to stay connected and work remotely from tropical islands on the other side of the planet.

There is always a risk of theft but in my opinion being able to work from anywhere in the world is a worthwhile trade-off!

My X1 Carbon is a few years old, so I’m not as worried about it breaking (been there and done that) or being stolen.

My Everyday Carry

Carry On Travel Packing List - Everyday Carry

Computer

I have tried a few different computer setups over the years, including iPads, HP laptops, Asus and Acers. Tablets can be handy for basic web stuff, but ultrabooks and laptops are still more versatile if you plan on working while you travel.

I traded my heavier 2.7kg HP Laptop in a while ago for a second-hand 1.35kg (yes I weighed it) Lenovo X1 Carbon. An extra 1.35kg may not sound like much, but it’s basically like carrying two of what I use now.

On a side note, Lenovo has made the newer Gen 5 model even lighter – it weighs just over 1.1kg.

256GB SD card, travel mouse and an aftermarket (smaller & lighter) charger come along with the ultrabook.

Not a Mac you say?

Don’t worry my girlfriend travels with one – but I’m old school and still use Windows 7!

Smartphone

Not only do I still use Windows 7, but unlike the majority of the world, I also use a Windows smartphone. The main reason I bought the Windows 950 was it had decent camera reviews + the price was reasonable.

Two features worth their weight in gold are that you can use the maps offline and backup pictures automatically to Onedrive.

I download any maps before arriving at my destination. Then at least its still possible to find where you are without a local sim card, mobile internet or Wi-Fi access.

With Onedrive the phone automatically uploads travel snaps to the cloud whenever connected to the internet. Which is always an advantage to have a back up if your phone goes missing or gets broken.

My brother once updated his phone after four months of travel only to find all his photos erased.

Note to self: always back up those travel memories!

Tools of Travel

Travel Gear

The other items I take travelling are the usuals like camera gear, grooming accessories and the not so usual – a coffee maker!

Dry bags are a great item which can have many uses, especially if you plan on doing any watersports. They come in various sizes, and I pack a larger one that doubles up as my washing bag.

Learning how to hand wash clothing is a necessity when travelling long term as access to a washing machine or a laundry is not always guaranteed.

I also bring along a second smaller dry bag to use as my toiletries bag. Now there’s no more shower gel leaking into my main bag compartment…

My Travel Gear

Carry On Travel Packing List - Travel Gear

Camera Gear

Upgrading from smartphone photography to a half decent camera was always going to be a big decision when travelling with one small bag just because of how bulky full frame cameras can be.

The compactness of mirrorless cameras offered a good compromise, and I have been using the Sony A6000 camera since mid-2016. The size of the A6000 makes it ideal for travelling. It also has a reasonable price point and there are plenty of lenses available.

I’m by no means a professional photographer and the lenses I carry are at the cheaper end of the market.

The Rokinon 12mm F2.0 ultra wide angle lens is great for landscapes + city architecture shots, and the Sigma 60mm lens is perfect for portraits of people + sunsets.

Depending on the trip I might take just the one lens or both.

My other camera gear currently includes:

Travel Clothing

There’s plenty of brands and choices out there when it comes to purchasing clothing for travel. Choose to spend time in warmer climates; then you can certainly get away with taking less.

Most of the clothing marketed at the travelling community is of good quality, manufactured with lightweight fibres and breathable. Many garments are easily hand washed and look great without or without being ironed.

The downside is they can have a steep price tag to match the specifications.

When it comes to buying travel fashion, my recommendation is only to spend within your budget, but at the same time buy the most comfortable clothing you can afford.

Rotating constantly through the same few outfits means you will be spending a lot of time in them.

Laundry is all done for just $1 in Cambodia

Jeans

Some lightweight travellers suggest removing jeans altogether from your carry on travel packing list. Jeans are more cumbersome to carry than other travel pants. They also take a long time to dry after washing.

However, jeans do have their advantages.

A good pair of jeans will match most other clothing, and they tend to last a very long time.

They also don’t need washing that often and I’ve even been told its possible to keep them smelling fresh by sticking them in the freezer. I’m yet to try this, but hey, there’s still time!

Nearly every country I’ve been to I have seen locals wearing jeans. If you want to fit in, why not take along one pair of jeans?

I travel with one pair and my preferred choice is those manufactured from a cotton/polyester blend which tends to ‘stretch’ better and can be more comfortable to wear.

My Travel Clothing

Carry On Packing List - Clothing

When it comes to travelling to warmer parts of the world, rather than bringing winter clothing, I prefer to plan my travels around similar climates. If it does turn out to be a little cooler than expected, it’s always possible to layer existing clothing or pick up a few extra items as needed.

Clothing is available worldwide. Although they may not stock your favourite brand, you can guarantee there is some local alternative.

Gym and Workout Gear

While it’s true some sports do require specialist gym equipment, I found when travelling you don’t need that much.

A simple travel fitness routine could mean anything from lifting rusting dumbbells in a backstreet gym in Vietnam or sprinting along stunning sandy beaches in the Philippines.

How about chin-ups and dips at the park in China? Slowing it down by doing a little hotel room yoga in Singapore?

Travelling can play havoc with a fitness routine, but only if you let it!

The good thing about workout clothing is it’s very light and won’t add much weight to your carry on packing list.

To cover the basics all you need are a change of workout clothes and some sports shoes. This setup should have 99% of situations sorted, and for other activities, such as beach running or yoga the sports shoes are optional.

My fitness gear is minimal but does the job.

I don’t even bother packing swimming shorts anymore and just wear my workout ones.

My Fitness Gear

Long Term Travel Packing List - Fitness Gear

Like everyday clothing, packing everything for a long trip is often overkill. There will always be stores or markets where you can pick up stuff along the way.

Finally, Remember to KISS

Everyone knows how to Kiss, but knowing about it doesn’t mean you’re good at it 😉

BTW – KISS is an acronym that stands for Keep It Simple Stupid

When people ask for suggestions on what to pack I look back to my own past mistakes. Like many others, it was packing way too much.

It’s impossible to pack for every situation, but I sure have tried in the past.

It felt like everything I owned was with me on my first trip to Australia in 2008. Did I mention the eight books I somehow managed to fit in my backpack? Just because they might not have books or libraries in Australia!

Anyway, it’s no surprise that one of the plastic strap buckles on my cheap 65L ALDI backpack snapped at the airport under the weight.

And this was all before I had even left the UK!

I packed way too much because in my mind I was asking questions like – what if it’s cold, should I pack all my winter gear? What if I get invited to a fancy restaurant or club, should pack my dress shoes? What if I go hiking, should I pack my hiking boots & Gortex jacket?

Pack for the trip you are going on, not the trip you might be going on. Click To Tweet

These and hundred and one other questions will always crop up when its time to plan a trip and to put together a carry on packing list.

It’s impossible to cover every eventuality and crazy even to try.

Sometimes you have to accept that things will things will happen

Now when I do any revisions to my carry on packing list, I go with the 80% mentality – whatever I pack should cover 80% of situations that I will come across on my trip.

The other 20% I will fix it if and when they happen 🙂

Please note: some of the product links in this post are affiliate links.

Barry Sproston
Barry is an English traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. In addition to travelling, he has a passion for business as well as learning new things. He enjoys a decluttered lifestyle and currently reads 52 books a year.
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52 thoughts on “My Travel Gear & Carry on Packing List

  1. Jake

    Hi, this is a really great list and it’s interesting to compare what you have vs what I packed during my first and current long-term backpacking trip around Europe. One thing I’m curious about is your 30L backpack? Is it big enough to fit under the seat on planes? Otherwise how do you bring both that and the 46L bag as carry on?
    I’m currently travelling with a 70L bag (which is too big now but oh well) and a 7L day pack which is sufficient for me as I don’t have a camera (although I want to get one for future travels) and only a 10 inch 2-in-1 Lenovo tablet/laptop. I’m happy to pay for carry on baggage with my 70L bag as I knew I would have to and have been minimising my flights in Europe anyway and only flying with budget airlines if I really have to.
    I also don’t have packing cubes with me or much specific travel clothing but i guess those would be more useful for future travels? as I have survived European summer and winter so far with my normal clothes, and didn’t buy anything specific just for travelling.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Hey Jake,

      Sorry mate, my mistake and I should have made it a bit clearer in the post. I had been travelling with just The Osprey Poster 46L carry-on bag since 2012 but in the past 6 months I streamlined my gear even further and now only travel with the Osprey Radial 34L backpack.

      There were a few reasons for this but it a nutshell I was looking for a bag that could:

      1) Be a good carry-on bag but be an excellent day bag (The Porter 46 was good at the first but poor at the second)
      2) Easily used on a bike or scooter (The Radial 34 is a biking specific backpack and has rain cover at the bottom)
      3) Have laptop, electronic, water bottle + other organisation pockets
      4) Have compression straps to reduce the size of the bag when it’s not full
      5) Not go over the weight limit with budget airlines (It was still quite easy to go overweight with the Porter 46)

      To be honest, I might have put a bit too much thought into my backpack choice, but it paid off for my style of travel and to be honest couldn’t be happier with the set up I am using now.

      The downside is, of course, you have to be restrictive in what you bring along as 34L doesn’t give you a lot of room to play with. But for the freedom I get is worth missing out on a few items.

      So, to cut a long story short I only travel with the Osprey Radial 34 backpack for my trips. However, If I’m going on a trip where I need bring something back or take extra luggage then yes, I can take both bags – but I would need to check one of them in.

      For travel clothing, if you use a 70L pack then I think regular clothing is fine because you have enough space to carry extras. Its when you start dropping down to carry size that you need to start getting more selective. Specific travel clothing isn’t always necessary, but I can vouch that synthetics are easier to hand wash and dry quicker. I also find that items manufactured from Merino can be expensive but can last much longer between washes, which means fewer t-shirts & tops need to be packed.

      1. Jake

        Ah, I must have misread your post! That’s awesome and I would love to be way more minimalistic than I have been on this trip but it was hard to consider navigating summer and winter when I’d never travelled before! Also, you can fit all of the stuff you have listed above into a 34L bag? That is super impressive, I’m going to save this post as it’s really helpful and I think I would definitely use some of the tips for my next trip. Might need to save up to buy good quality clothing for travel though, as I bought no new clothes for my European travels. I guess investing in a proper winter jacket that fits me properly and can fold down small is important as it’s the biggest item I have but it was important for those -10 degree days!

        1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

          Yeah travelling in both summer and winter can be a pain, but I admit I’m a bit of a sun chaser and prefer planning my trips around mild to warm climates if possible.

          Like you said cold weather could be an issue and if you’re going to -10 degrees then a warm jacket is a must. I use a Helly Hansen jacket, and my girlfriend uses a Kathmandu down jacket. Both can be put inside compression bags and strapped to our backpacks when not needed. We don’t travel with them usually though unless we know for sure that we’re going to cold climates.

          For my backpack – yes it’s surprising how much it holds, and nearly everything goes into my 34L bag. The packing list covers items that I’m wearing too, so everything goes inside minus one outfit + shoes. I usually will wear bulkier items like pants & fleece on flights, plus things like phone, wallet and a few accessories go in my pockets.

          I admit there’s not much room left over for any extras when fully loaded, but it fits well and is a good weight to me to carry without getting tired easily.

          It did take me a few years to get my packing list down to this point. I’m sure I could take it down further, and if I wanted to nit-pick, maybe I could ditch the coffee maker or leave my camera at home and just use my phone. But I’m happy with the set up, and it covers most situations.

          The only issue that crops up lately is weddings and I’m not sure why, but I seem to be going to a lot of them lately!

          It’s always a pain as I don’t want to travel with formal gear in the off chance of a wedding and recently a guest (admittedly he was drunk) did ask why I was wearing a polo shirt and not ‘a collared shirt’ to one.

  2. pat kerr

    Pretty cool stuff but one pair of pants is on the homeless bum side of things in my opinion. there are a lot of light pants out there where you can carry more than just one pair. But a lot of good stuff and ideas besides that. I would shoot for a better way of packing the clothes. Wrinkly clothes put of a bad impression to people.

  3. daisy

    I would like to know if I may bring homemade cookies in my carry on bag? We will be leaving on May 4th with United Airlines to Switzerland & it’s going to be a long flight, I hope I can.

  4. Kreete

    Wow I didn’t expect such a comprehensive post! Love KISS and that experiment with no luggage sounds awesome too! I am very interested in your laptop selection as I am looking to find a new one. Anything I should know about the Lenovo ThinkPad? Is it any good for editing videos?

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      I’m happy with the Lenovo X1 Carbon Thinkpad. It’s aimed at business users so it is everything that a ultrabook should be. More often than not I will go to coffee shops and find that the size is perfect for working remotely. It’s fast enough to do everything needed for my business and to run this blog.

      If I had to nitpick, I would design a slimline charger and improve the battery life a little. The speakers also aren’t the best if watching a movie, but I typically use my noise cancelling headphones anyway.

      Also, I’ve done some video editing and had no issues.

  5. Diana - MVMT Blog

    Really helpful tips! The longest I’ve been on the road is a couple of months, and I’ve managed to fit everything into one backpack. Not sure how that would go if I were a permanent digital nomad or traveling for a whole year. I do love my foldable daypack though that I can just clip to the outside of my backpack so it takes up no space inside, and when I arrive at my destination, I’ve got a daypack ready to go.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      No problem! Packing for a couple of months and a year isn’t that different. For me, it comes down to separating the things that I need from what I think is necessary. At one time I travelled with a portable scanner to help me go paperless, but in reality, it got used once every month or two. In the end, it got ditched.

      One backpack can work with fewer electronics, and there are some good packs on the market which have both main pack and a detachable day pack.

  6. Tracy

    Really fantastic list! We used to carry backpacks but in the past few years I have struggled with the weight so have changed to a suitcase but I think with an upcoming trip to Asia it will be back to the backpack so I will have to pack as lightly as possible! I have considered those packing cubes so may look into those a bit more!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Packing cubes are great for creating extra space and just organising things better. The Maxpedition ones I use are fairly heavy duty and almost like a separate mini bag. I can really stuff them full and not worry about busting the zips.

  7. Garth

    Wow amazingly comprehensive, you are obviously well travelled Barry! windows smartphone? I do the notebook, pen and jeans .. as for everything else I’m still digesting, as I always take too much or not enough of the right clothes! going to bookmark for future reference!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      That’s right I have been using the Nokia 1020 for the past three years which runs on the Windows 8.1 platform. Compared to Android and IOS the Windows phones do get a bit of stick due to the lack of apps available. I guess it depends on what you use the phone for and as long as I can call, send messages, have access to maps and take a few photos, I’m happy.

  8. Anna Schlaht

    Wow, Barry, this is full of incredibly helpful information! Mr. Nerd and I have never traveled more than two weeks at a time, but we have some oddball travel plans for the next couple years that may yet come to fruition. In that case, this post and your suggestions will be immensely helpful! Even thinking of packing for long term makes my head spin, so I appreciate the jumping point here.

    Also, I love that you have a two bag system (backpack and day pack). We’ve done that on our shorter trips, and it’s always worked well. Love your list of packing items!

    Thanks for sharing! Will save for later use.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      No problem Anna and glad to hear Mr Nerd and you have some big travel plans. Although you could get by with one bag for shorter trips the two bag system works well for long term travel. It creates a little extra space for some home comforts.

  9. Trippin' Turpins (Kelly)

    Fabulous list! We also use backpacks. I find that our electronic stuff i.e. computer, iPad, phone, camera, go pro and all the relevant batteries, chargers and external hard drive take up so much room! Not easy to travel light.

  10. ThriftyTrails

    8 books?! How did you manage to take that plus all the other items?!. Love the “Just because they might not have books or libraries in Australia”. Tim found a super stretchy pair of jeans that didn’t impede his movement when we were hiking the mountains in Poland and he wore it quite often. It would only need to be spot cleaned most of the time and he wore it while on the plane to lighten the pack a bit. I on the other hand couldn’t find a pair of jeans I loved before our 6 month honeymoon trip so I just ended up with hiking pants/capris/shorts and leggings. I love seeing how other travelers pack for long term trips because it also shows our priorities like exercising for example. Packing cubes are a travelers best friend!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Looking back I know it seems so crazy to carry eight books. My main backpack was literally at bursting point (probably why the strap snapped), and I remember weighing it at the airport. It was exactly 20kg – also the weight limit for that flight. They were books that I enjoyed reading before, and I figured they might take away the homesickness. Still seems madness looking back at it now. Stretchy jeans are great and Levis 504’s that I love travelling in are also made from some stretchy material mix.

  11. SamH Travels

    A great post and a great list. I haven’t travelled for an extended period of time so I have not been in this position, but someone clearly needs to be very disciplined to only take the essentials. I think I would really fail at this! I can see the sense in your discussion about what luggage should be used 🙂

  12. Lisa

    Ditto…great list! Haven’ had to really think beyond a couple of weeks packing. I tend to not take enough but always get by, mostly hiking clothes. I’ll keep this in mind when I finally get to do some long term travelling. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Hiking clothes can be perfect for travelling in as they are lightweight and if layered are great for warmth. If done right you can put together a half decent wardrobe. Having said that if done wrong you can look like you’ve just stepped off the Himalayas!

  13. Travel Lexx

    Really awesome post Barry and definitely the kind of thing that I need to make me rethink what I travel with – I always take too many clothes and then don’t end up wearing about 70% of them! Workout stuff is important and I always carry my resistance bands on longer trips. Great set of lists and I will be saving it for my future travels!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Yeah agreed – clothing tends to be the area that most overpack on. I’m used to rotating through the same few outfits now so if it’s something I don’t wear then its time to get rid. To be honest I’ve only used resistance bands a couple of times while training Krav maga. It would be interesting to try them out while travelling.

  14. wayfaringsarah

    I fully agree with backpack > suitcase. I have no idea how people travel long term with them?!?! As soon as I reach my first kerb or cobbled street it becomes mission impossible! haha. Also good shout on the notebook and pen! This is often the most useful thing I take with me whenever I’m traveling, yet it’s one that most people probably overlook!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Hey Sarah, nice to hear the notebook and pen are getting some love! I use mine for making notes and drafting up new blog posts ideas. I spend way to much time behind my laptop so am always looking for ways to reduce my online time.

  15. Oana

    Wow this is such a great list. I used to pack unnecessary things thinking “I might need this” but lately I started packing really light which is a good idea, especially while travelling on long term. Most of the time we travel just with carry-on and we always chose a backpack over a suitcase. Very useful post!

  16. Simona

    This is a great list! It is really thought through and detailed. I do find it harder to pack for colder climates. Definitely pinning this for later!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      No problem Simona. Colder climates can be harder and I prefer the layering method to save travelling with too many clothes. Having said that if it’s really cold then some specialist winter clothing will more than likely be needed.

  17. David

    Such a thorough post Barry, great work. I’d love to be down to one pack but just like you its the electronics. My day pack can fit my laptop, camera and other assorted odds and ends and thats it. Totally agree on Jeans, incredibly versatile and for any urban area they work a treat. Really need to try packing cubes and dry bags to see if I can maximise the space in my pack. “Remember there will always be stores or markets where you can pick up stuff along the way” is something far too people forget, great nugget of wisdom there. My biggest struggle lately was travelling from winter in Europe to summer in Oz and back to Europe, I had shorts in my pack for Europe and a coat and jumpers in Oz – no easy solution around it.

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Cheers David. Most of my packing list has been formed by trial and error of what I need vs. what I think I need. Glad I found another traveller who enjoys jeans – there are some social situations where you just feel silly wearing hiking pants.

      Packing cubes are great for creating space and helpful if you need to take something out of your backpack fast. I find that Customs officials always target solo traveller for bag checks and there’s nothing worse than tipping all your dirty underwear over the counter for everyone to see.

      Packing cubes keep clothing separated from all the other travel stuff and are certainly worth the investment.

  18. Sina (Secret Traveller)

    That’s such a great list, thanks for sharing! I’m travelling in South America for 5 month at the moment and really struggled with what and how much to bring. At the end, I decided to go with a 45l + 15l backpack to avoid bringing too much. So far, it’s working out fine although my clothes choices are very limited in cooler countries like Bolivia and Peru. It feels weird that I couldn’t bring a proper jacket (only a fleece jacket) but luckily it’s not too cold and layers work well. But I also brought a few things, I haven’t used or worn once, so there’s still much to learn 🙂

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      Hey Sina, great stuff the 45L + 15L is a good size and is less than 46L + 30L setup than I’m using now. I think the main thing is choosing a size that you can comfortably carry and like you said going a bit smaller does help to prevent overpacking. I’m pretty ruthless these day and will either throw it or donate it if it’s not getting used. I used to carry a compact portable scanner because I prefer being paperless but ditched it as I found most towns or libraries have scanning facilities.

  19. Maria

    Really well made post, so many great tips! I didn’t know that noise cancelling headphones existed (only thought you could get the big bulky headgear) – what a great invention!

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      I’m sure most people associate noise cancelling headphones with the big retro style over the ear ones. I use the sporty style because they don’t take up much space and are very useful for running. The pair I used now is charged via USB. The downside is the battery only lasts a few hours.

  20. Angie (FeetDoTravel)Angie (FeetDoTravel)

    I can definitely tell you are an experienced long term traveller with this packing list! We have just begun our full-time travelling with so much packed it’s ridiculous, clearly we do not pack light! I find our heaviest gear is the electronics, the laptop, charges, replacement batteries for the usb mouse etc and I cannot resist picking up Lonely Planet books either! Yes, yes I know people say you can get that information online and in truth, that is what I planned to do, until I realised that getting info online means internet and so far, I haven’t been in areas where it is readily available so a good old fashioned book wins again :-). So, I am still at the stage of throwing my bag down, and standing there in a sweating heap swearing at it lol. #feetdotravel

    1. Barry SprostonBarry Sproston Post author

      I’m the same as you Angie. I love a good old fashioned book but its just not practical to carry them around in 2017. Most of my reading is done on my laptop these days. Having said that if I’m staying put in one place for a while, I will use the local library. I think everyone starts off by packing big but after a while, you start to realise what you use and what’s just taking up space.

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