Having spent a few years backpacking, I like to think I have a few things figured out!
Type: Tactical 5.11 (a Military issue although you can find one online)
Weight: 12-16kg (although I always manage to carry it on board the plane)
This was issued to me by the Australian Army prior to my Afghanistan trip. Its been carried for over 4 years now and is still in great condition.
Valuables kept down the bottom. Earplugs, Earphones, kept up top and will be easy to access.
Once configured,organised or packed, develop the habit of always putting things in the same place. This serves 3 purposes. Firstly, its much harder to lose anything. Secondly, if you lose something, (or stolen), you’ll know it much quicker. Thirdly, if you need to get to something quickly, quietly or in the dark, you can find it with your eyes closed in seconds.
Be an organized Backpacker!! (+ you save money if you don’t have to re-buy things)
2 x Jeans, (wearing one, one in bag) 2 x casual shirts,
2 x Semi-formal, (good enough to wear to presentations/speeches)
1 x Thermal Pants and Top
1 x Singlet
4x underwear, socks (easy to buy abroad, if you don’t get to wash, easy to buy more)
1 x Running shorts (I enjoy running in new places)
1 x Runners suitable for almost everything.
1 x Lightweight towel (for me its actually the red sheet)
Occasionally, I may pack or buy $30 Formal shoes if I’m doing a lot of formal events.
Changes in Season:
If it’s summer, I would swap 1x Jeans for 2x Shorts.
For winter, I pack 2 pairs of thermals which I change regularly, and a jacket that I wear everyday.
1 x Lightweight Blanket, (I have a special Red Masai, African Blanket)
(I tend to stay with friends, Couch Surfers, or hotels, so very rarely need to use my own sleeping gear. However I still tend to use my blanket. If in Iceland or really cold weather, I would carry a lightweight sleeping bag.
Absolutely minimal. Every few days I find some. shampoo/conditioner/shaving cream.
2 x Toothbrush. I carry 1 in my Jacket Pocket in winter/snow as I often sleep unexpectedly at different houses while my bag is left elsewhere or in a locker.
EarPlugs, a must have!!
1 x Spoon, (no knives, no need for fork, spoon does it all)
Ukon (gold packet) a special Japanese medicine for preventing hangovers
1-3 x small hotel soaps, most places have soap, just in case.
1 x Small sunscreen (sometimes mosquito repellent)
1 x Multivitamins. (often I’ll just put the required amount in a little plastic bag instead of the bottle)
1 x Smallest cologne you can find (It’s nice to smell good sometimes)
1 x Mach 3 Razor
1 x Lip Balm (sometimes carry)
Asus 12Inch (I have used smaller, although smaller is too hard to work)
Philips PicoPix PPX2330 (For doing Presentations or watching movies)
GoPro2 (Best video camera available for me, still photos are great too, but not so good night shots)
Smart Phone, Android (Samsung W). I prefer Android, small, older model. No need for S4. (2013 Update, just bought an S4)
1-2 Smallest power adapters possible. Cheapest if bought from local markets (not in Airports or Western countries)
1 x Mili Power Crystal 2000MAh (It charges my Smart Phone, Go-Pro and Projector)
Various SD/USB Memory devices
1 x Copy of Passport, Medical Insurance, and my family’s contact details.
Spare cash cards. It is very easy in some countries to start a local bank account. Using their cards and having money on it is a great back up and fees are cheaper than using my Australian card.
SIM Cards. I always buy a local SIM Card on arriving in a new country, it makes it so much easier to contact locals. Then I post on Facebook, Weibo, etc, my new phone number. Sometimes I use an Australian Skype Dial in number, and then divert it to what ever SIM card I am using.
Note: The latest Iphones/Smart Phones often use Micro or Nano SIM cards. You can cut a normal SIM to Micro size easily with scissors (easy to cut the wrong way too,just take your time and double/triple check before cutting)
Note: I also put these little notes inside my camera, laptop and camera cases. Generally people want to return items to their owner, you just have to make it easy for them.
Remember, minimalist travel wins. That’s part of reason travel is so great. You don’t have much. You don’t really need much. Its amazing actually how little we really need. If you have to think about, probably better leaving it behind. If doing a long trip, I like to send packages home occasionally, a box home, and send any items not used in the last month home.