Selling all of your possessions and living for a year out of a carry-on backpack may sound like a nightmare to some, but I loved it! It was great to get rid of years of collected crap and get down to just the essentials. I am also a sucker for organization, so I liked figuring out the best possible system for packing everything in a neat, compact way. I did a ton of research about what to bring for a trip like this, and found good advice from many travel bloggers who had done this before. When all was said and done, I had a 30LB pack that, in theory, should contain everything I need for the next year! Take a look below at a breakdown of what I am bringing around the world.
Aer Travel Pack
I wanted a bag that was the maximum carry on size and built for holding a lot of gear, while still looking relatively stylish and inconspicuous. I didn’t want to bring a huge hiking backpack with me, and fortunately with the growing digital nomad trend, there are a few new bag options that don’t look as if you are about to through hike the Pacific Crest Trail. After comparing the options, I decided that the Aer Travel Pack looked like the best mix of utility and style. It’s definitely a little pricey, but most of these bags are, and hopefully it should last me a long time.
Again, to keep things organized, I got one of these so that I don’t have a huge tangled ball of cables in my bag. With camera chargers, hard drives, usb cables, headphones, extra batteries etc, the electronics can get pretty messy pretty quick!
Tenba BYOB 9 and Insert
Although I didn’t want to be traveling with two bags, I really needed a camera bag to carry my gear when out exploring during the day. The best option I found was this “packable” camera bag by Tenba. Basically its is a lightweight packable messenger bag with a padded camera insert. Its small enough that it fits well in my backpack, but I can also take it out and use it as its own bag during the day! Or, if I am not bringing my camera, I can just use the messenger bag without the insert to hold a jacket, water bottle etc.
I definitely wanted to take a minimalist approach to the wardrobe for the trip, so I made sure to pick high quality items made from Merino Wool or synthetics. In theory, this means they wont wrinkle as easily and can go a long time without being washed. We will see how well they actually work over time. I may end up just buying $2 T-shirts in Southeast Asia and wearing those instead! Also, since a lot of the time we will be in warm weather, I haven’t packed much warm clothing. When we are freezing our butts off in China this December, we will probably have to get some cheap winter gear!
4 Wool & Prince T-Shirts
T-Shirts made from Merino Wool. They aren’t quite as comfy as your normal cotton tee but I have worn these for a week straight in 100 degree Texas heat and they still smell fine!
2 Wool & Prince Button Downs (1 Long Sleeve, 1 Short Sleeve)
Same concept as the tees. They don’t smell, and even if you crumple them up and stuff them in your bag they come out looking relatively wrinkle free.
1 Outlier Slim Dungarees
Popular brand that makes high quality, durable, urban apparel. The slim dungarees are their original and most popular offering.. They are super comfortable but also very durable, and they repel water and resist stains.
1 Bluffworks Khakis
Another pair of quick-drying, wrinkle resistant travel pants. These are more lightweight for warmer weather. I don’t love the material on these as much as the Outlier’s but I will see how they work out on the trip.
1 Gap Performance Joggers
Got these on sale to use as around the house pants while travelling. I like that the pockets zip so my stuff doesn’t fall out.
1 Olivers Capital Short
Gym shorts that look good enough to wear anywhere. They also work well as a swimsuit!
1 Patagonia Baggies
Another pair of shorts that look and feel more like a swimsuit. Not great for wandering the city but perfect for hiking and hanging on the beach.
1 Olivers Porter Crew Neck
Mid-weight Merino Wool sweatshirt. Its warm and I has a clean, minimal look. Only issue so far is that when it gets wet it has that unpleasant wet wool smell until it dries.
1 Aether Shelter Hoodie
Lightweight down jacket that I have had for a few years and love. Super warm, relatively stylish, and packs down nice and small.
1 REI Coop Rain Jacket
Affordable and well-reviewed rain jacket that doesn’t weigh much. I have worn it in a few downpours already and it has held up just fine.
1 Clarks Desert Boots
I have been wearing Clarks for years so it was a no-brainer to bring a pair on the trip. These are my go to shoes for doing anything around the city.
1 Bedrock Syncline Sandals
Super minimal sandals that take up almost no room in my bag. They look a little ridiculous and they definitely wouldn’t be good on a serious hike, but for beach hopping in Thailand they will work just fine.
1 York Athletics The Henry
Continuing the minimalist vibe, these are a good pair of all-around athletic sneakers with a clean look. I have them in black.
Apple Macbook Pro 13”
I have had this laptop for three years or so and it is still working great! Thought about getting one of the new, lighter, macbook pros but decided not to spend the money on it.
I used to travel with the X100T a lot and loved it, but decided to get a camera with interchangeable lenses for the trip. I love the color profile of the photos that Fuji cameras take. Hoping that this camera along with the three lenses I got will work well for most travel photography situations.
Fuji 18-55mm F2.8-4
Technically a kit lens but widely considered to be a big step up from your usual kit lens. Well constructed and versatile, perfect for keeping on the camera when city exploring.
Fuji 56mm F1.2
One of the best portrait lenses that Fuji offers. Takes incredibly sharp photos and the bokeh on it is awesome!
Rokinon 12mm F2.0
I wanted a wide angle lens for landscape photography and this Rokinon lens had great reviews. It doesn't have autofocus but that shouldn't matter too much for the type of photos I would be using it for.
MeFOTO Travel Tripod
The lightest, smallest tripod I could find that still gets up to a decent height and seemed relatively stable.
Peak Design Camera Strap
One of the more popular camera straps. I like how sturdy it feels but I am not in love with the quick release system. Haven't used it that much yet so hopefully it will grow on me.
GoPro Hero5 Black
I debated about this for a while. I have never owned a GoPro before and I am not that interested in taking action videos or anything like that. In the end, I decided it would be worth it for the waterproof camera feature alone. We will be spending a lot of time on beaches and on the water and I dont want to risk carrying my Fuji around with me in those conditions.
WD Passport 4TB
Backup drive on which to store all of my photos. I also use Crash Plan to back my photos up online.
Although I miss reading physical books, its tough to argue against the space saving benefits of the Kindle. I wouldn't have room in my pack for paperbacks!
HooToo Travel Router
I saw this recommended by a few other bloggers. You can use it to create a WiFi network in a hotel room that only has ethernet, or you can use it to connect multiple devices to a WiFi network that only allows one connection. Who knows if I will end up using this but it was relatively inexpensive and tiny so it takes up almost no room in my bag.
For streaming Netflix and movies from my laptop on to TVs in hotels and Airbnbs.
Kirkland Universal Travel Adapter
A tiny adapter that is recommended by other travel bloggers for its compact size.
Anker PowerCore 10000
External battery pack that can charge up an Iphone a few times.
For hanging up clothes in our Airbnb after washing in the sink!
I have been working on a travel journal with lists of things to see, do, and eat in every city we plan to visit.
Deck of Cards
Whew! I think that's it. As we travel I will add updates to this post for anything that I add or remove from the bag.