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Packing for a Trip Around the World

After nearly a year on the road, I feel like I finally have my kit together. It’s certainly not minimalist but I have everything to work and play in just about any environment – city or country, hot or cold, fancy or casual. I can even do a few days off the grid if the fancy strikes me. The gear below is what I take with me on the move from Santiago, Chile to Australia and represents what I have had for most of Central and South America.

The Big Bag: Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack

Big Bag

Organization

  • Eagle Creek PackIt Specter system
  • Small stuff sack
  • One laundry bag
  • One small dry bag
  • Toiletry Kit

Camping Basics

Camping Gear

Clothes

The Basics

  • Five pairs of non cotton underwear (I recommend Exofficio)
  • Two pairs of wool socks (Smartwool)
  • One pair running socks (Features!)
  • One pair cotton socks
  • One pair of athletic pants
  • Two pairs of jeans (Bonobos makes a Travel Jean with some elastic)
  • One pair of chinos
  • Comfortable belt (Arcade’s belts have no metal for airports)
  • Semi-formal collared shirt (and a tie!)
  • Denim shirt
  • Flannel shirt
  • Long sleeve shirt or Jersey
  • Two handkerchiefs (napkins are a luxury that are seldom at-hand)
  • Poncho (covers your pack if you’re wearing it)
  • Rain jacket (for when you’re not)

Warm-Weather

  • Three v-neck t-shirts
  • Tank top
  • Two non-cotton t-shirts
  • Swim trunks
  • Running / hiking shorts
  • Trucker hat
  • Sun hat

Cold Weather

  • Packable down jacket
  • Lightweight fleece
  • Winter hat
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Long underwear top and bottom (Patagonia’s Capilene is the best)

Shoes

Toiletries

  • Razor with replacement cartridges
  • Wet cleansing towelettes or baby wipes (for a quick “shower”)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Comb
  • Manicure set
  • Advil
  • Deodorant
  • Bug spray
  • Lotion
  • Thermometer
  • Blistex
  • DayQuil

The Rest

  • 1-liter collapsible water bottle (go Platypus)
  • Space blanket
  • Small first aid kit
  • Small sewing kit
  • Packable shopping bag
  • Gallon-size Ziploc bags and large drawstring garbage bags
  • Packable travel towel (PackTowl)
  • Dish towel for shaving and life’s messes
  • Lighters in a ziplock bag (keep your powder dry)

The Small Bag: Polemic 27 L Backpack

  • One compressible daypack (REI flash 18)
  • One small padlock with key
  • Lightweight fleece blanket (rescued from an airplane)
  • headband (a Buff, naturally)
  • One pair of sunglasses with repair kit and case
  • A beer koozie
  • travel organizer for documents (Eagle Creek is the best)
  • One deck of playing cards
  • A watch
  • Blindfold and earplugs (can’t express the importance here)
  • Liter water bottle
  • Foldable frisbee
  • Deck of playing cards

Books & Journals

  • One guide book (I still like to carry a Lonely Planet)
  • One long book (currently the Story of Art)
  • One Moleskine bullet journal
  • One medium-sized plain Journal
  • One ruled notebook

Electronics

  • 12-inch MacBook (size matters)
  • Unlocked smartphone (you can change the SIM everywhere you go)
  • E-reader (I have the Kindle Paperwhite)
  • One pair of earbuds
  • Portable hard drive
  • Chargers
  • Power adapter
  • 10000 amp power bank (that’s 3-4 charges)

All of this stuff adds up to about 15 kilos (32 lbs.) and CAN be carried onto most airlines. A bigger backpack would change that. I could have done with more or less but this allowed me to get out there.