After travelling to over 90 countries, with a varied amount of luggage (many trips I was carrying unnecessary stuff), I have finally found my perfect pack list and I want to share it with you.
This can, of course, vary depending on your travel style and location. When I travel to Europe, South East Asia, and South America for example, I pack mostly shorts and dresses. For Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, I mostly pack pants, and long-sleeved shirts, as the communities are generally more conservative. You also need to consider the weather, if you'll be camping and hiking a lot.
The past few years I have travelled with an Osprey 80 litre backpack, but the next big trip I go on, I will swap this for the 45L bag. For smaller trips, anything up to 4 weeks, I take with me only a small carry-on case or small backpack. The following pack list is based on using an 80L bag and leaving some space, in case you like to buy souvenirs along the way.
If you’re thinking “I’m not a backpacker, I just go on vacations”, my best pieve of advice is that taking a backpack is a great way to travel for any occasion, if you find a good one. They are convenient to carry, some even have wheels, so you can switch depending on how you want to carry it. The way some backpacks are designed now just make organizing your things so much easier so keep reading and see what you think.
I believe the most important part of the list is the backpack itself. It really is worth investing in a high quality, comfortable, supportive, and well-organised backpack.
Things that I look for in a good backpacking bag:
- An open front zip - not at the top. I think back to the days when I used to travel with an open-top backpack and wonder how I did this for so long. Trying to find things everyday, then packing and unpacking. It was a nightmare. I would never go back. There are a few brands that do these, including Osprey.
- Good support for your back - the bag should sit on your hips. There are specific men/ women bags now, as they sit differently on the body to prevent the bag from pulling on your lower back. Check this and get someone in a shop to help you fit the bag correctly.
- A separate compartment for shoes - My bags have always had a lower section which is separate from the main clothes section. This way I can shove my dirty hiking boots in here if I’m in a hurry and they will never get my clothes dirty.
- Straps that you can zip away - My bag now has a zip that you can close to safely store away the straps. This is a great feature that saves a lot of wear and tear on the bag when you need to check it in on a bus, train or plane.
- High quality - My Osprey has a lifetime guarantee so you know that it is high quality and it will last. The last thing you want is your bag to break in the middle of a trip as they’re not easy to find in many countries.
Ok, so enough about the bag, here is the list of items I pack.
2 Tank tops
2 Long sleeve tops
4 Pairs of daily socks
1 Pair of thermal socks
3 Pairs of loose, comfy trousers/ pants
1 Casual / nice dress
1 Hoodie / Jumper
1 Rain jacket
1 Comfortable bra
6 Pairs of comfortable underwear
1 Scarf which can be used as a headscarf and covering shoulders
1 Pair of Hiking boots
1 Pair of Trainers/ sneakers
1 Pair of Walking Sandals
1 Hat - for actual head protection, not just for the gram ;)
2 Bikini tops
1 Bikini bottom
Head lamp/ torch
Antibacterial hand gel
Water / lifestraw / bottle
Toilet roll (always carry a spare)
Travel Shampoo (solid bar) - Hair Cooki Shampoo bars are perfect. No liquid restrictions, and no more leaking shampoo in your bag!
Travel Conditioner (solid bar) - Hair Cooki Conditioner bars are perfect. No liquid restrictions, and no more leaking shampoo in your bag!
Camping essentials: - Optional. (This may take you up to 12-14kg depending if you carry it on your own or share a tent with someone else).
So there is the list. It is also worthwhile noting that I always roll my clothes in my bag. A trusted trick which I believe does save on space. Roll up all your clothes to get the most space out of your bag.
How does this compare to yours? Am I missing a great travel item, or missing a trick when it comes to saving space? Please share any tips in the comments.