If you’ve not read my wife, Sammy’s packing list, I would recommend it. It’s far more thought out than mine. That being said, I have come to admire the few possessions I have on my back and as a male traveller, I think you might be able to gain something from reading further.
My approach is very different to Sammy. I’m well known for ‘dithering’ (a yorkshire word for taking an unnecessarily long winded route to completing a simple task).
I spent hours and hours and hours of internet research. I looked at countless packing lists, useful travelling gizmos, travel hacks, researched how to pack a backpack, what items to avoid, packing cubes vs compression sacks and blah blah blah.
While I was researching which backpack to bring for 3 months solid (no joke), Sammy went out and purchased one from our local Go Outdoors within 2 weeks of us making the decision to go long-term travelling. She knew what she wanted and was very happy with her Osprey Farpoint 40 that she just pulled off the shelf and purchased within 10 minutes of walking into the shop (no messing about).
After all of my research, I purchased the exact same backpack.
We have both never looked back since and needless to say, we have chuckled on occasion at the other travellers struggling with their 80litre loads.
Why my backpack is awesome
If all of your material possessions were carried on your back, you want the best thing to carry them in, right?
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is the only backpack you need. What happens when you buy a 60litre backpack? You fill it. What happens when you buy a 90litre backpack? You fill it. You get the point. I read someone’s blog (during my research) who had been travelling the world for 2 years with a 20litre backpack. Keep that thought in your mind.
I had extra stuff to bring though. We are doing coffee on the move and wanted to document it, so I needed to bring the Mkettle (see separate review) and associated coffee paraphernalia. I also have sleep apnoea and use a Resmed CPAP machine, which carries with it a face mask, chunky converter and a cumbersome hose.
So the 40litre size sounded about right.
The other really important thing to note is that this bag fits airline requirements for hand luggage, so you can keep it with you at all times. Very useful if you want to be swift in the airport, or if you want to fit it under the seat of an Indian sleeper train so that you can lock it up.
My main requirement, however was the loading style. I didn’t want to have to rake everything out of my bag every time I needed to access something at the bottom. The Farpoint 40 is front loading, meaning that the main compartment opens up like a suitcase allowing full access to all my stuff.
We have decided that we like this backpack so much that we will provide a full review at a later date.
I’m not really known for my sense of style, so my clothing list was organised, but sparse. I pretty much wear the same things all the time.
- 4 pais of underpants. Not just any underpants. M&S underpants. I did a lot of underpants research and had in-depth underpants discussions with a good friend of mine until I settled on the holy grail of underpants. They are comfortable, take up barely any room and are very quick drying. You can pick up a couple of pairs here.
- 3 pairs of socks. 2 pairs of sports socks and 1 pair of thicker hiking socks.
- 1 pair of shorts.
- 1 pair of swimming shorts.
- 1 pair of Craghoppers zip off trousers. I wear these a lot on sleeper trains or walking about in big cities because they are light and I like the security of the pockets.
- 3 t-shirts.
- 2 Craghoppers shirts. With mosquito repelling fabric supposedly. I do like them for the hidden pocket. Very useful for keeping passports on my person.
- 1 vest.
- 1 long sleeve base layer.
- 1 microfibre fleece.
- 1 flat cap. Just in case I forget that I’m from Yorkshire.
- 1 pair of sunglasses. Think a customer left them at work one day. Mine now.
- 2 Buffs. Sort of like a tube scarf that can be worn in a multitude of ways. I have one normal one for keeping sweat away in warmer climates and then a fleece lined one for when I need to keep my nut warm.
- 1 cotton shirt. Bought in Pushkar. Dirt cheap.
- 2 pair of cotton trousers. Bought in Palolem. Also dirt cheap. Ok for mooching about on the beach.
- 1 pair of flip-flops. The pair I brought got stolen during a visit to a fabric shop. I wish that I could say I was joking. I bought a pair of camel skin flip-flops from a dodgy character in Rajasthan, who assured me that they would last me for 10 years.
- 1 pair of Teva Fuse-ion trainers. Best trainers I have ever owned. They’re a technical shoe designed to go in the water, but with a super good grip and very hard-wearing features. I wanted a shoe that was good for the abuse of life on the road, but that could look sort of casual. These are bloody perfect.
Throughout my “research phase”, I saw that a lot of people swear by packing cubes as a means of organisation.
You know what I swear by?
Ziplock bags (1 gallon). I put underwear in one, shorts in another, t-shirts in another and so on. Not only are they transparent so you can easily identify the contents, but it keeps your stuff dry.
I then ram all of my clothing bags into an old sleeping bag stuff sack and you know what? It does the job perfectly. That being said, a compression sack like Sammy’s Kelty Compression Stuff Sack would have squished my clothes up more, but I left it too late to order one before our trip.
Toiletries and cosmetics
- 2 Bic single blade razors. For shaving my head.
- Toothbrush. For brushing my teeth.
Yeah….Have you seen a photo of me? I even decided against deodorant. I’m going to sweat anyway. Does a guy need any more toiletries? Sammy took the soap and toothbrush. I’m not a complete tramp.
I don’t want to spend my travelling days looking at a screen, I want to be off exploring and living each moment and connecting with the soul of the earth….truth is….You will get bored sometimes. It is a simple fact of life that you won’t be super hyped all the time and you need music, stimulation, contact with family and friends. We also wanted to blog and document the stuff we did, so that’s another excuse.
Here’s what I put in my bag:
- Ipod 4th gen (32gb). Just for music. It doesn’t really do apps.
- Skullcandy Uprock headphones. I’ve got a selection of cans at home, but these produce a great sound, cancel out sound enough and have a microphone for a more uninterrupted Skype experience. Quite bulky, though.
- Tesco Hudl. Mine is the 1st gen because I’ve had it a while, but the 2nd gen is still 100 quid. Just as good as Sammy’s Kindle HD in my eyes. The only real downside I can see is that the camera is shocking. We have a digital camera so….problem solved. It’s Android, so uses google play books, which is great because my next bit of technology is Android too. I can read on this like it were a Kindle or a can surf the internet quite nicely. If life really gets me down, I guess I can play angry birds, too.
Things I sent home or gave away
I did make some errors in my initial packing and after a month or so of having to pack my bag every day due to change of location, I was finding that I was struggling to fit everything in.
A cull was in order and here is what went either to a happy recipient or in a parcel to my mum.
I wonder if it will ever arrive.
My jeans that were necessary in Birmingham airport and the first few days of Delhi. I had worn them knowing that they would go pretty soon. Several plug adaptors that were too bulky. We decided on keeping 4 plug adaptors for our electronics, but any more wasn’t necessary. Walkie talkie watches – sounded like a good idea at the time. Microfibre fleece – takes up too much room. Don’t tell me that we can’t get cheap, warm clothing in cold places and just swap out some other clothes to compensate.