What to Pack for Full-Time Travel

by Nora Dunn on June 24, 2010

All The Professional Hobo’s Worldly Belongings

all the Professional Hobo's worldly belongings

For the purposes of this post, I recently unpacked my bags and took pictures of everything. Although I surprised even myself with a few things (like how much clothing I have, and how much more I got rid of along the way), I was also pretty impressed that I’ve been able to survive for over three years with little more than what fits in one just-larger-than-carry-on sized suitcase and one daypack.

My belongings have evolved and streamlined over the last three years, and anywhere I camped out for more than six months involved an inevitable accumulation of things that either got sent home for storage or given away/sold. But the longer I travel, the less likely I am to accumulate much at all, even if I stay somewhere for a while.

Without further ado, here is a list of everything I travel with, for you to use as a guide for what to pack for full-time travel:


Luggage and Bags

I love my High Sierra Wheeled Backpack with Removable Day-pack luggage; the main case zips right open for easy access to everything, it has wheels (which I almost always use), and zip-away backpack straps (which I almost never use, but which is handy if the terrain is rough or I’m navigating dense crowds).

luggage

My Day Pack zips onto the front of the main case so I’m only carting around one piece of luggage, and it’s perfect as my carry-on bag and around-town bag.

day pack

You can also see my TSA-approved combo lock dangling from the zipper of my luggage – very handy for security during flights as well as in hostels.

OR sackStuffed into my main bag is another two bags: one thin lightweight compression sack (which I occasionally stuff clothes into to keep my packing volume down), and another favourite: the Outdoor Research Drycomp Summit Sack.

This bag has seen me through many treks and mountaineering summit attempts, as it’s a soft-sided, waterproof, lightweight bag that doubles as a compression sack. Between this and the dedicated compression sack (and a few smaller mesh stuff sacks), I can organize my belongings quite effectively.

I do also carry a purse, which houses my wallet, camera, copies of ID, and other items I like to have close at hand for either convenience or security.


Shoes

I’ve always been a fan of my hiking boots, but there’s no getting around the weight and bulk of something that I only occasionally use (but when I use them – boy do I ever). My runners (which I bought second-hand two years ago were also looking pretty sorry, so I recently went on a long drawn-out search for some new shoes. I always joked with the salespeople that I wanted a pair of shoes that could do everything – double as both good lightweight walking shoes (to replace my runners), as well as hiking boots (which I wanted to get rid of). And they had to look stylish and cool.

Well wouldn’t you know it: one day, the salesperson – instead of laughing at me – handed me exactly what I asked for.

shoes

The Salomon Mid GTX hiking shoe are my new favourite shoes. Despite being larger than runners, they are no heavier than a regular pair of runners, and the profile and black colour make them appear like decent shoes underneath a pair of pants. But the solid structure and ankle support make them awesome hiking boots. I’ve taken them into the middle of volcanic craters, as well as around town for long walks (and even out to a few dinners), and they fit the bill in all scenarios.

Aside from my main shoes, I have three two other pairs:

  • Tevas (good for summer action and water-sports) (They’re uncomfortable and bulky, and just got “left” at the last place I was staying)!
  • Flip-flops (easy slip-ons and great for hostel showers)
  • Nice strappy sandals. I only own these because a) they were dirt cheap in Thailand, and b) they are incredibly thin and lightweight – even moreso than flip-flops. That, and they make me feel pretty (I’ve got to do the girly thing from time to time).


Clothing

Yes, yes; I probably have more clothing than I should, but I’m struggling to figure out how I can cut down and still be prepared for any season (and I get cold easily). Here’s what I have:

  • Pants: Black quick-dry that also convert to ¾ length. Great for trekking, as well as looking nice for dinner.
  • Pants: Black cotton yoga pants. Super-comfy.
  • Skirt: Black knee-length.
  • Skirt: Blue silk wrap-around sari skirt, which can be worn a million ways, including as a dress. Actually incredibly practical as everything from a beach cover-up, to picnic towel, to dress-up flowing skirt.
  • 2 T-shirts.
  • 1 black collared sleeveless shirt (nice for dressing up, and packs up incredibly small).
  • 2 Long-sleeved merino wool Icebreaker shirts – one as a standalone base layer, another as a nice top with a collar.
  • 1 Long-sleeved lightweight shirt (for hot countries that require arms to be covered, among other uses).
  • 1 Purple possum/merino poncho. This is incredibly lightweight, unbelievably warm, my New Zealand Souvenir, and super-stylish. Yes, ever the “girl” I am.
  • 1 blue Down Jacket. It’s actually polyester – not down – but it feels like down so I call it such. It also folds into its own pocket to pack up small and make a nice pillow when I need one. Oh yeah – and it’s incredibly warm.
  • 1 Pashmina (or incantation thereof). It makes for a great scarf, accessory, airplane blanket, wrap, throw, etc. Super handy and very stylish.
  • work clothesWork clothing: I also travel with clothing specifically intended for some of the dirtier jobs that are sometimes asked of me, depending on where I work-trade: 1 short-sleeved merino wool Icebreaker (that has seen better days), and one pair of quick-dry reinforced pants. They were quite handy as such at Mana Retreat.
  • 1 Raitoiletries, rain jacket, jammiesn Jacket: bright pylon-orange style. The colour wasn’t my first choice, but again – it’s incredibly thin and light, and it does the trick.
  • 1 Pair of PJs: being a lightweight top and pair of pants that could also be worn out in a pinch. Important for hostels, where sleeping – and running to the bathroom – in undies isn’t exactly kosher.
  • 3-5 pairs of socks (different weights and uses)
  • 3-5 pairs of underwear (pretty much the same use!)
  • 2 Bikini Swimsuits: Yes, I could probably do with one, but they just don’t take up that much room. I mean, really.

 

(Also in the picture above is 1 one-liter water bottle. As you can see from the stickers all over it, it has seen more than a few places in the world).


Clothing Accessories

These get stuffed into a mesh bag, and although I often forget I have as much as I do in there, I’ve also used everything at one time or another. Although I have a lot of scarves, they are also useful for warmth, accessorizing, hair ties, belts, bag-identifiers, and make-shift tools.

clothing accessories

  • 1 winter scarf
  • 1 lightweight cotton scarf
  • 2 silk scarves
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 long canvas belt (actually, this belt was a recent casualty of another reduction spree before my trip to Europe).


Toiletries

  • 1 Toiletry Bag: I won’t detail the exact contents of my toiletry kit, but suffice it to say I have mini-versions of everything I need stuffed neatly into my black fold-up toiletry bag.
  • 1 Adventure Towl: one of the best pieces of travel gear I have. It’s small, dries almost as soon as I’ve wrung it out, and dries me when I need it to.


Outdoor Gear

Because I love trekking as much as I do, I have enough belongings to hit the trails – even overnight (save for the tent & sleeping bag).

camping & warm weather gear

  • 1 pair of gaiters
  • 1 thermal base layer
  • 1 thermal sleeveless top
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 small wool hat (useful for more than trekking)
  • 1 fold-up plate
  • 1 fold-up cup


Bit and Pieces

The last thing to go into my main bag is a bunch of miscellaneous items, as listed below:

bits and pieces

  • Adventure medical kit
  • SteriPen with solar charging case
  • Small Bag with membership cards I don’t need in my wallet but seem to want to hang on to, as well as extra shoelaces (another multi-purpose item)
  • Extra laptop power-adapter (I took a side-trip and forgot to bring mine once, so now I have two and can’t bring myself to part with one – what if I forget it again?!)
  • Installation CDs and software (for my laptop)
  • External Hard Drive (which is kept in my luggage to be separate from my laptop; if one goes missing I won’t be up the creek).


Believe it or not, all that goes into my main luggage. Here’s what goes in my day-pack and purse:

day pack and purse

  • Wallet
  • International Driver’s License
  • iPod Touch
  • Folder with official documents
  • Waterproof bag with plug adaptors, business cards, cables, DVD’s, whatever
  • Ziploc bag with mini optical mouse, web-cam, and adaptors/cables I use regularly
  • Camera with extra SD card
  • Travel Journal
  • Deck of cards
  • Passport Wallet (used in airports to hold boarding passes , flight itineraries, etc)
  • Money belt (for passport etc)
  • Underclothes mini-pouch for USB stick (with encrypted copies of ID) and extra cash (last resort)
  • Laptop, including neoprene sleeve and power cord
  • Earplugs (my best friend in hostels)
  • Headlamp (another piece of truly prized travel gear)
  • Padlock (for hostel lockers)
  • Eyeshade (although I never remember I have it when I need it)
  • Sunglasses
  • Unlocked Cell Phone
  • Small case of miscellaneous meds (painkillers, anti-histamines, anti-nausea, etc)


Although I was once inspired by a video I saw on ultra-light packing and almost took my full-time entourage into carry-on mode, I realize that my love of the outdoors – and the gear to go along with it – will prevent me from downsizing too much more. Although there are a few items on this list that could be chucked out if I had to lighten the load, I’m pretty happy in knowing that I can handle – and enjoy – whatever the world throws at me.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig June 24, 2010 at 6:41 am

Good stuff! I’m currently looking for the perfect pack to take me into the magical realm of carry-on only. It means my bottle opener will have to stay behind, but ithink that’ll be the only piece of kit i’ll miss.

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theprofessionalhobo June 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

@Craig – Heh Heh: Trust a Kiwi to miss their bottle opener more than anything else!!! (GRINS) Seriously though, good luck making the jump. I still have to check my bag, but at least it’s only one bag (under 15kg), and I’ve got packing it down to a fine art. And with my strategic reduction of items along the way, I too may eventually end up being a carry-on gal!

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Craig June 24, 2010 at 9:38 am

Yes, our pocket-knife went missing in Peru and, although there have been times I’ve wanted it, I think I can live without a blade. But a corkscrew? That’s quite beyond me.

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Taylor June 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Awesome list. It’s always fun to see what other people bring on their trips. We’re getting ready for a long trip and will definitely be adding a few things from your list to ours.

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theprofessionalhobo June 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm

@Craig – LOL!

@Taylor – Glad the list was a help! Let me know once you get your travel legs under you (I see you’re leaving soon!)…maybe you’d like to submit a week-in-the-life post, detailing your travels! Send me an email if you’re interested and I’ll give you some guidelines.

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Lise June 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Always interesting to see what a real traveler brings. With short 1 month trips in one climate I get spoiled going carry-on only. A long trip would prove challenging to pack for. Especially with all the tech I insist on bringing.

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theprofessionalhobo June 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm

@Lise – When I took a 6-week side trip last year, I managed it with carry-on only (granted, before they started cracking down on carry-on limits), which was wonderful. But I too, wrestle with my techie requirements…they pretty much fill my small-ish daypack/carry-on bag alone!

I also get burned with the whole 4-seasons thing. Although I’m finding in the summer heat of Europe (and in my constant mission to avoid winter by hemisphere hopping, which I’ve been pretty successful at to date), that I’m itching to shed more and more of the cold-weather stuff. Slowly but surely…(it’s my love of getting into the mountains that keeps my pack full of things I don’t often use but am hesitant to get rid of).

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Lise June 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm

My big challenge is packing shoes that look professional, but that I can walk 13+ miles in. I travel mostly by extending conference trips into longer adventures so the idea of packing a pair of shoes just for work purposes and then another for walking seems redundant.

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Nico June 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm

At the advice of “everyone” who insisted that traveling carry-on was the supreme goal of all long-term travelers (wink wink), I brought next to nothing when I started wandering earlier this year. After five consecutive weeks of tramping in New Zealand, and now being in the midst of a New Zealand winter, I think I would have packed differently if I hadn’t been somewhat self-conscious of my pack size (tee hee). I think my “style” of travel is pretty similar to yours, especially the outdoor pursuits and working parts, and I when I leave New Zealand in a week, I’ll be carrying about as much as you do. It just seems to be the right amount.

Seriously, I think most people who take off to go “backpacking” with a single 35L pack never leave major cities, don’t work (at least not dirty work), and don’t participate in committed outdoor activities. So don’t sweat the amount of stuff you’re carrying around. :-)

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Ras Fred June 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Thanks I always love gear lists.

Good advice on the shoes. I have hiked in a pair of Salomons for a few years now and they have been great. They do not have that industrial-strength look (like Merrells) but they have held up well. They are also comfortable, waterproof and easier on my ankles than other hiking shoes I have owned.

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Eli June 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Nora, this list couldn’t be timed any better fo Jen and me. We just got our packs last week, and we need to make similar lists for ourselves. I like that you bring a deck of cards.

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theprofessionalhobo June 25, 2010 at 12:18 am

@Lise – Work shoes (as in professional work) don’t have to be very bulky, so I wouldn’t sweat it. Bring them along anyway, as you’ll probably enjoy the chance to dress up a bit, even outside of work. I started out with a very utilitarian wardrobe, which I almost immediately regretted. Since then I’ve paid attention to both fashion and function.

@Nico – Thanks for the props! I agree – if I didn’t have work clothes and mountaineering clothes, then I could probably hack a smaller pack (and maybe some poetry at the same time)!

@Ras Fred – Admittedly I’m not wearing my shoes so much here in Europe, but I’m also currently in Spain where the temperatures are in excess of 30 degrees every day…I’m reveling in sandals at the moment! My bag seems to accommodate the shoes okay.

@Eli – Glad this was a help! And although I don’t use the cards often, I’ve been thankful for them when I’ve had them. Great for passing the time with new friends or entertaining kids.

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soultravelers3 June 25, 2010 at 8:45 am

Cool list! Always fun to see what others bring.

It is funny how one gets lighter and lighter as you go, eh? We’ve become real minimalists and love the freedom it gives us.

When not in our van-sized RV traveling Europe ( where we store ALL of our things) we just take a small daypack each ….even for months in 3 seasons of weather. And that includes our 3 laptops & homeschool supplies! LOL

It’s amazing how little one needs.

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theprofessionalhobo June 25, 2010 at 10:18 am

@Soultravelers3 – Good job with the daypacks (techno-gadgets included)! I’m amazed, because every picture I see of Mozart seems to feature a different outfit! (smiles)

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Elizabeth June 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Your writing style is as concise and informative as your packing style. Love all the blue in your backpacks too!

Because I pack an entire art studio in my luggage when I travel, unfortunately that means more than just a carry-on.

Thanks for revealing your packing secrets!

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theprofessionalhobo June 28, 2010 at 3:02 am

@Elizabeth – Thanks! (I actually thought I was a little too verbose in describing the contents of my bag, but as you can see it’s all fairly well thought-out)! And blue is my favourite colour – hence the theme. It also helps to choose a few colour themes, so there is more ability to mix and match.
The art studio certainly means more than just carry-on, but I too – with my four-season gear and mountaineering paraphernalia – also have more than carry-on. As long as we check only one bag, I figure we’re doing okay!

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Audrey July 1, 2010 at 11:47 am

On our visit home, family keeps trying to give us stuff (e.g., t-shirts, toiletries, sweaters, etc.) and although we’re appreciative we have to keep reminding them that our backpack is only so big and EVERYTHING has a purpose (or multiple ones). Finally, I held up my 1.5 packing cubes and explained that all my clothes fit into these. The look on my sister-in-law’s face was priceless. It’s hard for people to get sometimes, so I got a laugh reading through this post. Thanks for sharing all the dirty details of your pack!

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theprofessionalhobo July 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm

@Audrey – I too have challenges with people trying to give me things. Although moreso, I have challenges with wanting more stuff myself! But when I remind myself that anything new has to replace something old (and I realize that I don’t want to get rid of anything), it usually puts an end to it!

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Mary July 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Don’t ask me how I got to this page, but I’m sure glad I did!! I’ve always thought of myself as a light packer, friends can never believe that I travel for 2 weeks with just one small carry-on, but you are an inspiration to me!! I am wanting to get into some extended travel that includes some hiking, so your thorough explanation of packing light is not only an inspiration to me, but also will be my next challenge in acquiring the best gear. I was never interested in long term travel because I hated the thought of extra baggage, now I can see that I can travel for longer periods while still keeping it very light. Thank you for being so detailed!!

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theprofessionalhobo July 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

@Mary – I’m glad this post was helpful! It’s amazing how little you really need – not only on the road, but in life in general. But we are accumulators by nature, so even I find it a constant struggle not to constantly want to buy more!

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Travis Henry July 27, 2010 at 7:10 am

Good job on compiling the list. It looks pretty thorough. I agree that hiking shoes are extremely bulky and too much weight to carry. But if there is no way you can leave them behind, a good option is to wear them on board. Same goes for bulky jackets and coats. That should cut down some weight and save some valuable space in your bag. I used the trick last time I traveled to Seattle and believe it or not, I was able to pack for five days in just carry-on luggage – my 21” expandable from Briggs & Riley.

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theprofessionalhobo July 27, 2010 at 8:16 am

@Travis – good point about wearing what you can on the plane. On a recent flight with a budget airline, I did something similar to ensure my bag was under 15kg!

However whilst in summer climates, I’ve often found it impractical – if not impossible – to layer up too much. This is especially true if there’s a lengthy journey to or from the airport on either side. If you are actively traveling from destination to destination on a long-term trip, it simply doesn’t make sense to have a bag so small that it can’t fit everything and you are relegated to layering up every time you move from one place to the next. I’d go crazy!

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Anna August 19, 2010 at 8:39 am

Hey there! thanks for the list and explaining why you have what you carry. Like you I have been almost seduced by the idea of just carrying enough to carry on, I see I should not be stuck with the idea if I my needs do not fit that bill.

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theprofessionalhobo August 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

@Anna – I’ve been on the move a lot lately, and I’ve really not felt terribly held back by having to check my bag on flights. Yes, carry-on is nicer, but it isn’t worth the sacrifice in having some of the things with me that I really like having.

But in the same breath I’ll also admit that the weight of your bag is directly linked to happiness on the road….so I try my best to keep the weight under 15kg, and my bag is quite easy to manoeuvre and get in and out of. To me, this is more important than cramming everything into a carry-on bag.

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Richard III October 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

Great Article!, I’m 46 years old and retired from the Army 5 years ago this December, I was an Abn Infantryman, for 24.5 years. Mainly because I loved the outdoors and traveling on a moments notice. this unfortunately as some think made me unable to live in a stick house. being married three times along the away and one beautiful awesome teenager, I have decided to hit the road in a 13′ camper trailer though and my jeep.
living in a stick house made me spoiled and I was reminded how exciting and fun it is to live with what you can carry on your back by your article.
Happy trails, and know from living myself in both worlds that you are living not stuck in the materialistic world. I spent the last 5 years being reminded of that.
fair winds.
Rick

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theprofessionalhobo October 3, 2010 at 6:59 pm

@Rick – Good stuff! What a great way to live. How long to you like to park the camper in one spot before moving along?

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Geneviève October 30, 2010 at 5:44 am

I recently bought a foldable/collapsible water bottle online (I’ve since seen it at CAA stores in Canada).
I lugged it to client meetings in Barcelona, and across South Africa on my latest trips.
Very handy when going through airport security, and the best part, LIGHT WEIGHT,
http://www.vapur.us.

Happy travels!

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theprofessionalhobo October 31, 2010 at 5:20 pm

@Genevieve – I love the collapsible water bottle idea! My mum was traveling with one through France, and it looked great. My only concerns were of size (I’d prefer a larger size, but I guess an extra bottle or two wouldn’t take up too much space), and durability. But I may just end up getting one to try it out. Thanks!

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Heather August 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I love this post! I am always so interested in what and how people pack, especially for an unknown amount of time and locations. I’m 6 months from leaving my “home” to travel the world indefinitely, I’ve been starting a list of things I know i’ll take and things I know I won’t. Thanks for sharing!

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theprofessionalhobo August 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

@Heather – I’m glad this helped! I remember feeling quite lost when it initially came to packing my bags….I drastically overestimated the things I could bring with me…even since writing this post, the contents of my bag have evolved – mainly in a distillation sort of way!

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wool tie September 15, 2011 at 1:06 am

trying to find you, what is your twitter?

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theprofessionalhobo September 15, 2011 at 9:28 am

My twitter link is at the top right hand corner of my site! But it’s http://www.twitter.com/hobonora. Cheers!

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Rebecca September 20, 2011 at 5:31 am

Your comments about packing light but not light enough for carry on in order to have everything you need with you are food for thought. We are off for 9 months in Europe in 2012 and have been contemplating carry on but trying to weigh up advantages versus disadvantages. I see you have a Steri pen with you. So do you sterlise your water in your fold up cup? but then how do you take water out and about? I am looking for a collapsable water bottle that I have use with the Steri pen.

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Lynne Marie September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Thank you for this inspiration. This gear list helps a lot! I’ve always packed light, but, somehow, when I started taking longer, multi-climate/purpose trips (e.g. ones that involve treks and parties), I blunder and end up with too much for my back and trip.

A few questions: What kind of down coat do you have that packs up so? (My awesome down coat that works so well in Chicago and NYC does not pack well.) When you go on longer treks, do you just rent your remaining gear, such as sleeping bags, poles, etc.? (How easy is that to do?)

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theprofessionalhobo September 24, 2011 at 4:51 am

@Rebecca – I use the Steripen with my larger water bottle and carry that around, but you can use it glass by glass as well. When looking for a water bottle to use it with, remember to ensure the neck is wide enough to get the Steripen into the bottle and immerse the UV light entirely. (I’d say a mininum of 2 inches wide will do)

@Lynne Marie – My “down” coat isn’t really down (it’s polyester!), and it isn’t suitable for winter weather….it’s a light-weather jacket. But with enough layers (ie: pretty much everything I have!) I can endure some pretty cool weather if I need to.

As for other hiking/camping gear, yes, I tend to borrow or rent when I need to. In Australia I always went with friends who had suitable gear, and in Ukraine I went with a company who provided a tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag.
I always figure if I’m in an area where it’s popular to go hiking, I can either rent, borrow, or buy used and cheap. So far so good!

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Kim April 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Awesome list, thank you!!! I’m leaving to travel full time in six weeks and starting to wonder what exactly I should pack. One question: do you use the steri pen often? How do you use it (for backpacking or do you use it for local, municipal water)?? Curious if I should get one myself… Thanks!

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Normand Boulanger April 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I’m still in decition for what to bring and what to leave behind. Getting ready for South America in July, being a two year trip around latin america I don’t want to forget anything but also don’t want to be over carrying stuff also. Nice to see other peoples bags, guves me a general idea. Thanks

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theprofessionalhobo April 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

@Kim – I only really used the SteriPen in Thailand (local municipal water); the other times I was in Asia, there was always a water cooler in the lobby of where I stayed where I could fill up my water bottles for the day.
And in truth, I recently got rid of my SteriPen in favour of lightening my load. (It came with a large solar charging case that was too bulky for my liking).
So whether you should get one is largely dependent on where you plan to travel. I might miss mine in certain parts of Asia or Africa.

@Normand – Don’t worry too much about forgetting stuff; there are very few places in the world where you can’t get what you need! Err on the ligher side, and you won’t regret it! :-)

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Megan April 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I typically do my major travel without electronics because I’m concerned about making myself a target for theft. How do you handle that problem, with a laptop and an iPod?

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theprofessionalhobo April 19, 2012 at 8:21 am

@Megan – I used to worry about theft and damage with regards to my various iToys, but the reality is just about everybody travels with a similar entourage now, so I’m no more of a target than anybody else.
I also run my business from my laptop, so it’s kind of a non-negotiable item! What I do, however, is I limit the extent of possible tragedy (from loss or damage) by backing up my data in several ways, so even if my laptop and iTouch fall down a hole, I can continue to do business relatively seamlessly.

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theprofessionalhobo April 19, 2012 at 8:23 am

@Megan: Oh – and I guard my laptop with my life. I only ever leave it unattended if it’s in an incredibly secure place under (at least one) lock and key!

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Shannon July 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I traveled for work in the U.S for the last 2 years never being in the same city for longer than a week. My biggest problem is packing toiletries. I tried bringing full size bottles which took up to much room. I tried travel bottles which never lasted a full 7 days, and then had troubles of finding more of the products i prefer. And most of the products I use you can’t find in travel size so id have to fill a little bottle from the big bottle and leave the big bottle behind.. I see here that you pack travel size bottles of everything you use. What if you cant find more of a certain product? Or do you just use what you can find? Also any suggestion for work out clothes? they seem to take up to much room too , unless i bring 2 sets and do laundry every other day lol
P.S I love your story and reading your blogs!

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theprofessionalhobo July 13, 2012 at 7:42 am

@Shannon – Yes, I’ve grappled with both of your issues….

I change my toiletry strategy regularly, and still haven’t come up with an entirely satisfactory solution. It’s extra difficult since I’ve become pretty committed to using organic and natural products – which are too expensive to only partially use and leave behind! But here are a few things I’ve adopted that work:
– I use solid shampoo (Lush is my favourite), which lasts forever and takes up very little space.
– Dr Bronner’s is a great all-purpose wash for anything from body to clothing to any items that need a scrub. Again a little bit goes a long way, so it’s worth carrying a bottle around.
– Generally anything I buy (even if it’s organic), I try to get in small bottles so I can travel with them in a pinch if I need to.

Truth be told, I tend to move between longer-term gigs these days, so I’m not as worried about lugging around a lot of toiletries as long as I can check them into my luggage and unload them at my next destination for a few weeks/months. It’s much easier! (And admittedly my complement of clothing has swollen as a result of this shift to even slower travel as well)!

As for work-out gear, I just tend to wear the same outfit a few days in a row before washing it (by hand if I need to), and it dries in time for the next day.

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luaay December 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

“What I do, however, is I limit the extent of possible tragedy (from loss or damage) by backing up my data in several ways, so even if my laptop and iTouch fall down a hole”

Like what ways?

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theprofessionalhobo December 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Hey Luaay –
Here’s a post that describes the various ways I back up my data and protect my stuff:
http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/07/financial-travel-tip-39-backing-up-your-stuff/

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Mister March 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I also recommend a rucksack or suitcase that can be easily padlocked, I recently travelled to India and I wasn’t allowed to leave my luggage in the storage room of train stations unless secured by padlock. Unfortunately my old backpack did not have double zips to attach padlocks on and also it had too many small pockets! So now I know better for my next trip what kind of suitcase I need to look for.

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theprofessionalhobo March 4, 2013 at 7:20 am

Hi Mister,
GREAT suggestion! Double zippers that you can stick a padlock through are essential. I have a few padlocks with me all the time – TSA approved combo locks for my luggage when flying etc, and even the odd lock-and-key padlock for hostel lockers.

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