Ultimate Packing list for long term travel (Backpacking)

the ultimate packing list

You’re going backpacking for months, how do you decide what to leave and what to take? Long term travel is all about packing light but making sure you have all the essentials to make travel as easy as possible.

This packing guide is focused for couples travel but the information is pretty universal for solo travellers too.

Why is our packing list the best? The answer is, there is no “best” packing list. The best way to pack is to read a few and decide what items are best for you.

Between the two of us we’ll be carrying about 22KG – which includes all our electronics (Laptops, video cameras etc.) so might be a little heavier than for those of you who aren’t documenting and blogging all the way…

There is more to packing for long-term travel than you may realise. This guide will help you decide what you’ll need to take.

UPDATED May 2014:


Frequently debated packing questions

Here are a few of the major question marks that are being asked by those in the know.

Laptop vs Tablet vs Smartphone?

smartphones_rectMost people have a smartphone these days, you may also have a laptop and/or tablet. Can you make do with just a smartphone and occasional trip to an internet cafe? Yes you can, we’ve done it but it was far from convenient. Then again, carrying 3-5KG of laptop around can also be unnecessary.

We reckon tablets are the perfect compromise, the battery lasts longer than a smartphone or laptop, you can type relatively easily and editing photos and video at a basic level is also possible and skype works well. However, if you are addicted to your computer you may miss the flexibility.

This is probably the hardest debate to settle. It’ll come down to personal circumstance and my best advice is to stick with what you’ve got – don’t spend $700 of your travel money on an ipad if you already have a laptop, spend it on travel!

If you are are taking high price electronics with you, some insurance companies do not cover them as standard. We found this out the hard way when our iPod touch exploded while charging. It pays to have insurance that will definitely cover such things. The best company we have found is World nomads – they even cover adventure sports and elephant riding! You can get a 5% discount on their policies by using this link and the code WN5DP


Solid vs Liquid Shampoo & Conditioner?

We debated this for a while. There are some good quality “Solid” products on the market which other bloggers will support as leaving their hair feeling great.

It really came down to price and ease of access. Although the solid products are less bulky, they work out more expensive than a budget shampoo and they are not easy to find outside of western countries once your first bar runs out…

Our compromise? We have regular soap rather than shower gel, and it goes without saying that any free mini shampoos at hostels will be going in our bag.


Checked bag vs Carry on only?

A lot of travellers are opting to go “carry on only”. With some airlines reducing their overall carry on limit to 5KG + Laptop & Accessories, the carry on only thing can be tricky… It can be done and we’ve had plenty of recommendations from people who have done it. But when it costs $12 to check in a bag on Air Asia (book in advance online! its cheaper) we are asking, why make your travels so hard? Some of the difficulties you will face with carry on only are:

  1. Needing smaller backpacks (We already have backpacks, so starting again seems unnecessarily expensive, if its your first time it might be a more worthwhile consideration)
  2. No Liquids over 100ml or aerosols. On the whole this is not too hard to achieve, but takes thought and planning and generally more money as the sort of products we are talking about (Solid sunscreen, Bug Spray??) are either hard or impossible to get in solid form.
  3. The Airport Juggle. Firstly you have to be set up to take all your “accessories” out of your bag so you can carry them through airport security as separate items. You may often be questioned if it looks like you have to much stuff and will need to have your backstory and full understanding of the rules for that airline to get through without them forcing you to put stuff in checked baggage anyway.
  4. You simply have less stuff. This may sound like a pro rather than a con but 5KG per person for all your clothes and personal items is really cutting it down. No one wants to carry a 30KG pack, but is 5KG enough for you?

Not sure if you want to go carry-on only?
We now have a complete guide to choosing the right backpack for you – including a quick quiz to help you decide.

DSLR Camera vs Compact Camera vs Smartphone?


My biggest regret is spending over 3 years travelling before I got my first decent camera. I have some nice shots from those early years, but so many horrible ones. I was using a cheap compact camera, it was ok for memories but not much use for amazing photos. If I’d relied on a smartphone as my only camera I can only imagine how much more disappointed I would have been…

UPDATE 2014: We traded in our Nikkon P500 hybrid camera for a Nikon D7100 (Mid range DSLR) with a Tamron 18-270mm lens. The results we get now have a professional look to them that we couldn’t get with a hybrid or compact.

On the downside, the DSLR is more than twice the size and twice the weight of our old hybrid camera, and was over 3 times the price… But if you love photos I suggest going for the DSLR, it may be bulky but the photos you get, you’ll be able to savour for the rest of your life. For everyone else a good compact camera for convenience or a hybrid camera for the manual controls and flexibility.

Some recommendations, Compacts:

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Image Stabilized Zoom 25mm Wide-Angle Lens and 1080p Full-HD Video (Black). The 20x optical zoom is huge for a compact. Mid-range Price ($200 ish)

Sony DSC-RX100M II Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera 20.2MP, Black. The rolls royce of compacts. A big sensor means higher quality pics, and a Carl Zeiss lens for sharp zoom/focus. $500+

Canon PowerShot A1400 16.0 MP Digital Camera with 5x Digital Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens and 720p HD Video Recording (Black). A solid budget option. It only has a 5 x zoom but has some other cool features not often seen at this price point, like an optical viewfinder. The price is its best feature – close to $60.

Fujifilm FinePix XP60 16.4MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Blue). If you want something a bit more robust, this is perfect. Its shock proof, water proof, dust proof. The price is low, photo quality is pretty good and it won’t get broken stuffed in your backpack or covered in sand. Sub $150.

PLEASE don’t just use your phone. Those pictures look “ok” on the phone, or small on facebook, beyond that it just makes me sad to think of all those grainy/blurry pictures. 

There are now a whole bunch of solutions for making your phone photos higher quality. The Sony DSC-QX100 is a full DSLR lens that connects to your smartphone. The reviews are actually great. Some would claim it is better than a good compact, or even than many DSLRs on the market.

Remember, if you do take a high value camera, you need decent insurance that will actually cover it. You can get a 5% discount on World Nomad policies by using this link and the code WN5DP

USB vs AC?

We made the decision to go USB on everything possible. One AC socket can recharge a whole bunch of USB devices at once, and in many budget hostels you may only get one AC socket. But bare in mind if multiple devices are plugged into one USB socket the charging time significantly increases. If you plan to charge a lot of devices overnight then it means you can do them all at once no problem though.

We use the Walkabout Universal Adapter with USB. It has a double USB socket, it’s robust and it works in any country.

Remember if you are travelling from the US, where they us 110 volt power, to Europe/Asia, where they use 220 volts, you must check your chargers to check they are multi voltage compatible. Otherwise, bye bye electronics…


Latest travel gadgets vs. making do with what you have.

The first thing to realise when making purchase choices is: Use what you have. The drug of consumerism makes you feel that you should get the latest and best version of everything and replace things that work fine already – this methodology does not help the travel budget!

Things that we didn’t own, like a waterproof backpack cover, we asked for as gifts from family or purchased as cheap as possible. Things that have a travel alternative product, like towels, that genuinely are much better than what we had, we bought. For everything else, we will make do with what we have until it breaks.


Our Backpacks

Leaving-OzWe have one 60L backpack that is many years old but still going strong. This also has a 15L day pack that zips onto it, having a day pack is awesome as you don’t have to empty one of your regular packs all over your hostel room so that you can use them as a day pack. The fact it zips onto the main pack means that we can also have a third pack…

Secondly, our 30L Overboard Dry pack. In a nutshell this is insanely waterproof, almost completely airtight. If you and your luggage fall out of a longboat whilst cruising down the Mekong not only will this bag protect your valuable electronics, but it floats and you can use it as a buoyancy aid! Apart from boat disasters, this also means that its perfect for monsoon season. Read our full review of  The overboard Backpack

We now have a complete guide to choosing the right backpack for you – including a quick quiz to help you decide.

Packing methods for convenience

The keyword here is “Compartmentalise”. Don’t be afraid, it’s easy to do and makes your life that much easier. You probably already have a bag for your toiletries. Now you need plastic bags to divide up everything else. For example, one bag for underwear, one for shirts, one for shorts, etc.

There are two main reasons to do this

  1. It makes finding stuff in your pack really easy. You don’t have to search the whole pack to find clean socks, they will be in the underwear bag…

  2. It makes packing and repacking really fast. Rather than being surrounded by loose clothes you take out the one bag that has what you want in it, find it easily and then put the whole bag back in the pack. 10 seconds. Done.

If you want to make this process even easier consider getting “Packing cubes” its a glorified and more durable system than using plastic bags but has a price tag… Maybe ask for them for Christmas?!?

Your Electronics: As well as plastic bags we also have a small tupperware box for all of the small, more delicate electronics that might otherwise get squished in our pack.

Fit it all in.

You have quite a lot of stuff, you want it to fit easily in your pack. Our simple TOP TIP for this is roll your clothes into tubes. Tight tubes pack easier and also reduce creases in your clothes compared to folding.

Get Cheaper Accommodation & Save $25 on your first stay.

Before we jump into the packing list, I want to mention two of the accommodation options we use all around the world all the time! AirBnB. This website offers homestay style accommodation all around the world. There are loads of options that are cheaper than a hotel or hostel plus you get to meet locals and get some cultural exchange.

You can get $25 off your first stay with AirBnB using this link.


We have stayed for free in London, France, Portugal and more and more options for Asia are coming up too. Get a 15% discount on an annual membership to trusted house sitters using that link and the code 5DP. The cost of annual membership is less than the price of one night in a 1 star hotel in london.


Our comprehensive Packing list


Ultimate packing list: Toiletries

This may look like a lot of toiletries, but apart from the towels, it actually packs down into one small bag in our main backpack (our one piece of checked baggage) and one even smaller case in our carry-in bag (our “overnight” bag, stuff we need on the plane, or when we arrive if our main bag is delayed – not happend yet, keeping fingers crossed!)

Some of these items may seem like things that other packing lists leave out or use alternatives, but i will add a note to the item listings below as to why we have chosen something different from the norm…

  1. Micro fibre towels x2: These Towels are thinner and less than half the weight of a regular bath towel. They also dry in a fraction of the time!

  2. Electric razor (and charger): If we had been starting from scratch I would have gone with a USB or battery powered electric razor, but I already had this one and the AC charger is small, so decided not to spend on a new one. The USB razors are convenient, compact and cheap-ish, it saves you carrying shaving foam and because they are USB you don’t need to use up the only wall socket in you budget room charging it.

  3. Womans Razor – Megsy will be shaving her legs with soap suds, and you can too if you are a chick…

  4. Sunscreen – Quite a large sunscreen purely because we have found it hard in the past to find sunscreen cheaply in South-East Asia, compared to the $8 per litre for budget sunscreen in K-mart. It won’t last forever but it’ll help us out for a while.

  5. Shampoo & Conditioner – We decided to opt for the regular liquid options for these, not the solid ones (Discussed above)

  6. Hand Sanatizer – THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR BAG. We worked on cruise ships and you learn very quickly that a lot of “food poisoning” is caused by dirty hands and not the food! If you are on the road you may not have soap and water to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer regularly to greatly reduce your chance of dysentery and other nasty diseases.

  7. Roll on anti-perspirant (His&Hers) – smaller and cheaper than aerosol, and you can take them in the cabin on the plane.

  8. Earplugs – In our top 5 most important travel item. Sleeping in a hostel, or the jungle will be 10 times easier with earplugs.

  9. Sewing Kit (Smallest ever!) – Its not an essential but its so small and occasionally useful so we included it anyway.

  10. Toothpaste 80g X2 – Small enough to go in the cabin, we like to have an “overnight” bag in our hand luggage so we can brush our teeth on the plane or when we arrive at a hotel in the middle of the night and don’t want to unpack. And, No, I didn’t payout for travel size products, these were $1 in K-mart – thats cheaper per gram than a family tube at regular price.

  11. Fold up travel toothbrush – We got these on ebay for $1 each. Folding up means they are more compact and that they are protected from spiders when left by the sink overnight.

  12. Drugs: (Gastro-stop, Malarial, and Paracetamol – not pictured). All your basics. Malarials are region specific of course. We had some left over from our last trip, we actually picked them up in Bangkok at $5 for 30 days supply – much cheaper than getting them in a western country, but we are not doctors so that is at your own risk!

  13. Bug Spray – Why such a big Insect spray Tommo? We’ve found bug spray hard to find/expensive in SE Asia so we wanted enough to last for at least the whole month in Burma where there will be a higher chance of mosquitos. I’m a Mosquito magnet, so we will get through it all.
    UPDATE 2014: Now using bug cream rather than aerosol. It’s more compact and a little goes quite a long way.

    TOP TIP – Wear loose long pants and long sleeves to reduce your use of bug spray on those body parts. Some mosquitos are vicious and will even bite through tight fitting clothes!

  14. Eye Masks – If light effects your sleep these are essential! If you stay in a dorm, expect someone to walk in and turn on the lights at 3am. We use Dream Essentials as after a few trials of cheapie eBay purchases (which were crap), these proved to be superior in every way.

  15. Birth control pills – Because babies hinder travel. If you ask your GP you can get an entire years supply all at once.

  16. Bobby pins and hair band – Because girls like to have pretty hair.

  17. Moisturiser – Because girls should have soft, delicate hands, not rough man hands.

  18. Basic Soap – 3 little soaps?? We’ve changed to old fashion soap rather than shower gel and we had a bunch “borrowed” from hotels, so thats the starting point. Will buy more soap as we need it on the road.

  19. Dental Floss – Because I like to eat a lot of weird shit and I don’t want bits of tarantula stuck in my teeth.

  20. First Aid Kit – Accidents happen, a basic first aid kit is a no brainer. This compact one has everything you need, plasters, wound treatment stuff, spiky things, I don’t know, as mentioned above I’m not a doctor, but if i cut my pinky finger on barbed wire we hope to have the skills to save my life. Basic Kit or for those in the wilds, a more sophisticated kit.

  21. Baby Wipes – Because hand sanitizer is best for hands, for everything else there’s baby wipes.
    TOP TIP: Clean dodgy toilet seats with baby wipes to protect your bum from those toilet seat nasties.

  22. Small Nail Scissors & Grooming kit (NOT PICTURED) – We picked up a little kit on ebay for a few dollars. has loads of useful things in it!

  23. Megs Makeup (NOT PICTURED) – Keeping it to a minimum with: Powder Foundation, Mascara, Lip gloss (spf 30). Thats it!



Ultimate packing list: Basic Electronics

  1. HTC Smart Phone and USB charger – This phone has a mobile hot spot function so we can pump mobile wifi to all our other devices. Its also a phone… Our aim is to get free wifi wherever possible and not use the phone unless we have to, or for emergencies. Whether we get local sim card in every country or not will depend on what packages are available and how long we will be in the country.
  2. ipad/ipod Charger – TOP TIP: Charging you iPad using your laptop or a computer in a cyber cafe takes at least twice as long as the charger that comes with the ipad. iphone chargers also take much longer to charge it. Its a voltage technical thing which i won’t explain in detail, but this is why we are taking the actual original charger. You can also charge ipods/iphones safely with them.

  3. Headphones x2, splitter, case. – We like to listen to our own music, we also like to watch movies together which is what the splitter is for ($2 on ebay). ipad + splitter + bus journey = not bored out of our minds.

  4. Compact waterproof/shockproof camera + spare battery & charger. You can drop it, use it underwater, film ok video too. Its a versatile device that we’d recommend as cool toy/backup device for travel. If you are not big into photography then this will be sufficient without needing a DSLR (Fuji XP60). The audio recording is not great, otherwise its a perfect upgrade from using a smartphone.

  5. iPad – Believe it or not, we won it! Otherwise Megsy would have been using the HTC phone as here mobile device instead. The battery life is amazing compared to the HTC so its great for movies on the plane/bus/train.

  6. iPod Touch – This is my mobile device, my music, books and apps etc. The battery lasts much better than the HTC and charges quicker this is why we have both – we still ultimately need a phone!

  7. 2 mini LED flashlights – They are on keyrings so you always have them on you. Good for dark alleys or coming into a dorm at night and not waking everyone up.

  8. 4-way USB splitter – NO LONGER TAKING… We have a lot of USB devices. This is not much use for charging (because the power gets split between devices so charge time is super slow!) but it does mean I can have something charging whilst also downloading photos/videos. 
    – Instead of taking this we are now taking a 2-way surge protect AC adapter – about $4 in kmart – so we can have 2 AC sockets rather than one

  9. Travel adapter (All countries + USB) – I’ve actually had this for years as its awesome! The new version comes with surge protect and double USB so check it out. Best one i’ve ever owned, and I’ve been through a few.

  10. Headlamp flashlight – But we already have flashlights? Try doing anything that requires two hands whilst holding a flashlight and then you’ll understand why this is awesome during the frequent power cuts in Burma or whilst trekking or trying to cook in the dark.

  11. Solar USB Charger (NOT PICTURED) – This is a wildcard for us, trying something new. $6 on ebay, we figured it could be useful if trekking or staying in rural areas with no electricity – we’ll let you know how it goes! UPDATE 2014: The amount of charge was ok for emergency phone charging in Mongolia/Burma, other than that it hasn’t been useful. If trekking a lot it could be worthwhile.


His Clothes

Ultimate packing list: Clothes for men

TOP TIP: If you are travelling to a cheap country it may be much cheaper to buy when you arrive if you don’t already own the right clothes. Our first destination is Bangkok, a mecca for finding cheap stuff – so long as you head out of the tourist district that is! We’ll be buying or replacing a few things when we arrive.

  1. Megsy’s Hat (in the wrong photo, but hey, it could be unisex right?!?)

  2. Short socks x3 & Long socks x2

  3. Boxer-trunks x5 – Some would say pack less and do more laundry. I say, fuck laundry. For the sake of a few extra grams in our pack its worth it, plus you get more choice of clothes. This is Another reason we advocate a full size (but light) pack rather than carry on only.

  4. T-shirt x1 & Tank top (singlet) x1

  5. Light cotton buttoned shirts x3 – Really great for hot weather but also smart enough to wear out in the evening. Go for the long sleeved options to reduce your need for sunscreen and bugspray on your arms.

  6. Swim Shorts – Because travel in hot countries without swimming is torture.

  7. Combat Shorts – They’re shorts. They have many pockets. My man stuff goes in the pockets. Deal with it.

  8. Merrell Trail Glove ShoesBest shoes I have ever owned. The most expensive thing in our backpack that isn’t electronics, but they are really comfy, you can wear them all day without pain and they have been minimal for creating blisters compared to all other shoes I have ever worn. (Full Review coming soon)

  9. Zip-off shorts (1 pair) – The photo may not make it obvious what these are. Full length pants that zip off at the knees. Practical? yes. Fashionable? Maybe not. But if budget travel was about fashion then your pack would weigh twice as much and your budget would last half as long. These are one of the most handy items of clothing I own.

  10. Baseball Cap – I lost my old hat whilst travelling. Soon I will find a new hat! UPDATE 2014: I didn’t get a new hat. This still works just fine.

  11. Flip Flops – For when you don’t want to wear shoes. $8 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Best flip flops I’ve ever owned, they look like the sort you pay $50 for in the Rip Curl store.

Her Clothes

Ultimate packing list: Clothes for women

  1. Merrell Pace Glove ShoesI LOVE these shoes they are heaven on my feet, and came in purple which suited my girly side!

  2. Flip Flops – my old trusty Havaianas will once again be coming with me…..I take them Everywhere!

  3. 2 Light weight cotton shirts – cotton is the best to breathe and also dries much quicker

  4. Nice cotton dress (For smart occasions) – an easy strapless number that I can roll up in the backpack but still throw on without needing an iron

  5. Loose “wrap around” Pants x1 – also known as fisherman’s pants these are cheap, light and also can be easily thrown into a backpack for temple visiting

  6. Board Shorts – when I look like Jessica Alba then I might reconsider the boardies……until then they are coming with me!

  7. Shorts x 1 – lightweight and something with pockets

  8. 2 Singlets & 1 long sleeved shirt – I am a singlet girl through and through so when I need to cover up for temples etc I tend to carry a shawl to throw over my shoulders,  the long sleeved shirt is to keep away mozzies and the ouchie burnie sun.

  9. 3 Sports Bras and Strapless Sports Bra – no underwire in these so easier to pack and won’t rub in the heat

  10. 1 Underwire t-shirt Bra – because I figure I need some support every now and then….I dont want to be 30 something with nanna boobs.

  11. Bikini Top – for wearing under my top to the water festivals or anywhere else water may be involved (they have a bit more padding than the sports bra….if you know what I mean)

  12. 5 pairs of Socks 

  13. 1 piece Swimsuit – once again until I achieve my Jessica Alba body….I suspect a few bouts of gastro will get me on my way…I’M KIDDING!!!

  14. 5 Pairs Underwear – they are light, dont take up too much room, and Im not the biggest fan of constant laundry

  15. Light Cardigan – because YES I AM a sooky lala and get cold all the time, even in Asia!

  16. Light Shawl – not pictured, a shawl is good to always have on you to quickly cover your shoulders to get into temples etc



Ultimate packing list: Micellaneous


  1. Money Belt – The secret of the money belt is to never take money out of it in public. It’s not a wallet! Make sure you have your everyday money in your wallet and the money belt is well concealed below your clothes.

  2. Kids Souvenir toys – Just a little thing we do, kids appreciate gifts so we hand them out occasionally.

  3. Harmonica – I’m giving up guitar permanently to backpack, so its time to learn something a little more compact! UPDATE 2014: Every hostel in the world seems to have a guitar. Haven’t even played the harmonica.

  4. Backpack Waterproof Cover – We are heading right into monsoon season, even a good quality “waterproof” backpack may struggle in a downpour, so this cover will protect our stuff in our main pack (as mentioned above, our second pack is a “dry bag” which will not leak.)

  5. Tissues – Or toilet paper. Don’t expect toilet paper in public toilets in Asia. If it is there you may have to pay for it, so carry your own.

  6. Bed Sheet – If you are planning to stay in some of the dingy hostels then your own bed sheet that you can wash regularly to avoid bed bugs and suspicious stains is a good idea. If staying in the better budget places you won’t need it.

  7. Lighter – We don’t smoke, but having a lighter is useful. In China its actually good to carry cigarettes to make friends, you don’t have to smoke them, just the process of exchanging or gifting them will work.

  8. Washing line – Doing your own laundry on the road, rather than paying to have it done, will save you some money. We don’t like it, but thats the price you pay to travel on a minimum budget.

  9. Gaffa Tape / Duct tape – If it can’t be fixed with gaffa tape, it can’t be fixed. Always useful.

  10. Swiss Army Knife – This has saved my life many times… no it hasn’t, but it has come in very handy. You can’t take it in carry-on so remember to put it in your main pack in the checked baggage. I use a basic knife with some useful extras like tin opener (so I can eat baked beans) and corkscrew (to feed my alcoholism). If you plan to trek a lot you may want something more sophisticated.

  11. Document Wallet with Passports, photocopies of passports and plenty of passport photos – Obviously you need a passport…
    The passport photos are for visas that we’ll get along the way (We took them ourselves, photoshopped them to the right size and then print them for 10c per 8 photos at k-mart, much cheaper than a photo machine, plus once its done and the file is on your computer you can reprint in any photo store anywhere).
    Photocopies of passports are useful, always offer them first in hotels etc before handing over your real passport. Also if your real passport is stolen you have a copy to go to the embassy with.
    TOP TIP:  keep a scanned copy of important documents in your email account so you can always get them back no matter where you are. 

  12. Clothes Pegs x6 – Not just for laundry, clothes pegs can often be useful for other things too.

  13. Zip Lock Bags (Assorted Sizes) – ESSENTIAL. These are in my top 5 useful items. Large bags to store wet clothes/towels if you are in a hurry and don’t have time to dry them. Small ones to contain anything that may explode in the plane, like shampoo.
    The list of uses you will find for these is endless!

  14. Travel Padlocks x2 – One may be enough. This isn’t just for your baggage on the plane, hostels with lockers (and at other places) may not provide a padlock, so make sure you have your own.

  15. Superglue (NOT PICTURED) – a tiny tube of super glue, for gluing stuff. UPDATE 2014: I’ve fixed loads of stuff with super glue in the last year. Now on my third tube!


Extra Gear for Photography & Videography

Ultimate packing list: Blogging Gear

This is all the extra stuff that we are taking that we reckon the average long term backpacker won’t need but that we need for blogging. Depending on your personal travel style there may be a few things here you would want

  1. Sony PJ-760E Camcorder & Accessories (and case, not pictured) – The latest addition to our blog is a compact and awesome video camera. Expect some much better quality travel videos hitting the blog soon, including night vision! Charges on USB too.
    UPDATE 2014: We still love this camcorder. The optical steady shot makes handheld filming easy with no shake. Low light colours are great and its a lightweight camera too. Its been superseded now, so take a look at the new model the PJ790.

  2. Macbook Pro & Charger – For most travellers a laptop isn’t really necessary, but with all the video and photo editing we do it is essential! You may not be able to live without your laptop though… up to you.

  3. 1TB (1000 GB) USB Hard Drive – The extra storage comes in handy when we are filming GBs of footage everyday. We can also store movies and music on it. I’ve used plenty of storage drives over the years, western digital have been very reliable for the price.

  4. Business Cards – We like people to know who we are, and who better to give our cards to than other travellers.

  5. Our Website Flash Cards (Laminated) – For our videos

  6. Nikkon P500 Hybrid Camera – You might be happy to just stick with the compact camera in the electronics section above, but we like to get awesome photos. Charges on USB.
    UPDATE 2014: We upgraded to a quality DSLR the Nikon D7100 with Tamron 18-270mm lens. The results are much better than our old hybrid camera, but its bigger, heavier and quite pricey. We love it!

  7. Velbon Ex-440 Tripod (in Case) – This is twice the size of our old tripod and no longer fits in the backpack 🙁 But its sooooo much better than the shitty tripod we were using before. Weight about 1KG and has a shoulder strap. UPDATE 2014: The Ex440 is not easily available anymore, an excellent alternative is from Ravelli.

  8. AC Splitter (NOT PICTURED) – Compact splitter makes our 1 AC socket into 2 so we can charge the laptop whilst still having another AC socket to charge whatever else needs charging.

Make sure your laptop and electronics are covered with World Nomads insurance – 5% Discount with the code WN5DP

How much is too much?

We say that 15KG for a man to carry and 11KG for a woman is the MAX you’ll want to have to lug around for months on end.

We’ll be aiming to stay under 10KG per person but may be just over because of our extra electrical gear. The best way to keep that weight down after leaving is not to buy souvenirs, this will also help with your budget. Photos are the best souvenirs anyway we reckon.

UPDATE 2014: After adding the DSLR Camera and a few other bits and pieces, our total weight is around 24 KG split between 3 bags. This is manageable but we would prefer to be travelling lighter if we didn’t need the extra electronics.

TOP TIP: After you finish packing take a 10 minute walk with the pack on. This will be a much better indication than simply picking it up as to whether it is too heavy.

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Ultimate Backpacking Checklist: The definitive pre-trip to do list

About The Author


Tommo is a world nomad, pizza addict and travel pro. A bus ticket and a backpack are all he needs to get by. From kissing a crocodile in Thailand to dancing on tables in Greece, Tommo is living the dream and then writing about it.


  • Barry

    July 12, 2013

    Fantastic list guys, really interesting and well thought out! You guys travel a lot lighter than we do, but we’re trying to cut down ready for our next trip!

    Perhaps you could take a look at ours and give some feedback?!


    • 5DT-Tommo

      July 12, 2013

      Hi Barry,
      Thanks for taking a look at our packing list!
      I had a browse through yours, the only real difference is the amount of clothes, you seem to have stuff for hot and cold weather – we only packed for hot weather. When we encounter a bit of cold weather we’ll buy a hoodie or something. The more clothes you have, the less often you do laundry, so its a throw up between heavier packs or doing the washing – up to you!

  • Tara

    March 15, 2014

    I just came across your website by chance (as I was googling info about getting a China visa in Hong Kong) and I think it is fantastic! We are 2 months into a 7 month backpacking trip and so many of your stories ring true! This is definitely one of the best blogs that I have found and will certainly be spending a fair bit of time reading through everything. Keep up the great work!!!

    • Tom Williams

      March 19, 2014

      Thanks Tara! Glad you’ve enjoyed the site 🙂

  • Kelly Rogers

    April 21, 2014

    This is quite an extensive list. What I like about your article is that you included pictures of what you really bring with you. Thanks.

  • Rebecca

    October 19, 2017

    Hi, just wondering on average how many times a week you would do washing? and did you wash clothes yourself or get it done at a laundary place? Thanks for all the extensive info 🙂