If there is one thing which you should not ignore when you are planning to backpack for a long time, it is packing.
There is tons and loads of advice on what to pack and how to pack depending on where you are going and how long you are going. Here is what we packed for our trip and nearly after four months on the road, this is what we think about it – we should have packed lighter.
Some ground rules:
- Pack light. We cannot stress enough, you need to pack light. Believe us, running around to catch a tuk-tuk in Bangkok’s scorching hot & humid weather with your large bag is not fun.
- Choose the right backpack. The right fit is one that offers:
- A size appropriate for your torso length (not your overall height).
- A comfortably snug grip on your hips.
- Let go. Think about all the things you need, put them in front of you and discard half of them 🙂 Our home was filled with so much stuff and how could we possibly fit all of that into our bags? Here is the answer – you don’t have to.
- Choose the right products. We bought most of our stuff in Decathlon, the French sporting goods chain store with stores located in all major cities all over the world. We got ours from Decathlon stores in Whitefield, Bangalore. It is one of our favorite places in Bangalore with a feast to the eyes for travelers and sports enthusiasts. The products here are of good quality and are affordable. In case you are wondering, no, Decathlon doesn’t pay us anything for writing about them here.
Most important documents –
- Passport with at least six months validity. Some photocopies of the same.
- Flight tickets
- Hotel confirmation vouchers, if booked in advance
- Travel insurance documents
- Forex cards/credit cards/debit cards
- Passport size photographs(at least 10)
We carried two backpacks each.
- We got a 60 liter backpack and think it is too big now. A 40 liter backpack seems ideal. We got a Forclaz 60 from Decathlon and are quite happy with its utility and quality. We also got a rain cover/poncho like this. Another advantage of this backpack is that it opens from the side instead of the conventional top-loading. This makes it easier to pull out things from it.
- Another day pack for taking out with us when we go out. For this purpose we bought bags by Wildcraft, a Bangalore based company producing quality products. Check here.
- Always use the backpack at least once before starting on the trip to know if it fits you well.
Vijay’s packing list:
- 4 T-shirts (We got these dri-fit T-shirts from Decathlon which are fine after 5 months of continuous usage! Check here)
- 1 Cotton kurta (It was torn in Mardin, Turkey. Not usable anymore)
- 1 Pair of jeans
- 1 Linen pants
- 3 Shorts
- 3 Pairs of socks (These blister-free ones are just great! Even after 6-7 km of walking on a daily basis we did not get even one blister! Check here)
- 6 Under-wear
- 1 Micro fiber towel (Very useful! Compact, highly absorbent, dries quickly. Check here)
1 Woollen cap(3 weeks into the trip and I lost it in Istanbul,Turkey. Left in a dolmus a.k.a minibus ) 1 Foldable hat(lost it after 2.25 months in Plitvice national park, Croatia. It just flew off my head and fell into the valley below me) 1 Regular cap(lost it after 2.5 months in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I simply forgot it somewhere!)
- 1 Fleece (Gift from a friend)
- Swimming gear (1 swimming shorts, 1 swimming goggles)
- Shoes (We would recommend getting good waterproof ones for all weather conditions. Check here)
Sandals(A pair of good hiking sandals would be good. Check here) (Lost them on a bus from Ahvaz to Tabriz in Iran, had tied them too loosely to the bag 🙁 )
- 1 Pair of flip flops
- 1 Rayban Aviator sunglasses
- 1 Swiss knife (A very versatile and useful tool. Check here. We kept it in the check-in baggage without any problems)
- 1 Padlock (with passcode)
1 Rain coat(Lost it in a bus in Vienna!Check here. Later bought a rain poncho in Ljubljana)
- 1 Multi-purpose neck gaiter (We had bought this in Ladakh earlier. Looks like this)
- 1 Woolen muffler
- 1 Bed sheet
- 1 Belt pouch (Check here. For keeping passport, money and cards. More about it below.)
- 1 Electronic trimmer
- 1 Dynamo torch (Check here)
- 1 Day bag / laptop bag
Gayathri’s packing list :
- 4 T-shirts (Similar dri-fit ones from Decathlon)
- 1 Micro fiber towel (Same as above)
- 1 Pair of jeans
- 2 Cotton pants (These are the harem pants which are baggy, long pants tapered at the ankle. I found them very comfortable which made me buy 2 more during the trip. Check here just to see what I mean)
- 3 Pairs of socks (Same as above)
- 6 Pairs of under garments and some sanitary napkins
- 1 Rain coat (Same as above)
- 1 Fleece (Check here)
- 1 Woolen pull-over
- Swimming gear (1 short, 1 top, 1 swimming goggles)
- Shoes (I got these from Decathlon which I substituted for both shoes and sandals. I did have problems while walking in water and during rains. Getting water-proof shoes seems ideal)
- 1 Bed sheet
- 1 Flip flops
- 1 Woolen cap
- 1 Pair of sunglasses
- 1 Padlock (with pass code)
- 1 Dynamo torch (Same as above)
- 1 Day bag
Toiletries – one set for each
- 1 Tooth paste
- 1 Tooth brush
- 1 Face wash
- 1 Bottle of shampoo(100 ml)
- 1 Bottle of body wash
- 1 Tube of sunscreen lotion
- 1 Lip balm
- 10 Soap paper sachets
- 1 Wet tissue pack
- 10 Small packs of washing powder
- 1 Deodorant.
- 1 Toilet paper roll
- 1 Nail clipper
- Ear buds
To geek out:
- 2 HDDs 500 GB each
- 1 Battery pack – Anker, 13000 mAh
- 1 USB drive – Sandisk 16 GB
- 2 Smart phones – Nokia Lumia 920 with 32 GB internal memory
- HTC one X+ with 64 GB internal memory and their chargers
- 1 Kindle – 6″, Wi-Fi, E-ink display
- iPad mini
- 1 DSLR – Canon 1000D with 18-55 mm zoom lens and a 50 mm prime lens, battery charger
- 1 Acer netbook with its charger
- 2 Travel adapters
- 1 Wireless mouse
- 1 Running earphones
- 1 Bose headphones
Some zip-lock covers can be useful for various purposes too.
Medical kit : A separate post on this awaits.
There are a few indispensable things which made our packing and traveling very easy.
Packing cubes – These are just wonderful! They are travel organizers which can fit all our belongings in an organized and efficient way.
They maximize the space and simplify packing beyond measure. They are available commercially like these. But we used some indigenous ones like below.
We packed our T-shirts and tops in one, pants and shorts in one and undergarments in one.
They made our life so easy! 🙂
Small sling/belt bag – one each.This is another boon! We keep our passport, money, credit/travel cards, ID cards in this and have this bag around all the time. As long as this bag remains attached to us, we don’t need to worry at all. Of course, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
Swiss Army knife – A very versatile tool that is useful in wide variety of situations
Micro fiber towels and blister-free socks as mentioned above were very helpful too.
It’s best to have a checklist when you are travelling so that you don’t forget anything. Here’s a downloadable form of the same list.
Hope you find this article useful Let us know what you think!