Packing for a trip around the world for an entire year is a daunting task! We have plans to go snowboarding, hiking, snorkeling and so much more! It is difficult to pack for many different activities, but I think we’ve done a great job so far! When I think of this packing process, I imagine casting a wide net and wanting to catch all the fish, but realizing you can only catch some. We had to be flexible and pack things that have many uses. If we have to rent gear along the way, then so be it. At least we are out there having an adventure.
Since having traveled quite a bit before we left on this year long trip, I had a good idea of what I should be bringing. During the year I was at home saving up money, I thought up carefully the exact type of items I would need- to not just buy a jacket that is waterproof but to buy one that is lightweight, waterproof, and can pack down small. Multifunctional!
My boyfriend Luke and I each bought an Osprey Sojourn 60L bag for our trip. This bag is perfect because it can convert from a backpack to a suitcase in a matter of seconds. After my backpacking trip around Europe several years ago, I knew I did not want to be stuck having to lug around a backpack for an entire year around the world. Having the option to roll the bag is perfect for me. I chose 60L because my previous bag was 70L which I felt just encouraging filling space with items I wouldn’t necessarily need. Another feature I love about the Osprey Sojourn bag is that it has one main large compartment. So when it is zipped and the compression straps are on I feel it is safe and secure. With my old traditional backpack there were just so many outside pockets and I felt I could never truly keep everything safe and locked.
We each have a smaller day pack as well. Luke has The North Face Recon backpack and I have the Osprey Nova backpack. So we each have a total of about +/- 90L.
Some backpackers travel with only 30L bags and some with much larger 90L backpacks with an additional smaller day pack. I think we are coming in somewhere around the middle of that. So far, it it has been the perfect combination.
Everything I packed for clothing is multifunctional, well at least most is, sometimes you just need a dress to wear. My tops are almost all simple and can be layered up easily depending on the climate we are in. Lucky for me, I am somewhat small which makes my clothes small also. Luke is a tall, big guy so he has far fewer options than I do in his same bag.
- The North Face rain jacket
- Patagonia sweater
- 8 tank tops
- 7 tee shirts (mostly just different colored v-necks)
- 5 long sleeve shirts
- 2 cardigans
- 1 flannel
- 2 t-shirts for pajamas
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 3 pairs of leggings
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 3 pairs of athletic shorts
- 2 dresses
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 8 pairs of socks
- 1 sport bras (currently wish I had 2)
- 3 bras (nude, black and white)
- 1 grey scarf
- 1 sarong
- 2 bikinis
For shoes, I was seeking some type of athletic shoe for hiking and activities, a nice shoe for exploring cities and that can be dressed up, a tropical climate shoe, and a basic flip flop for my shower shoes. These are the four I came up with:
This was a difficult list to compile. I wanted to be able to document the adventure, but also didn’t want to have too many things weighing down our bags- nor carry so many expensive gadgets! So, between Luke and I, we have packed:
- iPad mini 2
- GoPro Hero 7 Black
- iPhone XS
- DJI Mavic Pro drone
- Kindle Paperwhite E-reader
- 13” Macbook Air
- Bamboo toothbrush
- Lush shampoo bar
- Lush conditioner bar
- Invisibobble hair ties
- Compact hair brush by Tangle Teezer
- Biotrue contact solution 16oz
- Nail clippers
- Band-Aids travel pack
- Packing cubes by eBags (1 large, 1 medium, 1 small)
- Toiletries bag by CoolBELL
- LifeStraw water bottle
- Locks (bike lock, pad lock)
- Microfiber towel by Dock & Bay
- Sleep Sheet by Sea to Summit
- Cord organizer by Bagsmart
- Drone bag by DJI
- Inflatable travel pillow
- Travel clothes line by Travelon
How I Pack It All In
I am an enthusiastic advocate for packing cubes! I have one large which holds all of my shirts (rolled). The medium one has all of my bottoms (shorts, leggings, jeans). The small one fits bras and swimsuits. Packing cubes are essential they easily keep all of your things organized. Luke really didn’t want to get them and now we joke about what his bag would look like without them.
Once I have fit everything that can fit in the packing cubes, they go stacked into my big bag.
As for toiletries, everything fits into this grey bag I found on Amazon from CoolBELL. It has plenty of space to keep everything organized. There is one main compartment then side pockets that have zippers and another side pocket on the outside.
Those four bags fill the big bag, then I place my shoes, jacket, and other shirts that do not fit around them loose in my bag. Here is a timelapse of me actually packing my bag before we left for our year long trip around the world!
3 Months In
Currently, we are 3 months into our trip! Time is flying and we are having a once in a lifetime adventure. To be honest, I have only changed the contents of my bag a tiny bit! Some of this by accident and some just to have.
Items I’ve Bought-
- Rashguard in Hawaii to protect me from getting even more sunburn.
- Divers Den Great Barrier Reef Dive Team shirt- was required in order to volunteer on their boat.
- Sarong in Ubud, Bali
- One Sea to Summit lightweight dry sack, this I bought on our second day of the trip actually. I wanted something to put laundry in and also have for when we are at the beach and need somewhere to put things that cannot get wet.
- One airline blanket, this I may or may not have taken on purpose from a long flight. It’s become a life saver when I’m freezing (which is all the time).
- A Panasonic Lumix G7 camera. We ended up buying this in Australia. We both felt that out iPhones were not doing justice to the places we were visiting, and, it just so happened, the camera shop we were looking at was having a great sale on the model we wanted, which coupled with the Australia tourist refund scheme (basically you get back the sales tax for a product over AUD $300). It was a great deal!
Items I’ve Lost-
- My solar charger/portable bank. I accidentally left this in my checked bag so the NZ airport confiscated it on our way to Fiji.
- My sarong from my German host mother, hence the purchase in Bali. This is actually quite heart breaking. I loved this sarong and was using it all the time at the beach when I accidentally forgot it in Fiji. It was a hectic day leaving, I’m impressed that is all I forgot.
- My inflatable travel pillow. This I forgot at my sister’s in Colorado, but she mailed it to my aunt’s house in LA so I actually didn’t truly lose it!
This post does contain affiliate links, if you end up buying something from one of my links, I will receive a small commission. That being said, all of the items on this page are my honest review and products I use to travel.
2 thoughts on “Packing for Long-Term Travel”
Thanks for sharing so many good recommendations. Particularly tempted by that backpack-suitcase hybrid for my travels!
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Honestly, that is my favorite piece of gear I have! It has been a life-savor! The only thing is Osprey stopped selling the 60L version! They have a 45L or 80L though: https://amzn.to/2EuuoOb. But if you definitely want 60L I would suggest the Osprey Meridian 60L because it also converts, and has a day pack! That was my runner up choice, https://amzn.to/2YTTH43. But since we’ve been traveling, I have been seeing this pack and it seems pretty good quality: https://www.kathmandu.com.au/packs-bags/bags/trolleys-hybrids/hybrid-70l-trolley.html
Hope that helps!! Good luck!
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