Packing Essentials: Overview

Packing Essentials: Overview

What to take on a trip around the world?  Part II (see part I here)

I once met an Israeli in Arequipa, Peru who was traveling for 18 months around the world.  He was carrying a canvas bag that couldn’t hold a watermelon.  The bag was half full as he prepared to leave the hostel.  I asked, “Where’s your stuff?”  “This is it, I pack light,” he proudly responded.  Without prompting he emptied his bag on a table and I finally understood why he seemed to be wearing the same thing for the last three days…  In his bag he had a hoodie, cargo pants, swim suit, 3 sets of Hanes t-shirts and underwear.  Guess what he was wearing: cargo pants and a white t-shirt (probably the matching underwear too).  Eighteen months, that was it.  This post is dedicated to him.

I do not recommend traveling like him, but I do admire his spirit and vision.  He was an extremist on the packing spectrum who knew what he needed.  In a similar vein, Packing for a trip like this should be cathartic to the American obsession with stuff.  We Americans love stuff, we buy bigger and bigger houses and cars to hold our accumulations; this trip is the opposite, we literally have to carry everything we need.  Packing for long-term travel is about utility, what will allow you to be prepared for the most situations with the least weight and hassle?

Since this is an endurance sport, my packing list represents how I stay healthy and rested to enjoy my trip.  When packing and preparing consider how something in your pack will serve you in your moments of need.  While you can find formal clothes to attend a wedding anywhere; you won’t find a great waterproof duffel bag often.

Here is the overview of our gear, click on any category to get detailed information on why these choices were made.  If you want to purchase something on our list, please use the direct links from our site to as it helps support our travels.

Items marked with a * are what I consider essential.  This is just the list, for details of each item and why we brought it is available see our Gear Reviews page.




  • Gore-tex jacket and pants*.  There are many great options from different brands.  thinkCHUA is sporting Mountain Hardware, LOCAVORista Outdoor Research.
  • Windproof fleece jacket*
  • 800+ Down jacket (North Face Flash Jackets)
  • Patagonia Capilene 3 top and bottom
  • Thin, daily gloves
  • Gore-tex gloves and hat
  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking sandals: LOCAVORista prefers Chacos and thinkCHUA swears by Keens*
  • Running shoes
  • 4 t-shirts, 2 collared for when we need to be dressed a little nicer
  • Dickies khaki pants
  • North Face zip off pants
  • Casual shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Long-sleeve shirt

That’s it, that’s all.  I can live indefinitely off these things.  If you had to live 2 years with all your stuff in one bag, how different would yours be?

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» Terry Anderson :
Dec 31, 2010

I’d asterisk a chocolate bar! While not strictly considered gear, I am always sure to have an energy pick me up. That’s mine!
Mom A

LOCAVORista Reply:

Mom, don’t worry we have lots of chocolate packed!

» Kate C :
Jan 17, 2011

You took jeans??? After living out of a backpack, happily, for a total 7 months of my life now, and preparing for another two, I have learned to leave the jeans. Heavy, impossible to dry, and just not worth it in the long run. But, in most aspects, you and I pack similarly. I pack lighter ;-)

Yeah, I know I’m commenting on a post from weeks ago. Expect a lot of this, until I catch up!

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


Safari-Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake ManyaraColonia de SacramentoLeh/LadakhInhotimMui NeChiang MaiXi\'anNorthern Bali





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