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Packing list

Packing list

By on Mar 6, 2015 in Gear | 2 comments


As you might expect, it’s rather difficult to pack for a four-month trip around the whole world. Will it be cold or hot? City or country? Fancy or rustic? All will apply at some point. Given this, the temptation to over-pack was strong, but the memory of heaving my fifty-pound backpack all over Australia as a fresh-faced university student made me resolved to pack light.

An Interactive Contents of my Suitcase

All of my clothes are lightweight, moisture-wicking, and quick to dry.  Most of it would be considered technical gear, suitable for active outdoor activities like hiking.

  • Merino wool top, long sleeve (by Icebreaker)
  • Merino wool top, short sleeve (by Icebreaker)
  • Polyester-merino blend top, long sleeve
  • Polyester top, long sleeve (by Patagonia)
  • Durable pants, polyester-cotton blend (by Fjallraven)
  • Light-weight pants, nylon (by Columbia)
  • Board shorts
  • Merino wool underwear, five pairs (by Icebreaker)
  • Socks, various weights and materials, five pairs (by Icebreaker, SmartWool)

My trip is going to start cold (winter on the ocean and in the mountains of Central Asia) and end hot (summer in Croatia and France), so layers are key.  I’m only bringing one pair of shoes, flip-flops aside, because extra footwear is heavy and takes up a lot of space.

  • Water- and wind-proof outer shell (by Arcteryx)
  • Fleece mid-layer (by Arceryx)
  • Insulating Thermaloft vest (by MEC)
  • Light gloves
  • Toque (that’s a beanie or hat, for you non-Canadians)
  • Light-duty hiking boots (by Merrell)
  • Flip-flops

I need a good camera and computer in order to keep this blog updated.  I’ll be keeping them close at all times in a bag with extra security features to prevent theft.

  • MacBook Air 11”
  • Panasonic Lumix GX7 micro four thirds camera with lenses (Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, Panasonic 14-42mm, Olympus 40-150mm, Olympus 9mm fisheye body cap).
  • Zoom H1 digital audio recorder
  • International plug adapters
  • Headphones

I have taken my big backpack to dozens of countries over the past 10 years, and it’s never failed me.  It originally had a basic zip-on day pack, but for this trip I decided to replace it with a more robust and secure backpack by pacsafe.  Since the big backpack is plenty large enough, I’ll just stuff the daypack inside when I’m on the road.

  • Moleskine notebook
  • Annoying wad of paper documents
  • Toiletries
  • Sunglasses
  • Solar-charging LED flashlight
  • Swiss army knife (by Wenger)
  • First aid kit
  • Medication
  • Inflatable neck pillow thing and eye mask (dorky, but great for 70-hour bus rides)
  • Padlock
  • Portable clothesline
  • SCUBA diving license

I love to read, especially while travelling. In the past, I always carried a travel guidebook, a novel, and a backup novel in case there were no English-language book stores. This time, I’m taking my Kobo eReader pre-loaded with enough books to get me through the first bit of my trip.  I figure a two-week ocean crossing offers the perfect opportunity to sink my teeth into some of the greater literary works (translation: long and boring).  Here are some of the books I’m taking with me:

  • Various Lonely Planet guidebooks
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
  • The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Glass Closet by John Browne
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  • Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong
Unfortunately some things didn’t make the cut.  I would have loved to bring my accordion, but it weighs more than everything else combined.

My accordion


The contents of my suitcase


  1. I’m really curious how you find the pacsafe backpack. I’m heading to Europe this summer, and your blog made me consider getting a bag like this… Especially after my friend in Paris mentioned that petty thefts are on the rise there. As soon as you get off the ship and start using it, I’d love to hear how it fares… Comfort, convenience, etc.

    • So far so good on the backpack. It’s very thoughtfully designed. For example, it uses a single strap, making it easy to swing around and hold in front, making the padded side camera pouch easy to access. The security latches are a bit awkward to buckle and unbuckle, but much easier than the traditional method (i.e. a mini-padlock). I bought mine at Wanderlust on 4th ave — they have a wide selection.

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