Trying to decide what to pack for a trip of any size can be troublesome. Do you go fast and light, carrying only the bare minimum to save weight? Or do you take everything you might need for every conceivable eventuality? Just in case.
For a trip which has no definitive end and spans multiple countries, climates and seasons, the task becomes even harder.
Think about the destination
Firstly, think about the destinations you will be visiting. If you’re only warmer climes during the dry season, you’re not going to need those extra layers and waterproofs. However, if you’re visiting different countries which have differing climates, you’ll need to take more. That’s not to say take everything. As a rule, carry as little as possible within reason.
Spending a little more and investing in a good bag to hold all your belongings is a solid investment. Saving a little in the short-term will turn into a nightmare 3 months into your trip when a strap breaks or a tear appears.
What sort of bag do you need? What size bag do you need? Well, this depends on a number of variables. A top loading backpack is great for carrying, but if you need to get to something in the bottom you’ll have to take everything else out first. A backpack with a side opening is much more practical for access.
For this trip, I chose to travel with The North Face Duffel XL from Outdoor Supply Co. Its generous 155l capacity is bigger than any bag I’ve used. But it soon filled up! The super durable, waterproof material ensures that all my kit stays safe and dry when on the move and the backpack straps allow me to wear the bag on my back. Another feature which is useful is the compression strap system; at full capacity the bag is enormous but when the compression straps are tightened, it’s more manageable.
On my last extended trip, I travelled as fast and light as possible with only a 45l backpack and a small 15l daypack to my name. Whilst this was convenient for travel, it limited me to what I could carry. For instance, I only took one point and shoot film camera, no warm gear and one pair of shoes. For this trip, which will start in the tropical heat of Sri Lanka, and go through to the winter of New Zealand, I wanted to carry a little more.
Use compression sacks and dry bags
To save space and keep everything well organised, pack things into dry bags or stuff-sacks before packing them into your bag. Not only will this save space but you’ll also know where everything is. Aqua-pac lightweight dry bags are perfect for packing smaller items into so they don’t get wet!
What’s in my bag?
1. Macbook pro | 2. Manfrotto travel tripod | 3. T-shirts | 4. Keen Uneek Sandals | 5. Cables | 6. Birkenstocks | 7. Odds and sods | 8. Sleeping bag liner | 9. Shorts | 10. Pannier Gravel Travel cap | 11. Mountain Equipment Lhotse GTX pro shell | 12. Vango Tempest 200 tent | 13. Salomon XA Pro GTX | 14. Portra 400 film | 15. Olympus OM30 SLR | 16. LedLenser MT10 | 17. Suunto Amber Traverse | 18. Rough Guides New Zealand | 19. Hydro Flask Coffee Flip flask | 20. Sleeping bag | 21. Underwear | 22. Vango sleeping mat | 23. Vans + Finisterre Authentic | 24. Toiletries | 25. The North Face GTX Pro bib | 26. Clothes | 27. Aquapac travel dry bag | 28. Danner Mountain 600 | 29. Lifestraw Go bottle | 30. Rap Micro-Alpine light | 31. Alpkit Brukit Wolf Stove | 32. Pacsafe bag | 33. Tent poles | 34. Aeropress | 35. Primus Trail flask | 36. Towel | 37. DJI Mavic Pro
There were times on my last trip that I wished I had my DSLR or walking boots. This time I’m taking no chances and packing as much as I can feasibly carry!
The North Face Duffel bag was supplied by Outdoor Supply Co but all opinions are completely our own.
Outdoor Supply Co. is part of the Etrias family of e-commerce stores that sell the best outdoor gear. You can find out more about the company here.