My Extensive Packing List
Packing for a long backpacking trip can seem daunting if you've never done it before. The first time I traveled for a month, I had the luxury of throwing everything I could ever need into my car. But when the time came to try to fit everything into one bag and meet airline regulations, I was lost.
I spent hours googling other blogger's packing lists for ideas. I was overwhelmed with how little clothes I could bring (luckily my style has gotten more and more minimalist over the years). I "practice-packed" weeks in advance so I could think rationally about what I needed and removed all the extra baggage -- pun intended.
I just finished packing for my 6-week trip (I leave today!) and feel like I've finally gotten pretty good at this whole thing. Here's my packing list:
The main backpack
This is my awesome, internal frame 55L backpack. Because I'm going to be hiking in Norway, everything has to fit into this bag - yes, everything. The last thing I want is to be struggling to carry multiple bags when I should be enjoying the view.
- Shoes - style/amount depends on where you're going, but most importantly is that they need to be comfortable! I'll be hiking in Norway, laying on beaches in Croatia, and doing lots of sightseeing, so I have 4 pairs. Hiking boots, vans for walking around cities, sandals, and ankle boots for when I want to look nice-ish.
- Clothing - again, style/amount depends on location. Packing layers is always a good option so you can cater to the weather you're facing. I packed 1 pair of leggings, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of jean shorts and 1 pair of jersey shorts. For shirts, I have 4 tank tops and a couple long sleeve layers for warmth (1 flannel, 1 denim button-down, 1 pull-over and 1 black cardigan). The most important part is that everything matches, so I can grab anything and not spend too much time putting outfits together.
- Packing cubes - which fits all the aforementioned clothes. They're great for organization.
- Underwear - I usually bring 5-7 pairs depending on how often I can do laundry. I shove them into my shoes to save space in my backpack.
- Hat - Beanie for cold weather, snapback for hot weather
- Socks - I stand by merino wool for traveling. It regulates body temperature, so when it's cold it keeps my feet warm, and when it's hot it wicks sweat. Plus it's super comfy. Pure magic.
- Bathing suit
- Toiletries - travel-sized dry shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant and shower essentials in these cool bottles.
- Face wipes - I hate washing my face and I typically forget until I'm already tucked into bed. I much prefer to wipe my face clean and remove my make-up with these. It's easier and less messy. Plus, after a long flight or a sweaty hike, I'll use one to freshen up. I always feel like a brand new person afterwards!
- Moisturizer - I'm about as pale as they come, so I always have a face moisturizer with SPF that I put on every morning.
- Water bottle
Miscellaneous extra stuff:
- Deck of cards - always a good way to waste time during layovers/flight delays/etc. if you have someone to play with.
- Lock - necessary if staying in hostels.
- Waterproof phone case - if you want to take photos in the water, like me.
- Toilet paper - I'm going to be doing a lot of camping. So... yeah.
- Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, camp stove - speaking of camping.
Typically my small Lowepro backpack acts as a camera bag mixed with a day pack. I love that it's plain unlike a lot of other camera bags. I feel like it makes me less of a potential target since it doesn't look like I'm carrying around thousands of dollars worth of gear. Y'know, unless I have my camera in my hand. Whatever.
I'll write a separate post detailing my travel filmmaking kit, but here's what I make sure to have in my carry-on on flights and while exploring cities:
- Purse - small cross-body purse with a zipper opening. It'd be very difficult for someone to steal from me. Contains sunglasses, passport, wallet, phone and chapstick. It can fit in my black backpack if needed.
- Ear plugs - super necessary when there are annoying people, crying babies or when I want to get some shut eye on an airplane. Also necessary when sleeping in hostels or in a loud city.
- Headphones - for when you're lucky enough to have a screen with movies and tv shows.
- Journal - good 'ol pen and paper. I always have city notes in my journal containing tips for traveling (like tipping customs, words to know in different languages, addresses of my hostel/airbnb, etc.). I also just love writing down thoughts and ideas that come to me while traveling. I do this a lot in my phone as well, but somehow writing this down seems more... creative? Or I'm weird. Whatever.
- Documents/maps - I'll do a separate post on trip planning, but I always have printed out maps, confirmation emails and whatnot with me. I love that my backpack conveniently has a "laptop pocket" which works perfect for storing papers.
- Kindle - I love the feeling of a book in my hands, but a kindle is so much more convenient for traveling. Especially when weight and space are an issue.
- Reading glasses - I get bad headaches without these.
- Water bottle - I'm obsessed with staying hydrated. I always have a 20 (or 40) ounce bottle with me. Plus, you'll feel less horrible after a long flight if you're hydrated. Trust. It'll also save you lots of money in the long run if you fill up a canteen vs constantly buying bottled water.
- Medicine - I like to keep an assortment of pills with me, just in case. Headache, heartburn and melatonin are essential.
- Lotion - I have a tiny 2oz bottle that I keep in my purse.
- Hand sanitizer - I'm not a germophobe but it doesn't hurt to have with you in case you get your hands dirty and aren't near a sink.
- Scarf - can be used to keep warm (obviously), as a pillow on a plane, or as a shawl to cover up in case of traveling to conservative countries or visiting churches.
- Plugs and chargers. Phone charger, Kindle charger, camera chargers and my new favorite: my portable charger. Also necessary to carry around a universal charger so I can plug into different wall sockets.
- Umbrella and/or rain coat - I like having both, but make sure you have at least one.
I think that just about covers it. Is there anything not on my list that is a must for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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