I’m taking all of the below in an Osprey Stratos 36L backpack. It took me a truly ridiculous amount of time to settle on a backpack, so this is a damn good one. Here is what I’m taking:
Although it’s expensive, merino wool is indisputably king for lightweight travel: comfier and lighter than regular wool, it both insulates and wicks away moisture. The structure of the strands means bacteria doesn’t grow, which means no smell! It sounds too good to be true, but you could easily wear one of these for 3+ days in a row with no odour. Also, they cost $80-130 each. Which is why I’m only taking two.
- 2 Merino wool shirts – one tee and one polo
- 1 Polar fleece – midlayer for Russia (10-20C)
- 2 or 3 Merino wool socks
- 3 Uniqlo AIRism underwear – best underwear I’ve ever owned: lightweight, compact, odour-resistant
- 1 Uniqlo stretch selvedge jeans + belt – these are fantastic jeans
- possibly another pair of lightweight pants. Elephant pants, anyone?
- 1 Shorts/bathers combo
- Flip-flops – can attach to the outside of the pack using a carabiner
- Clark’s desert boots – love these things, super comfortable, look great and take a beating, but water is their weakness
- A lightweight rain jacket/outer shell
- A Keffiyeh/Shemagh/head scarf
Some luxuries will probably be cut from here (wireless mouse, speaker, headphones), as this section’s looking a bit bloated at the moment.
- Asus U47A laptop + Charger (not the most portable, but it’ll do)
- ANKER wireless mouse I picked up for free
- Portable hard drive, to store all the photos
- Olympus TG-3 tough camera + charging cord, spare battery, and SD card
- Kobo e-reader
- Xiaomi Mi4i (actual phone) and old iPhone 4 (now iPod only)
- A couple of portable battery packs for charging on the go
- A couple of micro USB cords
- Bluetooth speakers, if I’ve got room, and over-ear headphones
- Black Diamond Ion Headlamp – lightweight, cheap, bright
Most of this stuff is essential/mostly-weightless value-add gear. Definitely worth taking.
- Swiss Army Knife
- Compass – just slide the keyring loop onto a bag zip and you’re good to go!
- Travel lock – same as above
- Bic lighter – I don’t smoke but you never know when you’ll need a fire: survival 101
- Sharpie, for making those hitchhiking signs
- Pocket notebooks + pens
- Toilet paper with core removed, stored in a ziploc bag
- Travel towel
- Timex Weekender watch, always with me
- Passport/wallet/documents folder
- Spare glasses
- Sea to Summit 20L ultrasil daypack (parachute material) – this thing is beautiful, packs down to the size of an egg
- Basic first aid kit… maybe…
- Deodorant (roll-on, far more compact than aerosol)
- Floss (just for my dentist)
- Oh yeah, soap