Before I left on my trip I basically sold everything I owned and beyond being extremely cathartic, it helped me to simplify my life and begin my life on the road as a minimalist.
When you backpack around-the-world, you have to carry everything you own with you which makes you prioritize what you really need. Below is a list of more or less, everything I’m carrying. It’s total weight is 20 kg (roughly 45 lbs). I personally think its too much—but more than half of it is the equipment I use to make this blog and do photography and filmmaking along the way, so its sort of a necessary evil.
I was really worried when I first set out that if I didn’t take certain things with me, it would be impossible for me to find outside of the developed world. This has proven to be pretty much not true, as the only things I’ve found hard to find while traveling through under-developed and developing countries is contact lens solution and tampons (and I’m only told its hard to find tampons).
A majority of my clothing and travel equipment was outfitted by the fine people at Active Endeavors in Iowa City, Iowa USA. I can not recommend another store with a more informed, helpful and friendly staff for your travel needs (in the name of full disclosure they did provide me a small discount on my mass purchase of equipment and a free t-shirt, though that plays no part in my highly recommending them to others.)
Here’s everything I am carrying with me. Click the pictures below to see interactive pictures with a roll-over key on Flickr.
Clothing (left to right, top to bottom)
click the photo photo for an interactive picture on Flickr.
3x 1x pairs of Bridgedale hiking socks (GAVE AWAY 2 pair to a kid in Malawi who needed them more)
1x quick dry travel town (green in plastic bag)
3x Patagonia boxer shorts
1x collared polo shirt (blue)
3x quick drying short sleeve shirts (Patagonia, Nike, Pearl Izumi) DISCARDED 1 DUE TO WEAR AND TEAR
1 long sleeve button shirt with collar DISCARDED IN CHINA
2x Columbia nylon hiking pants (covertable to shorts)( grey/khaki)
1x Marmont rain jacket/wind breaker (black)
1x nylon shorts/swimming shorts
1x Patagonia R.5 Long Sleeve Fleece (not pictured) STOLEN IN TANZANIA EVENTUALLY REPLACED
1x Smart Wool Long sleeve light fleece (not pictured) STOLEN IN TANZANIA REPLACED with $2 long sleeve shirt
1x Chalco hiking sandals (black) SADLY DIED AFTER NEARLY 1.5 YEARS OF DAILY USE REPLACED WITH
1x TEVA sandles, hard to find replacement Chalcos outside of North America
1x small hand towel (yellow) 1x Active Endeavors Cotton T-shirt (white) DISINTEGRATED AFTER 2 YEARS
1x Garmont hiking boots (brown) FELL APART IN AFRICA AFTER 1 YEAR OF WALKING
1x flip flops DISCARDED IN INDIA
1x Nikko sun glasses (black) BROKEN OR LOST AND REPLACED REGULARLY
TRAVEL GEAR AND EQUIPMENT (left to right, top to bottom)
1x stuffed cow
1x clear document holder
1x toiletry bag
1x roll toilet paper
1 mesh laundry bag
1x some sort of snack food
1x book to read
1x small first aid kit
1x silk sleeping bag and pillow cover
1x large ziplock bag full of odds and ends
1x Iowa Hawkeyes flag and Iowa pins
1x travel documents holder
1x money belt
1 x Nalgene water bottle DISCARDED REPLACED WITH CHEAP EMPTY WATER BOTTLE
1x PakSafe wire mesh bag (to lock up my equipment) SENT HOME, NEVER USED
Photography/Video/Travelogue Production Equipment
(left to right, top to bottom)
3x cases for cameras and lenses
1x Apple Macbook & power adapter with padded case KILLED IN A LIQUID ACCIDENT IN CHINA replaced with
1x Apple Macbook Pro & adaptor with padded case
1x Canon Rebel XT Digital SLR Camera KILLED IN A RAINSTORM IN ZIMBABWE, replaced with
1x Canon Rebel XT Ti Digital SLR Camera
1x Canon HV20 Digital Video Camera
1x Rode Shotgun mic for the HV20
1x 55mm Canon EF Fixed Lens
1x 17-40mm Canon EF Zoom Lenx
1x Lens Baby Lens
1x 72mm Circular Polarizing filter
1x Velbon Ultra Maxi F Tripod w/ bag
2x portable external hard drives
1x International Electrical adapter kit from Sharper Image
1x iPod Photo
1x USB photo importer for the iPod
1x battery chargers
3x 1GB Compact Flash cards
1x Compact Flash card reader
1x 2GB MiniCompact Flash card
1x Motorola L6 mobile phone (unlocked)
4x Canon digital batteries for cameras
Blank Tapes, DVD’s, and miscellaneous wires, batteries, and adaptors
1x laptop locking cable SENT HOME BECAUSE I NEVER USE
1x WiFi Hotspot finder DISCARDED, NOT NEEDED
I originally carried all of my equipment in an Eagle Creek Ultimate Explorer backpack that had the detachable day pack removed (and left at home) that had a capacity of something like 88 cupic liters. I finally got sick and tired of carrying it because it was so bulky, and I reduced my gear down and now carry a significantly smaller bag. Besides carrying such a big bag only encourages you to accumulate more stuff.
I discovered Proaston, a small boutique hiking equipment brand that is apparently a joint venture between a German hiking enthusiast and a Chinese business man (they appear to only sell their gear in 2 shops in Hong Kong). I originally bought a small messenger bag from them by complete chance, and it was so well constructed, so well designed and it held up to the serious wear and tear I seem to put on my gear (see the above list as an example), when it was time for a new, smaller backpack, I went with the Proaston S Wave model at 55L.
If your curious, you can see most of their equipment line at Rose Sports in Hong Kong (Causeway Bay and Mongkok) and you can’t beat their prices (Proaston stuff runs about 1/3 the price of the more famous The North Face and Columbia brands among others).
I carry the Proaston messenger bag that I had modified by a woman in Hong Kong (for $5) to attach some old backpack straps so that the bag—which I use as a day pack—can either be carried on my back or as a messenger bag slung over my shoulder.
Total weight: Backpack = 15kg/33lbs; Daypack 5 kg/11 lbs=20kg/45lbs Total weight.