Written by: Sara
I got this question pretty often before we left, and it's something I asked (and still ask) myself often as well. Colin and I read several blogs about what to pack, and I even have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to packing for travel (never used Pinterest for travel suggestions? Rethink your whole life!)
When I backpacked in college, I didn't have any nice gear or special hiking clothes. I got my first travel backpack for my trip to Tanzania in 2010 on eBay for $30, and I continued to use it for the next 7 years. It was great, but definitely a $30 eBay backpack. Since this trip was for much longer, I wanted to do more research and spend a little more money on gear in the beginning to (hopefully) be more comfortable in the long run.
To me, packing is a personal decision. The big question is what can you live without? It's different for everyone, so I can really only give you suggestions and tell you what we did. Hopefully it will help :) Also remember though that we are traveling for 21 months on this trip, and we need clothes and gear for both warm weather and cold weather. You can pack way less if you only need items for one or the other.
The two most important things when choosing what to pack:
Sometimes when I meet other backpackers, it seems as though it's a competition -- who can travel with the least amount of stuff? Sometimes I catch myself getting drawn into the competition too. The truth is, in the "real" world when I'm not traveling, I'm a little high maintenance. I loved getting my nails done every 2 weeks. I loved buying new Lululemon. I loved expensive coffee after my barre or spin workout at my gym. But when I'm traveling, simplicity is key. I'm trying to find a balance between cost, comfort, and cuteness. Sometimes I have the least amount of stuff in a group, and sometimes I have the most. I'm learning to live and let live :)
Ok, so let's jump into the details! Sections below are: 1) Sara's Stuff, 2) Colin's Stuff, 3) Gear & Electronics, and 4) Stuff we use to pack it all up (backpacks, packing cubes, etc.).
1) Sara's Stuff:
The blue and white toiletry bag is for all of my shower supplies:
The big black Sephora toiletry bag is for all of my personal toiletries:
2) Colin's Stuff:
3) Gear & Electronics:
4) Stuff we use to pack it all up:
On a travel day, I have 3 bags: My big backpack, my little backpack, and my purse. Colin has his big backpack, his little backpack, and his hat (since he doesn't want it to get crushed). It's a lot to carry, but it's doable. Here's what we look like walking around the airport:
Big Backpack - Hers: Osprey Farpoint 70L
Big Backpack - His: Mystery Ranch Ravine 50L
Organizing Your Stuff
Let's talk in general about organizers. They are life changing! I have never traveled with them before, but they are amazing. What do you need and why?
Below are some links and info on everything we use.
Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter™ Compression Cube Set (S/M)
Eagle Creek Pack-It™ Compression Sac Set S/M/L
6 Piece Tresutopia Waterproof Luggage Organizer Set
YAMIU Travel Shoe Bags
Here's what my clothes look like when they are all packed up:
I've said it before, but these are all merely suggestions. You do you when it comes to packing :)
Comment below with any questions or other suggestions!
Sara & Colin
We are figuring out our travel as we go along, and we'd love to help you out with yours! Here are some tips, tricks, and how-to guides.