I am traveling lighter than I ever have before, especially considering how long I am going to be gone at a stretch (2 to 3 months minimum). Some of the people I know will laugh at my luxury (they being “Ultra light” travelers). There is one guy I read about who travels with only what he can wear. But there are some things I need and some things I think I will enjoy having around.
I bought an excellent travel pack from Eagle Creek. It has a 40-liter main pack with a 20-liter detachable daypack. The whole thing is exactly the size of standard carry on allowance (22″X14″X9″) but for the most part I plan to check my big pack and only take the daypack as carry-on. Eagle Creek really puts a lot of attention into all their travel gear. When this bag first arrived and I opened it up, I felt the design was very well thought out, and the bags are well built.
One of the “heavy” gear choices I have made is bringing a laptop. I want to have my iPhone for its many uses, but it needs occasional connection for updates. Also I need a place to connect, skype home, upload photos and video, write this blog, and work on some other writing projects I have been putting off.
My camera is an Olympus 1030 SW Really a good bit of travel kit, practically indestructible, being waterproof ice-proof crushproof and shockproof. It small and lightweight but takes 10 megapixel photos and 640X480 VGA video at 30fps. So it is more than enough of a camera unless you are a photo or video geek. I’m more of an online geek so while many travelers seem to opt for good (but hefty) camera gear I put most of my bulk into the computer.
I’m also bringing a good lightweight mp3 microphone (for voice over), a mini tripod, universal adaptor, assorted cables and chargers, and a headlamp.
My toiletry kit is also fairly Spartan. I have a bar of good soap, which will serve as soap, shampoo, and shaving cream. I have my Head-Blade razor that will serve to trim my beard and my head; and a toothbrush, floss and toothpaste for dental hygiene. Also included are cotton buds, deodorant, nail clippers, tweezers, a small mirror, and very useful Vaseline lip balm. It is good for lips but being 99% petroleum jelly can be used as burn lotion, to lubricate zippers, and on my cameras watertight gaskets.
For general gear I have: Cloths-line, spork, Swiss Army knife, flint and steel, water purifying tablets, sewing kit, inflatable pillow and a fist aid kit with a wide array of plasters, gauze, balms, and travel medicines.
I’m bringing a 1 cup coffee press because good coffee is both hard to find and expensive (I know, I know). I also have a tiny, single serving cook pot and fry pan that can be used as dinnerware as well as cook ware.
You have got to know where your towel is and mine, a large, light microfiber towel, is packed in a nylon bag. I also have a silk blanket, they are light, compact, warm and fast drying.
The final gear item is a Pacsafe, a cable mesh system that covers and secures your whole bag and its contents, so you can lock it to something like a radiator and go our without having to lug everything. The general gear may seem like a lot but it all packs down into a 10 X 14 inch mesh bag
I am also packing a book, a collapsible walking stick, a good hiking watch/chronometer, a book (starting with Quirkology by Richard Wiseman) and my travel documents. But those will usually be in my day bag.
I have three sets of travel cloths, all made of man-made, high-tech, quick-dry, fabrics. Shirt, Zip-off trousers, boxers, socks. Two sets in the bag and one set on me. I also packed my Teva sandals and my Hiking shoes (of course one set will be on my feet), and a my wide brimmed hat.
I think the must-have item of packing gear is a good compression sack or bag. For my money I think the Eagle Creek bags are great. They are lightweight, waterproof and durable. You roll out the air, and it significantly reduces the space your cloths will take up.
All this gear, should be enough for comfort, will fit easily in my pack with room to spare, and weighs in at about 25 pounds.