Updated: Apr 11
After travelling to over 90 countries, with a varied amount of luggage (many trips I was carrying too much unnecessary stuff), I have finally found my perfect pack list and I want to share it with you.
This can, of course, can vary depending on your travel style and destinations. When I travel to Europe, South East Asia, and South America for example, I pack mostly shorts and dresses. For Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, I mostly pack pants as the communities are generally more conservative. This may also change the long sleeve/ tank top ratio which is why a T-shirt like the new Hempton Classic tee is perfect for travel everywhere. You also need to consider things like the weather, and wether or not you'll be camping and hiking a lot.
The dreaded pack!
For the past few years, I have travelled with an Osprey Farpoint 80 Litre backpack, but the next big trip I go on, I will swap this for the 45L bag. For trips up to 4 weeks long, I always take a small carry on case or backpack for convenience. The following packing list is based on using an 80L bag and leaving some space, in case you like to buy souvenirs along the way.
If you’re thinking “I’m not a backpacker, I just go on vacations”, then I want to tell you that I still think taking a backpack is a great way to travel for any occasion, if you find a good one. They are convenient to carry, some even have wheels, so you can switch depending on how you want to carry it. The way some backpacks are designed now just makes organising your things so much easier, so keep reading and see what you think.
Cycling through Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya
I believe the most important part to consider, is the backpack itself. It really is worth investing in a high quality, comfortable, supportive, and organised backpack.
Things that I look for in a good backpacking/travel bag:
An open front zip - Not at the top. I think back to the days when I used to travel with an open top backpack and wonder how I did this for so long. Trying to find things everyday, then packing and unpacking. It was a nightmare. I would never go back. There are a few brands that do the open front type, including Osprey.
Good support for your back - The bag should sit on your hips. There are specific female/ male bags now, as they sit differently on the body to prevent the bag from pulling on your lower back. I'm no expert, but there are experts out there to help you -get someone in a shop to help you fit the bag correctly.
A separate compartment for shoes - My bags have always had a lower section which is separate to the main clothes section, which I think is best used for shoes. This way I can shove my dirty hiking boots in here if i’m in a hurry, and they will never get my clothes dirty.
A separate compartment for toiletries - No matter how well I seem to pack my toiletries, every so often, I have a shampoo, or a sunscreen pop open in my bag. I always keep them seperate so that when this happens, they can’t spill on my clothes.
Straps that you can zip away - My bag now has a zip compartment, that you can close, to safely store away the straps. This is a great feature which saves a lot of wear and tear on the bag when you need to check it in on a bus, train or plane.
High quality - My Osprey has a lifetime guarantee so I know that it is high quality and it will last. The last thing you want is your bag to break in the middle of a trip, as they’re not easy to find in many countries.
It is worth spending a bit more money on a bag. You generally get what you pay for. Trust me, I have had a bad backpack, and a great backpack - and it makes a huge difference. Cheaper ones don't have the good support - and you will feel it on your back when you have to wear it for a few hours some days.
Carrying our bags across a border in Rwanda. Sometimes we carried them for hours.
Ok, so enough about the bag, here is the list of items I pack.
3 Hempton T-shirts
2 Tank tops
2 Long sleeve tops
3 Pairs of loose, comfy trousers/ pants
1 Casual / nice dress
1 Hoodie / Jumper
4 Pairs of daily socks
1 Pair of thermal socks
1 Rain jacket
1 Comfortable bra
6 Pairs of comfortable underwear
1 Scarf which can be used as a head scarf and covering shoulders
1 Pair of Hiking boots
1 Pair of Trainers/ sneakers
1 Pair of Walking Sandals
1 Hat - for actual head protection, not just for the 'gram ;)
2 Bikini tops
1 Bikini bottom (Usually I go black, to wear with either top to save space)
1 Towel (microfibre or quick dry)
Sleeping liner (Sleep inside this if you come across any suspicious looking beds)
Mosquito net (Some parts of the world, this has been a lifesaver!)
A reusable/ washable bag to put your dirty clothes in that need washing - To keep them seperate from your clean clothes.
Packed for a vacation by Georgette @sustainablesage
Pen...and Spare Pen (Really, you do need it for those border crossings where they never have pens at immigration)
Head lamp (recommended) / torch
Safety Whistle (I have never used this, but we both always carry, in case of emergency, especially when hiking)
Rape Alarm (I have never used this either, but my Nan gave me one the first time I ever went backpacking, and I will always carry one)
Neck Inflatable Pillow (One that can also be used for camping, if needed - Get a good one, cheap ones don't last long usually)
Antibacterial hand gel
Mosquito protection (if needed)
Glasses/contacts (if needed)
Laptop (if needed)
Phone - (Top Tip - Download TedTalks / Netflix so you can listen / watch offline on long journeys when you don't feel like reading!)
Spare SD Cards
SD card adaptor (Top Tip - to transfer photos straight to your phone/laptop)
Water / Life straw / bottle
Sunglasses - get real UV protection, not just a cheap "fashionable" pair
Toilet roll (always carry a spare)
A good padlock to fit on bag and lockers.
A card with no international fees - such as Revolut or Charles Schwab - depending where you reside.
Carrying this thing for over 18 month solid, made me learn to pack it without carrying anything I didn't need.
Shampoo (Try the bars, Like Lush, instead of bottles - these are the best)
Travel wash - to wash clothes on the go, in the sink
Ready for a beach day?
Camping essentials: - Optional. (This may take you up to 12-14kg depending if you carry it on your own or share a tent with someone else).
Tent (lightweight and compact)
Sleeping matt (Clip to the outside to save space)
Sleeping bag (lightweight)
So that is my list. It is also worthwhile noting that I always roll my clothes in my bag. A trusted trick which I believe, does save on space. Roll up all of your clothes to get the most space out of your bag.
How does this compare to your pack list? Am I missing a great travel item, or missing a trick when it comes to saving space? Please share any tips in the comments.
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Remember, Hempton shirts are perfect for travel. They are made from Hemp, which has amazing natural properties such as; UV protection, antimicrobial (fights away body odours on your shirt - so you can wear for longer without washing), is moisture-wicking and breathable - Keeping you fresh when travelling - click here to shop.
Let's Go (This was me in my first ever Hempton Shirt sample)
Safe Travels guys,