Packing List
Best thing of all:  A sense of humor, a dose of patience, and a smile - easy to carry and the most useful thing to have.

If, by any chance you find yourself wondering why this packing list is to sparse, see

First, I will show you the final bag size.  This is fully loaded without the sandals and outfit I'm wearing (or the camera).  I attempted to give an idea of the size by using my hand and a CD in the background.

This is a picture of the bag empty, and everything spread out for you to see (organizational bags are still packed).  All my clothes are in the vacuum bag to the right.  Also, see the list of things I traveled with, but decided I didn't need.



Travel Documents:




Immunization Chart


Wallet Goods:
Credit Cards, Visa, ATM, American Express, Travelers checks (Free with my bank account), Cash




Backpack (Mountain Smith Dyno) ($75 @ Kittery Trading Post):
Small 35L (2000 cubic inches) top load simple bag with no external zippers.  All brand tags, and bright cords/straps have been cleanly removed.

Boat bag insert ($14 @ Kittery Trading Post):
Never seen anyone travel with this as a bag liner?  Nor have I.  But, it seems like the ultimate in water protection, and sure to keep the scorpions from hiding in my stuff.  We'll see.  Maybe I'll mail it back when it breaks, but it's worked so far (reinforce any threading!!!).  Light, and cheap!

Eagle Creek bag for boots ($22 - Recreation Equipment Inc):
I know I'm going to have nasty muddy shoes to put away at times.  Why not in this water proof boot bag away from my dry, clean stuff?

Cocoon sleep sheet ($63 - Recreation Equipment Inc):
Super light, and small.  Silk.  1/2 the size of my cotton one (but the price is steep).

Eagle Creek bag for dirty/clean clothes ($23 - Recreation Equipment Inc):
Ingenious.  This, in combination with the vacuum bag to the right --->, might be the best packing technology ever!  Mesh on one side - plastic and mesh on the other (for dirty/clean clothes).

Eagle Creek vacuum seal compressor bag ($15 - Eastern Mountain Sports):
Yes!  If there ever were an infomercial for this, I'd be one of the corny happy customers.  It compresses that bag to the left <--- down to 1/4 the size with no wrinkles!  Awesome! (unnecessary yellow zipper got lost right away. 6 months into the trip the Ziploc top got kind of funky, but works)

Mini Eagle Creek bag for pills and first aid ($10 - Recreation Equipment Inc):
Alegra (already had) - For allergies
Benadryl (already had) - For allergies
Aspirin (already had) - For pain
Cloroquine ($0.10/pill - Outside the US) - For Malaria

First Aid (home made):
First Aid: Emergency string (already had), Mini duct tape ($4 Bob Smith's Wilderness House), Sewing kit (already had), Thermometer/compass key-ring ($9 - Recreation Equipment Inc), Zip-ties (already had), Rubber bands, Dermatone moisturizer/zinc oxide/balm ($5 - Recreation Equipment Inc), Safety pins, aspirin, band-aids, Bacitracin, Imodium, syringes, splinter removers, toothpick, Sudafed, surgical tape, gauze, Alkazelzer, non-mercury thermometer, throat lozenges




Mini Eagle Creek bag for toiletries ($10 - Recreation Equipment Inc):

Dr Bronners ($8 - Bob Smith's Wilderness House), or Campsuds:
We know them - we love them.  Wash your hair, body, clothes, dishes, and teeth with just 1 product. (Dr. Bronners isn't quite as good as Campsud - it's less concentrated so you need more per wash, so you bring more)


Razor (already had):
Don't weigh yourself down with an electric. Suck it up, and use a normal one.

Toothbrush, and Toothpaste ($5 - REI)
Bring a travel-sized tube that you can find at any pharmacy or toiletry store. Lasts about 2 months.

Antiperspirant ($12-20 - Depending on which country)
I recommend buying the antiperspirant version of your favorite perfume scent. This way you'll smell high-class even if you're going home to a hostel. Beats the smell of Old Spice!

Clothesline ($12 - REI)
I refused to believe I really needed this until I started the trip. It's a must. As necessary as soap!


Purell no-water hand sanitizer (already had):
Used this in Honduras.  Great to have!!  Really works.  Last a long time!


  Nail clippers (already had):


Lip-balm/Zinc-Oxide (already had):
Everyone gets chapped lips at times, and when it's really sunny, this stuff has Zinc-Oxide in it to fully protect my nose.



Laptop ($1600 - Sony Centre in Hong Kong):
Well there goes the budget, eh?
I finally gave in and bought this very small computer for maintaining this site.  Ultimately it unburdened me of the need for many journals, camera media, CD player, CD's and the voice recorder, so I justified the expense.  Let's see how long before I get robbed...

Laptop Case ($50 - Sony Centre in Hong Kong):
Don't even think about throwing your laptop in your bag without a case... MOM!



Mini Optical Mouse ($7 - Street vendor in Hong Kong):
Coolest little thing only a bit larger than my thumb!




DVD's ($0.50/ea - Street vendors in Asia):
Well come on.  It's nice to veg-out once in a while... even on the road.  I pass them on to friends and family back home in mini care-packages.


Mobile Phone ($100 - Local mobile shop in St. Petersburg):
Perhaps the most controversial travel item for backpackers today.  About 25% of backpackers have them and for the most part the rest look down upon it.  Well, sorry, but text messaging your new travel companions or even friends at home for half a cent per message was too great an offer for me to pass up...


Digital Camera ($250 - Sony Centre in Hong Kong):
I had one, but it was huge, heavy, took a media nothing recognized, and didn't do video.  This one has everything you need, and takes AA batteries, which is essential to save yourself from carrying chargers.  Does GREAT audio/video that's indecipherable from that of a video camera!



Camera Media ($60 - Sony Centre in Hong Kong):
Has enough capacity for almost 3 hours of low-res video!


MP3 Player ($250 - Sony Centre in Hong Kong):
Man this is cool!  No need to carry that CD layer around anymore, and this 256 Mb player has a whopping 70 hour play time on one AAA battery!!  Super small, and weighs only as much as the battery.  Multi-color back-light.


Travel books (Lonely Planet is the best, and available everywhere in the world... for a price):
Always changing, but usually the same weight/thickness. These are necessary, but heavy. Go for the general books like "Europe" instead of getting many specific books to cover your trip. Then (and this is the fun part) rip out entire countries when you have seen them. This will make the heavy, thick book thin in no time! Some hard-core travelers say they don't need one, but when you get into a train station late at night on the last train into town in a non-English speaking country, and don't have a place to stay, you'll vow never to travel without a guidebook again.


Cable lock/motion alarm for securing bags (already had):
This is a cable with a combo lock on it.  Nice for strapping bags down on the train (or on top of the bus in some cases).
Added security uses movement sensors to activate a piercing alarm...only use it occasionally, but it's saved me from more than 1 night of light, paranoid sleep.
Tri-fold wallet - ($12 - Eastern Mountain Sports):
Has change zipper, and second currency zipper.  Slim.

So essential, in fact, that I bought another in San Francisco, and wear/use them all the time!  Great bargaining item in a jam!





Buy as I go.



Photon Microlight II LED flashlight ($13 @ Kittery Trading Post):
This is great. The battery never seems to die! I stopped keeping track after 2 years!


Sarong ($7 - Barcelona beach):
This is one of my HIGHLY RECOMMENDED travel items.  Use it as a shower towel, beach towel, dorm privacy shade, wet head-cooler, bag padding, sleeping blanket, picnic blanket, skirt, and so many other things!  I have 2 now, which isn't necessary, but my bag is so empty, I need the extra sarong just to fill in the gaps and pad the laptop.

Cork Screw/Opener ($20 - Knife store in Copenhagen):
Screws into an easily stored pen shape. No knife = no worries when boarding planes!

Combo lock (already had):
This is SO a MUST. Hostels offer lockers, but it's B.Y.O. lock.  Just having it on your bag deters grab-and-run thieves.

Chopsticks ($25 - Recreation Equipment Inc):
I use these ALL the time.  Don't think for a second that those nasty utensils or chopsticks in developing country's restaurants have been sanitized!  These invert into themselves to make an inconsequential overall size.

Inflatable globe ($12 - Map store in San Francisco):
The most extraneous thing I've ever heard of... yet somehow it found it's way into my bag... and it's awesome! What a conversation starter! Also, it's surprisingly useful for planning. I'd recommend this to any RTWer. After 2 years, it started to leak. =(

A Big plastic bag (pick up along the way):
Anyone who's traveled or camped knows you need this. Use it for dirty stuff, waterproofing a bag, groceries, souvenirs on that last leg, etc.  In many countries (including most European countries) it's expected you bring your grocery bag with you. After trying to carrying home all your groceries in your pockets as I did in Austria, you'll know this is a must!


Zip-Lock bags (already had):
Another must, as any seasoned traveler knows.

Flute ($10 - Music store in Hamburg):
One of the many instruments I've picked up, but this one is actually portable, so I've kept it so far.

Knee Brace ($10 - Shanghai):
I foolishly got rid of my last one thinking I didn't need it.  Well, I fractured my patella in Moscow and needed one badly.  Couldn't find one until Shanghai.

Pens (already had):
Well, you need these, no doubt.  Be sure to bring a Sharpie permanent marker!


Glasses (already had):
Yes, I wear glasses.  (Lasic surgery, here I come!)  I didn't bother with the case since I wear these all the time.

Tupperware ($3 - St. Petersburg grocers):
Packed, it's a container for cords and batteries.  But when I need a cup, or bowl for some self-catering, it's a must.




1 Short Sleeve Shirt (free from hostel)

  • sweat-hiding
  • fast-drying
  • nice enough for a club/bar
  • rugged enough for rainforest hikes
  • subdued enough not to attract attention


1 Long Sleeve Shirt (already had)

  • fast drying
  • subdued
  • warm
  • sleeves must roll up
  • must be loose to keep mosquitoes off in sleep
  • nice enough to wear around Miami
  • subdued enough not to attract attention in Ecuador


1pr Shorts ($5 in Beijing)

  • nylon
  • light color
  •  good for swimming
  • nice enough to wear around Miami
  • fast-drying


2pr Ex Officio Underwear ($19/ea - Recreation Equipment Inc)

  • thin
  • black
  • briefs (for size savings, not comfort)




Chaco Sandals ($58 - Recreation Equipment Inc):
These are the best sandals around.  Vibram soles for long lasting wear, and every strap custom fits your foot.  Much better than Birkenstocks.


Rain Gear:

Umbrella ($1 - Anywhere in Asia):
Small, and light... and easily replaceable!