I pretty much started thinking about what I’d bring on my next trip about a week after arriving home from my last 1½ year trip. This time, although I try to write about each item while I’m traveling, I’m also creating my packing list online here to share with you. I started this page March 2017 and it is an oft-changing work in progress for now. Below, you’ll see December 2017 updates for almost every item.
Backpack for my next long-term travels
The wrong pack can make your life miserable (as can over-packing). When I hit the road in 2011, I used the pack I’d been using for US business and fun trips — an EagleCreek Cordura 63-liter suitcase-style backpack that I bought in 2005. It was the best pack available for me in 2005, but materials and models change over the years. It was time to look again.
Can a woman who is living in the business world as she travels fit into one bag and still have a respectable wardrobe, nice hair, and enough tech to work? I’ve pulled it off with a too-heavy 63-70 Liters but I will never travel that heavy again! My new self-challenge — to downsize to a 50L carry-on. Part of my weight came from the tech I carried to be ready to do presentations or help people with their Macs so I will be dropping some of that. And I am succeeding!
Make that… I succeeded!!!
I was happy to meet the folks from Eagle Creek was at The International Travel Goods Expo 2017. I learned and now have the opportunity to try a few packing options. I experimented with 2 beautiful looking, well-made, water-resistant Eagle Creek travel bags:
- Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible 29” — with wheels and backpack straps providing 4760 cubic inches (70 cubic liters).
This bag enables me to carry enough to appear as a respectable woman and carry some light weight luxuries. At 9lbs 7oz/4.3kg it’s heavier than my previous bag so I need to keep the contents more than 5 pounds lighter than on previous trips. Because it has sturdy, durable rollerblade wheels, I won’t have to carry it all the time.
It would be nice to be able to buy gifts or warm clothing along the way and have them fit in this bag.
However… I would always have to check it when I fly and I may fly discount airlines more often on this trip.
[Update December 2017: I opted to leave this beautiful bag at home. My very first flight was to be into Miami at the time of the big hurricane and then supposedly on a bankrupt airline — both great reminders that I should remain flexible.]
- Eagle Creek Expanse Hauler Duffel — a 2lb 1oz (0.95 kg) carry-on size backpack/duffel. It is far more elegant looking than a duffel bag. It’s 3050 cubic inches/50 cubic liters and definitely good for travel where you stay in hotels. It lacks a hip belt. However, I made my own.
My challenge is to make a carry-on work for a year-long trip while carrying my own blanket and a few other necessary items. Happily, I have actually been able to fit everything I’d need to travel long-term (1 year) in it — including a small hair dryer. (I really want to look like I do in “normal life” when I travel now.)
This bag does require a small supplemental bag for cold weather clothing.
[Update December 2017: The Eagle Creek Expanse Hauler Duffel was my travel bag of choice and after 3 months on the road with it, I can tell you I am very happy with my decision. Because I had only a carry-on, I was able to get to my destination with my stuff when I had to change my flight plan. I also like that it’s easy to toss onto my back and I don’t cry at the thought of putting in on and having to carry it.]
Here’s my 2014 backpack and the Hauler in 2017:
- I have learned to always have a regular handbag for when I want to go out like a normal person. For this, I found the ChicoBag Hobo which is so light weight that I get to have that luxury! I’m shocked to find they discontinued it. Luckily, I’d just bought a new one and it’s black so much more versatile than my original purple one. Sadly, I didn’t buy several. (And my friends are saying the same thing.) I have never found anything as good for the money. Here’s what I wrote about this.
[Update December 2017: I am thrilled to have this handbag.]
- As a day pack, I used a new ChicoBag Travel Pack rePETe. My last one lasted so well for years and although still reliable, I purchase a new one to start fresh. 17″h x 10″w x 6″d (25cm w x 43cm h x 15cm d); 915 cu in / 15L; 7.2 oz / .45 lbs. It’s easy to hand wash and hang it to dry quickly.
The other day packs I’d consider bringing and would likely welcome is one of the waterproof-ish daypacks by Sea To Summit, Matador Daylite 16 Daypack (16L capacity, handles 20 pounds, is 4.1ounces/.256 pounds, 17×11.5×6 inches.) or Cocoon or Lewis N. Clark (Electrolight ). Or, not waterproof, but maybe good may be the Eagle Creek Packable Daypack (13L, 5 ounces).
The daypack should be the max size for a “personal bag” on a flight and be strong but not feel bulky.
[Update December 2017: You can see how I used this in the photo above. With the smaller backpack, I pack this fuller more often so I am stressing it out. It held up well for 3 months but I don’t expect it to hold up for more than 6 months. I am rethinking this for 2018.]
- ChicoBag Sling bag — for my days or shopping or a fast couple of backpack-less days away.
[Update December 2017: A good choice again but I wish the handle was longer as I am tall.]
- Bottle Sling rePETe — for carrying a water bottle around on hot days. Luckily, my HydraPak Stash 1L water bottle fits in it.
[Update December 2017: A good choice.]
- Snack bags by ChicoBags — reusable bags so you can carry nuts, sandwiches, etc. Also great to wrap your foil-wrapped leftovers so you can take that “doggie bag” when you dine out. (I have another favorite reusable snack bag and it was my original but sadly, the company went out of business.
[Update December 2017: A good choice.]
- Sea To Summit Lightweight Dry Sack — for going on boats or walking in the rain. To go on a boat, my laptop goes in one bag, then that bag goes into another. For rain, I put the large one into my daypack or sling bag.
[Update December 2017: I am still happy that I carry this. I haven’t sailed yet but I use it to protect from rain.]
- Packing cubes to hold my clothing within the backpack (or any suitcase).
Since 2011 I have been using Sea To Summit’s Travelling Light ™ Garment Mesh Bag and an Eagle Creek Original Pack-It Cube.
This time I will only take light fabric and a newer compression style of packing cubes. I’m working with 2 Medium/aka Full EagleCreek Pack-It Specter™ packing cubes right now. Switching to their new Pack-It Specter™ Compression cubes would reduce up to 2″ height per cube which would be handy. At 1″ compressed, that’s the shortest height packing cube I have found. Trying to fit everything into my tiny space, I believe the compression would be very handy. Both of these styles though, only open on one side.
LEWIS N. CLARK’s ElectroLight Expandable Packing Cubes are also light weight and are approximately the same size and compression. Plus, their tops open, making packing and selection easy.
[Update December 2017: I decided to take 2 of LEWIS N. CLARK’s ElectroLight Expandable Packing Cubes and after 3 months, I am very happy with them. I will soon be trying to use just one although having 2 provides more sub-trip flexibility.]
- Travel Space Bag — to compress and protect the clothing I won’t use for 6 months, like spare bras and underwear, or a jacket or long pants.
[Update December 2017: I didn’t have one to bring this time as I was using it for something else. I would have liked one.]
- Laundry bag. For all the previous years, I have been using a Tide laundry bag.I may sew my own so it’s light-weight and closes well. But for travel in a one-compartment suitcase, I want a waterproof soft container. I am trying the medium-sized Innate Caravan Compartment.
[Update December 2017: I selected the Innate product and am very happy with it. I have also put my down blanket (below) into the Innate Caravan Compartment to keep it dry when traveling in the rain. On those days I used my Tide bag for laundry again.]
- Plastic zip-seal bags. In the past, I have used some for compressing undies, socks, etc. as they also keep them dry and clean. However, I may switch to packing cubes.
[Update December 2017: Undies are in the packing cubes. Socks are in an Innate Portable Document Envelope that’s pretty much waterproof and I am happy. But as always, zip-seal bags are gold so I brought some. Not enough.]
Blanket for my next long-term travels
Throughout all of my travels, I’ve had my original down mummy sleeping bag. Warm and comfy, it was also my “blanky” — a bit of home wherever I slept. I even brought it 5-star hotels as my blanket. But after my 2104-2016 trip, it’s no longer viable and I have found a very light weight actual blanket.
- Double Black Diamond Packable Down Throw, a 60″ x 70″ ultra light, ultra warm blanket of 700 fill powder.
It’s made by Blue Ridge Home Fashions, but they don’t have a website. As I am 5’8″ so I added 6″ of ripstop nylon to tuck it under my feet. ($4.75/yd downtown LA, in fabric stores for about $8/yard.)
Costco carries this great blanket for $19.99 each at the start of winter and as a 2-pack online. I’ve seen them other places for up to double the price. I have found other brand similar blankets but smaller for more money.
[Update December 2017: I love it! It has been comfortable through a European autumn and kept me warm indoors when temperatures dropped to close to freezing.]
Toiletries for my next long-term travels
- Hard plastic container for my toiletries. Since the 90s I have been using the same AmericanMaid/AmericanMade brand container and it remains fabulous and tight-closing without bulk, but they seem to not make it anymore.
- Brincatti Refillable Bottles (usually 3). I’ve been writing about them here for some years now.
[Update December 2017: I continue to love and choose Brincatti Refillable Bottles but just took 1 this time. 1 3-oz bottle of a great shampoo has lasted me 3 months. I found I don’t need as much as we think we do when we have huge bottles at home.]
- Round hair brush — I tried to live without it but won’t do without it again. I have to live without something else instead.
[Update December 2017: It’s a pain to pack but when I get to blow-dry my hair and it looks great, I have no regrets!]
- Light flat hairbrush purchased in Germany
[Update December 2017: I lost this brush about 35 days into this trip and didn’t even realize or miss it. A wide tooth comb and my round brush have been all I need.]
- Small hair dryer purchased in Germany.
[Update December 2017: It died the first time I used it in Europe. Sometimes I miss it. In cooler weather, I look much better when I can blow-dry my hair.]
- Plastic soap dish and bar of Dove soap. I’d like to find one with drainage. (When Dove is costly, I replace with local brands as I travel but Dove is my preferred and I never use moisturizer.)
[Update December 2017: Still using it, and mostly still choose Dove soap. A normal American-sized (4oz/113g) bar of Dove soap lasted me exactly 7 weeks by the way. I replaced it with a Germany-made 100g bar of Dove that wasn’t actually more than local Israeli soaps this trip.]
- Washcloth — Fast-drying, very light-weight, durable, long, washable. Preferably not polyester as was Target’s The Bathery washcloth that otherwise was perfect for the 6 months I have used it so far.
[Update December 2017: Still using the polyester one when I have to. I also brought my nice thin textured cotton one. When soap or washcloths are wet they travel in an Innate Portable Document Envelope to keep everything else dry.]
- Ear plugs. 3M Disposable Classic Earplugs remain my favorite. They last quite a while, are comfortable and block enough sound.
[Update December 2017: Still my favorite.]
- Sleeping mask. I’ve loved my Nidra Sleep Mask. However, the heat-fused fabric loses to nightly use and being tossed into my backpack for over 6 months. I am trying a couple more now.
[Update December 2017: I didn’t bring one this time and have covered my eyes with a tee shirt. It messes up my eyebrows.]
- Children’s toothbrush — does a better job and is smaller
[Update December 2017: Even my dentist loved this. I think the smaller size is one reason my teeth are cleaner than most people’s.]
- Toothpaste in 3oz screw-top tube. When checking a bag, I always get the size tube that best fits into my great toiletries hard case, but when traveling with only carry on, we need to respect the 3.4oz/100 ml limit. For this trip, I found Aquafresh has a 3oz/85g tube.
[Update January 2018: This tube lasted me for 3 months. I am writing about it 3 weeks past that but for 1-2 weeks I had use of a hotel tube.]
- Towel — the Matador NanoDry™ travel towel because it feels nice, absorbs brilliantly, is incredibly thin, dries quickly, doesn’t smell after 2-3 weeks of use so far, and isn’t that horrid nails-on-chalkboard microfiber. I will also be trying another brand that I like. If I like it, I’ll bring both.
[Update December 2017: I don’t need this towel often but having it takes pressure off and it does a great job. Here’s what I wrote about it.]
- Crystal Body Deodorant Stick, travel size. My article here.
- Track II razor with refill blades — because it saves room and I detest “disposable” plastic that kills our planet.
- Cocofloss — the only dental floss worthy of space in my travel bag! There’s no other floss as space efficient because no other floss does so much. It’s easy to get by with smaller pieces, giving me 2 times the usable floss per container. (I am taking 4 with me next time.) Normally, I’d buy items like this as I travel.
Makeup for my next long-term travels
- Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara ($12.99) — a lightweight, minimal container, stays on, doesn’t require makeup remover. I’ve used this for years and regret purchasing/using any other.
- Eyeliner — Honeybee Gardens Effortless Eye Liner
- Eyeshadow that’s cream in a tube. Never a powder.
- Lip stain — trying Elf because it’s just $2 and is small enough. It really colors!
- Cheek color to be determined.
[Update January 2018: I brought a blush stick and regret it. In sun I don’t need this. For use only during indoors weather it’s a waste of space. I still seek a small tube such as Origins’ Pinch Your Cheeks® or a tube Pixi used to sell.]
Garments for my next long-term travels
- Sarong — a regular in my life since 2011, I have written about it.
- A decorative scarf for variety – maybe
[Update December 2017: I left mine at home for weight and room, but bought a new one in Israel. I am again leaving it behind. I’m just not a scarf gal — but I envy those who are.]
- Fit Chic headbands — I have 2 colors
[Update December 2017: I never expected this, but it kept my ears warm in the freezing Oct in Prague and Bratislava.]
- Fit Chic — I love my black and gray one
- Cardigans (2) — a cardigan turns a short-sleeved shirt into a long-sleeved garment and act as a light jacket. Navy blue and black.
- Tops — cotton or silk. How many of them is to be determined.
[Update December 2017: Don’t be wearing a fragile old loved silk top when you put your backpack on your back. Favorite silk blouse ruined.]
- Skirts with pockets — 3. One below-knee, one knee-length. Cotton. I sewed my own. 3rd is knee-ish slanted hem black dress skirt with pockets.
- Dresses — my preferred garment. Frankly, I’d rather only have dresses, but long pants are necessary.
[Update December 2017: I sent mine home but only because I didn’t sew it to the right size.]
- Light weight zipperless jeans or Jeggings — not sports pants. Just one for colder weather.
[Update December 2017: I didn’t find a pair this time and wish I had.]
[Update February 2018: I now have a blue jeans colored legging.]
- Light weight soft zipper/buttonless jeans, light blue. 1 pair.
[Update December 2017: I will be leaving these at home during my 4 month stop back home. I don’t need them and I don’t like the space they required.]
- Thin leggings — black and navy. I have them waiting. (Thanks to Ross Stores.)
[Update December 2017: I brought only the black pair and they have been a go-to garment. I did purchase a slightly thicker pair as well though as the weather got cooler.]
- Socks — specifically one pair of low-cut Travelsox. I’m actually not bringing sneakers but these socks are just-in-case.
[Update December 2017: I love the low-cut Travelsox but the design on them ruins them or normal everyday wear. I will be getting a newly-out solid color. These things are very comfy!]
- Light weight underwear that dries quickly.
- Light weight sandals with an ankle strap. I found very light cork-bottom Rockport sandals, the Keona Flower T-Strap, in a fits-all-outfits neutral color! I love that my feet fit into the bottom which protects toes. I found them at a Rockport outlet, paying under $40 for them. However, I am finding the top of the sandal becomes sweaty quickly, maybe because it is a large area or perhaps because it is man-made material. Time will tell how well they work for my travels.
[Update January 2018: I love these sandals! However, had to get wet twice and the cork trim peeled. Super glue to the rescue.]
- An ankle strap “flip-flop” for water, shower, and daily. I loved both pairs of my Grendha sandals and expect to purchase them again in the future and maybe to try Ipanema. I purchased a new pair of Havaianas on sale.
[Update December 2017: I remained very happy with the Havaianas.]
- Not sneakers but Skechers GoWalk — but rather than sneakers for more versatility.
[Update December 2017: They’re light, very comfortable, and packed well I absolutely do not regret not bringing sneakers. I do regret buying blue though because they didn’t look right with black clothing.]
- Light-weight closed shoes suitable for colder weather and dresses. This is tough because packing tightly breaks the back of most shoes. From 2011-2015 I had and wore one pair of black Aerosols flats because they are great for dress or for walking but I did break them. (I also had the original Skechers GoSteps for more casual wear the first year.)
[Update December 2017: For closed shoes, my Skechers did double duty and I was very happy with that because I fit well into my carry-on only backpack. However, I constantly regretted that I had not gotten gray/black Skechers to match most outfits. (I had my eyes on this pair of Skechers Performance GoStep Lite shoes.) Until cold wet weather, I didn’t miss waterproof shoes. Next time I am bringing water-resistant plastic shoe covers at the very least.]
- Packable Raincoat/Windbreaker, Marmot’s Women’s PreCip Jacket. I really prefer a longer coat style and would have loved to try Marmot’s Women’s Mattie Jacket which is 10″ longer and more like a trench coat, better for dresses although it doesn’t get as many great reviews and the hood doesn’t tighten. I found the lighter PreCip first. I was blown away by how light weight it was and how it covered so many issues, plus it was a great price. (SRP $100.) Both are of the same waterproof fabric. Check out this video review of the Marmot PreCip by Backcountry Edge and this one that shows the features as well.
[Update December 2017: The PreCip works very well but I hate that it is not a more neutral color for my travel purposes and I still wish I had a more fancy looking or less sporty looking coat.]
- Rain hat that folds small. This was a gift so I don’t have a source. With the Marmot jacket, I don’t really need it though so it may stay home.
[Update December 2017: It stayed home. No regrets.]
- LIght-weight packable down vest from Costco. It can fit under the raincoat/windbreaker but over most tops.
[Update December 2017: Fantastic.]
- A light-weight packable down coat from Costco — only if I use the larger bag which isn’t looking likely.
[Update December 2017: I didn’t bring one but after a freezing October week in Bratislava and Prague, I regretted that so I had someone bring my mom’s Costco down coat to me. It’s incredibly warm, but November and December are so warm where I am that I regret this coat. It’s not very packable. I need to do better next time.]
Tech for my next long-term travels
- Backup drives! My WD Passport 500gb has held up beautifully for all of my travels since 2011 and my 2nd drive, a Seagate Slim hard drive is also still in great condition but to not take chances, I am starting with fresh new drives this time. I’ll be taking a new WD Passport (1T so it’s small-ish) as well as a SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD. This 2.98 x 2.98″ x .42″ drive is just 2.72 oz (78.9g) and combines the performance of a portable SSD with all-terrain durability and water resistance! It has 128-bit encryption for password-protection to keep important files secure should it ever go missing. Plus, it clips onto your bag. I am excited to try this new SanDisk Extreme drive. [A friend will have the WD 4T Passport to do backups for me.
[Update February 2018: The WP Passport and Seagate drives I brought were fabulous!]
- RadTech ACpower Compact Dual USB Device Charger, Hi-Energy for charging my USB devices. The original model was with me always during all of these travels and before that. This is a new, stronger model.
[Update February 2018: Excellent choice as always. People are always happy that there’s still a free USB charging spot for them on an electrical outlet.]
- RadTech Sleevz — long-time favorite because when your computer falls open, it’s hosed.
- RadTech Savrz — long-time favorite because thumps can fracture a computer’s screen
- RadTech ProCable UHD Lighting cable — because having your charging cable die on your trip is crippling, I know. New product for me to bring!
- IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav — the lav is new for this trip. I have used and relied on their iRig Mic that goes into the standard audio port. I love being able to record my radio shows from my travel iPhones (which always seem to be two models behind).
- Samson GoMic — this tiny, great USB mic is making its 2nd long-term trip. A great weight/size investment as I record for radio.
- Cord Tacos — a must-have that are with me daily, traveling or not, since the day I discovered them.
- Nite Ize Cable Ties — for many reasons, new addition
[Update December 2017: I love them but the one I have used daily didn’t last 3 months. The metal broke and the plastic seems to have stretched. I will still choose them though.
- Nite Ize DoohicKey — not really tech, new addition
[Update December 2017: Great and no problem with security but I have not needed it much at all. Of course, if I don’t bring it, I will need it for sure.]
Small Multi-tool— not possible due to the small blade in it. Victorinox Swiss Army knifeI have had since my first 3-year travels and is still perfect. (I’ve had one since I was young.) The downside of not checking a bag: American flights do not permit knives in a carry-on bag. For the first time, my handy dandy swiss army knife will be sitting out a trip. Sad, because it comes in so handy. Once, my friend Gary even cut several men’s hair with mine in the Himalayas Hand-pressing self-charging LED flashlight— for the just in case. (Several if going to remote villages.) Brand to be determined, but I also have one from the 99¢ Store. I loved my Energizer wind-up/solar but it was stolen and I never found it in a store.
[Update December 2017: I left this at home and really have not missed it. It’s important for emergencies or off-grid places like where I was in Panama but I have been in Europe. This is location dependent.]
Nite Ize Radiant 300 Lumen Rechargeable Lantern— if there is room because I am loving it in my everyday LA life, a new addition to long-term travel, though. Alas, this will remain packed and awaiting my return in a year or two.
- Nite Ize QuikStand Mobile Device Stand — new addition
[Update December 2017: Handy. No regrets.]
- Matias MiniRizer — old favorite making its 3rd long-term trip
[Update December 2017: Still handy. Still no regrets.]
- Camera — brand to be determined. I loved my Panasonic Lumix DMCZS25 (Point and Shoot size) but it died and I don’t love the heavier Lumix ZS35 that I purchased or the condescending man I asked about their cameras at CES. Maybe it’s time for a Canon or Nikon. Pity because I loved the Panasonic Lumix. I also want a waterproof camera. (Unsure about LUMIX Active Lifestyle Tough Camera.)
[Update December 2017: I bought another Lumix (official refurbished this time). I hate that it is so heavy and I don’t take it out daily because of this but I do love Panasonic Lumix .]
- Portable battery for recharging USB devices during the day. I love my Innergie PocketCell battery and will likely bring a 2nd one too.
[Update September 2017: I opted to leave this behind because I had the AirScale and I regretted it every day.]
- Silica packets to dry out electronics due to rain or humidity. I’ve written about this here.
- A paper clip to remove a SIM card
- Cell phone. An older unlocked iPhone. Having a costly phone stolen or ruined by water is too heart-breaking and I don ‘t want the stress of worrying about that happening. Unlocked so I can buy SIM cards wherever I travel. I buy used phones from friends when they upgrade. (As a tech writer and consultant specializing in Apple, I used to have the newest of everything so I do know that I am missing fabulous new Apple technology.) No one wants to steal my old phone.
- Cell phone case — must actually be protective! And light. RhinoShield CrashGuard Bumper Case by Evolutive Labs. I mostly live with hardwood floors so this minimal (thus light) “case” has already proven its protectiveness to me well and I love the grip. Because of the grippy bumper, it doesn’t slide out of my pockets by mistake, yet because there’s on backside, it comes out easily when I pull it out. I used to want to hide my Apple logo because of theft but nowadays so many people in every country I’ve been to have iPhones and they recognize that mine is too old for them to desire.
I was going to bring a waterproof case as well but I really didn’t have space.
- AirScale — luggage scale and USB chargers in one. (I wrote about the AirScale here.)
[Update December 2017: HUGE REGRETS – it failed immediately and is only a heavy battery. SKIP THIS!]
- Lewis N.Clark Waterseals water-resistant pouch, phone size.
- Leash It Luggage Leash — because no one wants their luggage to walk away in the arms of another person.
- Reliefband, original model — so I won’t get queasy when I sail the Mediterranean, which I hope I’ll get to do. If you wish to travel but tend to get motion sickness, Reliefband may enable you to travel more comfortably. It controls air sickness, sea sickness and car sickness. I’ll be reporting on how well it does for me when I sail.
[Update December 2017: I have not had an opportunity to use this yet but it kept turning on in my backpack (a suitcase) so I don’t know it will work when I need it.]
- Tiger Balm or Vicks VapoRub explained by me here.
[Update December 2017: Helpful but I could not find a good closing VapoRub and didn’t get around to getting tiger Balm. I want to rectify this but still deal with space and weight issues.]
- Ace bandage
- Hydrogen Peroxide cream antiseptic for wounds — not sold in the US.
[Update December 2017: Glad I have it! Takes so little room. I had been over-packing 1st-Aid. No more.]
- Water purification tablets. I’m looking into ceramic-based but brought iodine tablets in past years.
- A $25 Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle replacement filter for my HydraPak Stash 1L water bottle. I have not tried the filter yet but it has been recommended. I love my HydraPak Stash.
[Update December 2017: I didn’t get one and don’t regret this.]
- Activated charcoal capsules
[Update December 2017: I didn’t bring any. I can always burn bread like last trip.]
- Burn Cream MD, 3 individual use packets (for when I don’t have an egg handy).
[Update December 2017: I brought this and am happy to have it for if I need it but happily have not been able to really test this promising cream.]
- Prescriptions that I need. I may be able to get them in various location but I bring plenty just in case.
- Umbrella — Fjord Folding Trekking Umbrella by Innate is the lightest one I have come across and it appears to be quite durable. This is a first; I am finally giving in and bringing one because I’ve spent so much time in rain while traveling.
[Update December 2017: For the 3 months it didn’t rain, I didn’t greatly mind the slight space this easily packable umbrella took in my single piece of travel luggage. I often didn’t even see it or remember it was there. Then when rains hit, I was happy to have it.]
- As a beach blanket or ground cover, I will be sewing a large piece of ripstop nylon. It’s very light-weight and durable. This is a new addition to my packing. If I have space.
- Safety pins. Learn why I bring safety pins here.
- TSA-approved lock by Master Lock. This is a new lock for me, lighter and smaller than the last lock I traveled with and still recommend.
- My own DIY RFID shielded card and passport cases.
- A large beach ball — for more comfortable sleeping on planes, trains, and buses. I haven’t actually tried this yet, but Joey Green, author of the book Last-Minute Travel Secret: 121 Ingenious Tips by, suggests putting it on your meal tray as a pillow so you can lean forward to sleep. It’s worth space in my carry-on to try it.
- Sewing kit — home-made. I put this together in 2011
- Hair dryer — small, light-weight. Dual voltage. I’ve decided this is no longer a luxury.
- Plastic press to close bags — the size that fit a plate and sandwich size. (These are like gold in some places!)
- Baggie ties for other plastic bags for food. (These are like gold for a backpacker in some places.)
- Sink stopper — if I can find a good one again. I’m not sure I’ll find one. The best one I ever found was in Israel but after many months of use, it tore. I’m not sure there is one stopper that is really good for several counties.
- Stain stick (Tide Stain Stick?) or stain wipes — I have carried packets before but never used them.
- Sunscreen wipes or solid?
- 1 Pen. Specifically, an Inka Pen + Stylus by NiteIze. It’s a comfortable ballpoint pen that’s supposed to write anywhere. It comes with a quick clip S-Biner attachment so if I clip it into my bag I may actually not lose it.
- Bottlelight — a cork-shaped USB rechargeable little light that fits into a wine bottle and lights up your room with a romantic ambiance. Not necessary but I like it.
- Floating light — a cork-surrounded UFO-shaped USB rechargeable little light that floats in water, providing some nice shimmering light. Water magnifies light, remember? I’m not bringing the paper lampshade. I like the sight of the floating light.
- Waterproof document envelopes — Innate’s Portal Document Pouch — I’m bringing 2 of them.
[Update December 2017: These are so handy. I use them for undies, for electronics, and for day use. I want more.]
- Liquid fabric softener to make wrinkle release spray and a tiny empty spray bottle.
[Update December 2017: Great idea but I skipped this due to space.]
I am not bringing laundry soap. Last trip, I brought 4oz of this Ecos highly concentrated laundry soap and the trip before that, I bought a laundry detergent stick in Costa Rica, but shampoo or soap works when laundry detergent isn’t around. If I bring detergent I’ll get another solid stick.
To be continued.
Other backpack options
Here are other backpacks I’d considered but won’t be choosing.
I was curious about PacSafe backpacks. They doing some important things but at the cost of weight. These are of interest to a long-term traveler:
- Venturesafe™ EXP65 Anti-theft 65L travel pack although that weighs in at 2815 g/6 lb 3.3 oz
- Venturesafe™ EXP45 Anti-theft 45L carry-on travel pack at 1.8 kg/3 lb 13 oz but with no hip support
- Or the Venturesafe™ X40 PLUS anti-theft 40L multi-purpose backpack which weighs in at 1.8 kg / 3 lb 14.8 oz. It’s smaller but has a hip strap.
Having tried on a few Osprey models including the Farpoint 55, I don’t like the feel of them on my back or their hip support. They also have a wheels/backpack combo, Sojourn 60L/25” similar to Eagle Creek’s. It is 3661 cubic inches/60 cubic liters and 9 pounds so 7oz lighter than Eagle Creek’s but also 10 liters smaller. It’s also considerably more costly.