18 months: 1 backpack

I'm leaving May 29th for a world wide adventure. After leaving Chicago I'll be heading to South Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and maybe even Mexico for a wedding.

That's 3 continents over 18 months my loves! Over 20 countries! And now the all important question becomes:


Well, actually that question is kind of easy: not a whole lot. I learned tremendous amounts while backpacking in Europe.

**CAUTION CAUTION** If you are the type who gets grossed out when thinking about wearing the same shirt for two days in a row or going a few days without taking a shower then you should leave this post THIS VERY INSTANT! Even if you need to blow-dry every day this not the place for you my friend.

Let me take you on a guided tour of my backpack in a whirlwind of a budget travel packing list!

I am in the school of thought that when packing for a worldwide backpacking trip less is more. You have to carry that load on your back every time you go to a new city. You will have to trek up stairs, wind through large crowds, and face some monster hills each travel day. When you have been struggling up a hill for 20 minutes you really start to hate that extra pair of shoes in your pack.

This is my backpack. It's a woman's pack from Mountain Hardware. I schlepted it across Europe so I have undoubtedly broken it in. In backpack talk it's 50 liters. This isn't a huge pack for such a long trip; I met some people in Europe who were traveling for 3 months with 90 liter backpacks that weighed 75 pounds! That's just ridiculous to me. I would much rather do without a hair dryer and straightening iron!

I really like my pack: it's comfortable, it expands easily, and it is very durable. The only downside to my pack is that it only opens from the top or a zipper on the side. If I had my choice I would have gotten a pack that zips open all around the front. But those packs didn't fit my body and so here I am with this pack! Finding a woman's pack with all of your wants that also fits can be tough. I can't urge someone strongly enough to choose the pack that feels the best!

That's my pack from behind (and my behind!). I hope that it doesn't look too ridiculous on my body. I think of it as my snail shell-- my little home while traveling!

Now on to my clothes. This is the part where all of your mouths drop and you say "but that's NOTHING." I am bringing shockingly few pieces of clothing:

2 pairs of pants
1 long sleeve shirt
1 short sleeve shirt
1 pair of leggings/long johns
5 pairs of socks
4 pairs of underwear
1 pair of shorts
1 t-shirt for sleeping
1 pair of hiking boots
1 pair of flip flops
1 jacket

and that's it my loves. I've found that I can live with the bare essentials and if need be I can always buy a simple dress or skirt along the way. When Chris and I get to conservative countries in the Middle East I will be making some adjustments and adding head scarves and floor length skirts to my wardrobe.

The key to packing so little is to focus on comfort, durability, and washability. You want to be able to wear the same clothes several times without them stretching, becoming wrinkled or getting nubbly after a million wears. Without a doubt on a low cost backpacking trip you will be washing your clothes in sinks and showers around the world. The pants that I will bring can be adjusted to multiple lengths and are super comfortable. They also both have draw-string waists. I found out a draw string was really important while I was in Europe because over 3 months I lost almost 20 pounds and 2 sizes!

This post has already gotten kind of long so next week I will let you know about the toiletries, medical supplies, and random other items I will be packing!

I'm sure I haven't told you everything so If you have any questions let me know!


Oh and just an out-take that made me laugh:

4 comments- my fav!:

Jessica said...

Oh wow! Sounds like you'll have an incredible trip! I don't think I could ever travel that sparsely, but I'm definitely curious to see how you do it!

Iva said...

WOW!!! sounds like you are going to have an awesome time!!!

Ellen and Bill said...

Check out this blog for packing.

chelsea rebecca said...

i'm speechless.


an inspiration to all of us {especially me who always packs toooo much whenever i travel!}

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