Tips – What to Pack

The packing list will always be very individual and depend on your style of travel, destination and any specific sports or events you plan to participate in.  Each time you travel you will probably refine your list of essential gear based on what you used most and didn’t use previously.

Pack Light

When backpacking or travelling for extended periods the aim is usally to pack as lightly as possible. Space and weight can be saved by repacking shampoos, creams and lotions in to ‘travel size’ containers or by purchasing travel size products. Microfibre travel towels are lighter than normal towels and usually more absorbent and dry faster.  Flexible clothing and shoewear options and the ‘layering system’ for warmth also helps keep luggage weight down.  Collapsible water bottles or pouches also save space by packing away while in transit.  Everyone has their ‘luxuries’ they can’t travel without (eg bulky photographic equipment, hair straighteners, coffee plunger) – as long as you’re prepared to carry it, that’s fine!

Organizing Your Pack

Various options exist for organizing your life in your pack – from packing cubes to drawstring bags of varying sizes.  These are handy for organizing clothes and underwear, separating clean from dirty, keeping electricals together eg. chargers & adapters, keeping miscellaneous gear together eg. torch / headlamp, penknife, sewing kit.  I also find it handy to have a fold-up toiletry bag with zip compartments and a hook to be able to hang it all up no matter where you’re showering.


Various lightweight, quickdry, anti-odour, sun and insect repelling and superior thermal quality materials now exist that are ideal for travel clothing. A ‘layering system’ of wearing several layers of underwear, short and / or longsleeve ‘base layer’, fleece ‘mid layer’ and waterproof ‘shell or outer layer’ eg Goretex gives the best flexibility to dress for all potential weather conditions. I favour ultrafine merino wool (Icebreaker) for a base layer and in fact all my tshirts, sleeveless tops, long sleeve shirts, blouses and leggings in my pack are Icebreaker (great fashion options give good flexibility for the wardrobe). One of the other benefits of Icebreaker is that even after weeks of nonstop wear these clothes don’t smell!  They can be easily handwashed in hotel basins.

I like quickdry zip-off or fold-up cuff travel trousers.  By comparison denim is heavy and takes a long time to dry. For casual ‘evening wear’ I have a darker pair of lightweight travel trousers and a ‘special occasion blouse’ and scarf for special events. You can tailor this option to your own style / plans.


I pack a pair of waterproof ‘runner style’ walking shoes, travel sandals, light-weight flipflops for bathroom use or around town and sometimes a pair of dressier sandals for evenings if I think it’s required.

Packing CheckList

Here’s what I routinely pack:


brush / toothbrush / travelsize toothpaste / disposable razor / travel size soap, shampoo, conditioner / travel size moisturizer / travel size deodorant / small makeup basics / lip balm / insect repellent / sunscreen / microfibre travel towel


chargers for camera and kindle or e-reader / socket adapters


kindle e-reader/ paperback book / camera and spare battery / travel journal and spare pens


SteriPEN (water sterilizer) / headlamp / mini LED light (lives in my bumbag) / penknife / nail clippers and tweezers / whistle / sewing kit / ear plugs / travel umbrella / wash soap bar / duct tape / spare plastic bags / collapsible water bottle

Medical Kit

See Tips – Staying Healthy on the Road for detailed contents


underwear x5 / quality hiking socks x3 / tank tops & tshirts Icebreaker x4- 5 / special occasion blouse / fashion scarf / zip-off or fold-up cuff travel trousers x2 / charcoal travel trousers for evening / swimwear / boardshorts / fleece jacket /( +/- fleece gloves, beanie, fleece pants, leggings) / waterproof Goretex shell rain jacket / sleepwear / hat / belt /sunglasses


waterproof walking shoes / travel sandals / flipflops / +/- evening sandals

My overall pack weight is usually around 14kg (pack weight 4kg + contents 10kg)

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