What we are packing for our round-the-world backpacking trip

ChadTravel Ideas, TraveloguesLeave a Comment

rtw packing list

Our Packing Philosophy

A goal of ours is to live out of our backpacks during our year-long honeymoon. We will be traveling with two medium-sized backpacks – 48L (his) and 38L (hers).

365 days packed into two small bags.

This coming year will be an exercise in minimalism.

Obviously, every item will need to be well thought out since we won’t have the luxury of bringing spacious luggage with us.

We will need to prepare for a diverse range of weather conditions. Our backpacks need to handle clothing for the equatorial heat of Indonesia, torrential rains in Northern Vietnam, to a snowy winter season in Milan and New York.


  • Osprey Exos 48L – This is the bag that I have been using for the past year and a half. I love the fit as it stays comfortable throughout the day. The waistband pockets are also great for storing small change and transport tickets securely. Although Osprey recently updated their line of products I am still happy with this bag!
  • Osprey Kestrel 38L – Corina recently upsized from her smaller Osprey daypack to this 38L bag. It’s compact does a good job of handling the items we need to pack for this year-long trip. It was a recent purchase so we haven’t tested it out on a trip yet. This post will be updated once we have experience with its comfort and functionality.


The following clothing items are per person. You can pack more or less depending on how often you expect to wash your clothes. You might not be able to wash your clothes often if you travel quickly from city-to-city. But, if you travel slower you could possibly get away with 3-days worth of clothes.

  • 4-5 tops (t-shirts and tank tops)
  • 2 pairs of shorts (1 pair of board shorts that can function as beachwear or be worn when wandering the city)
  • 1 pair of black or khaki pants (covering your legs is necessary to enter most temples in South East Asia)
  • 7 pairs of lightweight socks (it’s important that they dry fast)
  • 7 pairs of underwear (also fast drying)
  • Running shoes
  • Sandals (good for the beach, and a must if you’re using public showers)
  • Baseball cap (can help keep the sun off your face or neck)
  • Sunglasses


  • Universal charger – possibly the most important thing in our bag. We use a Kensington International Travel Plug Adapter. It’s cheap, just over $20, and comes with 2 USB ports – a real lifesaver when you need to charge your phone and laptop at the same time!
  • Asus Laptop x2 – both are ultraportable laptops weighing around 1kg
  • Go Pro Hero 4 – we are still using our older model Go Pro. It’s still working well so there is no need to upgrade just yet. At sub $250 prices it’s an easy purchase should we ever lose or break ours.
  • Compact Tripod – short enough to fit in our carry-on backpack. We are a bit concerned about the changing laws regarding carry-on tripods so we went with an affordable, yet functional model.
  • Phone Charger x2 – Standard phone chargers
  • Power Bank – We are using a simple portable power bank during our trip. The extra phone time is a lifesaver when you’re on the go and need to use Google Maps.
  • Portable Hard Drive – there are a lot of portable hard drives on the market but we ended up getting a Toshiba Canvio Basics portable hard drive. It’s lightweight, durable, and has amazing reviews on Amazon – for us it was a no-brainer.


  • Toothbrush x2
  • Travel-sized bottles – We will be bringing several travel-sized bottles even though most hotels provide complimentary shampoo and body wash.
    • Toothpaste (100ml)
    • Shampoo (100ml)
    • Conditioner (100ml)
    • Face Wash (100ml)
    • Body Wash (100ml)
  • Sun Screen
  • Compact Makeup Bag
  • Chapstick – great for dry/windy weather


  • Loperamide (Immodium) – The essential food poisoning remedy. We will bring a small pack in case of emergencies.
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) – We will bring a small pack of this antihistamine with us
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol/Paracetamol) – This pain reliever is readily available around the world so we can easily purchase more if needed.

Most OTC medicine can be purchased easily so I pack light. However, you should consider the region you’re traveling to and pack accordingly.

Organizational Tools

  • Passport Holder – We will use this passport holder to store our passports and important documents. This will help organize our hotel and flight documents.
  • Toiletry Bag – A small bag to hold our shampoo and other liquids.
  • Packing Organisers – I don’t know how we survived for so long without these! Amazon Basics Packing Cubes are cheap and get the job done.
  • Assorted Ziplock Baggies – add a couple baggies to your RTW packing list and keep things organized.


Photocopy of Passport – I like to bring a couple copies that I can hand out if needed. A lot of hostels and car rental agencies like to hold onto your passport, offering a photocopy is a good way to keep control of your passport.

Copies of Flight and Hotel Bookings – This might seem unnecessary in the digital age, but it has helped speed me through check-in on numerous occasions!

Passport Photos – I paid $6 for a sheet of 8 passport-sized photos. Many countries require a photo when you apply for a visa. It’s better to travel with them than to scramble around looking for a place that can print passport photos.

Additional ID – a second form of photo ID is often required when traveling. A student ID, library card, or even an expired driver’s license could work in a pinch!

What We Will Buy During Our Trip

Our carryon weight limit will be 7kg per person when taking flights. However, we will be able to pick up a few things as we travel around each country.

Food and Snacks – One thing we plan to carry with us is food! We will buy local snacks to eat in between meals – or on those long bus and train rides.

Books – we will limit ourselves to carrying one book at a time. Many hotels and hostels have a small library so we can leave our books once we finish them.

Seasonal Clothes – We will buy warm jackets before heading to Europe. This makes more sense than carrying a bulky jacket through South-East Asia for four months!

Backpack rtw trip

Don’t forget to share this image on Pinterest!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links to the actual products we use during our travels. If you choose to purchase these items it will benefit this blog at no additional cost to you.

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