15 months on the road & this is what’s in my backpack!



I was going to write this post on my 400th day on the road, but at that time I was being a bit dramatic and felt lost in life. Okay I wasn’t being dramatic because even now sometimes I still feel a bit lost. I know everyone said to stop worrying and go with the flow… so I am doing just that. Well tomorrow June 1st, 2012 is my 15th month on the road. I can’t believe I have been on the road that long, but I am still going strong and loving it. I often times get comments and emails asking what it is I am traveling with. Before I left I wrote a post with what I am packing for my RTW trip. So I thought it would be cool to see what is in my backpack 15 months into my journey around the world. So here you have it… this is everything I am traveling with at the moment.


What pack to travel the world?

9 – shirts (I hate doing laundry often so yup I have 9 of them.)

3 – shorts (One of them are my sleeping shorts.)

6 – underwear (Yeah I hate doing laundry.)

4 – pair of socks (I have had to buy so many on the road… you will go through a million of these.)

2 – swim trunks (Yes I need 2.)

1 – pair of sandals (yYu will wear these a lot, buy a very good pair.)

1 – pair of hiking shoes (You need a durable pair of shoes.)

1 – light weight jacket (I had to buy this in Paris, because that is when I needed it and have used it a million times since then.)


What pack to travel the world?

I don’t think I need to list what you see here… I mean really it’s just the toiletries you use at home that you will use on the road. Bring what you will use and nothing in a huge bottle because you don’t want to deal with airport security and because well you will be able to find just about all your toiletries around the world. Oh & bring a lot of condoms from home… you will need them. I always hate buying some on the road… it’s just weird…lol!!!


What pack to travel the world?

1 – 13″ Mac Book Pro & charger (I wouldn’t travel with out my laptop.)

1 – 500GB external hard drive (You need protection.)

1 – Sony Cybershot 25mm Wide-angle lens Point & Shoot (Love my P&S but am ready for a DSLR.)

1 – universal adapter (You will need this for sure.)

1 – electric trimmer (I hate shaving like a lot… so yup I travel with an electric trimmer.)


What pack to travel the world?

2 – Passports (I have dual citizenship. USA & Mexico Passport go with me everywhere I go.)

2 – glasess (I am blind as hell with out my glasses so I brought 2 pair incase the one broke.)

2 – locks (Be sure to get the wire type.)

1 – LP Southeast Asia on a Shoestring guidebook (Yes I have been carrying this around with me and yes one day I will make it there.)

1 – money belt (I only wear this when I am crossing borders over land.)

1 – journal (I write in this on & off not all the time as I’d like. My blog is personal enough so it helps me keep track of things.)

1 – notebook (Bring one to use to write down random tidbits of things you learn or of plans or directions or anything else.)

1 – string bag (This is really my daypack I use it when I need to bring things with me that don’t fit in my pockets.)

1 – travel towel (Even though I hate this thing I use it more often than not.)

1 – glue stick (I use this a lot to glue stubs and tickets into my journal.)

1 – backpack rain cover (I have only used this once and really want to get rid of it.)

1 – watch (Don’t travel with a cell phone so need a watch.)

1 – mini flashlight (I use it often and have gone through a million of these.)



Packing cubes are one of the greatest inventions in the world… they really do help and make it easy to keep things organized. Plus I am a neat freak and feel that keeping my backpack and daypack organized keeps me sane. The rest of my life is a mess and out of  my control… by that I mean the sometimes unorganized countries I visit or the dirty places I stay at.


What pack to travel the world?

Yes JEANS are the most important thing I have in my backpack (I keep my laptop in my daypack so it doesn’t count). Don’t listen to ANYONE who tells you that they are heavy, a bitch to wash or anything else they may say to sway you not to bring them. Jeans are a UNIVERSAL clothing item… just about anywhere you go in the world people are wearing jeans. You will wear them to the bar, out to eat, on chilly days, in countries where you can’t wear shorts, to hike a mountain or volcano. You will wear them just about every day you are not in a beach town or melting from the heat. Seriously… don’t be tacky and travel with the zip off cargo pants that everyone says you need. You don’t need them… a nice pair of jeans will do just fine.


What to pack to travel the world!

This is how I look all packed up and ready to hit the road to the next town. Yup all of the above fits in my 40L Deuter backpack and small day pack.

My biggest suggestion to anyone about to hit the road… TRAVEL LIGHT. I mean it you only carry your backpack when you are changing cities or hotels and when you do you will hate your self the more it weighs. My backpack is tiny compared to the many other backpacks I see on the road and I still bitch and complain every time I have to put it on my back. Every few weeks I go through everything piece by piece and see what I can get rid of and try to get rid of something. When your whole life is packed in a backpack every item counts. I make sure everything I am traveling with has a purpose and that I use it. If I don’t I leave it behind. I also have a one in one out rule. If I buy a new shirt I need to throw out an old one etc… etc…

Well there you have it everything I have in my backpack 15 months into my trip and well I have survived just fine with this & only this. Makes me really think about the way I used to live at home with so many things. So what do you think about everything I am traveling with?  Do I have too many shirts? Am I missing a few things? Do you agree jeans are the most important thing I have in my backpack? Should I get rid of anything?

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  1. Agree with everything you say, especially PACK LIGHT! I remember being dropped off by a minivan somewhere in Laos and being told the guesthouse was a 200metre walk away. Every single person went CRAZY: “oh my GOD, my backpack is NINETY litres, I CAN’T walk that far with it!” Seriously, I don’t understand how people can bring that much stuff and then carry it around on their back…. Especially when they then spend all the time bitching about it!

    Other than that, yes JEANS. I didn’t take jeans with me and I didn’t think I missed them until I came back home to visit and found myself living in them and loving them! I’m taking them with me when I leave tomorrow!

    Love that you’re carrying a SE Asia guidebook. I’m sure you told me about 6 months ago you were going there soon! 😉
    Lauren recently posted..The sunsets of Koh Chang are amazing

    • Jaime Davila says:

      OMG 90L… WTF? Have you gotten a smaller one??? I couldn’t handle that… I complain about 40L I’d die with 90L. As for jeans I guess when you are in constant HOT areas… you don’t need them. I was in mostly winter in Europe & the Middle East… so needed them. Now I doubt I’ll use them as often but to go out in the evenings.

      Oh & the SEA LP… poor thing, it’s been every where with me and hasn’t been used, but oh it will. I will make sure.

    • Haha when I spent 3 months in Asia in 2010 I too brought a 90L behemoth (that I could have fit into) because I was young and stupid. I didn’t know any better and brought 50 lbs worth of crap I hardly needed! The tipping point came in China at the Longji Rice Terraces when the bus drops you off at the bottom of the mountain and the town you can sleep in is way up the mountain, so you have to take all your gear and hike up a mountain! I almost DIED with my giant heavy pack! Meanwhile, there’s this fancy French Canadian guy trotting up the mountain with a tiny little pack. And I said to myself, “I’m gonna be THAT guy!”

      And that’s why now I travel with 32L that weighed in at 8kg (17 lbs) and I will happily walk around town with it for 5km or so…
      Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..To Istanbul, With Love

      • Jaime Davila says:

        OMG yes Aaron I remember your blog post on that… 90L holy shit… I would DIE… DIE!!! That is the worst when you have to hike up a mountain to get to the village or hostel… thats when you really do curse every God for being a backpacker and wish you had a rolling suit case…lol!!! Sometimes I wish I could go lighter but I know 40L is light and enough & well I love this backpack.

    • I just bought a 62L Osprey Atmos and i’m thinking that was a bit too much as I already have a 22L REI flash daypack, I think I should’ve got a 40L instead. Well, i’m going to try and see how it works out.

      REI actually recommends a 80L backpack for extended trips..I think that is where the confusion arises because many people shopping for backpacks trust the advice from stores like this…

      “Expert” advice from REI about how to choose a backpack, it says 80+ L for anything above 5 nights!

      • Jaime Davila says:

        Kevin if you can return it I say return it and get a smaller backpack. Serioulsy when you are on the road you are going to feel the weight of it all on your shoulders and will hate yourself if it’s a lot. OMG can’t believe that is the EXPERT advice they give at REI. Wow just wow. Yeah I’m travleing with 40+10 and my 15L daypack. Thats more than enough.

  2. I brought 9 or 10 shirts! You’ll spill something on them or need to change and I only did laundry once a week so having more than a week’s worth (or a few day’s worth) is something I will always do. And same on underwear!
    Heather recently posted..Saving for travel while planning a wedding

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Agree Heather… it just makes thing much easier when you travel with a variety of clothes.

      • There was a time when I thought three pairs of underpants was enough….but really underpants weigh little and stepping into a dirty pair just isnt a nice feeling….

        I always travel with jeans…for me they are most comfortable and as you say universal….everyone will tell you to wear something else….but I find I can live in a pair of jeans for an unlimited time…

        all super advise …thanks guys…

  3. Wow you do better at traveling light then I ever have done. I seem to carry a lot of silly stuff that I feel lost without like a long string and clothes pins, swiss army knife, fork and spoon. I am also bad about have a number of books with me all the time. I carried 3 or 4 travel guide books at times. I also would be lost without an MP3 player and my compass.

    I had ladies offer to carry my backpack in China and I think the backpack was as big as the lady.

    I have enjoyed following you on your journey the past 4 or 5 months so keep up the great blogging.
    Keith recently posted..Michael Angelo’s David

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Just go through it all and purge what you don’t use. I have never needed a long string and clothes pins. When I wash in the hostel/hotel… I find a place to hang in the room to dry. I’ve also never need an amry knife, fork or spoon…lol. I know it’s up to each with what they want to travel with, but just do inventory if you don’t use it… leave it behind. As for books… I’m not much of a reader so just carry one at a time… and guide books, I love them too. Oh & sometime I miss my iPod, but most of the time I don’t think about it.

  4. I actually started my trip with two pairs of jeans! I sent the one back cause it got too hot in SEAsia, but will be traveling with two again this fall, lol. Yeah, I like to have a ton of options like you do on shirts!
    Scott recently posted..Speeding Up To Slow Down

  5. I am going to hand a link to this post to everyone I see get on a plane with a huge bag for a short getaway.

    Nice work! I love that jeans get a category.
    Kent @ No Vacation Required recently posted..It’s a Wrap

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Yes Kent please dooooo…lol!!! Oh yes JEANS are one of a kind. Wish I could still afford the nice ones… you know DIESEL, 7, etc… etc…

  6. YES to packing light! I only had a 30litre backpack for travelling for a couple of months in 2010, and it worked just fine. I won’t bring anything bigger than 40litres with me on my 6-7 month RTW trip next year – and I WILL bring my jeans! Maybe even 2 pairs (comfy pair, sexy going out partying pair). AND my electric shaver, too. I’m a hairy boy too and I despise shaving.
    Waegook Tom recently posted..Buddha’s Birthday in Korea

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Sometimes I wish I could go down to 30L but nah 40 is fine, plus this extend to 50 for when I buy crap…lol!!! Oh how I wish I had brought my sexy going out party pair… lol they are so hot!!! Oh & yay for being hairy boys who hate shaving… glad I am not alone!!!

  7. I am so impressed with how much you can fit into there!!!!!

  8. Nice job! We are getting ready to head out again for another RTW trip and we are currently going through the “what to pack” phase. We did this in 2007 and seriously over packed! The one thing I had with me on the first trip was a pair of jeans that I never wore – ever! Was seriously thinking about leaving them behind and pack a pair of crop pants instead.. hmm.. Back to the drawing board? Cheers and maybe we will see you out there!
    Cheryl recently posted..Cameras for the Road

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Cheryl… the what to pack phase is so much fun yet so damn nerve racking, because you think of it all. Honestly you don’t need much and anything you find you do need and didn’t bring you will find on the road. How did you not wear your jeans? I have worn them everywhere. It just helps you fit in… jeans are so universal, but in the end it’s what you are most comfortable with.

  9. Good post. I obviously don’t travel with a backpack (that’s how I did India though) but I do all of my trips with just a rollaboard no matter how long I plan on being gone. You should have seen my sister’s face when I showed up at the airport for our 2 weeks in Japan and she saw me with my little blue suitcase and a small backpack while she was lugging three pieces with her.

    BTW, travel is good for your looks, you seem to have gotten more handsome on the road.
    David recently posted..Photo Essay: Ladysmith, Wisconsin

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hey David, that is good. Doesn’t matter if its a backpack, suitcase, whatever… if you can travel light for a two year trip you can travel light for a 2 week trip. Its just so much nicer to travel with CARRY ON… and well LIGHT!!!

      P.S. Thanks for the complement. I’ve lost so much weight… and next I plan on toning up!!!

  10. Wow, I’m so impressed you’re able to travel with so little. I’m such a girl when it comes to packing …
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..How to visit Rome on a budget

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks Ellen, I have no clue how girls could travel light. That is one thing I like I don’t need much extra stuff. I’ve seen some grils though with light backpacks, so I am sure it’s possible.

  11. I soooo agree with packing light. I did short trips to both the UK and SE Asia (2 weeks each time) with carryon size bag and a purse. My problem is packing too much when I MOVE abroad. I brought so much useless crap with me to Korea for some reason. Moving to France in September after Im home in the US for a month, with half the luggage allowance I had going to Asia, so I gotta pair it down and leave all my useless junk at my moms house lol

    • Jaime Davila says:

      LOL… Kaylin I think I would have the same problem if I moved somewhere. I would just feel like I need more when in reality you need less, cus well you could just buy everything you need there.

  12. It surprising how much you can fit in a 40L backpack! My boyfriend and I are starting our trip in September so we are just now starting to shop for gear/clothes. How much does your bag weigh? I think I’ll definitely bring 1 pair of jeans with me – since I LIVE in them when I’m home I imagine I’d miss them terribly if I tried to travel without them!
    Vicky recently posted..My Favorite WordPress Plugins

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Vicky yes it really is surprising. My bag always weight between 9-11kg. Oh & yes travel light & bring the jeans… you will use them.

      • 9-11 kg still seems pretty heavy! I guess you probably get used to it after a while! Sometimes when I’m on my way to work with just a few things in my bag including lunch a heavy book I already feel like it’s a drag to carry around — so I guess I better prepare myself for carrying around a 20 pound backpack!
        Vicky recently posted..Virginia Beach – Photo of the Week

        • Jaime Davila says:

          Hi Vicky, yes 9-11kg is heavy but it’s as light as it’s going to get. Trust me I go over everything very often, but just can’t get rid of more… Yeah start putting some weights in your bag to get used to it. It will also be like a work out… jaja!!! It’s a win win~

  13. This is a really helpful post thanks, really suprised how much you can fit in a 40litre. I’m currently looking into backpacks for my rtw starting in November, I’ve heard the smaller is better but a lot of people always recommend around 50-60litre. So im stuck in a bit of a dilemma, but I suppose if it’s smaller I’ll be forced to pack less. Do you have a lot of room spare to collecting items on the road.. Tshirts,Souvenirs etc or do you tend to ship a lot of these home? Which a 40l can you also carry this a carry-on on flights or have to check the backpack in?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh yes Dom you can fit a lot into a 40L. I should have written a few more things on the post to answer your questions. The reason I love this backpack is cus it is small, but its 40L plus 10L… so if I want I could extend it easily and make it a 50L. I have to use that a few times when I did buy souvenir or for some reason carrying more a few days than others. I try not to ship often cus its expensive, but India was the exception bought so many gifts because they were cheap and shipping was cheap too. Oh & yes this is a carry on for just about all airlines excpet the budget airlines like Ryanair. Hope that helps. Let me know if I could help ya with anything else.

      • Is your bag a top-loader? i’m sort of looking for a travelpack which opens around the sides to make it easy but they seem to have a lack of these in smaller sizes and tend to start at around 60l+10 sort of sizes. Ideally to be on the safe side i would be happy with a 50l+10.15 i think. Any suggests?

        Also would you say that getting a good brand is worth it? some of the top well known brands seem to be pretty pricey and not sure if there is much much difference between them and the more budget friendly ones which look the same just a lod of own-brand names.

        Sorry about all the questions haha


        • Jaime Davila says:

          Yes it is a top-loader. If you use packing cubes, it wont be a problem. I just pull out the one I need and then can put it back no problem. As for the size I can’t recommend what size to get. In the end that is up to the person who is going use it, because even though I would say stay @40L & below it depends on what you need and how you will carry with you. I just tell ya the bigger it is the more stuff you are going to put on it and the more its going to weigh. I weighed my bag yesterday at the airport and its 11kg… I wish I could make it lighter but doubt it.

          As for brand get a GOOD brand. You are going to use it for a year or longer & you may use it again after the trip is over. My as well go ahead and invest on a good pack back so it will last you that long. Mine cost about $130… don’t remember I know I wrote a post with a list of all the things I spent money on before the trip. Oh & don’t apologize about all the questions… if I could help I will so let me know.

  14. Haha well you know my feelings as I believe I commented on your initial packing list that you had too many clothes! Well, to each their own… I’ll take my 3 outfits thank you very much! 😛
    Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..To Istanbul, With Love

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I know I have to much clothes but I use it all and still manage to keep it all in a 40L backpack so that is good.

  15. People were always so amazed at me for traveling with a 40L backpack. My daypack is 20L but it mostly just held my laptop, Kindle, camera and a few smaller things. I never considered leaving my jeans at home. Even in SE Asia where it’s hot, I sometimes wore them at night to dinner or a few times on flights because I get cold on airplanes. I had 2 pairs of jeans for New Zealand since it’s cold there even in the summer. Traveling light is sooooo smart for so many reasons. I wish I could go even lighter, but I’m also not willing to buy yet another backpack. When I was on my RTW I also made sure not to hang onto much that I hadn’t used. I had probably 12 pairs of underwear b/c I *really* didn’t want to have to do laundry too often, and I knew I’d wear the same shirt 2 or 3 times easily.

    It’s amazing how little we really need, once we force ourselves to not travel with a lot of stuff.
    Ali recently posted..5 Things to Do in Istanbul

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I know same here Ali, people are always like wow that’s it for two years? Yeah I need my jeans… I’d be so lost with out them. They go with everything and fit in for everything. Oh & yeah if you don’t use it loose it… seriously sometimes I do cling to things I didn’t want to get rid of like a stupid lock I had never used but had from day one… lol. I get attached to things… sometimes.

  16. I started with 65L and then moved down to 45 and I’d like to get to 30L but stupid electronics take up so much room. I may get a smaller camera.

    I agree with you on jeans. I held off on them for 6 months but then I hit Colombia and felt like such a slouch without them. Unless it’s super hot (like it is in Mexico right now) I travel with them.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Food Friday: Where to eat in Hana?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Aygelina that is good though that you were able to drop 20L… every L counts. Yeah once I get a DSLR I will have to carry a bigger daypack & I hate the thought of that. Oh & jeans yeah they are a must. I think I still remember your post on 2 backpackers about them… or something like that. Oh & when its hot yeah I dont use them either.

  17. I love your advice! It helped a lot when I went to Turkey. I can’t wait to travel again. I know I’m going to Florida next summer, but am hoping to fit Israel in the Spring. We shall see. Jaimito, please take care of yourself. I hope I can see you when you get back. Good luck out there! Continue your posts! They’re great!!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I’m glad I was able to help you to pack for Turkey & am glad it helped. I hope you get a chance to travel more. The world is huge & is meant to be seen. Thanks Rubi, for always being so kind to me & thinking about me.

  18. I have a month before heading off on a long trip (I don’t know for how long yet) and am hoping to bring a 40L backpack. I’m not a high-maintenance girl, so hopefully I’ll be able to follow your example. We’ll see! Thanks for sharing.
    Elise recently posted..Manif des casseroles, Toronto

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh that is awesome Elise, you will be so thankful… for real. It’s nice to travel light. Excited for your trip… hope it goes well & if you need anything let me know.

  19. Yes! We travel light too! Mine is 43 L, and Ryan is 35L. And all our belongings can fit to those packs, extra small bag not required, even though most of the time I choose to carry one because it’s handy.

    I have bunch of tank tops, too much maybe. But they are all small. Smaller than Ryan’s undies. So I have an excuse.

    We were through Europe with hand washing almost entire time. There were several months that my hands did all of our laundry. So NO, we don’t carry jeans. I admit jeans is more fashionable. But not only it’s heavy and bulky to carry, and difficult to wash, but ladies one come with tiny pockets that are useless (non-tight jeans are not flatering, even more so than cargo pants). I like to have big pockets. So I stick with cargo pants. There are some slimmer kinds.

    I have a little blue penguin stuffed animal in my pack. A bit embarassing, maybe that’s why I haven’t shown what’s in my pack yet :p
    Dina recently posted..Halong Bay Photostory

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh that is awesome Dina… I wish I could do 35L…lol. Yeah tank tops are small so that shouldnt take up to much space even if you have a million. As for jeans you don’t have to wash them but like once every three months…lol. Thats why I love them too. I wanna see this blue penguin…jajaja!!!

  20. I’m currently in the packing stage too as I’m leaving for Uganda next week! I’ll be spending 4 months there, and traveling along East Africa. Since I’m not going RTW, I’m using a medium sized rolling suitcase, but it is still hard to think about what I’ll need. I’m considering leaving my jeans because it is a really good pair and don’t want to mess them up. I also figured I’ll be handwashing my clothes a lot, so skirts and dresses will fair me better. One thing, I sure as hell won’t go and buy those ugly zip off pants/short things lol.

    This post was really helpful!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I am glad this post could help you Chinye. As for the suitcase yeah if its a short trip and you aren’t moving too much that would be great. As for the jeans… I just can’t imagine not having them & well washing them I love that you don’t really have to wash them often. Oh & yes say no to ZIP OFF PANTS…lol!!!

  21. My gadgets occupies a lot of space in my backpack and they’re quite heavy but I can’t complain. I need them especially my Macbook Pro 😀

    Yay, can’t wait to welcome you here in Southeast Asia soon! <3 Happy travels!
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Boracay Tree House Resort: Cheap Dorm-Style Accommodation in Boracay

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Mica, I’m so glad I don’t travel with many gadgets, but know one day I will. I hope I make it to SEA soon.

  22. What the hell are you doing with those socks to get through so many pairs??? I came home after a year with the same ones I left with and they were fine!

    I’ve just broken my own travelling light packing record by going round Vietnam with just a 25 litre pack! was so nice having something so small – but I also know I couldn’t travel for a long period of time with that little. I reckon 40 litres is perfect for most trips, although I did travel for a year with 60, partly to fit in more serious warm clothes for high altitude hiking in south america, and partly so I could squeeze everything into one bag for when I didn’t want to carry a second day pack
    Geoff recently posted..My 7 Links: Revisiting some old favourites

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Geoff I have no damn clue… I always get holes in them & I hate it…lol!!! Holy shit… traveling with a 25liter… that is amazing. I’d love to be able to do that. Yeah when I travel through S.A. I know for sure I will need to carry warmer clothes and when that day comes I dont know what I will do because I hate having more than what I have already…lol!

  23. I can’t believe you’ve only got one pair of sandals and one pair of shoes. My footwear is my weakness and, unfortunately, I carry too much of it! My bag would be so much smaller without them.
    Jeremy recently posted..Andrew McCarthy Speaks on the Transformational Power of Travel

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Yeah I know it’s crazy Jeremy. At home I have so many pairs of shoes, but on the road must keep it to the basics. I don’t want a bigger bag, so make sure the ones I have go with all my outfits.

  24. This has been so helpful! I’ve debated whether or not to bring jeans, but now I really think I’m going to because they are so universal. Has the weight of your Macbook Pro ever been a hindrance? I hate doing laundry too (especially by hand in hostel sinks) so I don’t blame you at all for bringing along more shirts 🙂
    Patricia GW recently posted..The Art of Storytelling

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Glad this can help you Pat. Yes take the jeans you won’t regret it… you will use them unless its just scorching hot.Also take lots of shirts and underwear they are small anyway and won’t take up to much space.

  25. This post will prove to be very useful for my trip –

    thank u!

  26. I agree! I regret not bringing jeans. I’m going to get my good pair of jeans when we go home for Christmas. One or two pounds doesn’t really make a difference to me….but looking like a fool when you go out does! I say NO to zip off pants/shorts. Those are ugly!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I have no clue how you have done it with out jeans. Had I not brought them I would have bought them ages ago. Yeah zip off pants/shorts are not fucking cute at all…lol!!!

  27. Funny enough I was just going through my pack I’ve been living out of for the past 3 month and preparing for packing for Africa and India. I really want to bring thing but I’m such a girl. I feel the need for 9 shirts, 4 skirts and 2 pairs of jeans… I have problems I know 😉 thanks for the INSPIRATION, I swear I’m donating so e of it once I get there
    Alexandra recently posted..Mexico Research Directory – Central America Blogs

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Okay go for it Alexandra and take what you need. In the end it’s you that has to be comfortable and you are the one carrying it so why not?

  28. Jaime,

    Based on my experience, You have taken too many things with You making the backpack become too heavy (which, in other terms, means exhausting on the long run).

    My list is a lot shorter and my goal is to keep my backpack under 12 kg – You can have a look at my list here – on my list clothes are excluded since they depend on the season – as the season changes, becoming colder or warmer, we also have to change our clothes – it’s pointless carrying everything with You from the start.

    Hit the road hard! 😉

  29. Unsolicited Constructive Feedback:

    I have to disagree with jeans. Jeans are a bitch to wash on the go, take forever to dry, dont breathe very well, and in the winter can become a liability. There are many alternatives to jeans that arent cargo pants. I wear REI Adventure pants that I can wash in the sink and they dont take long to dry in room temperature. Also, Arc’tyrex makes some pretty durable nylon/polyster pants but i forget what they are called. I stay away from cotton for ANY article of clothing.

    seriously … ditch the organizer bag you are carrying your toiletries in. That has to weigh a pound by itself. there are better solutions, like strong zip lock bags or cuben fiber bags. Also, it is taking WAY to much space in your pack.

    2 Synthetic lightweigh summer shirts and 1 Baselayer (Ibex Merino Wool for instance) is all you need. You dont need 9 shirts. its CONVENIENT to have 9 shirts, but dont need them. The cool things about MERINO WOOL (for winter) is that it doesnt stink. You can wear it for 2 weeks, and as long as you dont have a serious odor problem health issue, your good to go. Wash it in the sink with NO SOAP, go to somewhere to hang out for the day, and dry in by laying it flat. In the summer, just fluctuate between 2 synthetic shirts every day or 2 days and wash them every other day in the sink somewhere.

    3 shirts is all you need. once you get used to it, it will become second nature.

    1 pair of shorts is all you need. Make sure its nylon. You can, again, wash it in the sink and it will dry super quickly. shorts wont smell or dirty up as quick as shirts, so you can stretch it out longer. When you need to wash it, you can switch into one of your …

    2 long pants, preferably nylon or mix of poly and nylon. NO JEANS.

    I’ll let you slide on 4 pair of socks. I use 3, but there are times, especially in winter, when i wish i had 4. some people only use 2!!!!

    ditch swimming trunks. YES – BOTH OF THEM. You can use your nylon shorts for that. they will dry just as quick. DUAL USES LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD. And how much are you swimming? ok. ok. if its a lot, then you can have ONE PAIR – but thats it. you can wash them everyday in the sink to get rid of the salt or chlorine.

    Ok, now your not going to like this one. GET RID OF YOU MAC BOOK PRO. yup. WAYYYY too heavy.

    “but i need it to do this and that” FUCK THAT. it weigh 4 1/2 pounds. Get a Mac Air, yes it can do light photoshop, GoPro movies .. all kinds of shit … but if you really only use it for internet and bullshit … get a fucking Ipad Mini + Zagg Flex Keyboard – ITS ONLY 16 ounces combined— you will shave 3 1/2 pounds off your weight right there, but at least get a Mac Book Air if the Ipad isnt good enough.

    So far, i have saved you probably 10 pounds and 10+Liters of space.

    ditch the flashlight and get a headlamp. much more convenient and probably lighter and lasts longer. The Black Diamond ReVolt is rechargeable, just plug it into a USB outlet adaptor or your Mac Air. NO BATTERY CHARGER REQUIRED.

    I wouldnt ditch rain cover, just make sure it weighs under 5 ounces. A wet bag increases the weight of a dry one up to one whole pound. Line the inside of your bag with a Garbage Constructor Bag.

    GET RID of the organizers. they weigh too much. get over your OCD neat freak shit. your wasting space and weight on these things. if you must, get those strong thick zip lock bags. I bet all those organizers weigh 5 pounds total.

    So far, Ive saved you 15+ pounds AND you can get a 32 Liter packback (if not smaller) WHICH IS CARRY-ON ABLE. Now, you can go on a plane, train, or greyhound and not have to worry about your shit getting lost or stolen.

    Im not being a dick, just trying to be helpful. There is NO WAY in hell i would be walking around with 1/2 the shit you have.

    LIFE IS SO MUCH EASIER when your pack is SMALL and ULTRA-light.

    The object of doing what you are doing is to experience life, and this is greatly hindered when you are carrying around a pack that is bulky and UNNECCESARILY heavy.

    The freedom you seek from traveling is hindered by your ATTACHMENT to material things that you dont really need!

    Ive been there. done it.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Wow thank you for this comment… actually I’m perfectly fine with everything I carry in my backpack. I actually use everything I travel with and am okay with it all. Yes sometimes I wish I could go lighter by doing some of the things you suggested, but I don’t because it’s the way I like to travel. As for getting over my OCD “neat freak shit” umm it’s not that easy… it’s something that people who deal with it need to take care of on their own. As for saving 15pounds by following all your suggestions, I doubt it because when I weighed my bag it was at 22 pounds… so I know for a fact I wouldn’t be traveling with only 7 punds if I followed all your suggestions. Either way though they are great and thank you for the time for them. For now though I’ve been traveling for 22 months like this and love it. I love that even though it may seem like a lot it’s really not and that I can carry on my bag on any flight.

      • I am sorry but i don’t get this obsession of some people about travelling with almost nothing. If thats your choice, more power to you but there is no need to force feed someone else. Just like taste in books and contents of music playlist, one’s contents of backpack is unique to an individual.
        For myself when i look at someone’s packing list i want to see the weight of the entire pack. Depending on packing skill, one might be able to pack more than others in the same amount of space but the weight varies depending on the amount packed. Just my two cents.

        • Jaime Davila says:

          Oh I know what you mean Ani, this is how I travel but may not work for you or others. I would never force any of the advice I giv eot anyone… that’s why when I got that comment I was kinda shocked, because really anyway is okay. Plus I love seeing other peoples packing list just to see if I am missing anything or if maybe something I should have that is useful.

      • I am sorry but i don’t get this obsession of some people about travelling with almost nothing. If thats your choice, more power to you but there is no need to force feed someone else. Just like taste in books and contents of music playlist, one’s contents of backpack is unique to an individual.
        For myself when i look at someone’s packing list i want to see things, and also the weight of the entire pack. Depending on packing skill, one might be able to pack more than others in the same amount of space but the weight varies depending on the amount packed. Just my two cents.

    • Hello,

      I am in the market for a 40L pack that is good to use as a carry on, and was noticing the Deuter pack you have. Were you able to use it as a carry on without any problems?

      • Jaime Davila says:

        Hi Ashley, I loved my 40L it was just perfect. I never had problems carrying it on when it was at 40L or less… mine could extend to 50L so I was fine. The only time I had to check it in was on budget airlines where you can only have ONE bag as carry one so my daypack would be my one carry on. Other than that you are fine. Email me if you have any other questions.

  30. Hyeyoung Kim says:

    I always bring 3 or 4 shirts and while i am traveling I just throw them and buy new. haha. Oh and I need some Korean instant food as I sometimes wanna eat Korean food(As Korean, I can’t eat bread every each day..huh..) and It’s hard to fine a korean restaurant and if there is, its shit and expensive. Well. I am totally agree with what you said anyway. I think what we bring with us when we travel is just depend on what we need..Anyway 90L is huh..I can’t imagine how heavy it would..I weared 60L backpack last time because I had to bring some text books here. it was super heavy..I will never bring textbooks if it’s too expensive to buy in where I would visit though.

    ps : my english is poor..if i make some mistake, please understand me and let it goes with laugh! i just wanted to leave a comment 😉

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi HK thanks for the comment and no worry about your English I understood just fine. Yeah I do the same I buy shirts on the road and if I buy one I must throw one out… just to keep a balance on my bag. Oh & I agree everyone should carry what they need… no one way is right or wrong, i just know I couldn’t travel with anything more than 40L… I’m way too lazy for that.

  31. Shirt to underwear and sock ratio seems a little off. I’m more likely to have more pairs of underwear than anything as you can rewear a shirt. Underwear… eeeww…. The need for socks depends on where you are. Tropical? Not so much. Long hiking trip? As many as you can squeeze in. Anywhere cold? Layers of socks. On my next trip, I’m going tropical so 2-3 tank tops and 2-3 t-shirts. 1 pairs of jeans (so with you on that, denim may be heavier but it needs to be washed far less than other materials), 1 pair of gauchos, a light skirt, and maybe the fancy fast dry cargo pants. That seems like a bit too much to me. 1 bathing suit, 5 pairs of socks, and at least 8 pairs of underwear. 1 pair of old sneakers that will not be returning back with me and my Tevas (cannot travel without them!).

    Always travel light. Otherwise you just end up wasting money on transportation because you can’t walk with your luggage. Plus I have yet to meet a traveler who doesn’t want to buy something on occasion. You need room for this stuff. I usually aim to pack so I’m doing laundry once a week. I have read about people who do their laundry every day in the hotel sinks. Who has time for that? Yes, I have done emergency socks and underwear in that ridiculous manner but it was a huge pain.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I’m laughing Sheila about the comment on the socks to underwear ratio…lol. Anyway… I’m happy with everything I took and how it was on the road. I would give and take, buy clothes and get rid of others. i also agree about leaving space for things you may buy on the road, you will want souvenirs. Oh & I agree about not wanting to do laundry everyday that is just a freaking mess…lol!

  32. Cristen says:

    Thanks for the great advice!..Im heading to Italy this summer and ordered a 40l backpack . Did you use packing cubes for all of your clothing or just specific things?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Cristen, glad this helped you! Yes I used 3 packing cubes. I kept socks, underwear and nightwear in one cube, kept all of my shirts in another cube and then my shorts and beach wear in the 3rd cube! The rest I just made fit in my bag. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  33. I just wrote a similar article, I feel like I have much less but I could be wrong. Take a look 🙂

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Fabien,

      Thanks for sharing your post with me. In the end it’s up to the person taking the trip to pack what they will need. No two packing list will ever be the same and that’s what is amazing about backpacking. Hope you enjoy your 6 months trip. If you need anything let me know.

  34. This was a great article. We travel already, but in a camper around the US with our kids….we are planning on heading to Southeast Asia in the fall for an open ended backpacking adventure! But, like with our RV travels, we are jumping in with no experience….we are trying to see the opportunities in life and are taking them as they come. We homeschool our three kids and hubby works offshore oil…so I’ll be by myself every other month. I’ve been looking at packs and trying to figure out what will work for us. We are planning on 3 sets of clothes to start with adding and changing as we go to suit our needs. I am hoping to have one set double as swimwear. Obviously our electronics, including an ereader because we plan on making school as digital as possible. On that note, I am hoping to have everything in pdf format which will allow us to really only need a notebook/pencil for each kiddo at a time. (that in itself is scary b/c for the last three years my organization for school has revolved around BOOKS!). Of course our toiletries and first aid kit.
    It’s a bit scary to downsize with the kids…but if anything we’ve learned the last few years how little we really use on a daily basis…and if we need it, we can just pick it up…it’s not like we’ll never see a market again on our travels! I think you have sealed the deal on us getting 40L packs (at least for me and my eldest) and obviously smaller ones for the youngest kiddos cause they’ll only be carrying their clothes and a small pack of toys.
    Thanks for a great post 🙂

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Mary, looks like what you are doing is amazing. Looks like you have everything set and ready to go. I highly recommend a 40L backpack because it’s just the right size. It’s big enough to hold a lot yet small enough to not hold too much. It is also carry on and fits just about anywhere. Glad you enjoyed the post and it helped you. If you need anything else please let me know!

  35. Hi Jaime,

    I am an Indian and going backpacking in India for three weeks starting today. I had packed my bag and about to sleep and went through your so amazing post. I unpacked everything and reduced the stuff which I think isn’t necessary… this way I was able to shove through my DSLR bag in my backpack which was otherwise I was planning to carry on my shoulder throughout the journey.

    This post was hugely helpful for me at this eleveneth hour. A big THANK YOU to you.. Cheers!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Saurabh, I am so happy you found this post and it helped you. Im also happy you are going backpacking in your country. India is such a fascinating country to explore. I miss it so much. Let me know if you need anything. I’m always happy to help.

  36. Hi Jamie,

    I stumbled across your post when i am preparing for my backpacking trip. First ever. I do not even know where or when I will go yet. Most possibly Asia. Your post has greatly inspired me to pack and travel light. All the bag shops which I went to all recommended me to purchase a 70 to 80L backpack when i told them that I plan to backpack for 2 months. I think I will take your advise – get a 40L backpack and another daypack for my valuables and electronics.

    I would appreciate if I can email you with some of my queries, if you do not mind and have time to help clear some doubts for me.



    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Wei, I’m happy my blog has been useful to you. I always recommend traveling light because seriously when you are out there and have everything you own on your shoulders every thing feels like it weighs more. I love my 40L backpack. Email me if you have any other questions via my contact form. I am always happy to help others.

  37. Hi I would love to do the same I just have one question. How do you afford it?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Zaine, I literally work like crazy, save like crazy & then take off. It takes me about 2 years to save enough to travel for 2 years. It’s a lot of sacrificing, but so worth it.

  38. Hi Jamie,

    Just wanted to thank you for this awesome site/blog 🙂 I’m planning on travelling too..well,mostly to Australia to be with my girlfriend. I used a backpack for a 6 days stay the last time and it was an amazing experience. Not have to stand and wait for your luggage to appear at the conveyor belt. I’m planning another trip there for 2 months this times and i thinking of getting a military backpack and see if it could be done. After reading your post and every else’s here…thanks 🙂 gave me lots of inspiration and courage to do it. again..thank you for the tips and advice 🙂

  39. Hi!

    I am about to start a trip that will last about a year. I will be studying for 5 months, so those don’t really count as traveling, and then another 5 months or so traveling around Europe and hopefully Asia.
    The thing is I already have a 90L backpack, I got it as a gift a year ago and have only used it on camping trips carrying a tent and everything else.
    I’ve been reading up on how to pack and what to pack and my backpack is starting to seem quite huge. Is there hope of packing light on such a huge bag?

    Also I love hiking so I’m planing to bring my best day bag to use on my hiking adventures. Is there any way to wear such a big backpack and a full day-backpack at the same time? I’m thinking of doing this just for the beginning of the trip.

    Thanks a lot,

    • Jaime Davila says:

      OMG Laura… that is a huge HUGE bag. No don’t take it. I would see if you can just buy another bag for this trip. I mean you could use it and not fill it up but I think that will be hard. I don’t know it’s up to you and how you feel with it. I mean everyone is different so you must do what is best for you. I have a 40L backpack and a 15L daypack. That has been fine with me, but then again I am guy and so yeah. I can’t really answer that question, but will tell you the less you carry the happier you will be on the road when you are carrying everything on your back lost in a city.

  40. Taran Murray says:

    Awesome Article! I am setting out backpacking for the first time next summer, spending this year preparing and getting the things I need. I think I am going with a 38L pack so this article was perfect. Thanks for all the info, am defiantly going to frequent your blog often now that I have found it!

    Thanks again and best of luck on your travels friend!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Taran, sorry for the late reply. I am glad this article was helpful. I am also happy to hear you are traveling with a 38L… you will be so happy you decided that when you are on the road and carrying it…lol. If you need anything or have any questions please let me know!

  41. Hey! I was just wondering…with your 40L pack…about how many pounds does it weigh? I’m planning a trip to Europe this May and am hoping to just take a 40L pack. But for the cheaper airlines I’m not sure if it will meet the weight requirements for carryon! Help?

    Thanks! Loved this post!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Kait, I sent ya an email. I hope you received it. If not please let me know and I will resend it! Sorry for the very late response.

  42. Are you sure this will fit in your bag for backpacking. You’re amazing because you fit all this stuff inside your bag. You are a good example to all backpackers there and it seems that you’re really have all this stuff inside your bag. 🙂
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