We’re setting off on a year-long trip to Asia and we did lots of research on how to pack for a year so you don’t have to: this is a complete guide and our packing list for a year of travels!
Research your destination first
What is the weather like in the countries you’re planning to visit? Are they mostly hot and humid or dry and cold? What is the culture like – do you need to cover your knees and shoulders? What activities are you planning on doing – is camping one of them? Nights out camping can be really cold even in hot countries so research, research, research!
Yeah, we know this can be overwhelming, but these questions will dictate most of your choices when packing and they’ll help you pack smart: repurposing clothes will be your day-to-day life on a journey this long.
Choosing your Backpack
This is the point where you choose between a suitcase or a backpack and the thought of fitting everything you own on your back can be a lot to process. Take your time when making this decision, we know people who are travelling full-time and carry a suitcase instead of a backpack, so choose what makes more sense for your itinerary.
We wanted the full experience, so backpack it is!
To make the process of choosing a backpack easy (and fun) we made a not-so-quick visit to Decathlon. Having a range of options to choose from in person is the best. You can try them on, check the different compartments, and think of how you will fit your stuff on them.
The best tip we can give you is to check how easy it is to access your stuff – is the backpack a top-loader or a side-loader? If it is a top-loader, chances are you’ll spend most of your time taking everything out of the bag to find what you need, so side-loaders or a mix of both are the best options.
You also gotta make sure that you can secure all of your stuff – if you get a padlock with a steel cable, will everything be protected?
Separately, most of the backpacks nowadays already come with a waterproof cover, but if yours doesn’t, do get one! In some places, the overhead compartment for your bag on a local bus or minivan is simply the roof and you don’t want to arrive at your destination with everything you own soaking wet.
So we decided to go for a 60-litre backpack for me and a 50-litre one for Bruno. Keep in mind that you should keep your pack at around 10-15kg max no matter the size, otherwise it will be too heavy to carry around.
Before getting into the details of what we carry on our backpacks, here are the things you CAN’T forget:
- Driving licenses and if you can, get International ones too!
- Local currency for your first destination
- Debit and credit cards
- Money belts
Hot tip: have a copy of all your documents saved on your phone and online (we use our Google drive for that). We also keep a copy of all boarding tickets and reservations.
Let’s dive into our backpacks!
We separated this section into two: Nick’s pack and Bruno’s pack. This way we can cover women’s and men different necessities when packing. We also added what’s on our Medical Kit and Toiletries Bag.
PS: Packing cubes will save your life when packing! They save loads of space and keep everything organized.
Nick’s Pack – Women’s Packing List
Can we talk about how much space bras take???
- 2 Legging Shorts
- 3 Skirts
- 6 pairs of Bikinis
- 5 Swimsuits
- 7 Shorts (2 Jeans)
- 1 Legging Pant
- 1 Flowy Pant
- 1 Long Dress
- 1 Dress
- 1 Cardigan
- 12 Tops
- 9 Panties
- 2 No-hook Bras
- 4 pairs of Socks
- 1 Tennis + 1 Flip Flop + 1 Sandal
Bruno’s Pack – Men’s Packing List
- 11 Shorts and Swim Trunks
- 10 Shirts
- 1 Pant
- 1 Jacket
- 3 Shoes + 1 Flip Flop
- 5 Underwear
- 5 Bandanas
- Antiseptic wipes
- Motion Sickness Pills
- Bite cream
- Nebacetin or Bactroban Antibiotic Cream
- Digital Thermometer
- Imodium and rehydration salts – for the morning after that dodgy street food
- Antibiotics (ciprofloxacin) – a lifesaver for horrible food poisoning
- Malaria tablets – you never know
- Antiseptic wipes or spray
- Canestan cream – just in case
- Cystitis sachets – girls that get it, get it
- Morning after pill – better to be safe than sorry
- If you use contraception pills, make sure to take the right amount for the trip
- Travel shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Razor and spare blades
- Nail clipper
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Sun cream – recommend getting a good one like Clarins (take care of your skin!)
- A pack of baby wipes
- Moisturizer – goodbye fancy facewash, toner, and serums, hello good old moisturizer
- Tweezers and Eyebrow Razors
- Mooncup – much better for the environment
- Hair oil and a small brush
- Travel towels – microfiber ones are great for travel
- Sporks – we once had to eat pasta with our own hands in Italy so…
- Duct tape – excellent for fixing everything
- Mini sewing kit
- Inflatable pillow – don’t you dare underestimate this magic little thing
- Bin bags – useful to keep your dirty clothes separated from the clean ones
- Pocket size notebook each and pen
Besides our backpacks that carry basically everything we own, we also have two day-packs to carry our most important (and valuable) stuff ever: our equipment! We need to have them with us at all times since we will be creating content for our blog and Instagram page so here’s what we’re taking with us:
Nick’s Day Pack:
- Canon DSLR 250D
- Canon Lens 18-135mm 3.5f
- Canon Lens 50mm 1.8f
- Mavic Mini Drone
- Go Pro 8
- Chargers, cables and earphones
- 1 Power Bank
- Universal Adaptor
- Small toiletry bag and medical kit – you never know how long you’ll be away from your big pack!
Bruno’s Day Pack:
- DJI FPV Drone and accessories (this is really heavy and occupies lots of space!)
- Drone Extra Batteries (2)
- Tripods (camera and a 7m GoPro pole)
- Chargers, cables, and earphones
- Memory card reader
- Go Pro Mounts
- Repair Kit: super glue, black tape, screw, screwdriver, drone extra parts, extra batteries (for canon and GoPro)
- Filters: (ND filters)
- Universal adaptor
- Go Pro Max 360 (Shoulderbag)
- 1 Power Bank
Note: we’re also carrying our personal MacBooks and iPads in the day packs for easy access during transfers, but they’ll be stored and secure on our big packs during the day when we’re out exploring.
Packing light is definitely not easy and since we’re leaving everything behind, these backpacks are now everything we own. We’ve been living out of these for a month now (since we moved to our friends’ sofa) and so far we have not missed anything we let go of – it really is incredible how little we can live with.
If you want to accompany us on this journey, make sure to follow our Instagram!