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Gear

To be or not to be. To pack or not to pack. Only one of them is an existential question for a traveler. And always a cause of a lot of distress. Now I ain’t an absolute expert on the subject – below I have mentioned several links to the real pros – but through quite some experience I do like to share my personal lists and tips without you.

Backpack

The big question is of course which backpack to take. Amongst travelers, the Osprey brand is a sure favourite. Their backpacks are light, sturdy and have tons of small convenient features.
Personally, I have the Farpoint 55, as it’s not too big to take as cabin luggage in the US and still forces me to limit the amount of baggage. It is also super-handy that it has a detachable daypack. But… it is still rather bulky, and within Europe there is no chance you can get it into the cabin.
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a better choice for that, as it exactly meets the requirements for cabin luggage. It forces you to restrain yourself even more and pack up light. On many travel blogs, another favorite mentioned is the Outbreaker Travel backpack. It is almost twice as expensive (around 200€) as the small Osprey, but according to full-time travelers the best thing in town.

Additional stuff for your backpack:

  • Waterproof protection: for when rain season really kicks in
  • Overnight pack for the essentials as part of a bigger backpack
  • Packing cubes: personally I use the Pack It cubes. All of these are extremely handy to organize your stuff (shirts, underwear, socks, etc) into separate bags. They save space and keep your backpack neat

Technology

  • Computer: the iPad Pro and MacBook are usually mentioned here. And indeed, the smaller the better. With recent improvements to the software, the iPad Pro is probably more than up to all tasks necessary, especially if you are only on holiday (and not a digital nomad). I even prefer an old iPad Mini from 2013 still, as I don’t have to worry about loosing it because it doesn’t have any financial value anymore
  • Camera: First my personal favorite. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 is my weapon of choice. It is ultra light-weight but most of all very small, so it doesn’t look intrusive when you are taking pictures and it also doesn’t look too expensive to thieves (because it has a fixed lens). Picture quality is excellent, it even records 4K video. If you really really want a full-frame mirrorless camera, the Olympus OM-D EM-5 (clocking in at a whopping 1500€…) is probably the thing you are looking for, with an Olympus 14-42mm lens kit and a Panasonic 20mm f1.7 pancake for food pictures as icing on the cake
  • Accessories:
    • iPad or MacBook charger
    • USB adapter / charger
    • Camera USB cable
    • Camera charger
    • Battery charger
    • Power bar
    • Smartphone + charger
    • Needle for replacing SIM-cards in smartphone
    • World plug
    • Power plug with USB sockets
    • Headphones / earphones

Clothing

  • (Zip-off) trousers
  • shorts
  • Swimming gear
  • Swimming goggles
  • Cap
  • Flip flops
  • Merrill Vapor Glove Shoes
  • Patagonia R1 fleece jacket
  • Patagonia M/S Houdini windbreaker jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Thermal socks (no cotton!)
  • Underwear
  • Sunglasses

Hygiene / toiletries

  • Micro fibre towels (they dry quickly)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Razor
  • Nail scissors
  • Deodorant (no spray!)
  • Toilet bag (I use eBags pack it flat)
  • Medication:
    • norit or similar against diarrhaea
    • paracetamol
    • ORS against dehydration during / after diarrhea
    • Earplugs (zie Independent)
    • Mosquito spray

Various

  • Money belt or pickpocket secure clothing: personally, I am not a fan of these, as they can get uncomfortable in warm weather. And if someone points a weapon at you, a money belt doesn’t help either
  • Neck support: for long bus rides and flights
  • Dream Essentials eye masks: ditto
  • Sleeping bag linen: for your personal hygiene it is advisable to have one with you. You never know where you end up, this thing at least protects you against anything really dirty
  • Passport, tickets, visa etc

Now, above is basically the compulsory gear you need to take on long trips. The amounts can vary, depending on how long you go, whether you want to wash your clothes every week or every month, how big your backpack is, etcetera.
If you really want to be prepared like a pro ( did anyone say coffee?), there are several blogs almost exclusively dedicated to packing lists. So if you want to know more, visit any of these sites:

  • Neverending Voyage: great blog by a couple who have been traveling for years and years, with a carry-on-sized backpack only
  • Travel Made Simple: site dedicated to make traveling as easy (and light-weight) as possible
  • Food Fun Travel: the name is the programme!