As a wanderlust addict, it’s important for me to have the right travel gear specific to each trip. I typically have a specific set of gear for backpacking trips and another one more luxorious travel, where a roller bag is more appropriate. When I find something I really love, I use it for years. Find out what I pack for my travels by reviewing the packing lists below.
My Travel Gear Essentials
FOR BACKPACKING TRIPS:
- LARGE BACKPACK: Osprey Aura 50 AG Backpack. I’ve been using this backpack for over a year now, and it has already traveled with me to Iceland, France, Mexico, Thailand, China, and Taiwan. I love it! It’s durable and the perfect size for long trips, or cold weather trips that require more/heavier clothing items. I used to have a 65 liter backpack and it was just too huge. The Aura 50 is designed to carry up to 50 pounds, which is plenty for my minimal packing routine.
- OR SMALL BACKPACK: Recently I’ve started to pack even lighter. When I do, I love my Gregory J28. I used this pack for hiking the Inca Trail in Peru (4 days) and for travels around Guatemala and El Salvador (10 days). With a second smaller bag, such as the day pack I listed below, this bag is plenty for hot weather regions which require smaller/lightweight clothing.
- DAY PACK: Codura TravellingLight 20 liters. I love this teeny tiny lightweight day pack. No frills here, but it packs so small it’s hard to beat this minimal day pack.
FOR LUXURY TRIPS:
When I say “luxury” what I really mean is – I won’t be sleeping on the ground or in a bunk bed. Typically this also means I’m traveling to a country that has paved roads, because dragging a roller bag across a potholled filled dirt road is not fun!
- ROLLER BAG – CARRY ON SIZE. This suitcase is all I need for ANY length of trip. It holds a week’s worth of clothes, and then some, and I just do a load of laundry during my longer trips. I LOVE these wheels that spin 360 degrees, and the hard case helps me breath easy when I have to load it in precarious situations – like on top of a packed van in Guatemala.
FOR EVERY TRIP:
I pack the following on every single trip – backpacking or luxury.
- COMPRESSION SACS. Great for organization and space saving. I use three clear compression sacks. One for shirts, one for pants, and one for my underwear, bras and socks. I also use this sac for dirty clothes.
- HANGING TOILETRY BAG. Must have for hostels and community bathrooms.
- RFID TRAVEL PURSE. Protection from identity theft. I like this style and brand.
- WATER BOTTLE. I pack my lightweight Vapur for domestic travel and my LifeStraw for travel abroad.
- QUICK DRY TOWEL. Most hostels will not provide a towel for you.
- FLASHLIGHT and/or HEADLAMP
- EAR PLUGS. Essential for sleeping on trains, planes, buses and hostels.
- EYE MASK. Essential for sleeping on trains, planes, buses and hostels.
- TOILETRIES. I tend to pack light when it comes to toiletries – just the necessities. I can always purchase items as needed at my location.
Women’s Travel Clothing
- BRAS X 2: One regular and one sports bra
- SOCKS X 3
- BATHING SUIT X 1
- UNDERWEAR X 7, or Exifficio Underwear can be washed in the shower and dry by lunch. For ultralight trips, I pack two pair.
- JEANS X 1
- QUICK DRY SHORTS X 1. For sleeping, running/working out and as a bathing suit cover up.
- T-SHIRTS X 2. Or I buy t-shirts as I need them at my destination. They make great souvenirs!
- LONG SLEEVE SHIRT or SWEATER X 1
- SARONG X 2. Great to wear in temples, as a bathing suit coverup, or in more modest countries that require women to cover from shoulder to knee. You can even wrap it around your head in muslim nations.
- LONG DRESS X 1. Lightweight and conservative for both temple/church tours. I like to chose one that will double as a beach dress.
- SWEATSHIRT or FLEECE X 1
- SNEAKERS. I use shoes that double for running and short day hikes
- FLIP FLOPS. For the beach and public showers.
FOR COLD CLIMATE TRAVEL:
- JACKET. Depending on where I’m going, I pack a puffy coat or rain jacket.
- WARM BOOTS
FOR HOT CLIMATE TRAVEL:
Swap out cold weather items for the following:
- SUN HAT
- TANK TOPS X 2
- LINEN or COTTON PANTS
FOR HIKING TRIPS:
- TECHNICAL SANDALS, for day hiking in hot climates
- HIKING BOOTS for multi-day hiking trips
- BUFF. Great for keeping warm, repelling bugs, wiping sweat and covering up greasy hair!
- HIKING PANTS X 1. Choose a pair that will zip off into shorts, like these.
- WOOL SOCKS X 2
Technical Travel Gear
- MACBOOK AIR 13″ with Photoshop and Final Cut Pro editing software.
- PANASONIC G85. For high quality photos and video. I have been using this camera for a year. I love everything about it except that it doesn’t have a headphone jack. I might upgrade soon.
- IPHONE with Spigen case and tempered glass screen protector. Downloaded with my favorite travel maps and aps, such as Google Translate.
- GOPRO with underwater housing and scuba dive filters. For rugged or underwater photography.
- HEADPHONES. Small and durable pair.
- MAVIC AIR. My new favorite toy – my drone!
- FLEXIBLE TRIPOD: This lightweight, flexible tripod is perfect for my camera and GoPro.
- TRAVEL ADAPTOR
Disclosure: Some of the travel gear links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission. Regardless, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.