How do you know what to take with you when packing for traveling indefinitely?
I found myself asking this question to myself over and over. For me, it makes my my mind wonder towards picking gear that provides ultimate utility while taking up the least space. In addition to these factors I also take into account what weighs the least out of all my options. Concerning weight, I do find myself flexing slightly more on this front if I really love something. Ultimately deciding to carry my skateboard gear with me was my biggest struggle.
The more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve come to realize that excess weight usually equals unnecessary misery. You’ll need to carry it for 30 or so minutes from the bus station to where you’re staying. The bus is at the border and you have to get off, grab your bags, and go through each one with border patrol. It’s over the weight limit so the airline want’s $100 to check it. You see where I’m going with all of this? For this reason I travel with only one backpack.
So why did I choose to carry my skateboard with me on this trip? Skateboard gear can be either extremely hard to find, ridiculously expensive, or both depending on where you find yourself in the world. It took my bag from 7kg to between 9-10kg but I still found it manageable. If I get tired of carrying it around or an airline tries to charge me a baggage fee then my plan is to give it to a kid who wants/needs a skateboard. The thought of that gets me just as stoked as skating new things in foreign countries.
Some of my best experiences and friends have come through skateboarding so I decided it was worth the extra weight. I think once I’m somewhere warm I’ll toss the thermals and purchase new ones once I encounter more cold weather. For me, when traveling long term, I’m always thinking about what I can get rid of to lose weight.
I’ve begun to realize that I don’t need all that much more if I’m traveling for a year versus a weekend. Perhaps I’m naturally minimalist but I think that’s grown with traveling. Carrying everything on your back really helps you single out the needs over wants. I think it’s possible for almost everyone to travel carry on only.
Below is my official packing list for traveling indefinitely. Currently I’ve been traveling with all of this for 3 months. Leave a comment below with any questions and I’ll be sure to respond as soon as I can!
Disclaimer: Most of the links below are to Amazon and if you make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission. If you decide to buy any of these things following my link is much appreciated! Thanks for reading!
- Tortuga 35 L Outbreaker – Check out my bag review on Youtube for my in depth review. TL;DW It’s quite bulky/heavy but amazingly built. It feels solid enough to toss down a mountain and I’m loving the organization of it. This backpack is definitely worth the extra weight for me.
- Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook – The Perfect ultrabook for everything I need to do and offers a good cross between power/lightweight at 2.6 lbs
- 120gb 6th gen Ipod – I keep expecting this thing to break down but it’s been going strong for probably over a decade now. I think I’m overdue for a phone upgrade with more storage so I can combine the two when it eventually happens. Still, I love having 120gb of music on something that doesn’t worry me.
- Rite in the Rain Notepad ( 2 pens, 1 highlighter) – Haven’t tested the water proof claims yet but it’s a solid notebook. However, not all pens work with it.
- Kindle – Pretty awesome being able to carry hundreds of books and it weigh only a few ounces. As with my old click-wheel Ipod, I’m rocking the original Kindle without any back-light. When I find myself wishing I had the back-light I just tell myself that I never used to read normal books in the dark.
- Xero Barefoot Sandals – So good. My wife influenced me on getting these and they’re so comfortable.
- Bexley Flager Gomme City Chelsea Boots – Bexley is by far one of my favorite shoe brands when it comes to boots. Full Grain leather, a goodyear welt, and rubber outsole for the price of $129 euros make these a huge win. These are my day to day shoes for walking around but also work great for hiking and keep my feet dry in the rain. (These aren’t shown in the above photo. I forgot to take them off my feet).
- Packing Cube for pants ( 1 pairs of Jeans, 1 pair Heattech thermal long underwear,1 pair black pants, 1 pair Brixton All Terrain Shorts)
- Packing Cube for Shirts ( 3 button down shirts from Penguin -2 linen & one cotton, 2 black t-shirts with front chest pockets, 1 heattech thermal long sleeve) – HUGE takeaway on packing cubes: I got them from Ikea and when I fit everything into these they opened up HALF of the space in my main compartment. I highly recommend the Ikea ones as well. I initially ordered some cheap ones of Amazon but ditched them after trip to Ikea in Vienna.
- Sony RX100 Mark V w/ memory cards/batteries – Perfect travel camera. Depending on how you shoot photos, I think a modern smart phone would suffice for most people.
- Skinny Plug Travel Adapter – Super glad I got this. It’s by far the most compact travel adapter I’ve ever used. It’s also highly adaptable to any outlet with the prongs being adjustable. This has come in handy on numerous occasions.
- Logitech MX 2 Anywhere – A good mouse is a must for me and worth the tiny bit of extra weight. Setting shortcuts on my mouse’s extra buttons makes it where I only need to touch my computer for the keyboard.
- 5 pairs Socks – 4 pairs are Gold Toe Nylon and 1 pair is wool
- Travel towel – Doubt I’ll need this too often but always a nice thing to have just in case.
- Packable Rain Jacket ( OR Helium Hybrid) – First rain jacket I’ve ever had. It’s amazing on it’s own but I do find myself using it in sequence with my umbrella. It doubles as an extra layer for me as well which does add a bit of warmth and security should it unexpectedly start raining.
- Packable Synthetic down ( Rab Xenon X) – This thing is warm and lightweight. I was instantly asking myself how I wore heavy coats for all these years.
- Pouch for Cords – Really just for an extra bit of organization.
- Zolt charger for laptop & USB plugs – This thing has had some suspect reviews but I haven’t had any problems so far. Getting rid of a laptop brick for something compact that has usb ports on it has been life changing.
- Lightweight Rav4 powerbank (holds about 3 phone charges) – I’m super glad I decided to bring this as it’s come in handy when needing to keep all my gadgets charged on the go. It’s definitely saved me from getting lost and bad exchange rates via keeping my phone running.
- Nexus 5X on Project Fi – (works in 185 countries, free texts & data rate remains same, calls vary. Click either Project Fi link if you’re interested in signing up and get $20 off ) – Game changer. No reception problems and having your phone work almost everywhere with no extra fees (aside from phone calls) is mint. It definitely helps when you need to look something up on the go or communicate with your Airbnb host.
- Sea to Summit Toiletry bag – Lightweight, has a hanger, and is super organized. Best toiletry bag for me by far.
- Shoelace – Just a great lightweight thing to have in your bag that can be used for tons of things.
- Travel Chopsticks – This was an impulse buy but I cook a lot on the road and love eating with chopsticks. Top notch.
- Laundry Pouch – Really only for underwear and socks. I haven’t even needed to use this yet.
- San Disk 256 gb. 3.0 Thumb Drive – Nice to use in sequence with Dropbox, Amazon drive, and whatever other online storage you may be using.
- Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet – What’s the best way to travel with cryptocurrency you ask? The answer is definitely a hardware wallet. Of course, you could also leave it at home or store your crypto in one of the numerous other ways. However, this is by far the most secure way to store it even if you choose to leave it behind at home.
- Passport – Self explanatory.
- Samsonite flat, compact 4 oz travel umbrella – You could probably just buy a cheap umbrella almost anywhere whenever you need one. Still, I found this thing neat and it weighs very little.
- Wet bag – Came with my shorts. After visiting Thailand during Songkran I’m carrying this thing around for the well being of my phone.
- 2 pairs cotton boxers, 3 pairs airism – Cotton ones for cold weather and airism for hot weather.
- Minus 33 Beanie, Gaiter and Muji Gloves – These three little things really make a big difference in staying warm. The Minus33 gear is sold quality, lightweight, and warm. Definitely the best beanie I’ve ever owned. It’s my first time rocking a neck gaiter and I’m finding it takes up less space than a scarf while being much more functional.
- Klean Kanteen 27oz Stainless Steel Water bottle I like this water bottle and it’s lightweight when empty but if you’re an ultralight packer you may prefer a roll up silicon bottle. I myself prefer stainless steel. The only con is that it’s pretty easily dented in my experience. Also, it doesn’t fit in the side sleeves on my backpack so I strap it on with a carabiner.
- Packable Grocery/Shoulder bag – Good for when you’ve got your main bag on and need to carry a few extra things outside of it for easy access.
- Packable Hikpro Backpack – Because you need something aside from your main bag for walking around the city when you’ve finally made it to your Airbnb.
- Vaultskin Bifold Vertical Wallet – I like vertical bifold wallets but am carrying a card holder 99% of the time. I may use this in countries where cash is king but I doubt it. Unfortunately the bi-fold version isn’t available in the States – because it only fits Euros/GBP – but here’s a link to the Vaultskin Amazon store to check out what’s available
- Card Holder – I use this since it’s super lightweight and can fit in my t-shirt front pocket. Why was I sitting with one butt cheek on my wallet until now?
- Coin Purse – Mine is a cheap one I purchased at a Polish market way back when but’s managed to hold up through the years. It’s great for storing all of your coins in combination with a card holder.
- Polarized Wayfarer Glasses – I usually start off all my trips with glasses and then lose/re-buy them several times over. Surprisingly I’ve held onto these so far.
- Gerber EAB Pocket Knife – This little guy comes in handy more often than you would think. I’ve ended up using it on everything from cutting loose strings off clothing and gripping a skateboard deck to dicing some veggies. The blade is removable so I just take it out whenever I need to take a flight and buy a new one at my destination.
- Screwpop Screwdriver Multitool – I carry this thing around mostly so that I can take apart and put together my skateboard. It does however come in handy for other things like opening bottles and being able to use it to unscrew the blade out of my pocket knife.
- Royal Skate Tool – I’ve had this thing forever and when I go skate I take it as well as the Screwpop. You never know when a bolt’s going to come loose. Mine has unfortunately been discontinued but here’s a link to another skate tool I recommend: Skatetrainer
- Hot Sauce Travel Container – I can’t live without hot sauce. Well, let’s be real, of course I can live without hot sauce but that’s not a life I’m trying to lead. This little container is my travel/emergency reserve as I usually have a proper bottle of hot sauce in tow.
- Skate Packing Cube – I’m going to sum an entire cube up as my “skate cube”. Inside this cube I have my State brand skate shoes, independent trucks, bones bearings, and hardware. All the essential skate stuff aside from my deck.
- Nite Ize S Carabiner– I’ve got one of these and two generic ones. Carabiners are great for clipping your day bag on a hook, your belt loop, or attaching your water bottle to something. I’m always finding new uses for these but the S one is more versatile and easier to clip on/off of things.
- Leather Key Holder Multi-Tool – I really don’t know why I brought this with me. I thought I’d use it for all the apartment keys used during my travel but, umm, I’ve encountered a lot of skeleton keys so far. Back at home I loved this thing. It’s something I thought I’d never use but was actually quite handy. It adds bulk to your keys, sure, but it also keeps them from wearing a hole in your pocket over time. Maybe I’ll eventually come across some normal keys that fit in this thing on my trip? Time will tell.
- Wahl Travel Trimmer – This thing adds a bit of extra weight but makes shaving easier. Plus, I’ve got a mustache to maintain. I’ve also used it to shave my head which I documented on Youtube.
- Skate Deck – I finally figured out how to carry this thing around efficiently. On the same trip to Ikea where I purchased packing cubes, I found this plastic zip up bag. It fits the averages size 30 something inch skateboard deck perfectly leaving only a bit extra depth. I fold this around and then strap it to my bag with a velcro elastic cord and shoestring. There’s a little loop on the top of the bag which I hook to my backpack with a carabiner so that it does flip over horizontally. This basically keeps my deck strapped to the side of backpack vertically.