...pack your life into a 32L bag, a second time.

Trip Start Mar 05, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Giang Son Guesthouse Ho Chi Minh City
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, June 3, 2012

After more than 3 months of travel, I decided I should update my packing list to give a more accurate representation of what you really need for long term travel with a small bag.

In addition to what I am currently wearing (1 shirt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of underwear) my complete packing list is as follows (broken down by necessity and guilty pleasures):

- 3 pairs of underwear

Thai pants/fisherman's pants (great for lounging or pajamas)

- Rain jacket - thin, single layer shell.

- 4 shirts (2 long sleeve button up, 2 t’s) - I received one of these following the completion of my PADI course – It’s not super nice, but it’s an extra shirt and I have space for it.

- 1 board shorts - doubles as extra pair of shorts.

- 1 pair zip-off, lightweight, quick-dry cargo pants - doubles as a 3rd pair of shorts.

- 1 Bandana - highly recommend carrying at least one, Cody carries 2. They are good for wiping down plates and glasses that have been cleaned with dirty water; can be used as a sweat band; can be used to make a splint or sling in medical emergencies; good face mask when riding motorbikes…the list goes on.

- 2 pairs of socks - threw out a pair that was no longer wearable but I have never needed more than 2 pairs.

- Thermal underwear, thin gloves, a winter hat - I knew I would be trekking in some cold environments, they have come in very handy.

- Toiletry bag (actually a 1 liter Ziploc as required by airline regulations - any liquid you bring on an airplane must be in a container no larger than 100mL and all must fit into a 1 liter Ziploc bag). Interestingly, I used the same Ziploc bag for 3 months, long after it’s waterproof qualities had deteriorated. I never had any problems on any flights.

- Shaving kit - Battery operated beard trimmer, nail clippers, extra batteries.

- First Aid Kit – Band aids, Polysporin/Neosporin, medical tape, mole skins (blister bandaids), headache meds, compression bandages, scissors (only because I was bringing knives anyway), malaria medication, cold-flu meds.

- Poncho – pick these up as you go; they are cheap and usually only good for one or two uses but they can keep you and everything attached to you dry.

- Prescription glasses.

- Sarong – like the bandana, this has a myriad of uses; beach blanket, bed blanket or sheet, around your body as an article of clothing. If you are using a travel towel that doesn’t wrap around your waist, this makes up for it.

- Travel towel (suede micro fiber) – mine is the size of a tea-towel (about 12inches by 24inches), no complaints.

- Gore Tex, mid-high hiking boots with reinforced rubber toes.

- Point n Shoot camera – I can’t afford, nor do I want the hassle of carrying a DSLR.

- Headlamp – many uses even if you are not trekking or camping (e.g. when staying on islands or in cities that turn off their power after 8pm or something).

- Day bag – I just changed my day bag from a trekking grade fanny pack (which I wore slung across my chest and back) to a messenger bag that will hold my laptop. I don’t like the normal day-packs because my back sweats and everything inside just gets wet.

- Flip-Flops – I wear these 90% of the time.

- Sunglasses

- Rain cover (Mine is for a 32 liter bag – I wish I had bought a bigger one).

- Nalgene water bottle (1 liter)

- 2 liter dry-bag (not submersible but great for the small important stuff). This is not a necessity but I highly recommend it.

Guilty Pleasures:

- Rash guard - we have been surfing and share the guard…it’s not a necessity, but any surfer will tell you it is nice to have – it can also replace a wet suit for diving in tropical conditions.

- Mosquito coils - picked these up along the way – easy to find, small and light, and very handy in mosquito-laden areas. Repellent would be easier to carry and more effective.

- A knife and leatherman tool - I grew up with knives and find it hard to part with at least one, if not two. I DO NOT use them for self-defense; the knife is good for prepping your own food and many other things if you are trekking alone. The leatherman is like a Swiss Army knife on steroids – pliers, can opener, screw driver and more – I have found numerous uses for it). Obviously I don’t get the benefit of carry-on luggage, but this was a cost-benefit decision I made.

- Electronics kit – adapter plugs (I don’t have a universal adapter, I bought a kit with separate plug adapters that can be daisy-chained together), memory cards for my camera and mobile device, USB external drive.

- Go-Stop cards – a Korean card game.

- Guitar – It is smaller than a normal guitar. I bought it in Bali for $20 so I don’t care if it breaks, which it probably will do soon. It’s a hassle to carry around but I love having it. (Carrying it with all my gear on a motorbike is impossible. Fortunately, the straps on Cody’s bag carry it well, so he takes it.)

- Netbook ( 1.4Kg,  10x7x0.9 inches) – I started writing more after I began my travels and picked this up in Vietnam. I was sick of trying to type with my mobile device. Includes carrying case and charger.

- Mobile device – Samsung Galaxy mp3 player with 32G micro SD (great for e-books, maps, e-travel guides, music, movies, portability and wifi accessibility, along with all the apps/games etc.) Includes charger.

- Miscellaneous (not necessarily a guilty pleasure) – PADI dive log and dive chart, maps (I will mail these home for memorabilia), passport, international driver’s license, extra guitar strings, notepad and pen, credit card wallet. You pick up a lot of crap along the way (tourist pamphlets, business cards, used airplane ticket printouts – I usually do a clean-out of my bag every couple of weeks).

Before I had the new day bag, I could not fit everything in my bag for flights. I carried my boots on the plane, along with my guitar. Now that I have the day bag, everything will fit in my back pack/day bag (except the guitar of course).

Things I had and threw away, mostly because they were not worth the space they took up in my bag:

- A Frisbee – never remembered to bring it to the beach anyway.

- A long sleeve button up shirt – it was old and really worn out.

- A sleeping bag – came in handy a couple of times, but I can manage with the sarong.

- PADI textbook

- Another t-shirt I picked up along the way

- A small blanket

Additional things I wish I had:

- Nothing.

- Mobile devices are not terribly well suited for reading e-books in the sun. Cody and I agree on one book and carry it with us for leisure reading. When we finish we swap it out at a book shop (most backpacker areas have, at the very least, some semblance of a book store).
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themum on

Not boring at all....I really like this....a small glimpse of your daily life on the road.

bry on

Well Ryan, perhaps next time you could try to fit ME in this little bag of yours! xo

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