I receive the “What do you pack?” “How do you prevent yourself from overpacking?” questions quite often, but it’s hard for me to answer because everyone is different and has their own preferences and necessities.
Depending on where I am going and the length of my trip, I carry all of my items in two bags. Yes, two. Read on…
Okay, so this is my very first backpack I bought years ago when I headed to Europe for the very first time. I bought it at MountainWarehouse for super cheap and I’ve used it for the last couple of years.
For the most part – it works really well for what I paid for it. I didn’t expect myself to get addicted to travel I guess, so I just spent like $50 during a huge sale at Mountain Warehouse and called it good. It’s a 65L bag, it carries quite a bit. It opens from the top and also has a bottom storage area. There’s two large pockets on the side that I find useful and I like the pockets on the top portion (there’s one on the inside and the outside).
I’ve used this backpack for backpacking Europe for a few months, for traveling to Indonesia for about a month, for my trip around the US, etc…etc…..
I’ve also used it for longer hikes: A hike in the desert to Havasupai for a few days (didn’t like my bag for this hike), the Trolltunga hike in Norway in lots of snow for one day, etc etc.
I see people using their $200-$400 bags, and they’re nice, but I’m cheap and this one works fine for me. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it 😉
WHAT’S IN THE BAG, KIM?
Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, what weather you’ll be dealing with, what you’re going to be doing, and how long you’ll be gone……is how you’re going to pack your backpack full of fun.
For my lower half:
- ALWAYS a black pair of leggings. I usually travel in these because they’re comfortable and I get really cold on airplanes. Leggings are also just usable pretty much anywhere, so, yeah.
- A pair of jeans. If I’m going somewhere tropical, none. If I’m going somewhere cooler, usually two pairs. But if I’m dealing with different temperatures, like when backpacking Europe, one pair will do.
- Shorts. If it’s somewhere tropical, again, this is pretty much all I’ll bring. I’ll pack maybe 2 or 3 pairs.
- A pair of athletic pants. These are important if you do any type of hiking, running, etc.
- A pair of athletic shorts. Once again, used for my hiking/running. And if I’m just having a lazy night in maybe I’ll hang out in them.
- Socks and hiking socks. I like to bring two pairs of ankle socks, and one pair of regular length socks. I also bring a pair of hiking socks. I wash these throughout my travels, so I don’t need many. ESPECIALLY if I’m going somewhere tropical, maybe I’ll only bring one pair of ankle socks and my hiking socks.
- A pair of sandals. I always pack a pair of cheap flip-flops with me. Even if I’m going to Antarctica. Why? I use them in hostel showers. And if I go somewhere warm, I’ll bring a nicer pair of sandals, too. (And by nice, I mean a pair of Target sandals that were on clearance, probably).
- A pair of casual shoes. (ex: Converse)
- Hiking boots or shoes. Of course, if you don’t intend on hiking, these aren’t necessary.
- Underwear (# depends on length of trip) Once again, I wash my items as I travel so I don’t overpack these, either.
- Tank tops. I like to bring one white tanktop and one black tanktop.
- Bras. I take one tan bra, and one black bra. Simple.
- Sports bra. Because I like to exercise, run, and hike during my travels.
- A couple of shirts. I like to bring quarter sleeve shirts because I can wear them practically anywhere I go, but this also depends on the weather. If it’s tropical I’ll bring 5 or 6 tank tops and short sleeves. If it’s cooler, I’ll bring 5 longer sleeved shirts. Either way, usually around 5 shirts will do for my trips.
- A dress. Nothing fancy. Something easily rollable. For the nights I go out, whether I’m going dancing or out to dinner with someone. A simple dress from Marshalls is all a girl needs, I’m tellin’ ya.
- A sweatshirt. I like to bring one crew-neck or zip-up with me.
- Jacket. I tend to always bring a light-weight jacket that is waterproof. I can use it outside and during my hikes.
Now, for my miscellaneous items, I pretty much buy anything travel sized.
I carry a small bag for toiletries including:
- Travel size shampoo/conditioner
- Travel size soap/body wash
- Travel size face wash
- My medications
- Travel size first aid kit
- Travel size tooth brush and paste
- Travel size hair brush
- And usually a small makeup bag
Other random items that come with me:
I always travel with: My GoPro camera, my Canon camera, my GoPro mounts, a bathing suit, my license, my SSC, my passport, emergency information sheet, and other necessary travel documents.
On the right side pocket of my backpack you will find: Ziplock bags, plastic bags, a small travel umbrella. Super weird: But I promise, they will come in handy and I will forever carry them with me. Ziplock bags come in handy for food items and work well if you hike. Plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes. Umbrella…..well…..rain.
On the left side pocket of my backpack you will find: I do a lot of hiking and sometimes camping overnight – so I will carry reusable plastic silverware, a whistle, a flashlight, matches, and a compass.
And if you need anything on your trip – just buy it there. Easy peasy. If there’s something you might forget…..you can probably buy it wherever you’re going. Don’t worry.
My second bag is my beloved daypack.
I have a couple different daypacks that I bring with me throughout my travels. Basically, this is my carry-on bag with my folder (I usually have a travel folder with all my papers), my cameras, and other random things that don’t fit in my backpack or some items I’d like to have with me on the plane. When I get where I’m going to – I use this bag for my day trips and my hiking. So, I always make sure my daypacks have good holders on the side for my water bottle and/or a bag that allows me to use my Camelbak Hydration Pack. (Meaning there’s a little hole towards the top of the bag where I can run the water tube through).
Get together what you think you’ll need and you can probably take away half of it. It’s hard to pack, really. But just think about how this backpack is going to be on your back for numerous hours some days – and truly decide on what is a NEED and what is a WANT. You don’t need to bring 5 dresses unless you plan on going out every night to a nice dinner. You don’t need to bring a bunch of shoes. Needs. Needs. Needs.
This was a more difficult blog to write out because EVERYONE and EVERY TRIP is different, but on average, this is a list that I tend to follow along with. A lot of people have been asking me what I pack – so hopefully this helped the slightest. Happy traveling!
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- XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.