Planning a trip? Can’t figure out what to pack? Here are my packing lists for round-the-world, surfing, snowboarding, and trekking trips. (Note: There are two numbers next to most items. The smaller number is for the light-weight traveler. The larger number is for the person who hates doing laundry on the road and can bear the extra pounds. Ladies, you’re going to have to improvise accordingly because there are things that I do not suggest that I realize women have to pack.)
Packing Lists for a Round-the-World Trip
- 30 to 70 Liter pack.
- 1 small day-pack.
- 4 to 10 shirts. (1 to 2 long-sleeved shirts, 1 non-cotton shirt for trekking or working out, 2 to 7 short-sleeved shirts, and 0 to 1 tank tops. Adjust the numbers depending on weather. Most likely, you’ll buy shirts along the way. If that’s the case, bring even fewer shirts, or ones that you’re willing to toss or trade.)
- 3 to 7 pairs of underwear. (You’ll go through less undergarments than you think, especially if you’re a big boardshorts wearer.)
- 2 pairs of shorts. (1 mesh and 1 with big, secure pockets, this way you can avoid carrying a day-pack on most occasions.)
- 1 to 3 pairs of pants. (1 pair of sturdy pants like jeans, 1 pair of light sleeping/tropical weather pants, 1 non-cotton zip-offs for trekkers. Throw in a pair of thermals if you’re visiting cold destinations during the winter.)
- 1 to 2 pairs of boardshorts.
- 4 to 7 pairs of socks. (1-2 pairs should be thick, non-cotton socks for hikes, cold, and wet weather.)
- 1 windbreaker/rain jacket.
- 1 to 2 good layers. (A fleece jacket, a wool sweater, or some sort of synthetic material that does not take up a lot of room.)
- 1 winter hat.
- 1 baseball cap.
- 1 pair of flip flops.
- 1 pair of good shoes. (Ones that are comfortable and versatile enough for working out, hiking, going out, or just walking for hours. Because I’m a runner, I always bring good running shoes to cover all bases, unless I’m doing serious trekking.)
- Accessories: waterproof bag, sunglasses, camera, journal (you’ll want to document your trip), a book (that you’re willing to part with. These are currency on the road.), duct tape (this is your tool and part of your first aid kit), prescription medicines, ibuprofen, Imodium, Cipromax, sunscreen, insect repellent (if necessary), headlamp, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap dish with soap.
Things to Remember When Packing for an RTW trip
1. If you’re only visiting places along the equator you obviously won’t need as many layers. If you’re going to Antarctica, ditch the shorts. But if you’re going all over, these are items you will need.
2. If you’re visiting the tropics for six months, and then venturing to the tundra, no need to pack your winter gear. Just buy it before you leave the tropics and toss the summer stuff. If the destinations you’re visiting don’t have affordable stores or don’t sell gear for various weather conditions, you can always shop online.
3. Unless you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be able to pick up what you need along the way.
4. What about shampoo? Use soap. What about a comb? Cut your hair. What about my iPod? Then you need a charger and you won’t be able to meet people on the bus. (I realize this is a new era and not everyone can read on the bus, but I went 15 months and the only electric device I carried was my small flashlight.)
5. Unless your round-the-world trip is extreme (ie: extreme weather, extreme sports, extreme partying), do not pack more than this. Are you thinking about packing more than this? Don’t.
6. Do not buy souvenirs until the end or buy functional souvenirs that can be useful on your adventure. Of course, you can always send them home, but that could be expensive.
7. Upload documents, like a copy of your passport, to your email or the Cloud.
Packing Lists for Surf Travel
- Sturdy board bag
- Surfboard with removable fins. (Unless you’re surfing huge swell, bring a short board, since many modes of transport will not always have room for longboards.)
- 2 sets of fins. (They break.)
- 2 leashes. (They snap.)
- 1 ding repair kit. (At the very least, travel with a quick seal resin, duct tape, and sandpaper. A full ding repair kit is only necessary if you’ll be in the middle of nowhere.)
- 1 rash guard
- 1 wetsuit (if necessary. If you can’t decide between 3/2 and 4/3, pack the 4/3 because there are always freakishly cold days. Even surfing in tropical Bali, I wished that I had brought a wetsuit vest.)
- Boots and gloves (if necessary. If the water is warm, you still might want boots for places with sharp reef and spiky urchins.)
- Ear plugs. (Some of the best waves are formed by polluted rivers.)
- Notes about waves. (Many of the best waves are in towns or areas where you won’t have access to the Internet and it’s always handy to know the best conditions for tides, winds, and swell direction.)
- 2 bars of wax
- Tie down straps. (Cabbies and bus drivers will attempt to tie your board to their roof with broken twine.)
- 1 sturdy wax comb
- 1 fin key
- Aloe Vera gel
- 1 hat for the water (if you happen to be taking malaria pills that might make your skin photosensitive.)
- Note: Follow the RTW packing guide above for clothes and other essentials, though you can probably trim back on some of the gear.
Packing Lists for Snowboard Travel
- Important Note: Do not pack cotton for any of your boarding needs.
- Snowboard with bindings
- Boardbag (It’s best to pad the snowboard with bubble wrap and clothing.)
- 2 pairs wool or synthetic socks
- 2 base layers
- 2 pairs of thermal underwear
- 2 heavier layers (whether it be a wool sweater, fleece, or some other non-cotton top.)
- 1 shell
- 2 pairs of waterproof gloves
- 1 wool/fleece hat
- 1 neck warmer
- A Phillips screwdriver
- If you wax your own board, bring an iron, wax, pantyhose (or something to buff the base)
- 1 outfit for off the mountain (jeans, socks, boots, t-shirt, and sweater)
- 1 pair of swim trunks. (Nothing like sitting in the hot tub after the slopes.)
- Avalanche gear (if you’re hitting up extreme mountains.)
- Note: You’ll want 2 of most items above because sometimes you need to give your gear a day to dry. Follow the RTW packing guide above for accessories.
Packing Lists for an Overnight Hike
- Important note: Do not pack cotton. You will get wet from the rain or a river and you will freeze.
- 30-70 Liter Pack
- 3-4 layers for the upper body. (You’ll want at least 1-2 wool layers, because it will keep warm even if you’re wet. The rest can be fleece or synthetic material. As the sun sets, it gets colder and colder, especially in the fall, spring, and winter.)
- 1 pair of long underwear
- 1 pair of zip-off pants
- 1 rain jacket
- 2 pairs of synthetic or wool socks
- 1 wool hat
- 1 pair of gloves
- Sleeping Pad
- Sleeping Bag
- Water pouch
- Water bottle (I’ve had many water pouches leak.)
- Water filtration or purification device
- Back-up water purification tablets
- Cooking system
- Pan with a handle (for cooking and eating.)
- Steel mug
- Collapsible Saw
- Flashlight (better yet, a headlamp.)
- Map and compass
- Matches and lighter
- Insect repellent, sunscreen, chapstick
- First-aid kit
- Resealable plastic bags
- Toilet Paper (not the whole roll.)
- Sunglasses and hat
- Emergency blanket. Here’s a very good reason why.
- Waterproof bag. (Everything should be packed into this waterproof bag as you are hiking.)
- Bear canister (if necessary.)
- Important note #2: Going light is essential, so cut weight from this list by purchasing light-weight gear. However, sitting around the campground at night should be fun, so don’t feel like you need to cut everything. Here are some of the things that I’ve brought for fun: a pen and paper, whiskey, cigars, cards, a miniature speaker to play podcasts on an iPhone, a Vietnamese drip coffee maker.