packing list for long term travel…

packing list for long term travel

Me and my pack in a test-run at home in Fort Collins

Some of the most common questions people have had when they hear about our trip relate to how big my suitcase is and what I am planning to carry around the world. People get even more curious when I share that we are not planning to check any bags on our trip. So what is my packing list for long term travel?

And if you’ve known me since the days when I checked 2 suitcases to come home for two weeks at Christmastime, you might be even more interested.

Below is a pretty exhaustive list of my packing list for long term travel. I’ve also included the items I consider “group gear” that are in Daryle’s pack, like the first aid kit, camera, etc, since I think those are important to getting the full idea of what we have chosen to bring along.

After my first hike to our current cabin in Sayulita, I am already considering what I might leave behind when we head out at the end of the month. I’ll let you know what doesn’t make the cut.

My Packing List for Long Term Travel

In my Osprey Porter 46L (that’s equivalent to 2800 cu in for those not well-versed in liters), I am carrying:

  • pack cover 
  • daypack (REI Flash 18)
  • small purse (the thrift store one I started with has already been replaced with one bought on the beach)
  • money belt 
  • cash/credit/debit cards
  • Passport
  • bamboo sleep sack
  • headlamp
  • water bottle (Insulated HydroFlask – insulation already very appreciated)
  • Steripen 
  • AA and AAA batteries (Lithium) for headlamps and Steripen
  • non-TSA lock for bag
  • TSA lock and cable
  • mask & snorkel 
  • Fozzil cup (small origami-like cup that unfolds flat)
  • spoon
  • sunglasses
  • baseball cap


  • Patagonia Island Hemp Pants – khaki
  • Quick-dry hiking pants – black 
  • Running/sleeping shorts
  • Quick-dry hiking shorts
  • Smartwool Mdwt Bottoms – black
  • Ankle length skirt-black
  • Knee-length skirt – black
  • Quick-dry tank (for running/hiking and everyday)
  • flowy cotton tank (for everyday but nice enough with skirt to go out)
  • 3 Short Sleeve tees (everyday and sleeping)
  • longsleeve quick-dry hiking shirt – white
  • 2 quick-dry longsleeve shirts (one nice enough to go out)
  • Longsleeve lightweight base layer
  • Sleeveless ankle-length dress, can be worn with base layer above in colder weather and still look nice
  • Knee length sundress
  • Sweater/Sweatshirt
  • Patagonia Nano Puff Vest
  • Rain Pants
  • Rain Jacket 
  • Silk scarf
  • board shorts
  • longsleeve rashguard
  • bikini
  • lightweight running type hat
  • lightweight gloves
  • 3 pair quick-dry underwear 
  • 2 Bras – one sportsbra & one regular
  • waterproof hiking shoes 
  • Chacos 
  • cheap flip flops
  • ballet flat shoes (Taos Repleat)
  • Socks – 2 hiking, 1 liner, 1 Smartwool pattern kneesock & 1 comfy Life is Good Snuggle Socks (for travel days)

Recording & Communicating

  • 3 pens
  • 2 sketching pencils
  • pencil sharpener
  • Moleskine journal
  • set of colored pencils
  • 2 very tiny Moleskine notebooks
  • Europe train map
  • pictures of family
  • extra passport photos
  • small laminated world map

First Aid Cabinet (Daryle is carrying all but the last 4 items here)

  • Antifungal cream
  • bandaids
  • benadryl
  • hydrocortizone cream
  • cloth tape
  • triple antibiotic cream
  • 4×4 gauze
  • latex gloves
  • safety pins
  • cough/cold medicine
  • Cipro (prescription)
  • superglue
  • tweezers
  • peptobismal tabs
  • Pearls probiotics
  • antiseptic wipes
  • allergy med
  • Melatonin
  • Ibuprofin
  • Excedrin migraine
  • malaria meds for 300 days
  • birth control pills for a year

Personal Care

  • lotion bar/solid perfume
  • Venus razor & spare blades
  • Dr. Bronner’s bar soap (also for handwashing laundry)
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • dental picks
  • deoderant
  • PackTowel (12″x30″)
  • Badger bug balm 
  • bug spray w/DEET
  • body lotion
  • wetwipes
  • Fabreze (for helping out clothes that really need to be washed)
  • sunscreen SPF 4, 30 & 70
  • tampons (the little tiny OB ones)
  • contact solution
  • contacts for 6 months (I use the one-a-day kind, so this is definitely a space suck)
  • comb
  • shampoo
  • leave-in conditioner (does wonders for untangling hair after ocean use)
  • hand sanitizer
  • hair ties/clips/barette
  • 3 wide hair bands (can double as a sleeping mask)
  • tinted moisturizer & sponge applicator
  • mascara
  • small mirror
  • bandanna (because they are infinitely useful)
  • small roll of toilet paper
  • earplugs
  • chapstick
  • nail file
  • watch
  • earrings
  • necklace

Fixing and Cleaning (Daryle is carrying this kit)

  • universal sink stopper
  • travel laundry line (was loving this item, but already broken and repaired once)
  • sewing kit
  • dental floss
  • duct tape
  • zip ties
  • glasses fix kit
  • superglue


  • 14″ laptop/netbook
  • neoprene case for laptop 
  • superthin drybag for laptop (Sea to Summit Ultra Sil)
  • international cell phone (Go SIM) (Daryle is carrying this)
  • point-and-shoot Panasonic (DMC-FH25K) (Daryle again)
  • Canon T4i w/2 lenses, all carried in neoprene sleeves (Daryle again)
  • Samsung Galaxy Player
  • iPhone 3 (back-up for the Samsung)
  • 2 pair earbud headphones
  • Kindle drybag for Kindle/Samsung/iPhone
  • power strip/surge protector/charger for USB devices (Daryle again)
  • cords and chargers for assorted devices
  • flash drives (for sending photos home as backup)
  • outlet adapter set

*note that since we are not checking bags, all liquids/gels, etc listed are all 3oz or less

Since we checked our bags, I carried my daypack separately and had a little extra space, so I also brought:

  • A full size beach towel
  • 3 full-size bottles of sunscreen
  • A full-size bottle of shampoo
  • 2 books
  • 3 magazines

(these items will most likely not be on the next flight)

Things I have already wished I had brought:

  • one of those thin little string backpacks (for taking places it might be unattended and get stolen, like the beach)
  • tote that folds up tiny and zips into a little keyring size clip on (for grocery shopping)
  • another bikini 

So there you have it, my packing list for long term travel. What is on yours? Share in the comments below.