Marc's RTW Packing List


Internal Frame Backpack: Expensive ones are overkill if you are only carrying it from the hotel to the bus, and then to another hotel. For this reason, I am starting to favor the panel-loaders instead of top-loaders, as long as they have stays along the back, a good waistbelt, and pack tightly without sagging down to your butt.

Small Daypack

Backpack Cover (garbage bag) for rain. Take a waterproof 'pack liner' if you expect to be hiking/tramping/trekking in the rain (NZ), or through rivers. They weigh around 170g (6 oz).

Sleeping Bag: Goose-down to keep it small and light. Wear long-sleeve polyproplene clothing instead of carrying a sleepsheet. These are thin, polyester, winter clothes that 'wick' or transfer moisture from your skin to the outer layer of clothing to keep you dry. They make a big difference on cold days, since you feel warmer without having thick clothes on; silk does the same thing.

Mosquito Net: Large one from Army Surplus store. String, pushpins, and nails. Bring extra kite string.

Packing a duffel bag or woven nylon bag to put your backpack in during flights, doesn't add much security, and adds a bit too much weight and volume. Anything lighter will wear-out if you are on many buses and flights. Also, I haven't had a problem with the straps. I just tighten them down all the way and wrap the loose ends. Some airports can wrap your checked luggage in plastic, may be worth the cost. If you will be storing your bag, then you may want to buy a bag there.


Boots: Lightweight hiking boots for outdoors; not full leather Goretex, unless you will be in severe conditions. After awhile, boots seem to shrink some, so buy them large. The reason they feel shorter comes from the natural curvature they acquire from walking in them; when you buy a shoe, the toe is flat, but after awhile, it curves up. For those who walk extensively, they will also seem less wide, since your feet will spread.
Sneakers or Walking Shoes
Sandals (thin thongs or flip-flops) for shower, and walking around room
Pants (2), lightweight but not too thin
T-Shirts or collared shirts (2-3)
Fleece Jacket (also used as: seat cushion; pillow; head cover on cold nights)
Wind and rain jacket, anorak, or light poncho (rain pants if necessary)
Socks (5)
Polypropelene Liner Socks (2)
Underwear (5)
Sunglasses or Clip-ons
Eyeglass Leash
Hat, wide rim, cotton
Winter Hat
Stuff Sacks (4) for clean underwear/socks, dirty clothes, regular usage, and misc other stuff.
Karin's Stuff: bras, scarf, makeup, swimsuit, sanitary pads


Toilet paper, with a neckstrap to keep it from falling!
Soap in container
Shampoo in a small plastic airtight bottle
Toothbrush & cover
Dental Floss
Razor & blades
Electric Shaver
QTips (ear cleaners)
Nail Clippers
Tweezers (pincers)
Mirror (unbreakable acrylic plastic, found in camping supplies)
Scissors: barber's (18cm) to cut each other's hair.
Towel: A washcloth is more than enough if you need to save space and weight. The super-absorbent camper's towels smelled bad and tore easily.


Travel partner's photo and copy of first page of passport
Credit Cards
ATM Card
Some Personal Checks (to buy AMEX Trav Cheques and cash)
Some Travellers Cheques, (rest in daybag)
Receipts for the Traveller's Cheques in the daybag
International Certificates of Vaccination: The Yellow Card
Emergency Phone Numbers
Medical History Record in passport: blood type, prescription copies (eye), medical conditions.
Phone numbers & email addresses


Copy of first page of passport
Traveller's Business Card with website and email addresses
List of international toll-free phone numbers for credit cards in case they are lost or stolen
Phone Card
Some Personal Checks (rest in moneybelt)
Some Traveller's Cheques (rest in moneybelt)
Receipts for the Traveller's Cheques that I have in my moneybelt
Addresses of AmEx offices on your route (find info online), if you have the card, and want to cash a check
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) booklet
International Student Identification Card (ISIC)
International Drivers License
International Youth Hostel Card
Insurance Policy
Expired Passport: for rental identification, and to leave with some hotels or corrupt officials.
Copy of Marriage Certificate: Especially if you want to visit your spouse in the hospital in the States, and have any say in the doctor's decisions. Also nice to have in Muslim countries and China.
Eye Prescription
Medical Prescriptions
Dive Card
Customs Registration for anything expensive or foreign-made (camera, computer).
Travel info
Pocket Dictionaries & Phrasebooks
Photos of family, home, and city
Extra Passport Photos (10)
List of recipes we can cook


Mobile phone Camera and accessories
Memory stick: Email addresses, address book, software.
Notebook Computer (unless travelling fast), with power adapter/converters.
Waterproof Watch (dual-time for calling home)
Alarm Clock (loud enough to wake you; two time zones so you always know what time it is at home)
Eyeglasses: spare set
Dive Mask & extra strap
Snorkel & extra retainer
Swiss Army Knife with scissors
LED flashlight with extra batteries and bulb (headlamp for cooking)
Change Purse
Combination Locks for luggage (2-3)
Combination Lock for hotel door (four-digit)
Cable: Thin, two-meter, rubber-coated, with looped ends for securing luggage
Laundry Powder (small bag), small plastic scrub brush, rubber gloves
Universal Rubber Plug, flat flexible drain stopper (for doing laundry in sinks without plugs)
Plastic or Rope Line for drying laundry
Mosquito Coils and Matches, in a hard plastic(tupperware) sandwhich box to keep them from breaking.
Safety Pins for backpack zippers and pockets
Indelible Marker (Sharpe) for labelling postal packages and DVDs
String for packages
Packing Tape, 1" x 5' (clear, to cover addresses to prevent ink from running)
Beige Masking Tape for peepholes, and mosquito net holes
Duct Tape for major equipment problems, etc
Clear tape for paper tears, etc
Garbage Bags
Ziplocs (plastic bags with a seal)
Earplugs for bus speakers and hotels, stored in a film container
Sewing Kit: Extra buttons, needles, thread
Iron-On Patches
Nylon Fabric or Self-Adhesive Patches, and Monofilament Line, to repair tears in bags.
Extra Shoelaces and Backpack Buckle
Books: One, since there never seems to be enough time to read them, and there are plenty available along the way.


Water in 1L Nalgene Lexan bottles
Sturdy plastic (lexan) fork, spoon, and knife (from camping store).
Large steel or enamel mug for heating soup, etc
Iodine crystal solution, 12cc per liter for 30 min) to purify water, in the rare chance we are stranded
Fruit, salt crackers, ramen noodles, chocolate, cereal, bread, cookies, nuts (mix), rice, spam, cheese, muesli (as available)


Multi-Vitamins: Poor quality when it is available in the countries you need them, so bring the full supply, unless you will be able to re-supply in some places or have them mailed to you
Vitamin C: Available in most places (for colds…)
Insect Repellant
Sunscreen (not always available, and lately been counterfeit)
Aspirin (acetyl-salicylic acid), Ibuprofin (Motrin, Advil) Paracetamol (Panadol)
Antacid for upset stomach: Tums, Rolaids (not always available)
Charcoal Tablets for stomach problems: Nitin, Norit (not always available)
Cough Drops
Ear Drops (alcohol)
Decongestant, nausea/diarrhea, antibiotic ointment, antihistamine (itch), anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, motion sickness, ear medicine, respiratory infection, intestinal infection antibiotic, etc.
Caladryl (Calamine) Cream for bedbug bites, itching, and rashes.
Birth control and Safe-Sex supplies!
Health Book
Keep medicines in hard plastic, airtight containers. Then, when you sit on your backpack, you won't crush the meds into a fine powder.
Syringes, and a letter from your doctor explaining that they are for medical emergencies.


Skin: Bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, cotton, ammonia stick (for mosquito bites, jellyfish, and coral stings), stiptic pencil (to stop bleeding). Sunburn relief Lip Balm/Sunscreen (Chapstick), hydrocortisone (itching and rashes).
Moleskin for foot blisters. Or new, polyurethane bandages, such as Spyroflex. It breathes well to control moisture and promote healing of blisters. It is also thin, so it doesn't affect shoe fit. (Tape also works well, if you don't have anything else).
Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)
Smecta (dioctahedral smectite) to coat stomach when sick, else PeptoBismol tablets/liquid
Thermometer, small scissors, Immodium, antihistamine, antiseptic.
Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in durable containers.


Pack only items necessary for that day from the following:
water, guidebooks, maps, directions, camera, batteries, eyedrops, antacid, lipbalm, sunglasses with string, windbreaker, rainjacket, gloves, sweater, hat, socks, insect repellant, water purification tablets, sunscreen, ziplocs, pens, paper, small flashlight, toilet paper, snacks (dried fruit, bread, crackers, cookies, nuts, water, cheese, chocolate); sanitary pads sometimes; moleskin; extra passport/visa photos (you will never remember to bring them to the embassy the few times you go).

Label bag with home and local address. When hiking, carry whistle, compass, and knife on a cord around your neck so that they will always be with you, even if you lose your pack in a river crossing or avalanche. Some carry firestarters on the cord too. Most of the time in cities, we leave the daybags in the room, and only have a bottle of water in a carrying strap, a camera, some toilet paper in our pockets, and a photocopy of the city map from a guidebook.

Left at Home

Tent or Bivy Sack: Rent or buy/sell in specific areas as needed. Stove, sleepsheet (except in Europe), sleeping mat (unless you will be outdoors), thermal blanket, winter gloves, water filter…

Note: My wife and I shared this load and it weighed in around 11kg (25 lbs) each. For short jaunts, we were able to store some 'stuff' and reduce the load to 5kg (11 lbs) each.

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