Travel Like a Pro: A Packing List for Any Type of Adventure

One of the practices that Darren and I follow is to maintain a packing list. Over the years, we have had several lists floating around. Recently, we combined all of these into one comprehensive list that we call our “Master Packing List.” It includes everything that we could bring, grouped by category. This practice makes it easy to tailor our list for a particular trip. Thus, this packing list can be used for all types of travel, including backpacking, international travel, car-camping, or simply an overnighter at a friend’s house.

If you are interested, you can learn about our adventures here:
Around the World (RTW) – A 424-day, around-the-world trip to raise K-12 geo-literacy in students.
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – A 4 1/2 month trip covering 1,828 miles of Pacific Crest Trail.
US National Parks (NPS) – A 17,000 mile long road trip to 27 of the US National Parks.

 

Why Maintain a Packing List

We favor creating and maintaining packing lists for a variety of reasons.

  1. We tend to not forget things.
  2. It takes the stress out of planning and packing for an upcoming trip.
  3. It makes packing for a trip faster and easier.
  4. It helps us to settle on a few nice things rather than a closet full of unused equipment.

Traveling Light

Think of everything that you pack as an asset and a liability at the same time. We have all had the experience of bringing something “just in case.” But our strategy is to bring the least number and lightest things with us. Why? Even if a piece of gear has utility, it also have bulk and weight. For example, Darren recently took a week-long trip to see his parents in Key West, FL with nothing more than a small carry on backpack.

Think of everything that you pack as an asset and a liability at the same time.

The first step in reducing the size of your luggage is to thoughtfully consider your footwear (i.e., shoes). If you can limit the number of shoes to one or two pairs you have a good start. Here a couple of tips for building your own packing list.

  1. Look for items that will satisfy multiple requirements.
  2. Look for items that will mix/match (i.e., can be used in combination with others).
  3. Look for items that are lightweight and don’t have a lot of bulk.
  4. Plan on washing clothes along the way (either in the sink or in a machine washer).

Organizing Your Gear

There are a variety of ways of organizing your gear, whether it be in a backpack or a suitcase. I have found that using bags or cubes works best. The idea is that when trying to find something, you can quickly locate the right container and then search there. Here’s how I organize my things.

  1. Day Bag/Cube – Extra clothes for the day outside of what I have on my person.
  2. Night Bag/Cube – Everything I need to go to sleep (excluding toiletries).
  3. Toiletries Bag/Cube- Everything I need for hygiene.
  4. Cooking Bag/Cube – Everything I need to cook meals (excluding the food).
  5. Other – Everything else
ItemSpecific ItemCostWeight
On my Person - Sandy
BackpackOsprey Packs Exos 58 Backpack (Small) $180.002 lbs. 8 oz.
Underwear TopIbex Outdoor Clothing Balance Bralette$43.001.6 oz.
Underwear BottomIbex Outdoor Clothing Women's Merino Wool Balance Briefs$35.002.4 oz.
HatJFH Sun Hat Headwear Extreme Condition$9.293.9 oz.
Sunglasses
ShirtUnder Armour Women's Tech SpaceDye Short Sleeve$25.004 oz.
SleevesUltra Gam$15.001 oz.
Pants and BeltColumbia Women's Aruba Convertible Pant$55.008.8 oz.
GaitersOutdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiters $15.001 oz.
ShoesHoka One One Women's Speedgoat 2 Trail Shoe$140.008.2 oz
Walking sticksBLACK DIAMOND Trail Back Trekking Poles$67.001 lb. 4 oz.
Trekking GlovesHusky Large Fingerless Mechanics Gloves$12.002 oz.
Cell phoneSamsung Note 4
On my Person - Darren
BackpackOsprey Packs Exos 58 Backpack (Medium) $180.002 lbs. 10 oz.
UnderwearAdidas Men's Sport Performance Climalite Trunk$24 (2 pair)2.6 oz.
HatJFH Sun Hat Headwear Extreme Condition$9.293.9 oz.
Sunglasses
ShirtColumbia Men's Silver Ridge Long-Sleeve Shirt$42.008.1 oz.
PantsColumbia Men's Silver Ridge Convertible Pants45.0010.6 oz.
SocksBalega Blister Resist No Show Athletic Running Socks$13.001 oz.
GaitersUltra Gam$15.001 oz.
ShoesHoka One One Men's Speedgoat 2 Trail Shoe$140.009.8 oz.
Walking sticks
Trekking GlovesHusky Large Fingerless Mechanics Gloves$12.002 oz.
Cell phoneSamsung Note 4
Day Bag - Sandy
BagZiploc Freezer Bags Jumbo, 2 Gallons$7.00 (10 count)0.1 oz.
Extra Underwear TopIbex Outdoor Clothing Balance Bralette$43.001.6 oz.
Extra Underwear BottomIbex Outdoor Clothing Women's Merino Wool Balance Briefs$35.002.4 oz.
Extra SocksInjinji Women's Run Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks$12.001.9 oz.
Waterproof JacketOutdoor Research Women's Helium II Jacket$159.005.5 oz. (large)
Waterproof PantsOutdoor Research OR Women's Helium Pants$119.005.9 oz.
All-Weather GlovesSeirus Innovation Men's Hyperlite All Weather Glove$302.4 oz.
Day Bag - Darren
BagSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sack$17.001.6 oz.
Extra UnderwearAdidas Men's Sport Performance Climalite Trunk$24 (2 pair)2.6 oz.
Extra SocksInjinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks$12.001 oz.
Waterproof JacketOutdoor Research Men's Helium II Jacket$1205.6 oz. (medium)
Waterproof PantsOutdoor Research Men's Helium Pants$905.6 oz.
All-Weather GlovesSeirus Innovation Men's Hyperlite All Weather Glove$302.4 oz.
Night Bag - Sandy
BagZiploc Freezer Bags Jumbo, 2 Gallons$7.00 (10 count)0.1 oz.
Glasses
Ear plugsHoward Leight Laser Lite Foam Earplugs (20ct)$7.001.0 oz.
Fleece hatThe North Face Women's Cable Minna Beanie$35.002 oz
Night socksDarn Tough Vermont Women's 1/4 Cushion Socks$18.002 oz.
Base topSmartwool Women's NTS Mid 250 Pattern Zip T$110.007.9 oz.
Head lampPetzl E+LITE Emergency Headlamp$25.001 oz.
PillowSea To Summit Aeros Pillow Premium$34.002.8 oz
PJ bottomsREI Co-op Merino Midweight Base Layer Tights - Women's$14.007.2 oz.
PJ topREI Co-op Tech T-Shirt - Women's$12.006 oz.
Puff jacketPatagonia Women's Down Sweater$200.0010.4
Head netSea to Summit Mosquito Head Nets$9.800.8 oz.
Night Bag - Darren
BagSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sack$17.001.6 oz.
Glasses
Ear plugsHoward Leight Laser Lite Foam Earplugs (20ct)$7.00> 1.0 oz.
Fleece hatOutdoor Research Peruvian Hat$24.002 oz
Fleece socksLAYs Cashmere Bed Socks$3.002 oz. (est.)
Fleece topColumbia Men's Pine Ridge 1/4 Zip Fleece$27.007 oz.
Head lampPetzl E+LITE Emergency Headlamp$25.001 oz.
PillowSea To Summit Aeros Pillow Premium$34.002.8 oz
PJ bottomsREI Co-op Boxers - Men's$14.004 oz.
PJ topREI Co-op Tech T-Shirt - Men's$12.006 oz.
Puff jacketThe North Face Men's Thermoball Jacket$200.008 oz.
Thermal bottomsSmartwool Men's Merino 150 Baselayer Bottom$75.007.2 oz.
Head netSea to Summit Mosquito Head Nets$9.800.8 oz.
Toiletries
Razor (Darren)Gillette Mach3 Men's Razor$7.351.8 oz.
ChapstickBlistex Medicated Lip Balm SPF 15$2.791 oz.
SunscreenBanana Boat Sun Screen Sport Spray SPF 30$10.591.8 oz.
Mosquito repellentRepel Sportsman Insect Repellent Stick$5.731.6 oz.
ToothpasteColgate Toothpaste Travel Size$6.47 (pack of 6)0.75 oz.
ToothbrushTravel Folding Soft Toothbrush$5.95 (2 Pack)1.3 oz.
FlossOral-B Glide Pro-Health$14.97
SoapDr. Bronner's 2 oz Liquid Soap$9.992 oz.
TowelREI Co-op Multi Towel Lite Small - 14" x 10"$8.000.75 oz.
Cooking
StoveJetboil Flash Personal Cooking System$100.0015 oz.
FuelJetboil Jetpower 4-Season Fuel Blend$10.407.2oz
Pot adapterJetboil Stainless Steel Pot Support$12.251.2 oz.
PotJetboil 1.5 Liter FluxRing Cooking Pot$60.0012 oz.
Water bottles (we buy this product for the container and not the water)Smartwater 1L (Quantity 6)$6.991.2 oz.
SoapDr. Bronner's 2 oz Liquid Soap$9.992 oz.
ScraperMSR Alpine Dish Brush/Scraper$4.951.6 oz.
Water filterSawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System$20.699.1 oz.
SporksTOAKS Titanium Long Handle Spork with Polished Bowl$11.950.65 oz
CupsSea to Summit X Mug$14.002.7 oz.
DinnersGood To-Go Varies - around $12.50 per type for double serving
6.6 oz
BreakfastsBobo's Oat Bars All Natural, Gluten Free 6 Flavor Variety, 2 of Each Flavor$39.99 (pack of 12)3 oz each
CoffeeStarbucks Via Italian Roast Coffee$15.89 (2 pack - total 16).11 oz each
Shelter
TentREI Quarter Dome 3 Tent$399.004 lbs. 9 oz.
Tent padCustom (Tyvek) - Fits Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3$22.00
Sleeping bagREI Flash Sleeping Bag (discontinued)$218.001 lb. 10 oz.
Sleeping padTherm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Air Mattress$120.0012 oz.
Other
USB Battery (to charge phone)RAVPower Portable Charger 16750mAh External Battery Pack$24.0010.9 oz.
First aid kit
Clothing Insect RepellentSawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent10.99
Repair kit
MicrospikesKahtoola MICROspikes Footwear Traction$56.0013 oz.
Bear canisterBear Vault Bear Resistant Food Canister$80.002lbs 9oz.
Carry-on SuitcaseEagle Creek Luggage Load Warrior Wheeled Duffel 22$167.305 lbs

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