Below are all of the clothes and shoes I think I’ll need for an extended trip (>6 months) that can all fit in a 40L backpack. Most of our travel is lined up to keep us in warm weather, with lows around 60F or 15C, which makes packing a lot easier. You can see my entire packing list here.
After talking to several people who have done this kind of thing, as well as consulting other travel blogs, most advice said that I would need a lot fewer clothes than you might initially think. Some went so far as to encourage just 2 shirts, wearing the one that’s not drying. I couldn’t go that far, but I find myself simultaneously thinking that I have too much and yet, not enough. It’ll be interesting to see how this list changes as we go on.
1 pair of Amphib pants from Eddie Bauer
I’ve owned these pants for a few months prior to the trip, and not to sound overly-enthusiastic, but they have been awesome. They’re lightweight, dry quickly and have plenty of elasticity. Plus, being dark gray, and with only one very discreet utility pocket, are easy to wear with a button down if I need to look nicer.
1 pair of Amphib shorts from Eddie Bauer
Much like the pants, they are very versatile and lightweight, plus they are sleek without and bulging cargo pockets. A bonus on these and the pants is that the back pocket has a velcro closure. It’s not a lot, but in the busy streets, it could be a deterrent for a pickpocket.
If I were ranking my clothes based on how fashion-conscious they are, these would fall towards the bottom of the list. The inseam is a little shorter than the Amphib, the back pockets are a little puffier, the utility pockets are a little more obvious, plus they have a pinstripe thing going on. That said, they’re also great for function. They were a bargain, too at under $30.
1 pair of swim trunks from Kanu Surf
Not a lot of flash to these – other than the bright green gingham pattern. Not a fan in general of mesh liners, but it could save me from having to wash/dry a pair of underwear. Both pairs of shorts could also double as swim trunks if needed in a pinch.
1 medium-weight hoodie from Uniqlo
Nothing too heavy, just something to keep me warm if it drops closer to the low end of our forecasted temperatures, as well as chilly places like airplanes and airports.
1 long-sleeved cotton button down from H&M
I don’t plan on using this a ton, but it’s really thin and lightweight, will provide me a collared look if we go anywhere that requires it, and is casual enough to be thrown over a t-shirt unbuttoned if I need just a little more warmth.
This is a combo of 5 plain-colored t-shirts. A couple are from J. Crew, and have been pretty durable as I owned them for about a year and a half before the trip. However, a few wore out and I added in some Uniqlo t-shirts that look just as good and have a little moisture-wicking added in.
1 pair gym shorts
These shorts were a last-minute addition. I plan to both run and do some resistance training while we travel, and as much as I sweat, I’d rather not sacrifice a pair of better shorts that I might need to wear out in public later that day.
1 compression undershirt
Another last-minute addition, I mainly wanted something to put between my torso and t-shirt that would wick moisture and keep me from saturating a shirt. It can also provide another layer of warmth if I need it, or serve as an undershirt.
4 pairs Terramar ProMesh Boxer Brief
I was debating between these and the ExOfficio Give-N-Go as something that would dry quickly (Jock itch would be nice to avoid) and could repel a little bit of odor. For me, it was a matter of price, as these are about 40% cheaper. These have been great in New York City, both for daily use and exercise, so we’ll see if they hold up on the road.
1 pair underwear
Added in an extra pair of Hanes regular boxer briefs in case of emergency, but I plan on not having to use these too often.
5 pairs socks (4 ankle, 1 hiking)
I have one pair of super-lightweight performance socks that will be used for running, three other pairs of older, but still perfectly good sport socks that can function for workouts or just walking around town. I’m being a little conservative by having just one pair of hiking socks, but socks seem like one of the easiest things to find on the road, and I’m not super attached to this particular pair or style.
These are mainly for traveling, where sitting for long periods of time can be bad for your circulation. They’ll also serve as an alternate to my hiking socks when I’m wearing my boots.
This is essentially a fancy poncho. It is really thin, repels wind pretty well and keeps the water out. Most importantly, though, it packs down into either one of the waistline pockets and zips closed, making it easy to throw in my daypack and have with me just in case.
Picking out my shoes for this trip was one of the hardest decisions to make on this list. I knew I needed boots for the more rugged terrain, but I wasn’t going to wear boots for running or just everyday footwear, but I also wanted something that was decent if I wanted to wear them to a bar.
On paper, these CMUKs are the perfect answer to those needs. They are extremely light, dry quickly, actually advertise as machine washable and are somewhat stylish. The biggest drawback is that the picture I saw on the site made them look more black and gray and less light blue, so they look a little more childish than I would prefer. Also, they’ve started to show slight wear and tear with moderate usage in the months prior to the trip, so durability is a question. Either way, I won them for free in a Twitter contest from Twirl The Globe, so if that wear doesn’t turn into disrepair, they’ll be perfect.
Karrimor KSB 300 Men’s Hiking Boots
Just good, black, waterproof hiking boots that were comfortable out of the box and are stylish enough that they could pass as mediocre dress shoes with my button down, Amphib pants combo. They’re a little big to really fit in the bag, but on travel days, I plan on just wearing them to keep it simple.
Old Shower Shoes
Obviously you want to protect your feet when you’re showering in strange places, and these could in a pinch be walking around/lounge shoes. Nothing fancy, but sturdier than many shower shoes I’ve seen.
Waterproof watch with date, multiple alarms, light-up display and a timer. Not much more you could ask for, and its mostly black and gray coloring keeps it from being hideous.
A pretty standard brown cotton belt. It’s not the most fashion forward decision (not that I’ve packed the runway to this point), but leather isn’t something you want to get wet, whether it’s rain or sweat. This belt can also be used as a stretching aid, and since I already conceded the fashion on this, I got it 44 inches, 12-14 inches longer than I needed.
I’ll have only a few things, because I’m relatively low maintenance and Kelly is carrying several items for both of us. Only thing of note is that I’ll be carrying a small, battery-powered trimmer in lieu of a razor. The trimmer keeps my beard close enough to not look disheveled, and it also can trim the back of my neck between haircuts. If I need to shave completely at some point, I’ll buy a disposable razor.
There are a few things that I thought about bringing, but ultimately decided against. Here’s that list, along with why I didn’t bring them:
It’s not going to be cold enough for jeans, and unlike my wife, I can’t wear jeans comfortably in warm weather. They’re bulky and don’t serve too many practical functions. I am having my mother-in-law carry jeans for me when she meets us in Australia, as we’ll be visiting New Zealand together during cooler autumn weather.
Again, of the two of us, I’m definitely more likely to be warm, and based on our itinerary, I think any more cold weather gear than is necessary will just be an inconvenience. I can always buy something along the way.
I like wearing hats. They’re great for not having to worry about bed head or sweat in your eyes. However, I didn’t want to take one with a US sports logo that screamed I was American, and I didn’t really want to buy a plain one that was quick drying and made me look like a goofball. I figured I’d see how common baseball caps are in Southeast Asia, then find one relatively cheaply if I feel like I need it.
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