A year ago I finished getting rid of all my shit and got on a plane for China. After detailing my 100 days of material expulsion, I never mentioned everything that remained with me for the move. Nor did I provide any other sort of closure on the project. I think it’s time to cap this off.
The site will remain online, as an archive, but it has served it’s purpose and this will be the last post. So let’s look at what was left, with some thoughts on how each item has played out over the last year.
I based a great deal of my packing list off of Karol Gajda’s Ultimate Light Packing List. Most of my variations stem from the fact that I’m pro animal slavery and my skin doesn’t have the integrity of a Japanese paper lantern. But I whole-heartedly recommend Karol’s list to anybody interested in light world travel.
- One light jacket. Actually it’s the same Outdoor Research Eternal Jacket. Good for when it gets a little chilly. If it gets seriously cold where you’re going, it’s always easy to pick up something thicker there.
- One beanie. Not terribly useful, or maybe I’m just not big on headwear. I don’t pack this anymore.
- Three t-shirts in assorted colors. Two pure merino wool, one synthetic fiber. Great for all the reasons they tell you. Light, dry quick, odor resistant. You can get away with packing only two.
- One long sleeve shirt. Merino wool, same deal as the tees.
- Generic work-out shorts. I don’t pack these anymore either, but just because it doesn’t fit my work-out and travel style. If you hit the gym or run a lot in the middle of constant travel, I can see these working. I still use them, but only at home.
- A pair of flip flops. Parts of the world are fucking hot.
- A pair of sneakers. Ever try to run in flip flops?
- Three pairs of SmartWool socks. Ridiculously great material.
- Three pairs of ExOfficio boxer briefs. They’re a whole other class of underwear. Even if you don’t travel, go drop some dough on one pair and see how you like them.
- Three pairs of convertible pants. They’ll always look goofy, but function well. Columbia’s are nice, but not in the heavier weights. I’d also recommend no more than two. Three is too much.
- One medium PackTowl. It’s a ShamWow without the awesome pitchman. Does the job well though.
- Earplugs. Parts of the world are fucking loud.
- One small, disposable rain cover. My mom bought it for me, as something of an emergency pancho. It’s still in the package, and I don’t pack it. Thanks though.
- One bottle of Pacific Shaving Oil. Neat stuff. I still pack this, not because I prefer it to other lathering options, but because it’s so small.
- A few disposable razors. I’ve switched to a cheap double blade razor with refills. I would recommend and pack a safety razor plus standard razor blades, but I’d rather not find my head in between a wall and a TSA agent’s fist.
- One nail clipper.
- One toothbrush.
- Three 100mL bottles of Dr. Bronners Liquid Soap. As Karol says, this is used as body wash, laundry soap, and toothpaste.
- One braided elastic clothesline.
- Two carabiner clips. My mom gave me these and they’ve been amazingly useful. Sometimes you just need to clip shit to something else. It’s as generally useful as rope. You can just use cheap straight gate clips and attach them to the empty loops around the outside of your pack until you need them.
- One rubber drain cover. Because some old places have sinks without something to block the drain. I haven’t stayed at a place that didn’t have a drain plug yet, but I’m sure it will still be useful someday. I only pack it if I’m going somewhere with this potential problem.
- One small first aid kit. I haven’t had to use it yet, but that’s kind of the whole point of a first aid kit.
- Everything from my International Phone Setup, plus their chargers.
- A messenger bag made for a 10 inch netbook. It holds the computer and headset and associated things. I’ve switched computers and bags for work purposes since then, but the idea is the same. Backpack + computer messenger bag. All carry-on, no checked luggage.
- Cheap digital camera. Unless you’re a certain kind of travelling professional, don’t pack your 5D Mark II.
- One pack of mini playing cards. I haven’t used these. Not because I haven’t had occasion, but because they’re just so small I keep forgetting I have them in my bag. Woops.
- Various papers, cards, and passport. Ya know, in case I have to prove I’m me.
- One small drawstring bag. A small bag that doesn’t take up much room, but can separate dirty and clean items while on the road, or act as a bag to pack a change of clothes and some necessities for short trips away from the rest of your pack. I once lived for three weeks with only what I could fit in this bag.
- The 32L Deuter Futura backpack. Overall it’s great. The nature of its shape and the back padding makes it comfortable to wear, but can fool your sense of how much space you take up at first, since the pack is actually farther from your back than normal. But I’m sure the folks behind you in line at the gate don’t mind being whipped in the face by the carabiner clips you’ve fastened.
That’s it folks. I’m more of a resident expat, not a backpacker on the move, so my needs and yours may not be in line. Adjust accordingly. And thanks for reading.
Published on March 9, 2011