Traveling the world with a 20L backpack
This year I decided to travel the world, visiting a lot of countries:
France -> Thailand -> Indonesia -> Philippines -> Japan -> Hawaii -> Canada -> France
I'm actually writing this article on my way to Jakarta.
I've always been attracted to minimalism and try to keep material belongings at a minimum. For this trip, I went full in and left with only my everyday backpack.
People I meet don't believe that bag is the only thing I have and not just a small conveniency bag :)
- Save so much time at airports, no need to checkin luggage
- Can put the whole bag under the seat in planes/trains
- Can take motorbike taxis conveniently
- So much more convenient to move
- Can run with it if needed (yes)
- Can't buy useless shit
For the backpack I settled on a Mission Workshop 20L Sanction. It's quite expensive, (~$280) but I find it worth.
The top expands a bit (+- 5L). It's made of high quality materials you know won't break on you. It's waterproof so there's no worries in Asian rains. Because it's so compact, it doubles as my day bag once I settle somewhere.
Finally, even overpacked as hell it feels nice in your back and doesn't hurt.
The downside is its missing more pockets, and the pockets are a bit hard to access when the bag is overpacked.
Packing the bag
You'll want clothes that can dry rapidly. Then you can wash them in sinks and they'll be ready the day after. If you travel in Asia, it'll be very humid so cotton clothes will take forever to dry (AC does help a bit). Also the occasional rain will leave you soaked.
Merino wool and synthetic clothes are real good at drying fast. Merino clothes are a bit expensive, but quite comfortable. You can wear a merino shirt multiple days in a row and it won't stink, assuming you give it some fresh air every night. Bonus, you can wear them humid, they don't feel uncomfortable.
Unfortunately before leaving I bought only 1 Merino shirt, which I wear a lot.
- 1 Icebreaker merino t-shirt, 1x linen t-shirt
- 1 sleeved shirt (for mosquitoes at night), 1x short sleeve shirt
- 1 tank top
- 1 pair of pants
- 2 boardshorts
- 1 light wool pull-over
- 1 Uniqlo ULD puffy jacket
- 1 Nike rain-proof / wind-proof vest
- 1 merino Buff (Life-changer as a sleep-mask)
- Socks: 2 cotton , 1 merino
- Underwear: 2 cotton , 2 Uniqlo synthetic
- Nike running shoes
- 1 towel
- 1 inflattable travel pillow
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 sunglasses
- 1 Bose QC-35 headset (the best for flights and sleeping in noisy places)
- 1 Macbook Air
- 1 Kindle Voyage
- 1 travel power adapter
- 1 Aukey Quickcharge USB-C charger
- 1 Xiaomi 10k mAh powerbank
- 1 Small utility bag (for passport, usb C adapter, papers, etc..)
- 1 Card wallet
- Small pharmacy (Anti mosquito, after bite, smecta)
- Toilet stuff: razor, toothbrush, toothpaste and suncream
- Essential oils: Pepper mint for waking up and Jojoba for hydration
I've also bought on Amazon those 2 lightweight compression bags for clothes. One for underwears and one for the rest. Put your clothes in it, and with a zip it compresses them a bit. Makes packing much faster and my stuff stays organised.
I still find some stuff useless. Small pharmacy (thanks, mom) : you can buy everything locally. I almost never wear socks in Asia so 2 Merino pairs would've been enough. I don't need that extra shirt.
The towel takes a lot of space and 100% of places I've stayed at provide towels. It's only useful once in a while to chill at the beach or in cold places when you don't want to stay wet.