...pack your life into a 32L bag, a second time.
Trip Start Mar 05, 2012
58Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Giang Son Guesthouse Ho Chi Minh City
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
In addition to what I am currently wearing (1 shirt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of underwear) my complete packing list is as follows (broken down by necessity and guilty pleasures):
- 3 pairs of underwear
- Thai pants/fisherman's pants (great for lounging or pajamas)
- Rain jacket - thin, single layer shell.
- 4 shirts (2 long sleeve button up, 2 t’s) - I received one of these following the completion of my PADI course – It’s not super nice, but it’s an extra shirt and I have space for it.
- 1 board shorts - doubles as extra pair of shorts.
- 1 pair zip-off, lightweight, quick-dry cargo pants - doubles as a 3rd pair of shorts.
- 1 Bandana - highly recommend carrying at least one, Cody carries 2. They are good for wiping down plates and glasses that have been cleaned with dirty water; can be used as a sweat band; can be used to make a splint or sling in medical emergencies; good face mask when riding motorbikes…the list goes on.
- 2 pairs of socks - threw out a pair that was no longer wearable but I have never needed more than 2 pairs.
- Thermal underwear, thin gloves, a winter hat - I knew I would be trekking in some cold environments, they have come in very handy.
- Toiletry bag (actually a 1 liter Ziploc as required by airline regulations - any liquid you bring on an airplane must be in a container no larger than 100mL and all must fit into a 1 liter Ziploc bag). Interestingly, I used the same Ziploc bag for 3 months, long after it’s waterproof qualities had deteriorated. I never had any problems on any flights.
- Shaving kit - Battery operated beard trimmer, nail clippers, extra batteries.
- First Aid Kit – Band aids, Polysporin/Neosporin, medical tape, mole skins (blister bandaids), headache meds, compression bandages, scissors (only because I was bringing knives anyway), malaria medication, cold-flu meds.
- Poncho – pick these up as you go; they are cheap and usually only good for one or two uses but they can keep you and everything attached to you dry.
- Prescription glasses.
- Sarong – like the bandana, this has a myriad of uses; beach blanket, bed blanket or sheet, around your body as an article of clothing. If you are using a travel towel that doesn’t wrap around your waist, this makes up for it.
- Travel towel (suede micro fiber) – mine is the size of a tea-towel (about 12inches by 24inches), no complaints.
- Gore Tex, mid-high hiking boots with reinforced rubber toes.
- Point n Shoot camera – I can’t afford, nor do I want the hassle of carrying a DSLR.
- Headlamp – many uses even if you are not trekking or camping (e.g. when staying on islands or in cities that turn off their power after 8pm or something).
- Day bag –
- Flip-Flops – I wear these 90% of the time.
- Rain cover (Mine is for a 32 liter bag – I wish I had bought a bigger one).
- Nalgene water bottle (1 liter)
- 2 liter dry-bag (not submersible but great for the small important stuff). This is not a necessity but I highly recommend it.
- Rash guard - we have been surfing and share the guard…it’s not a necessity, but any surfer will tell you it is nice to have – it can also replace a wet suit for diving in tropical conditions.
- Mosquito coils - picked these up along the way – easy to find, small and light, and very handy in mosquito-laden areas. Repellent would be easier to carry and more effective.
- A knife and leatherman tool - I grew up with knives and find it hard to part with at least one, if not two. I DO NOT use them for self-defense; the knife is good for prepping your own food and many other things if you are trekking alone. The leatherman is like a Swiss Army knife on steroids – pliers, can opener, screw driver and more – I have found numerous uses for it). Obviously I don’t get the benefit of carry-on luggage, but this was a cost-benefit decision I made.
- Electronics kit – adapter plugs (I don’t have a universal adapter, I bought a kit with separate plug adapters that can be daisy-chained together), memory cards for my camera and mobile device, USB external drive.
- Go-Stop cards – a Korean card game.
- Guitar – It is smaller than a normal guitar. I bought it in Bali for $20 so I don’t care if it breaks, which it probably will do soon. It’s a hassle to carry around but I love having it. (Carrying it with all my gear on a motorbike is impossible. Fortunately, the straps on Cody’s bag carry it well, so he takes it.)
- Netbook ( 1.4Kg, 10x7x0.9 inches) – I started writing more after I began my travels and picked this up in Vietnam. I was sick of trying to type with my mobile device. Includes carrying case and charger.
- Mobile device – Samsung Galaxy mp3 player with 32G micro SD (great for e-books, maps, e-travel guides, music, movies, portability and wifi accessibility, along with all the apps/games etc.) Includes charger.
- Miscellaneous (not necessarily a guilty pleasure) – PADI dive log and dive chart, maps (I will mail these home for memorabilia), passport, international driver’s license, extra guitar strings, notepad and pen, credit card wallet. You pick up a lot of crap along the way (tourist pamphlets, business cards, used airplane ticket printouts – I usually do a clean-out of my bag every couple of weeks).
Before I had the new day bag, I could not fit everything in my bag for flights. I carried my boots on the plane, along with my guitar. Now that I have the day bag, everything will fit in my back pack/day bag (except the guitar of course).
Things I had and threw away, mostly because they were not worth the space they took up in my bag:
- A Frisbee – never remembered to bring it to the beach anyway.
- A long sleeve button up shirt – it was old and really worn out.
- A sleeping bag – came in handy a couple of times, but I can manage with the sarong.
- PADI textbook
- Another t-shirt I picked up along the way
- A small blanket
Additional things I wish I had:
- Mobile devices are not terribly well suited for reading e-books in the sun. Cody and I agree on one book and carry it with us for leisure reading. When we finish we swap it out at a book shop (most backpacker areas have, at the very least, some semblance of a book store).