Our RTW Packing List – What on Earth do you Pack for a Year of Travel?

One of the questions we were repeatedly asked prior to our trip was “What on Earth do you pack for a year of travel?”.  Even if it’s shorter, what should you pack for 6 months of travel?  If you’re planning a similar long term trip this is likely on your mind.

In this post, we’ll review our RTW packing list and the essentials for long term travel.  How do you go about packing for a long trip?  We’ll reveal what to pack to travel the world as well as what we added and cut along the way.  Since there’s two of us we’ll also talk about a RTW packing list for males and for females.

Round the World Packing List

The first question that everyone asked when we talked about our RTW trip was inevitably a resounding “HOW????” which we answered in this post – How we Saved for a Trip Around the World.  The second most common question that we heard was: “How on earth do you pack for over a year of travel?”

We often asked ourselves the same question and while there are lots of blog posts detailing RTW packing lists we struggled with finding good advice since so much of what we planned to do was outdoor activities.

Our Round the World Packing List
How on earth do you pack for over a year of travel?

While most long term travellers will likely end up doing some hiking, packing to amble through southeast Asia, hitting up full moon parties or taking selfies in front of street art for Instagram with maybe a little bit of hiking on the side is a world apart from planning multi-day hiking trips and aiming to spend as little time as possible in big cities. In fact, hiking was going to be key part of our itinerary in many of the countries we would visit on our RTW trip which meant we had to pack accordingly.  If you’re an active traveller, this list is for you!

The Philosophy for Our RTW Packing List

One friend even asked what our “packing philosophy” was and to be honest, we had never really thought of what it might be in those terms. After reflecting on it for a while, we determined our packing philosophy for long term travel was  “Trail to Town“.

Since we planned on doing many outdoor activities and lots of adventure travel, we needed to prioritize bringing technical clothing that would serve us well for those pursuits.  But we also needed items that would fit in during our time spent in civilization.

We of course, wanted clothes that looked presentable in the many stylish cafés we planned to visit, nor did we want to scandalize locals with our schleppy or culturally insensitive attire so there was a bit of a balancing act to find clothes that were durable and appropriate for hiking in the wilderness and weren’t out of place in cosmopolitan cities.

Hiking with Osprey Backpacks
Hiking with our Osprey Backpacks at home in Canada

Lastly, as firm believers in Responsible Tourism, we made sure to pack items that would help to reduce our dependence on plastic bags, straws, utensils, and water bottles while travelling.  As we were visiting several countries in South America, Africa, and Asia, we knew that they did not have the infrastructure to handle the plastic waste that travel creates and it was important to us that we minimize the impact of our trip around the world.

So with all of that in mind, we aimed to pack for our planned adventure travel activities, as well as days off in various towns, villages, and cities around the world where we would relax, work on the blog, edit photos, and of course enjoy some sightseeing and gastronomy.

So, What the Heck is on your Packing List for Long Term Travel?

RTW Travel Backpacks

First and most important, is to answer the question of how you carry all your things around. You will be living out of this thing for as long as you plan to travel and in our case, that was fourteen months so we needed to choose well!

Do you need a travel specific backpack?

While we could have probably gotten by with two 50 litre packs and while we are often envious of the people we see with convertible roller backpacks in the airport, our bags are well-suited for active RTW travel, and a roller bag wouldn’t work so well in many of the places we’ve gone.

Since we already do a lot of backcountry camping, we decided to take our packs designed for that purpose to save on money and because we didn’t feel like we needed new backpacks when we had perfectly functional ones already. So the short answer in our opinion is no, you do not need a travel specific backpack for an around the world trip.

If you’re reading this and planning your own RTW trip we would encourage you to take some time to think about the destinations that you’re visiting and the activities that you plan to do there as your needs will reflect your travel style.

Are you planning to explore cities or the great outdoors?  Are you visiting developed countries with excellent infrastructure or does your travel itinerary feature developing countries that may not have well-paved roads for wheeled bags?

In our case, our goal was to spend as much time as possible exploring nature so that informed our decision.  Thea’s Backpack is the Osprey Viva 65 litre and Philip’s is the Osprey Volt 60 litre. They have a convenient opening at the bottom so you can stash a few easy to reach items there, as well as hip pockets for items that you may want quick access to. They also feature chest and waist straps to make carrying them easier and have some handy compartments to keep things like water bottles easily accessible.

They are like most backcountry camping backpacks, however, in that they mainly feature one giant compartment that you have to tunnel into to dig out your stuff which can be annoying. As any traveller will tell you, one of the most tiresome things about long-term travel is having to pack and repack your backpack every couple of days.  We do use some tricks to ease the pain of unpacking/re-packing which we will get to later in this post.

Day Packs/Carry-ons For Extended Travel

When we did our research at the beginning of the trip some travel blogs talked about sneaking a 65 litre pack on a plane as a carry-on but those days are no more. So in addition to our main backpacks, we brought some other bags for day hikes, exploring the city, and for airline carry-on.

Philip brought his Osprey Kestrel 32L day pack which we use to carry important or valuable things (ie. laptops!) when flying so that they didn’t get lost or broken in transit.  It was also our go-to for day trips and tours, leaving the two big packs in our hotel or hostel.

Thea also brought her Pacsafe MetroSafe 200 shoulder bag which she had purchased previously for a trip to East Africa.  It has some anti-theft features as well as loads of convenient pockets to keep everything organized and safe from would-be pickpockets. She also uses her sheepskin wallet from Mali and carries a tiny mudcloth purse for trips out on the town when she only needs to carry a few items.

Photo of a pacsafe travel purse
Pacsafe Purse

Our 3 new purchases for the trip were :

1. Peak Design 10L Everyday Sling
We bought this to carry both of our mirrorless cameras, lenses, and various accessories. After buying and returning various bags on Amazon this was the one that made the cut. Small enough that it doesn’t resemble a duffle bag but large enough to fit all of our gear (including a lengthy telephoto lens and teleconverter), and it doesn’t look too bad either.

Peak Design Everyday Sling - The Best Mirrorless Camera Bag for Travel
The Peak Design Everyday Sling

It’s smartly designed so that it can adapt to store most sizes and shapes of cameras and lenses, and has pockets for all of our SD cards, batteries, etc (some of which are colour coded so that you can put the good batteries in one pocket and the dead batteries in another – clever!).

The zippers tie together to prevent pick-pockets from getting into your bag (not as secure as the Pacsafe bag but it adds a bit of ease of mind). And finally, it’s waterproof which proved handy on several occasions, such as in the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica.

We wrote a full review of the camera bag if you’re looking for more information.

2. Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Day Pack (20 Litre)
This extremely handy, ultralight backpack packs up into its own stuff sack that fits in a pant or purse pocket. It’s lightweight, water-resistant, and has a tiny carabiner (nevermind, that broke off) so you can clip it to ensure it doesn’t get lost. One of the key things that makes life easier for extended travel is the ability to compress and expand your packing.  This fits the bill perfectly and we have used it for beach days, grocery shopping, and general exploring.  We were very happy with its versatility.

Our Sea to Summit Daypack was a versatile addition to our RTW Packing List

3. 5 pack of lightweight reusable cloth bags
We’re a bit annoyed that each of these bags came wrapped individually in plastic since the whole point of buying them was to reduce plastic waste, but they have did come in handy and overall, reduced our plastic usage on the trip.

We used them for groceries, laundry, to keep stuff organized in our backpacks, and to keep our stuff separated in the communal living environment when we Volunteered with All Hands and Hearts.

Unfortunately, about halfway through our trip there were only 2 left as they seemed to have a habit of walking away from us.  Still, they were handy and we’d take them again!

Packing reusable Cloth bags, titanium sporks, and straws helped us to reduce our plastic usage while travelling
Packing reusable bags, titanium sporks, and straws helped us to reduce our plastic usage while travelling

Clothing for an Active RTW Trip

Now for the fun part….sort of! Figuring out which clothes to bring on a year-long trip that could both pass off as presentable in a city but also not be destroyed on a trekking trail was harder than it seems. Firstly, we found that the old traveller’s adage to “take half the clothes and twice the money” has been true. We have definitely felt bogged down by some of our stuff and have ended up leaving some things behind.

Secondly, we’ve learned that there’s no point bringing things like cotton t-shirts, scarves, or sweaters since they can be picked up along the way in a fun local market for very little money. It is difficult to carry souvenirs while travelling long-term so being able to buy a shirt or sweater that you can use while you travel that also serves as a great reminder of a fun leg of your journey is something to plan to do. A beautiful scarf from Peru is Thea’s go-to scarf/wrap/cardigan/blanket on the bus and it reminds her of fun times on the Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu.

First Light at Machu Picchu
First Light at Machu Picchu

For the most part, those looking to pack for an extended journey should look for durable, breathable clothes that allow for layering and semi-presentability. Backpackers are almost always going to look a little bit schleppy (unless they’re also fashion bloggers!)

Keep in mind that the clothes you pack will see a lot more useful than in a normal situation, imagine wearing the same shirt or pants 3 times a week for a year and what they would look like afterwards!  In some cases, you’ll find that an item of clothing just doesn’t work and end up tossing it, but you’ll also find that items can often be repaired very cheaply.  Repairing your gear on the road is way better than buying new and a great way to travel responsibly!

Repairing Hiking Boots while Travelling
The seams on Phil’s hiking boots started to tear and we were able to have them repaired for only a couple dollars in Turkey

Anyways, our plan was to pack “hiking clothes that don’t look completely like hiking clothes” and we already had a lot of hiking clothes already so we opted to bring what we had rather than buy new ones.  Below is what we packed:

RTW Packing List: Clothes for Women:

  • 2X Icebreaker merino wool t-shirts, one crew neck and v-neck. The v-neck is nice enough to pass off in town but both are great for getting many days of wear out of them before no longer passing the sniff test.
  • 1X MEC laneside cotton shorts  These got holes pretty quickly. I had them repaired for $2 in Cuenca but they finally became irredeemably ripped in South Africa. I would buy these next time since they are likely more durable.
Lava Flows on the Beach of Isabela Island
Icebreaker Shirt & Shorts on Galapagos Islands
  • 1X Prana Halle convertible pant: Tough as nails and they go from trail to town easily.
  • 1X Marmot Leah convertible pant (died in the Cordillera Real, not too sad though as I did use them for hiking for a couple years prior to this trip).
  • 2X leggings from Fabletics: I’m pretty sure these are the best leggings around. After 11 months of consistent wear, they only have a few small holes that I was able to repair with a needle and thread. They won’t survive being used for hiking many times over, but have proved tougher than any leggings I’ve ever bought.

Thea in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza

Now, were I to do this again, I would pare things down.  Most of the items where I brought two, I would only take one.  I would focus on the items that are more versatile and that can easily take you from trail to town. I would also keep the socks/underwear/hats/gloves/sunglasses the same and plan to buy some fun t-shirts, sweaters, and/or scarf depending on where I go.

All of these clothes are organized into a set of packing cubes which can double as a pillow and two Knixwear garment bags for the undies and socks.

A set of packing cubes is great for organizing and compressing your clothes while travelling.  It also helps in dealing with the obnoxious tunneling required for a one-compartment backpack. You can just pull out the cube instead of having to tunnel out items separately!

Packing Cubes
Packing Cubes are pretty much essential for packing for an extended trip

RTW Packing List: Clothes for Men:

Wearing a smartwool shirt that was packed on our RTW trip
Smartwool shirts are great for hiking in hot climates (Volcan Misti, Peru)
  • Swimming Trunks
  • Arc’teryx Fleece: I probably could have gotten away with leaving this behind and saved some weight/space in my bag but it’s just so darn comfortable!
  • Arc’terx Atom LT Jacket: Lightweight, compressible, breathable.  This jacket is incredibly versatile and is the perfect mid layer.
  • Marmot Paclite Gortex Rain Jacket: A lightweight and packable Goretex jacket.  Not quite as durable as a Goretex Pro-shell but it’s cheaper and great for both travel and hiking.
  • Buff

 

Zentravellers on the summit of Mt Mateo
Bundled up in our Gortex Jackets at the summit of Mt Mateo in Peru; crampons, ropes, helmets, and thick gloves were easily rented and did not need to be packed.

Shoes for Extended Travel

Hiking Boots
The next thing we pondered (probably more than we needed to) was what shoes to bring on the trip. Since we would be spending so much time hiking we knew for sure our hiking boots were required. We had both purchased new boots last summer and put some kms on them to break them in so bringing them was an easy choice.

Thea’s were the Vasque Breeze III Goretex boots and Philip uses the Keen Targhee II boots. They allow us to hike relatively blister free, they’re supportive, and breathable enough that they don’t smell like a swamp after days of hiking.

 

Hiking Boots and our Backpacks
Hiking Boots and our Backpacks, Ready to Go Explore!

Update. Thea’s boots failed her on the O Trek in Patagonia and gave her blisters that took a month to heal. She replaced them with Salomon Quest 4-D boots which have been great as they provide good stability and don’t leave her feet aching (as much anyway) at the end of a long day hiking.

Running Shoes
For days where we were doing a lot of exploring on foot but hiking boots seem too excessive, running shoes or slip ons are a great second pair of shoes. Here are some examples:

Flip Flops
For grimy hostels, beach days, and warm weather wanderings we both packed a pair of flip flops.

Update: Thea can’t walk around all day in flip flops anymore and they ended up breaking so she bought a pair of used Tevas in Peru.  They did need repairing twice but lasted almost a year until we hiked the Lycian Way in Turkey.

Phil picked up a new pair of flip flops in Senegal for a couple of dollars after his fell out of the bag on a flight.  If you’re packing for a RTW trip or extended travel keep in mind that you can buy flip flops almost anywhere and likely for way less money than you would pay back home.

If you are planning on putting serious miles on your sandals and/or using them as a camp shoe then something sturdier than a flip flop is best.  Thea seriously wishes she had packed her Keen Rose sandals.  They would have been perfect as they are tough, great on the feet for walking long distances, can go in the water and can still pass off in town.

The views while Hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey
Thea’s Teva Sandals disappeared while Hiking the Lycian Way but at least we got some great views!

Electronics

Best Laptops for RTW Travel

We brought our Asus ZenBook which is kind of like a PC version of the MacBook Pro. Its functionality is great as it’s powerful enough for photo editing, lightweight and way more affordable than the Apple counterpart. We sometimes wish we had two of them!

Update! Bringing only one laptop while trying edit photos and maintain a blog on the road was a dumb idea. We bought a Lenovo Yoga 720 during a layover in New York and our marriage was successfully saved!

Philip uses the ZenBook for photo-editing and downloading new shows for us to watch since his processor is more powerful while Thea uses the Yoga for word processing, browsing, and streaming music. It’s a very affordable but high quality, lightweight computer and Thea doesn’t think she can go back to a laptop that doesn’t have a touch screen.

We also brought two 2TB portable external hard drives.  One is a Seagate Backup Plus and the other is a Western Digital My Passport.  Taking photos in RAW means that they have a lot more data with which to edit and finalize the image but they take more space.  Having two hard drives with all of the photos stored separately minimizes the risk of our photos being lost or stolen.  Just thinking about losing all the photos from our trip is a terrifying thought!

Cell Phones

Phil has a dated but affordable Android phone.  It does what it needs to and losing it wouldn’t cause too much upset if it gets forgotten on a taxi seat somewhere in the world. The camera is pretty awful but that’s what we carry our mirrorless cameras for.

Thea uses a Samsung Galaxy S7 unlocked, purchased from Ebay. Overall a great Android phone that’s fast, has an awesome camera, and is water-resistant. Her only complaint is that she loses all wi-fi connectivity when she adds a micro-sd card so she can’t keep extra music on the phone which makes her sad. (She also appears to be the only person on the whole internet with this problem)

Update: The phone lost all wi-fi connectivity in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia which was scary. Luckily we ended up staying in Santa Cruz’s cell-phone repair district so we left the phone with a repair shop and came back to a device with a new lease on life. I believe they removed some of the T-Mobile bloatware it came loaded with and that has made all the difference. The moral of the story is don’t buy an Ebay phone unless you have some Bolivian phone wizard at your disposal who can finally make it work like it is supposed to.

ANYWAYS….the phone you take on a long term trip doesn’t matter too much as long as it works for you.  Whatever you take, make sure that it’s unlocked and is reliable.  If you’re on an extended trip you will not want to pay roaming rates on your plan back home (we cancelled ours).   With an unlocked phone, you can easily pick up a local SIM and data package in whatever country you land in.

E-Readers

We both packed Kobo Aura E-Readers for the trip. Thea’s is a slightly newer generation one since the rainy Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park bricked hers a few years ago. Nothing beats how many books you can store on these things and how they can even be set to download articles from the Pocket app. Fingers crossed they last and don’t meet a similar fate to what happened in Jasper!

Update: Phil’s Kobo went and bricked about a month into the trip.  Thea’s is still going strong one year into the trip.  Hang in there, buddy!

Photography Gear

Cameras

Sony Alpha 5000: While lacking some of the bells and whistles of the Sony A6000, this mirrorless camera can take amazing (award-winning even!) pictures. It is the perfect entry-level camera for anyone looking to step up from the point and shoot game without spending a fortune.

Sony A6000: A bit pricier but an upgrade on the A5000 for its additional features including an external viewfinder, shooting at much faster frames per second, and a bit better dynamic range. This is one of the most popular mirrorless cameras on the market for good reason.  It can produce amazing shots in a tiny camera body and has a wide range of E-mount lenses to use with it.

Milky Way in the Colca Canyon
For such a small camera the A6000 is pretty good!

Were we made of money we would upgrade to the A6500 which has a weatherproof body but the A6000 treated with care has been fine so far. Or if we were even more spendy our dream camera would be the Sony A7RIII but we will have to wait until our finances recover from the trip for that one!

Nikon Coolpix: A tough compact point and shoot: with tons of features, waterproof to 18m, and drop-proof, we thought that this tough little camera would be great to have along when we didn’t want to risk our fancier setups.

Unfortunately, the photo quality is not all that great compared to the other cameras we use so we didn’t use it a lot above ground.  We rarely took it diving since these things are known to brick the second they go even a meter lower than the depth they’re rated to and well, diving is a sport that requires good concentration.

We did take some videos while snorkelling in the Galapagos but it has just been weight in the pack ever since.  After 10 months Thea “accidentally” left it at a nice family’s place they stayed in Egypt.  In hindsight, a GoPro likely would have been handier and more compact.

Lenses

Sony 55-210mm Lens + Olympus 1.7x Teleconverter for wildlife and bird photography. Occasionally for landscapes without the teleconverter.
Sony 35mm f1.8 Lens: Our go to for day to day shots and walking around cities.
Rokinon 12mm f2.0 Lens: Primarily for landscapes and astrophotography.

We wrote a whole post for more detail on the cameras, lenses, and accessories that we find essential for our travel photography.

Humpback whale arching it's tail
Our Telephoto Lens was critical in Antarctica

Water Bottles for Travel

Staying hydrated is important! So is preventing parasites and reducing plastic waste so we both brought one filter water bottle each.

Katadyn BeFree: For when you can’t drink the water and for when we’re thru-hiking. We did end up with pinhole leaks in both of the flasks but the company that makes the flask (HydroPak) sent some replacements to our home in Canada. In the meantime, we’ve successfully repaired the pinhole leaks with Tenacious Tape.

Katadyn BeFree - A filter water bottle is handy for practising responsible travel
Using a filter bottle is way more responsible than constantly using plastic bottles

So far, we love their easy to use filtration and lightweight and portable stature but are a bit disappointed by their tendency to develop small leaks. That said, the leaks are tiny and don’t really disrupt your ability to use it.

Hydroflask 21 ounces Insulated: Thea splurged for one these and has been very happy with it so far. It really does keep cold drinks cold for hours at a time which was especially appreciated when working all day on a hot roof in Puerto Rico.

Conversely, it keeps hot drinks hot for hours, great when you need to quickly grab a coffee and then hop in a vehicle for a tour or catch an early morning bus.  It also doesn’t smash if dropped, and the loop on the cap makes it easier to carry than the similar S’well bottle so we highly recommend it.  Treat yo self!

Hydroflask Bottle - a great gift for hikers
Hydroflask Bottle

Other Round the World Travel Essentials

Some other items that we packed for our trip that came in handy are the following.  Many of these were packed for planned hiking excursions or to reduce our impact on the planet.

  • 2X down backcountry camping pillows
  • Neo-Air Thermarest air mattress for Thea since she gets back pain and can’t sleep on the thin sleeping pads that are typically available for rent
  • 2X Sea to Summit silk sleeping bag liners 
  • 2x Hiking Poles: Thea started with Montem hiking poles but one of them shattered in the Cordillera Real and Montem wouldn’t let us exchange them for the sturdier pair that they sell, so not a ringing endorsement from us.  Phil uses Black Diamond trekking poles that have been going strong for about five years so we’d recommend them for their durability.
  • 2X Titanium sporks for reducing waste and for when we’re hiking
  • 2X Reusable stainless steel straws for reducing waste. In foreign countries it helps to show these straws to the server so they know what you mean, otherwise you’ll just end up getting a stupid plastic straw.  Between these and the sporks, they stash nicely in a handbag or daypack.
  • UE Mobile Bluetooth Speaker: Forgotten in a hotel on the Galapagos Islands and not replaced. A phone in a cup works as a cheap analog solution.
    2X Enso silicone wedding rings: Because we don’t want to lose the real thing! The male one is thicker and stronger but the female version is very dainty and broke.  It was replaced with a sweet moonstone ring in Ushuaia.
  • 1X Package Tenacious Tape (Lifesaver!)
  • 1X Sewing kit with needle and thread.
  • Petzle Tikka+ Headlamps: Handy for late night reading, night walks, astrophotography, and can be switched to a red light so that they don’t destroy your night vision. Super long lasting battery life on these too. There are lots of choices for headlamps out there, we recommend buying one from a reputable brand such as Petzle or Black Diamond
  • Aukey Powerbank: for charging on the fly. Ours can recharge a phone from zero about 4 times which has been all we’ve needed on hiking trails.  We’ve both always wondered why battery packs have flashlights but we used it in a lava tunnel in Galapagos so I guess they do come in handy!
Lava tunnels on santa cruz island
The lava tunnels on Santa Cruz Island

Medicine for Travel

We haven’t needed to use all of these but here are the medicines we packed:

  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Altitude sickness medication
  • Antacid tablets
  • Bismuth tablets
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-malarials
  • Antibiotics (ie: Cipro for turista)
  • Thea’s Asthma meds (It has been easy to refill this on the road. I just show people an empty in inhaler and they find me a new one by looking at the drug names. The $50cad price tag hurt in South Africa, but it was only $20 to refill it in Turkey!)
Canoeing in the Ecuador Amazon
Malaria medication was definitely required in the Amazon

We recommend a small, water-resistant and lightweight zippered bag or toiletry bag to store this stuff in. That way you can take the medication on the trail without worrying about it getting ruined in bad weather.

We also have a small first aid kit with bandaids, wraps, etc. and these items can easily be replenished on the road.  We kept some bandaid tape in it as well which worked really well when hiking.  A word of caution, after making it through countless airports around the world the dull, bandage cutting scissors were confiscated in the airport in Senegal so it’s probably a good idea to stash your first aid kit in a checked-bag.

Finally, while not exactly a packed item, we went and got all of our travel vaccinations before leaving.  If you’re planning an extended trip make sure to do this at least three months before departure as some vaccinations may require several injections.

Personal Care Items for Extended Travel

There’s no need to stress about a lot of this stuff since most of it can be found easily on the road, but in the interest of saving money and not being wasteful, we took these along and replaced them as they ran out:

  • Sunscreen & Reef safe sunscreen: Regular sunscreen can be picked up anywhere but do pack a small bottle of reef-safe sunscreen if you plan on doing any snorkelling or scuba diving.
  • Bug spray
  • Hand sanitizer (So critical! Buy a big bottle and pour it into a travel-sized one that you can take with you everywhere).
  • Body Shop Bamboo Hairbrush
  • JR Liggets Solid Shampoo Bar
  • Aveeno hand lotion that works for face and body
  • Toothpaste & Floss
  • 2X Toothbrushes with covers
  • Nail kit, but you could get by with just clippers and nail file

Renting and Buying Equipment while Abroad VS Bringing your Own

Since we ended up doing so many nice hikes, having our own backcountry gear would have been nice to have. It stings a little to have to rent or buy things for our backpacking trips when we know we have a perfectly good tent, sleeping bags, and camp cooking gear at home, but carrying it all with us was not possible.

In most countries, it was fairly straightforward to rent cheap camping gear as it was needed.  For instance, Torres del Paine had somewhat pricey, but great quality gear, there were many outfitters in Huaraz, and Bolivia had a number of outfitters to get you kitted up for hiking the Cordillera Real. When you’re renting gear it’s important to make sure everything works, especially tents and sleeping bags as sometimes the quality is not so great.  Our silk liners, of course, came in especially handy for rental sleeping bags.

 

Rental Tents at Paine Grande Campground in Torres Del Paine
Rental Tents at Paine Grande Campground in Torres Del Paine

In other destinations, we found it difficult to rent camping and hiking equipment.  South Africa, for example, didn’t seem to have a market for rental tents or any kind of camping gear.  The ones that did exist were renting out cheap, poor quality gear for expensive prices.

So for our safari road trip in Kruger National Park, we had to purchase a tent for about $30CAD and that worked out well. Considering the cheapest non-camping option in the park costs $60CAD/night, the tent paid for itself in one night and we were able to spend 7 nights in the park while staying on our budget of $136CAD/day.

It was awkward, but we managed to hold onto that tent (and max out our airline baggage allowances!) and take it to Turkey where we used it for camping along the Lycian Way. While an ultralight backcountry tent definitely would have been preferable, the tent worked out to cost us cents per day since we ended up using it so much.  We eventually left the tent behind at a hotel in Antalya where somebody will hopefully find a continued use for it.

Tent on the Lycian Way at Sunset
This tent held up extremely well for only $30!

Likewise, we had to purchase sleeping bags for the Lycian Way instead of bringing our own. At almost $80 a piece, they seem expensive, but they will be spread out over more than 20 days of hiking so that brings their cost down to a few dollars per day. We brought them to Nepal where we hope to continue to use them, or at least sell them to a Nepalese outfitter to recoup some of our costs.   At any rate, the point is you don’t need to bring everything with you when you leave your home country, many items can be picked up on the way.

That’s our Packing List!

So there you have our exhaustive list! So far there hasn’t been anything that we deeply resent carrying around, nor has there been something we miss immensely, aside from some better shoes, maybe.

Happy packing for active travels, around the world trips, and extended adventures fellow adventurers!  Planning a big trip like this is definitely intimidating so feel free to drop any questions you might have in the comments and we’ll try to help out!

Zentravellers at Fitz Roy, Patagonia
Enjoy your RTW Trip or Extended Travels!
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