As my name – One Man and His Backpack – suggests, my go-to choice of luggage is indeed a backpack.
On this page, I’ll share the details about my current backpack and its cool features. I’ll also tell you exactly what I pack for a typical trip abroad.
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My current backpack
I’m currently using an Osprey Farpoint 40.
My favourite feature about this pack is the front-loading mechanism (as opposed to opening from the top like traditional camping backpacks, or from the back like some modern camera bags or high security packs). In the travel industry, front-loading can also be referred to as U-zip or panel-loading.
What this basically means, is that the Osprey Farpoint 40 opens via large zips around the front of the bag. This provides super easy access to the main compartment – it’s simple to organise, quick to pack and effortless to find something.
Another great quality of the Farpoint 40 is the fact that it conforms to EU cabin baggage dimensions. This one is a true deal-breaker as it allows me to take all my gear onto flights without paying for checked luggage!
At 40 litres capacity, it offers the most amount of space possible whilst still being ergonomically comfortable to carry. So you could actually go on a multi-month backpacking trip with just cabin baggage – I certainly have!
Other awesome features that the Farpoint 40 has:
- Lockable zips – great for keeping your valuables safe
- Padded laptop compartment – protecting your most important bit of kit (although I usually keep my laptop in my daypack, see below)
- Compression straps – keep everything secure when the pack isn’t completely full
- Stowable shoulder straps and waist belt – all the loose straps can be covered by a zipped compartment, great when you want to use it for checked baggage
I also carry another backpack with me whilst travelling – the Osprey Flare 22. I use this as my daypack. Usually I’ll divide all my items between the 2 backpacks to spread the load. However, if required, the Flare 22 can be emptied and flattened to fit inside the Farpoint 40.
The Osprey Flare 22 has loads more useful pockets than the Farpoint 40, making it great for organising all my small accessories and items of technology. It’s also a great size for wandering around town or going hiking with – it can easily fit a sweater, camera, food, water and more.
Personally I love the combination of these 2 backpacks. They work well together and thus far have proven extremely versatile. The only issue I’ve encountered is when wanting to do a multi-day hike, as neither of them are particularly suited for that (insufficient padding and just the wrong sizes – 30L is ideal).
What’s in my backpack?
Here’s a rundown of every single item that I pack for a typical trip. This list varies slightly depending on trip duration and climate conditions, but will largely remain the same.
I’ve broken it down into the following categories: clothes; shoes; accessories; technology; wallet; documents; e-Document; liquids; toiletries and first aid kit.
• T-shirts x 4/5 (2 polyester, 2/3 cotton)
• Long sleeve shirt x 1
• Short sleeve shirt x 1
• Thermal top x 1
• Hoodie/sweater x 1
• Waterproof jacket x 1
• Shorts x 2/3
• Swim shorts x 1
• Thin trousers x 1
• Underwear x 5
• Socks x 7 (5 pairs of ankle socks for everyday use, plus 2 pairs of thicker hiking socks)
Note: This is the MAX amount of clothes that I take travelling with me – I’ll just wash my clothes every week or so. For colder climates I’ll substitute some t-shirts and shorts for extra warm gear.
⸰ Walking boots (lightweight & waterproof)
⸰ Flip flops
Note: I always pack walking boots. Shoes, in particular walking boots, are one of the hardest things to buy and get the correct fit first time. I’d rather carry my boots with me than attempt to buy a new pair whilst in a foreign country. Lightweight boots are both easy to carry and easy to walk in.
• Neck warmer
• Sun cap x 2
• Sunglasses case
• Polishing cloth (for sunglasses & laptop screen)
• Pen & paper
• Rechargeable bicycle light (used as a head torch or flashlight in place of phone)
• TSA approved combination padlock
• Padlock cable
• Wrist strap (for GoPro, phone or similar)
• Travel towel x 2 (1 big, 1 small)
• 10 L dry sack (waterproof bag) [click here for a premium version]
• Laundry bag
Notes: Neck-warmers are very versatile items – I often use them as a makeshift hat, eye mask or sweat band. // I would recommend using a TSA-approved padlock – these are ones that allow security services to open, inspect and re-lock your baggage without damaging it. Look out for the red diamond logo on the padlocks when selecting one. An extension cable is also very useful for securing your luggage on long train or bus journeys – I’ve used mine multiple times. // Only ever take 1 belt with you – there’s no need for more. // Travel towels are the best – they’re super absorbent, quick drying, odour free and pack down really small. I like having 1 big towel for showering and 1 small towel for daily activities like going to the beach. // Dry sacks are useful for keeping your valuables dry. I love the 10 L size as it’s small enough to fit inside my day bag but also big enough to hold all my valuables.
⸰ Laptop charger
⸰ Laptop case/sleeve
⸰ Hard drive (1TB)
⸰ Hard drive cable
⸰ Smartphone charging cable
⸰ Powerbank x 2 (1 pocket sized ~3000mAh and 1 larger 13,000mAh)
⸰ Micro USB cable x 2
⸰ Universal plug adapter
⸰ USB wall plug
⸰ Earphone case
⸰ Camera lenses x 2
⸰ Spare camera batteries x 3
⸰ Camera battery charger
⸰ Micro SD card x 2
⸰ Micro SD card adapter
⸰ Mini Gorillapod
⸰ Tripod phone adapter
Notes: Hard drives are essential for anyone taking lots of photos or videos. I’ve found that WiFi abroad is not always fast enough for backing up to the cloud so a hard drive is the best alternative. 1TB (1024GB) should be sufficient. I like to have a shock resistant hard drive to prevent any file damage from accidental drops/impacts. // A high capacity powerbank comes in useful on long journeys (or in hostels with lack of wall outlets). I also take a smaller powerbank with me to be used as a back-up – often saves carrying the bigger one round all day! // Plug adapters with USB ports are great. But the real winners are the ones with internal mechanisms – I can’t stand anything with lots of loose spare parts! // I take enough spare camera batteries to last a full day of heavy use. // High-speed SD (or micro SD) cards are essential as they prevent lag whilst shooting. Class 10 is sufficient for most people. I use SanDisk Ultra 32gb Class 10 micro SD cards. // A mini Gorrilapod is too weak to hold most cameras but I’ve used it multiple times to position my iPhone for videos or time-lapses.
• Small amount of cash in 2 currencies (usually US dollars & the local currency)
• Debit card(s)
• Credit card(s)
• Identification (driving license)
• Small photo of my female friend (to pretend she’s my girlfriend – useful when foreign men have tried to force their daughters upon me!)
Note: I try to have multiple debit and credit cards but only keep 1 of each in my wallet. I distribute the spares between my backpacks in case of theft or loss.
⸰ Insurance certificate
⸰ Visa (if required)
⸰ Photocopies of passport, visa and driving license
Note: Like with debit & credit cards, I keep the photocopies separate from the real things in case of theft or loss.
e-Document (Google Docs)
• Phone numbers of banks & government office
• Driving license number & validity
• Passport number & validity
• Visa details (number, type, validity)
• Insurance policy number
• Contact number for emergency insurance claims
• Emergency contact numbers of family/friends
• Smartphone IMEI number (in case of theft)
Note: You don’t have to use Google Docs – any reliable cloud based note service will do. But I definitely recommend using an e-Document – it’s so easy and could become very useful!
⸰ Savlon (antiseptic cream)
⸰ Sun cream
⸰ Antibacterial hand gel
⸰ DEET spray (insect repellent)
⸰ Ammonia sting relief pen
Notes: DEET is the active ingredient in insect repellents. However, it can stain clothes and burn your eyes so 100% DEET is overkill – look for sprays with about 50% DEET. // I’ve used my ammonia sting relief pen on jellyfish stings, wasp stings and mosquito bites before- it’s a very useful thing to have!
• Electric beard trimmer
• Beard trimmer charger
• Trimmer cleaning brush
• Nail clippers
• Hair dust (for gents & ladies)
• Dental braces
• Braces holder
• Braces cleaning cup
• Braces cleaning tablets
• Personal medication
Note: Hair dust is unisex. It also cuts down on liquid products such as hairspray, wax or gel – ideal if you’re trying to adhere to carry-on luggage liquid restrictions.
First aid kit
⸰ Plasters x multiple
⸰ Blister plasters x multiple
⸰ Gauze bandage x 1
⸰ Sticky tape
⸰ Elastic compression bandage x 1
⸰ Antiseptic wipes x multiple
⸰ Rehydration sachets x multiple
⸰ Paracetamol tablets x multiple
⸰ Ibuprofen tablets x multiple
⸰ Anti-diarrhoea tablets x multiple
Note: I now carry Imodium instants instead of standard anti-diarrhoea tablets – they’re quicker to work and I’ve found them to be more effective.
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Failed items that I no longer carry
➲ USB-C charging cable – I was hoping to reduce weight by getting rid of my bulky laptop charger and instead using a standard USB-C cable plugged directly into the wall. However, it failed miserably – the laptop maintained charge but didn’t really gain charge. Turns out that the bulky black box (power adapter) has a purpose…
➲ Bluetooth mouse – I prefer using a mouse over a trackpad so bought a Bluetooth mouse (my laptop only has 1 USB-A port which is used for my hard drive, so I couldn’t buy a wired mouse). However, the Bluetooth constantly interfered with my WiFi connection so I abandoned the mouse. Looks like I’m stuck with a trackpad until I get a new laptop…
Top packing tip!
“The key to effective packing is finding clothes to fit your luggage, not luggage to fit your clothes.”
Start by choosing the luggage that you’ll be comfortable with, THEN fill it with whatever you need for your trip. Don’t do it the other way round, otherwise you might gather too many items and need to buy a huge suitcase or rucksack just to fit them all in!
That’s all folks! I hope this page gives you some ideas on what to take for your next backpacking adventure!
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