The first time I ever when on a long trip over seas, I packed wayyyy to much. Less is more couldn’t be more true when your heading out on a long trip.
Whether your flying or driving will also tell how much to bring. My first big trip alone was to Australia in 2010. I brought a blow dryer, way too many clothes, and a pillow! No pillows okay… don’t travel with a pillow. Or a blow dryer! Business trip, okay, I’ll let it slide. But nobody needs a blowdryer on an adventure trip. While I was there, the wheel on my rolling luggage fell off…because it was too heavy, imagine that. It sucked. Try getting on a bus with a broken rolling luggage, a day pack and a pillow, in the middle of BFE Australia. SMH. I ended up selling my laptop, gave away half of my clothes to some sweet mom in a laundry mat, ditched the pillow, and I was so much happier.
I have been to many more countries since then and I have learned how to pack a lot better than I used to. I wanted to share with you some of the things that I bring with on a road trip. I am heading out on a 4 month trip across the country in my 1998 4Runner named Athena. Ya, she’s the shit. She even has a sweet bed that I built in her. I am a photographer, so gear is my number one and often times takes up the most room. Second, is my camping gear. Can’t live with out it! Third, food and clothes come in a close tie.
The more important camping gear I always bring on a cross country road trip:
- Eureka Midori Solo Tent
- North Face Dolomite Sleeping Bag (Remember there are summer bags and winter bags)
- Therm-a-rest ProLite Sleeping Pad
- GSI Cook Stove
- MSR Pocket Rocket (not what you think)
- Crazy Creek Chair or the Flexlite Macro Chair
- Black Diamond Head Lamp
- Yeti Ice Chest
- Lighter and Matches
- Hydro Flask
- Camera Gear
- Pocket Knife
- First Aid Kit
- Small french press for Coffee
- Twist ties and or Duct Tape – can’t go wrong
Remember, this gear can get pricy. You don’t have to have the top of the line gear, but you get what you pay for. I used to buy Walmart and Academy camping gear, but when I really started to use it a lot, and not just for a fun weekend with friends, I had to start opting for the more expensive gear, because it is built to last. Perfect example, on my first cross country trip in 2014, I went and bought a cheap tent. I took it home and set it up in the back yard and it broke. Right there. First try. You don’t want that to happen when your miles away from civilization. So I went and bought the Midori tent pictured above and it has lasted me years. Solid! Definitely an investment, but worth every penny.
As far as packing clothes, I try and keep it light. I can fit 4 months of clothes in a Medium North Face Duffle . I bring a little bit of everything.
- Always plenty of Undies and Socks
- 2-4 pairs of shorts
- 4-5 shirts
- Long sleeve
- 1-2 Jeans/tights
- A pair of Flip Flops/ Water shoes and a pair of Hiking or Tennis shoes
- Bathing Suit
- Rain Coat
- Small Shampoo and Conditioner
- Dr. Bronner’s Body Soap (safe for camping also)
- Tooth Paste and tooth brush (duh)
- Sewing Kit
- Toilet Paper
- Deet free Bug Spray
Remember that this list is for a long road trip. If you plan on backpacking and traveling in multiple countries, this would be cut way down. When I go to Europe in September, I will bring my North Face Duffel with :
- 2 pants
- 2 shorts
- 3-4 shirts
- Undies and Socks
- 1 swim suit
- Shoes (for me Vans) and Flops
Anything else, you can buy once you get there. I have found over the years that it is more fun to pack really light and if I need anything, I can buy it there. It’s a souvenir that you will actually use and will love later. If you want to bring more, just fight the urge! I still over pack the night before and then I will go through my bags in the morning and take out the things that I know I really won’t need. PLUS, your future self will be so happy that they aren’t lugging around such a heavy bag! Been there…done that!
I hope this helps some people out there! Please feel free to ask any questions or offer feedback on gear you enjoy.