Packing For Long-term Travel: His/Her Top Six

Last year we put a spotlight on six odd items we were packing for our round-the-world trip. Now that we’ve been on the road for eight months, we have a pretty solid idea of what is useful (i.e.: the things we kept) and what had to go (and did!). To keep to the theme of short and simple, we each highlight six items we can’t imagine having traveled without. One common theme you’ll notice – and that we stress the importance of – is that most of the items have multiple functions. And this is true for other things we packed as well (even the souvenir we bought in Malawi!).


1. Moroccan Scarf

Early in our trip, I got the idea that I wanted a scarf, but it was not until Morocco that I seriously started looking for one. Out of all the items picked up along the way, this has definitely been the best return for the money. Considering we have had many desert excursions, with a few sandstorms thrown in for good measure, this scarf has been a lifesaver. Currently, it aids in my ability to breathe in India.

Mike's Moroccan Scarf

Mike’s Moroccan scarf.

2. Universal Travel-sized Power Strip

Compact, but offering three U.S. outlets in addition to a USB outlet, this is a great charging unit. Most importantly, it is dual voltage compatible so all you need is a plug adaptor for use overseas. It is hands down one of the most important items in our bag. (As we suspected it would become!)

3. Kodak PlaySport Zx3

There are a lot of things to like about this tiny video camera. Price, size and durability; while quality is not listed, that is only because the camera has trouble shooting when panning quickly or capturing objects moving fast. The Zx3 does capture in 1920 × 1080, so I have tempered my shooting style to accommodate these technical limitations. And considering the hellish conditions we have put the camera through, it is sturdy (and water resistant) and rarely has problems.

Kodak PlaySport Video Camera

Kodak PlaySport video camera.

4. Day backpack

This originally came with Tara’s large REI backpack. It also has a variety of pockets and storage compartments and works well – both in the amount of stuff it can hold and its relative small size – when we want to venture out during the day without being too weighed down.

5. Silk sheet

Sometimes you just do not have a choice of the sheets or covers of where you will sleep (e.g.: hostels, overnight trains, etc.), but when temperatures force you to get under blankets, this silk sheet comes in handy. It is a great buffer between you and communal sheets and pillows. It is also easy to wash and wraps up to the size of two decks of playing cards.

Mike's Silk Sheet

Mike in his silk sheet


6. Silk boxer shorts

I am a boxer man, and so my purchase of the ExOfficio quick-dry briefs (though Tara loves her ExOfficio merch!) was a huge mistake. My silk boxers continue to be one of the best pieces of clothing in my pack. They are unmatched in terms of washing and drying quickly. Since we limit the amount of clothes we carry, I cannot stress the importance of having clothes that quickly dry in any condition (whether it is humid, cold or other).

Mike’s highly recommended: Duct tape
Although, we have used duct tape sparingly, it has stood up in the times we have needed it (fixing a hole in our tent in Africa, patching a hole in my backpack’s rain cover, repairing the holders for our various decks of cards). Sadly, the adhesive does not work so well on people’s mouths.

Duct-taped Playing Cards

Our duct-taped playing cards.

Check out Tara’s top six, as well as six other items we pick up along the way!



9 responses to “Packing For Long-term Travel: His/Her Top Six

  1. We have the silk sleeping sheets too and you are more than right, they are super handy, easy to wash and can be piratically used everywhere, really can’t do without. Ours are also treated to be resistant to mosquito and bed bugs 🙂

    • It is important to get the 100% silk version though, I think it is far more durable and dries faster than the silk/cotton blends. Do you have a certain brand of repellent that you use?

        • You can buy that stuff in a spray bottle. The chemical is called permethrin. That way you can buy whatever clothing or gear you want and turn it into insect-repelling gear, plus refresh old stuff. You need lots of ventilation when applying it, though.

  2. Someone else mentioned treating their Silk Sleeping liner, just be careful with the treating, Its great in moderation. We used for years to treat our Military clothes and camping gear. if its to strong can cause rashes.
    The Scarf also doubles as a pillow, simply wrap up some clothes in it.
    I have a very similar top 6 so I have to say great list.

  3. Pingback: Happy New Year! | 195days0fsummer

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