13 Countries, 4 Months & 29,000 Miles in 33 Pounds


I’m pretty sure I’m currently living in a word problem from middle school math. I looked at my itinerary, and given that there are a lot of small aircraft that limit your bags to 15kg. So that’s my lowest common denominator, and all I’m planning on taking.

15kg, or about 33 pounds, or 525 ounces – for four months. Around the world. I’ll be going from surfing on the beach in the Philippines to trekking up to 5400m in the Himalayas, so it’s also running the gamut of clothes and things I need.

Just like math… solve for x. Or the right combo of things to take.

So far so good, but I am planning on having laundry done pretty regularly.

Here’s what’s making the cut:
1. My Backpack
(59 ounces) (running total: 59 ounces)
When I put “backpacking backpack” on my Christmas list, I was pretty sure that was one thing my mother was absolutely not going to buy me. She’s full of surprises – and I found an awesome 65L North Face backpack under the tree. I’m starting to work on referring to it as “home” – as it’s the closest thing I’ll have to a home for those few months.

2. My Laptop
(56 ounces) (running total: 115 ounces)
I can’t go around the world without my trusty MacBook Pro.

3. Laptop Charger
(10.4 ounces) (running total:126 ounces)

4. Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket
(8.2 ounces) (running total:134 ounces)
This is one of my favorite purchases so far for the trip – it’s an amazing, warm, down jacket that packs into its own pocket so it can be a travel pillow. While I’ve got many warm places on the itinerary, I’m always cold so this will be a good layer to have.

5. Running Shoes
(11 ounces) (running total:145 ounces)
I’ll decide whether I need something else out and about. I think my trusty running shoes will be everything I need.

6. North Face Rain Jacket
(11 ounces) (running total:156 ounces)
This will be a good outer layer if needed in the Himalayas, and I’m also traveling through Southeast Asia during the rainy season, so I have no doubt this will get used.

7. Maxi Skirt
(12 ounces) (running total:178 ounces)
For visiting temples anywhere I need to be a little dressier.

8. Lilly Pulitzer Shorts
(8 ounces) (running total:186 ounces)
I know the rest of the world doesn’t wear shorts as much, much less Lilly shorts, but there are too many fun destinations not to take them along!

9. Chacos
(9 ounces) (running total:195 ounces)
I think these will be hugely useful in all sorts of situations.

10. 1/4 Zip Pullover
(6 ounces) (running total:201 ounces)
I live in my 1/4 pullover, plus it’ll be good for layering.

11. Performance/Athletic T-Shirts (x3)
(10 ounces) (running total:211 ounces)

12. Sleeveless Shirts (x2)
(3.2 ounces) (running total:214 ounces)

13. Jeans
(16.3 ounces) (running total:231 ounces)
I decided against specialty “hiking pants” or “travel” pants. I’m going with good old fashioned jeans. And if it’s a problem, I’ll buy some travel pants on the road.

14. Compression Running Pants
(9 ounces) (running total:240 ounces)
These got me through a marathon, they’re great for hiking, travel, etc.

15. Yoga Pants
(10 ounces) (running total:250 ounces)

16. Kindle
(7 ounces) (running total:257 ounces)
So excited to get lots of reading in! (Send me book recommendations?)

17. Flip Flops
(6 ounces) (running total:263 ounces)

18. Button-up Shirt
(8 ounces) (running total:271 ounces)

19. Nike Shorts (x2)
(6.4 ounces) (running total:278 ounces)

20. Cotton Tees (x3)
(9 ounces) (running total:287 ounces)

21. Bikini (x2)
(9 ounces) (running total:296 ounces)

22. Fouta
(14 ounces) (running total:310 ounces)
Clearly, I need my towel:

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat… What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

23. DSLR
(48 ounces) (running total:358 ounces)
I was debating this one, but there’s no going on this kind of trip without my trusty Nikon.

24. Kindle Charger, GoPro Charger & Camera Charger
(7 ounces) (running total:365 ounces)

25. GoPro
(6 ounces) (running total:371 ounces)
I bought a GoPro. I’m ridiculously excited about this purchase.

26. Toiletries
(29 ounces) (running total:400 ounces)
Mom: you still have a 10 ounce limit for the first aid part of this. 🙂

27. Ultralight Daypack
(2.4 ounces) (running total:403 ounces)
This is the coolest thing ever. It packs into this tiny stuff sack inside the bag. This will be perfect for my airplane carry-on for my laptop, etc. It also double as a second dry bag.

28. Water Bladder
(8 ounces) (running total:411 ounces)
This might get cut before I leave. I don’t know that I’ll need one of these before trekking in Nepal, so I might wait and buy it there.

29. Steripen
(5 ounces) (running total:416 ounces)
This is the coolest thing ever! It’s a UV wand you put in water, and it kills all bacteria, microbes, etc.

30. Scarf
(3 ounces) (running total:419 ounces)

31. Water Bottle
(6 ounces) (running total:425 ounces)

32. Sunglasses
(4 ounces) (running total:429 ounces)

33. Cable Knit Fleece Jacket
(21 ounces) (running total:450 ounces)
This is another potential item on the chopping block. I have a good few layers already, but I also do love my fleece…

34. Socks & Undies
(11 ounces) (running total:461 ounces)

35. GoPro Accessories
(22 ounces) (running total:483 ounces)
Tripod, camera float, etc.

36. Portable Hard Drive
(6.4 ounces) (running total:491 ounces)
I decided that a trip like this deserves a backup. 2TB, 6.4 ounces, fair trade.

37. Packing Cubes & Dry Bag
(7 ounces) (running total:498 ounces)

38. iPhone & Charger
(5 ounces) (running total:503 ounces)

39. Travel Power Strip/Adapter
(9 ounces) (running total:512 ounces)
My brother got me this for Christmas and it’s amazing! It’s got two outlets, two USB ports, and a Kindle charger cord on the side. It’s also got slide in/slide out adapters for around the world.

40. Passport and Wallet
(3 ounces) (running total:515 ounces)
Can’t leave home without it!


So there you have it. With about 10 ounces to spare (and to account for poor estimates), that’s the list. We’ll see what actually makes it around the world with me!

Now, what did I forget?

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