PRE-TRIP PACK LIST
Amazon is your friend. But a knowledgeable local shop (e.g. Sports Basement) is invaluable. I am an overprepper which is dangerous because a backpackers pack list is never perfect.
The pitfalls of shopping on Amazon are the products often lack ample description as a backpackers space is highly limited. I went through many rounds of purchases and returns to find items that were just right.
The characteristics I was looking for included compactness and utility. For me I started with a Osprey Farpoint 55L. From all my research it seemed like the perfect mix for traveling. After trying it on I felt like a complete dueschbag. It was giant, the detachable backpack protruded like an overgrown turtle shell on my back and a lot of my heavy gear lived in the detachable daypack (i.e. laptop and tech stuff) which is heavy and throws off center of gravity.
So I took it back to Sports Basement and opted for the Osprey Farpoint 40L which wore much better. The shop pro at Sports Basement recommended a great foldable daypack which I thought was brilliant. He recommended the Marmot Kompressor Daypack.
I’m now exactly 2 weeks into my trip and have traveled through Thailand and Cambodia. Looking back on all my pre-trip pack list notes with all its iterations it all boils down to getting these 5 solid items: (1) solid mainpack with a sling, (2) packing cubes, (3) daypack, (4) good tech accessories bag, (5) solid toiletries bag.
The things that will drive a perfectionist crazy are the minutia of individual things to fill those spaces with. In truth now that I’m 2 weeks in I’d say beyond the critical tech pieces which are both expensive and hard to replace in 2nd and 3rd world countries (i.e. Gimball and Drone), most everything else is easily replaceable. The toiletries bag deserves special mention as I was able to find a very compact electric razor which would be tough to live without and frankly takes up as much space as a physical razor & shaving cream.
The things I bought that I havent touched are the survival gear: the emergency mylar sleeping bag, lifestraw, and waterproof pants.
If you’re curious, here is a snapshot of my packlist inventory list (pre trip)
One big question you cannot answer until you arrive and start living abroad is how will you pack during your days in town?
I really didn’t know but as it would turn out I typically leave my mainpack locked in the hostel and pack my trusty daypack which has become my best friend. It always has my Gimball, sometimes my drone, and always my tech pack. Usually I pack a sweater but it’s more for back padding than to be worn. Sometimes I’ll whip it out and use it as a blocker (i.e. dusty roads, blanket to sit on, eyemask).