Jens Oliver Meiert

What to Carry When Traveling the World

Post from March 16, 2015 (↻ December 12, 2016), filed under .

The story of my 18 months of travel around the world, including this and other articles, is available as a big but humble e-book: Journey of J.

For my 557-day journey around the world I had prepared thoroughly. Emphasis had been on light luggage, and so I had focused on necessities and gear that didn’t weigh much and, for clothes, could dry quickly.

Here I’ll share some parts of my inventory. Overall I was pleased with how everything turned out; although I dismissed a couple of items I had initially packed, and replaced others during the journey, the core stayed the same. Much of what I carried is still in use, though that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m still waiting for my old household to arrive in Germany.

Start Gear (August 2013)

I’ll let photos do the talking, and at the end discuss the items I consider key.

All stuff backpack.

Figure: Backpack I.

More stuff backpack.

Figure: Backpack II.

All stuff to wear.

Figure: Carry-on.

All stuff to never want to need.

Figure: Emergency backpack (never deployed).

Within a few days of travel I had dropped a handful of items (like these finger exercise things, for example, or that one sweater) but, to be confirmed now, most stayed with me.

End Gear (February 2015)

All stuff clothes.

Figure: Clothes.

All stuff shoes.

Figure: Shoes.

All stuff electronics.

Figure: Electronics.

All stuff cosmetics.

Figure: Cosmetics and such.

All stuff stuff.

Figure: Stuff.

All stuff backpack stuff.

Figure: Backpack.

(Unfortunately I failed to look at the pre-trip photos above before I shot these final ones. Doing so would have made it easier for us to compare.)

The most important thing to note is that the last two months of my travels led me through the winter in South Korea, Japan, and then Europe. I hence transported a little more than before.

Key Items

Obviously I did carry some stuff, and yet not all of it was critical. Let’s have a brief look at what I’ve deemed crucial:

I think that serves for a good idea. I’m keeping the key items as well as the clothes—I long to wear ties again!—together for future trips, all the while being most curious to welcome and then decide on the fate of my emergency backpack. 😊

❧ By the way, compare! See for example someone else’s must-have items for an RTW trip (I disagree by 60%) or, for maximum contrast, what gear you need to climb Mount Everest (I’m just stunned). But, there are many different kinds of trips, they’re our, very individual trips, and it’s on us to carry what we think we need.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a developer (O’Reilly, W3C, ex-Google) and philosopher. He experiments with art and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Amazon. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

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Last update: December 12, 2016.

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