The Gear of Life Nomadic

To say that we packed light is an understatement. We packed super light. Someone recently told me a saying that stuck in my mind.

“No one ever wishes they packed heavier.”

So true. With fewer baggage comes more freedom, and that’s exactly what we’re after. Still, when Todd suggested that we take only a small backpack each, I thought he was crazy.

As we whittled down the list of stuff we’d need, though, it started to seem more and more possible.

As many of you know, Todd and I are obsessive about purchasing things online. We research every last item and figure out what the absolute best is. I’m not kidding either… from our socks to flashlights to clotheslines, we have the lightest and best stuff available.

Lots of the stuff we found ourselves, but we also got some inspiration from Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly.

So, without further ado, here is our final packing list.

The tiny backpack we settled on is the Deuter Futura 28.

Deuter Futura 28 Backpack

I can’t possibly say enough good things about this backpack. First of all, it’s TINY. It’s 28 liters (1700 cubic inches). To put that in perspective, the ubiquitous L.L. Bean backpack that EVERYONE in the northeast uses at school is 2250 cubic inches.

The pack uses a compact lightweight spring steel suspension to keep it off your back so that you can carry it around and not get all sweaty. It also makes it so that the weight rests at your hips, where it should rest. Fully laden it’s not a big deal to carry this pack around everywhere we go.

The pack has an integrated rainfly that unzips from the bottom. Last year we got stuck in the rain in Japan and EVERYTHING got soaked. A lot of our purchases, as you’ll notice, were influenced by that experience. We’re now totally rainproof.

The pack has openings at the bottom and top and a zipper inside that can divide the main compartment into two. This is very convenient because you can store weather gear (jackets and rain gear) in the bottom part but not mess up all of your packing.

Or, at least, it makes the pack max-versatile.

The pack also has an area to put a water reservoir, but I use it to hold my laptop, which fits perfectly.

What happens when we want to sleep on a train but don’t want our stuff stolen? Or what if we’re at a beach and want to lock up our clothes and shoes?

Pacsafe 55

The Pacsafe 55 Exomesh weighs only a pound and folds up small enough to fit in one of the mesh side pockets of the pack.

When deployed, it covers the whole pack with a steel cable mesh that makes it impossible to cut the bag to get items out, and makes it impossible to get large items through (although smaller things like phones could go through).


For locks we decided on Pelilocks, the locks made by the manufacturers of Pelican cases. We use them to lock the zippers shut so that even small items can’t be stolen.

(Ok… we actually didn’t order them in time, so we have to use crappy locks for now, but when we hit LA we will get these in)

The Pelilocks are four digits, which means that if we go swimming for half an hour, someone can’t just try all of the combinations. They don’t use keys, which are just one more thing to keep track of.

We prefer the non TSA approved ones because 1) we never check our luggage and 2) if the TSA can get in, who else can get in? Thieves!

Ex officio lightweight underwear

For underwear we went with Ex Officio underwear (credit to Doug and Tim Ferriss). We went with briefs because they’re smaller and the boxers seem to have really long legs.

These bad boys are awesome. We only brought two pair each, so we wear the used pair into the shower, wash them with shampoo or soap, and then wear the clean pair afterwards.

I should take a moment and just clarify – we do not shower together. We love the ladies. Also, Todd insists that I mention that he got the grey ones with the black waistband, which he claims look like batman’s underwear.

Smartwool adrenaline socks

For socks, you can’t beat Smartwool Adrenaline Micro socks. They are extremely comfy, totally breathable, and keep you warm in the cold. Like all wool products, they can absorb 1/3 of their weight in water and still feel dry. In other words, when you put them on after swimming, they’re not gross like cotton socks.

I brought two pairs of these, and Todd brought four. I wear sandals a lot.

Rainbow Hemp Double Stack Sandals

I bought Rainbow double stack hemp sandals. Hemp doesn’t start to smell bad like leather or rubber and is very durable. Rainbow is well known for making the best quality sandals in the world.

Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR

For shoes I chose the Salomon XA Pro XCR shoe. Todd got some North Face Ultra 103 shoes that are also made with Gore Tex XCR.

Having XCR in your shoes is important because you can walk all day in the rain and through puddles and still be comfortable. In fact, I can stand in three inches of water and not feel a drop.

The Salomons are trail running shoes, so they’re appropriate for hiking trails as well as running for crossfit on the streets. They’re very comfortable and come with great orthopedic inserts.

I brought a few different shirts, none of which are made out of cotton. Cotton is soft, but is inferior in every other way to other textiles.

Icebreaker 150 Bodyfit

My absolute FAVORITE shirt is a black t-shirt made by icebreaker. It’s 100% merino wool, which sounds hot and scratchy, but isn’t at all. It wicks sweat when I’m warm, insulates when I’m cold and… NEVER SMELLS AT ALL.


You can see me wearing it in the crossfit video. After the workout I smelled TERRIBLE. I had taken a shower the night before because I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to take one in the morning.

Todd finished the workout first so I had to wait for him to take his shower while my shirt marinated in sweat.

I put it on the counter in the bathroom and took my shower. Afterwards I gave the shirt a VERY thorough smell test. Not a single trace of odor. It’s amazing. My capilene shirt, on the other hand, smells terrible after one workout and stays that way until I wash it.

For those interested, the shirt is made from the 150 weight fabric. I plan on getting two more icebreakers in LA and getting rid of my capilene shirt.

Cloudveil Cool Convertible Pants

I brought only ONE pair of pants! They’re the Cloudveil Cool Convertible pants in dark grey.

They’re very comfortable and have a perfect fit. Slim enough to look decent, but roomy enough to be active.

They can be zipped off above the knee to turn into very good looking shorts (probably the best looking shorts I’ve ever owned).

On the thigh are low profile pockets with tiny squares of velcro to hold them closed (this is important because large swaths of velcro would be loud to open). The pockets are sized perfectly to hold a passport, and I usually use one to hold keys so that they don’t scratch my gear.

They’re made of brushed nylon, which looks a bit like finely woven canvas. They don’t look like those nylon track pants people wear. Like the rest of the gear they dry very quickly, so they can also be used as a bathing suit. Perfect.

I’ve heard stories of people falling off motorcycles and not ripping the pants. They’re incredibly durable.

Todd’s pants, which are similar but have different pockets (LAME pockets, if you ask me) are called North Face Paramount convertible pants.

Oh, and of course I brought my hat. Not fuctional at all, but I love it.

Arc'teryx wool hat

I also brought an Arc’teryx wool hat. I love wool so much that I bought enough stuff to cover myself head to toe in it for when it’s cold.

Smartwool Long Underwear

That includes wool long underwear. I bought Terramar, but the fit isn’t very good on them. Todd bought some by Smartwool midweight bottoms and he says they’re excellent.

Arc'Teryx Delta SV Fleece Jacket

We both brought fleece jackets. I have an Arc’teryx Delta SV, which uses the thickest fleece available. It’s VERY warm, but not stifling if it’s only moderately cold out. This is by far the biggest item I have in my pack, but we’ll be climbing Mount Fuji in the off season so I’ll need it.

I also brought a Smartwool zip T, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the extra space. The fleece is warm enough, so I may ditch this in LA.

Mountain Hardwear Aiguille

Mountain Hardwear Typhoon

For the rain I have Mountain Hardwear Typhoon pants and a Mountain Hardwear Aguille hard shell. Both are made of Gore Tex Paclite (the thinnest, lightest, and most breathable Gore Tex available) and reinforced with XCR in the knees and elbows.

Todd lost his Aiguille so he got the GoLite Phantom. It isn’t reinforced with XCR so it weights less (13oz vs 16oz) but still has all of the important features.

The rain gear is also windproof and folds down very small. Wearing my rain gear and shoes, I could easily stand outside for an hour and be perfectly dry when I took off the stuff.

Seal Skinz Gloves

I have Sealskinz gloves, but I’m not totally happy with them. They don’t insulate much and it appears that SOME water still gets in. Still, if it rains and is chilly, I’ll wear them.

Maui Jim Sunglasses

Todd brought his signature Ray-Ban glasses and I bought some Maui Jim Titanium Sport glasses. I was very much against Maui Jim at first because they have a terrible name and a terrible logo.

However, reason won out. They use spring steel instead of hinges, so I don’t have to worry about breaking them or the screws loosening. The glasses are so light that I just now realized I’ve had mine in my thigh pocket all day. Probably under an ounce.

They’re polarized, which I initially thought was a gimmick, but later realized is very effective at cutting down glare.

Let’s talk toiletries.

Dr Bronner's Miracle Soap

I use Dr. Bronners Miracle soap. It works for shampoo as well as soap, and does a great job washing clothes. Because of draconian TSA rules, I took only three ounces. Todd uses Neutrogena Rain Bath which I used to use on his recommendation also. It’s excellent, but can’t double as shampoo.

Merkur Vision Razor

I’m obsessed with shaving, so I have a Merkur Vision razor, Truffit and Hill shaving cream, and an awesome DOVO travel shaving brush.

We brought little packets of Woolite to wash clothes in the sink and a flexoline clothes line to dry them. It’s made of braided surgical tubing so you can tuck socks into the braids and thus avoid clothespins.

I have an Eagle Creek dopp kit. It’s a bit big, but it gets the job done perfectly. I may consider getting a smaller one. Todd has a mammoth one that he’s ditching for a smaller one.

Ok, on to the technology.

X61 Tablet PC

Todd and I both have Lenovo X61 tablet laptops. This is probably the most versatile small laptop available today. I won’t bore you with all of the specs, but they have very high resolution screens (1400×1050) for their size, which makes working on them a pleasure.

They only weigh four pounds each with extra capacity batteries.

The screen is a tablet screen, so I can use the stylus that stores beneath the keyboard to sign faxes or fill out forms. This makes it totally unnecessary for me to ever print and scan things.

Because they’re thinkpads they’re very durable (I’ve dropped mine several times), and they are one of the few remaining laptops to have eraser point pointing devices. I like these SO much more than those terrible touchpads.

For phones, we both got Nokias. They work in pretty much every country, and can also make calls over Wifi for free using VOIP.

Nokia E90 Phone

I got the Nokia E90 which has a huge screen inside for web browsing and a built in GPS. Todd got the Nokia E61i which is smaller and has much better battery life, but doesn’t have GPS or a big screen.

There’s a lot of great software for the phone including maps of the entire world, dictionaries for different languages, e-mail clients, and games for the plane ride.

Creative ZEN

We got Creative ZEN media players. I personally hate iPods, particularly those insipid touch wheels, so they weren’t options (although the new screens are excellent).

The ZEN is very small, comes in capacities up to 32gb (I didn’t realize that and bought the 16gb), and has great battery life. I can get over 24 hours of CONSTANT playback on a single charge. They come with tiny USB chargers that take up no space, and are also used to copy files over.

They also have SD card slots which makes it very convenient to expand their capacity.

I loaded mine up with gangsta rap, classical music, teaching company lectures, and language tapes.

Etymotic ER-4S

To listen to the music we both use Etymotic headphones. Forget that gimmicky Bose noise cancelling nonsense. Etymotics block out significantly more noise and don’t need batteries. I have the ER-4S, but would recommend buying the ER-4P model instead.

I brought a headphone amp called the SuperMacro IV, built by a rocket scientist named Xin Feng ( I was going to leave it at home, but I had the extra space. It makes everything sound much better and is particularly useful to produce enough sound to split headphones.

Suunto X9mi

Our watches are also noteworthy. We got Suunto X9mi watches, which are the military versions of the Suunto X9i.

The key feature is an integrated GPS, which is useful for finding our way home or for tracking how far we’re running during a workout. Beats being stuck on a track.

The watch also has a compass, thermometer, barometer, altimeter, dual time, stopwatch, and everything else you’d expect. I’ve used each of the features several times and have found the compass to be invaluable.

Arc AAA-P Flashlight

Even our flashlights are amazing. We purchased Arc-AAA Premium flashlights which are blindingly bright, tiny, and run off of a single AAA battery. This is important because most high end flashlights use expensive and hard to find (in foreign countries) lithium batteries. A single AAA gives around 5 hours of intensely bright light and a few hours of dim light.

For comparison, they’re probably around the same size as a AAA maglight, but at least 8-10 times as bright.

Did I mention that they’re waterproof enough to SCUBA dive with?!

Epson R-D1s

The crown jewel of my technological treasure chest is my camera, an Epson R-D1s Digital Rangefinder.

Obviously I wanted to take pictures on the trip, but I wasn’t content to settle for a point and shoot. I’ll be visiting a lot of places for the first time and seeing a lot of amazing things.

Still, SLR cameras are too big, heavy, and conspicuous to carry everywhere.

Finally I found the solution, a digital rangefinder camera. I won’t get into technical details, but it uses the same sensor as high end SLR cameras (that’s what determines picture quality), it uses real pro lenses, but the focusing mechanism is much smaller than an SLR.

The result? A camera much smaller than any digital SLR camera, but the same amazing quality.

There are only two digital rangefinders, the Leica M8 and the Epson R-D1s. Both are very well respected and used by professional photographers. The Leica produces higher megapixel images but it costs twice as much.

One really cool thing about the Epson is that it looks like a manual camera. It even has a winding lever to cock the shutter. The screen flips around to conceal it self. Very inconspicuous.

GZ-HD7 HD Video Camera

Todd bought a killer video camera, the JVC GZ-HD7. It’s very small and weighs about the same as my camera. It produces a jaw dropping full 1080i HD picture.

Unlike most comparable cameras, it has 3 CCDs, so it has excellent color reproduction. Video is stored on an internal 60gb drive which makes it simple to transfer to the laptop for editing.

We still haven’t figure out how we’re going to save all of our footage, but at the end of the year we’ll make a full HD movie about our trip. Until then, it’s youtube clips all the way.

APC INPA Charger

Other than a few miscellaneous chargers, I think that pretty much covers our equipment. We didn’t need it for Panama, but once we got LA we’ll buy the APC INPA plug adapter. It’s super compact and works in every country – head and shoulders above the competitors.

I really can’t stress enough how totally awesome all of this stuff is. We’ve been researching it fanatically for months now, and if it made the cut you can bet that it’s the best in the land…






64 responses to “The Gear of Life Nomadic”

  1. Matt Avatar

    Holy crap. You have no idea how much time you just saved me.

  2. Tracy Avatar

    THIS is the BEST list I have seen!!!! OMG!!! What a great job you guys!!!!

    And it’s all you REALLY need too!

    Great stuff.

  3. Joe Avatar

    If you have a mail drop (parents, whatever) where you can mail things to, you guys can purchase a usb hard drive enclosure (the 2.5 inch types, so you dont have to bother with clunky power supplies) and just purchase laptop (2.5in) hard drives as storage and then ship the full ones to the mail drop. Or you can go with DVD-Rs, but that gets tedious fast ๐Ÿ™ .

  4. Joe Avatar

    Oh yeah, make sure you get a proper power __convertor__. El-plano adaptors can be just plug adaptors and not convert the power properly, frying your equipment.

  5. Kerry Avatar

    Wowzers. This is really neat.

    I like the pants.

  6. Donovan Avatar

    Nice Camera!!

  7. Andrew Avatar

    wow, incredible. Are you going to buy more clothes once you have a place? How is apartment hunting going?


  8. Alex Shalman Avatar
    Alex Shalman

    Some of these gear is incredibly useful, even if you aren’t a life nomadic. Submitted it to stumble and digg.

  9. Magnus Avatar

    “We only brought two pair(s of underwear) each, so we wear the used pair into the shower, wash them with shampoo or soap, and then wear the clean pair afterwards.”

    That is so, so wrong.

  10. Joe Avatar

    So this cost you guys about $5’200 in total for all that stuff per person (Except the rangefinder). Damn, those backpacks must be worth more than their weight in gold!

  11. admin Avatar

    A few comments :

    Nope, no need to buy more clothes. Wool shirts can be worn for a long time because they don’t smell bad. The prototype for the icebreaker shirt was worn by an explorer for 43 days straight!

    The pants can also be worn indefinitely because they never smell bad. If I spill something on them, I just wash the spot by hand and they dry within minutes. We do our laundry in the sink with woolite and a dry with a flexoline clothesline. I also brought a big sink stopper in case we stay somewhere without one.

    Elai: We’re pretty intense deal hunters, so I’d guess we spent a bit less than that, but that’s probably close. I justified some marginal purchases (like the ZEN) by thinking about how I won’t buy anything else this year.

    We got an apartment… pictures are up, and I’ll have a story about it up on Tuesday.


  12. Todd Avatar

    Elai, fortunately our gear can handle any power source we’d ever encounter. Have a look at your laptop power supply next time you think of it — 100-240V! Another benefit of increasing globalization.

    Mailing hard drives would be nice, but it’s one more thing to carry, it’s a little cost prohibitive, and losing one in the mail would be bad news.

    For now I’m going to be uploading footage to Amazon S3. It’s relatively cheap, as fast as any other online storage server, and redundant. I’ll post about this later. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Doug Avatar

    Hat tip to Hoy on the Ex Officios. I only knew about ’em because he got me a pair.

    Also, loved the usage of “max-versatile”!

  14. Hayden Avatar

    Put some affiliate links so that we can buy this stuff. Lots of people are going to read this blog post and it’s annoying having to copy/paste everything at (Plus you make money!)


  15. Alex Shalman Avatar
    Alex Shalman

    Hayden, I think that’s a great idea. If my calculations are correct this website is soon going to become well known, and a huge hit. Might as well make a profit from taking all this time to write and share.

  16. Joe Avatar

    Todd: Why dont you use that sendspace website you’ve been running? S3 looks really expensive compaired to some plain hosting package. ($150/month just to keep a TB of data!) And I thought internet connections were too crappy for some of the places your going to do what you were thinking.

  17. DHS Avatar

    Todd! Thanks for including me in your mailing. I’ve read everything so far and I hope to keep up with you guys and the grand adventure! God be with you! From B-town, Diane (and Don who is golfing!)

  18. Todd Avatar

    Elai, Sendshack is great for sending smaller files but isn’t intended to be a video repository, nor is it currently permanent storage. Upcoming premium accounts will be permanent, but that’s not yet in place.

    $150 a month is more than I’d like to pay, but it’s worth it to not have to carry anything around and know that my video is stored in multiple redundant facilities. Plus it’ll be a while before I hit a TB.

  19. Antonio Avatar

    I hope you realize, you shouldn’t use the plug adapter with electronics… I bought a KitchenAid blender on american ebay, had it shipped to europe, and when I plugged it with a plug adapter the whole thing started burning…

  20. David Avatar

    Great article! I am fascinated by the concept of light packing, and its cool to see how far people can take it. It’s such on odd concept to many people though. I’ve had people express surprise that I can go on a 5 day trip with just my carry-on bag, and they don’t believe me when I tell them people travel the world using less! One question, though, since your clothing is all high tech, yet non fashionable, do you have any trouble getting into nightlife hotspots? It would be a shame to have to stay in at night because your only pair of pants are nylon.

  21. Joe Avatar

    Awesome post. I will recheck when I plan my vagabonding trip.

    Do you subscribe to Tim Ferriss’s settling fund? $200-$300 to settle when you find a place. This method prevent people from overpacking.

  22. admin Avatar

    Joe / David,

    I sort of subscribe to the settling fund thing. On one hand – I have packed with self sufficiency in mind. I don’t buy any more regular clothes, for example. I just keep wearing and washing the ones I have.

    At the same time, Life Nomadic is my *life*, not a vacation. If I need something, I’ll buy it. For example, I bought new sheets for the bed I sleep in. $29.

    I don’t have much interest in the nightlife (other than a very keen interest in the karaoke), but I’d have no problem buying some pants and shoes if I had to.

    At the same time, I know I’m not taking anything with me, so I won’t buy anything very expensive. $200-300 sounds a bit high, unless you’re counting groceries.

    Antonio: All of my chargers (there are only 3) are rated for 110-240v, so I only need the plug adapter.


  23. Brandon Avatar

    Coincidence #1

    I was perusing this blog post and began to steep a bag of my favorite herbal tea, Yogi’s Chai Redbush and looked down to find a great quote printed on the paper piece stapled to the tea string.

    “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.”


  24. washburne Avatar


    I know what you’re getting also when you’re in LA:

  25. admin Avatar

    I would NEVER buy that Apple thing. I haven’t yet found a piece of Apple hardwear that I like (except maybe the Newton back in the day). I do very much like OS X, but not enough to use such a piece of garbage.

    My laptop has a 12″ screen. Its resolution is 1400×1050
    Apple Air is 13.3″ with only 1280×800.

    My SMALLER screen has 50% more pixels. Having a high resolution is key for productivity and it also makes videos and images look much better.

    I HATE those touchpads. They’re easier to use initially, but if you spend the time a eraser point is MUCH better for long term use. I prefer the eraserpoint to even regular mice. I’ve used touchpads and eraserpoints extensively, and there’s just no comparison.

    I know it can do multitouch, but I consider that to be totally useless.

    One USB port? No microphone input?

    In my opinion, that laptop is a toy. The design is beautiful and the operating system is great, but it can’t compare to a Thinkpad, which is the most functional laptop available.

  26. washburne Avatar

    I used to have a ThinkPad and some of my friends still do (IT student), but I got totally converted to an Apple-Fanatic. I am just so much more productive when I use it compared to the Windows/Linux systems I had before.

    What do you need ports for? Everything has bluetooth nowadays. You can connect a whole city block using bluetooth. I think they cut off the right pieces – big screen, big keyboard, that’s what is important to me. Also it took me a while to get used to the tiny resolutions. 1400×1050 on 12″? Goodbye, eyes!

    You’re happy with your ThinkPads, that’s what counts ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I’m a huge fan of you and your tour thingy. This is a dream of mine that I’ll hopefully live in two years, after my study is done.

    Have fun!

    PS: I want to marry Steve Jobs

  27. countzero Avatar

    Great list of quality gear. Too bad you abandoned that bestintheland blog or whatever it was called. These are gonna come in handy when I move abroad this year.

    About the phones, I believe you should check HTC. I love their keyboards and overall features.

  28. Don Avatar

    Tynan. Just a quick recommendation on long underwear. I recommend silk over wool. Silk will keep you warm, and the ones I bought for snow skiing fit perfect.

  29. Alex Shalman Avatar
    Alex Shalman

    I’m thinking it’s not worth it to get a tablet. You can just keep a copy of your signature on file, and paste it into forms. The rest of the form you can type on. I hear tablets are generally much slower than other PCs due to the windows version that they use. What do you think?

  30. Will Avatar

    Could you guys put up a video of yourselves taking the stuff out and/or putting all the stuff in your backpack? It sounds like a lot of stuff when you list it, so I’m just curious how it fits in and how accessible it is.

    Great list btw!

  31. Joe Avatar

    You guys should totally geotag your photos and make an awesome photo/video map. You just have the nokia GPS track your location every 15 seconds and use something like RoboGeo to auto-geotag your photos & videos afterwards. It would be awesome!

  32. Hawt Avatar

    This is such a great post, you should definitely make some individual articles on these items for BestInTheLand (still my favorite site of yours), that way you can add places to buy the items and such, which would be helpful becase I can’t find the shoes anywhere in that color. I can only find an ugly “moss” color and a less-ugly olive/black color.

    I am definitely bookmarking this page for when I go on my round the world trip next summer.

  33. admin Avatar

    Hawt: You’re right. I’ll start up BITL this week. I’m sick of people telling me it was my best site. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Will: We’ll do that at some point. Right now we don’t have enough RAM to properly work with video. 4GB is en route, though.

    Alex: For me it’s worth it. Tablets are the only 12″ 1400×1050 screens. This is SUPER important for me. I want the highest res on the smallest screen. So even if I didn’t ever use the tablet, I’d still buy it (like Todd).

    The tablets do come in slower processors, 1.83ghz vs 2.33 or so, but the OS is fine. You can actually just install regular XP (I’ve disabled all of the handwriting junk).

    I use the tablet enough to justify it anyway. I do a lot of photoshop stuff and it’s good for filling out forms. Actually, one of the best benefits is that you can flip your screen around to show someone something. I read a lot on my laptop too, and it’s pretty cool to be able to hold it like a book.


  34. Eyal Avatar

    I live in Israel. Out here, “going nomad” as you call it (I called it “adventuring”) is a traditional post-army experience, probably half of all Israelis will do it. Popular destinations include South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Basically anywhere that isn’t yet too expensive, as a recently soldier hasn’t saved up much money at all!

    My trip was relatively short, almost 6 months. My backpack was larger, but then again, I had a sleeping bag, mat, tent, and water for when the adventuring when off-road.

    I would’ve left the Zen at home. Think about when you’re listening to it: On the bus/plane? You could be chatting with locals. When you’re bored? Go out and seek adventure. Winding down before bed? If you’re not exhausted by the time you hit the sack, you didn’t try hard enough! But the most important reason is because you can buy a tiny, cheapo radio and listen to what the locals listen. I think that traveling should include absorbing some culture, too. Get a book written by a local author translated to English (or not).

    Safe travels,


  35. Nick Avatar

    Sheesh, I just got my Deuter 32ac and I’m trying to figure out how you guys crammed all that gear into the 28. Care to give any packing instructions?

  36. dan Avatar

    really cool article .. how is the Pacsafe 55 Exomesh working out for you? Still useful?

    My only complaint about the backpack isn’t utilitarian. It’s more “how do you avoid sticking out like a sore thumb?”

    I guess you get two .. one local, and the utilitarian one. When you have to move everything, grin and bear it – you’re a tourist. When you’re just hanging out, carry some cheap local flavor ..

    This is great research.

  37. admin Avatar

    Hey Nick – I’ll video me packing for LA in a couple days. How’s the 32?

    Dan – Thanks… It’s definitely utilitarian, though. Very tough and holds everything we need.

    I haven’t used the Pacsafe yet. I’m beginning to wonder if I took everyone’s “the whole world is so dangerous” warnings too seriously. We’re staying on a little island tomorrow, though, where everyone lives in open huts. I’ll give it a try there.

    Can’t wait to see you out here on the road/air


  38. jan Avatar

    tynan, nice little blog here. i’ve always been interested in how the X61 performs outside when the sun is shining on the screen etc. is it still usable?


  39. admin Avatar

    No, it’s not usable at all in the sun. I was hoping it would be too.


  40. washburne Avatar

    Please show us the video of you guys packing your stuff into the Futura 28 ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m really curious how you got it all in. Sure, it’s a nice pack. But ALL that??


  41. Kieren Avatar

    Could you give some feedback on how your finding the Epson R-D1s?

    I’m considering getting one as a cheaper alternative to the Leica M8.

    Nice photo’s on flickr btw.

  42. admin Avatar

    Washburne: I’ll make a video of packing, possibly today.

    Kieren: I love the Epson. It is a bit fragile, though. The alignment of the viewfinder is now slightly off so I hold the camera at a slightly skewed angle. I guess that’s what happens when it’s in my backpack all day with no case.


  43. Joe Avatar

    Do you just use the prime lens that comes with your camera or did you buy a few extras?

  44. Joe Avatar

    Also, the sigma dp-1 is shipping now. Would you sell your rangefinder and get that one instead next?

  45. admin Avatar

    It came with a Nokton 40mm/1.4 SC, which is what I would buy again.

    I have no interest in the Sigma now that I understand cameras. I would take it over any other point and shoot, but it doesn’t really compare.


  46. pete Avatar

    how do you get the razors past security?

    surely you still need to check some stuff in?

  47. Joe Avatar

    If you look at the TSA website, safety & cartrage razors are specifically exempt. They’re so flimsy anyway.

    I really want to see that packing video too!! Something to do while your on your dvorak keyboard sabbatical.

  48. The Digital Back Avatar
    The Digital Back

    I followed your guys’ lead and got your Deuter backpack as well for my world travels (currently on the itinerary: Philippines, Maui, California, Germany, the rest of europe).

    You can see some photos of me with it on my site

    I am 6 feet tall, so you can see how small the backpack is on me. It is VERY doable though, even in cold-weather climates. Just get ONE jacket when you get there, and wear it all the time.

    If you guys don’t make a packing video soon, I will.

  49. Chad Ernst Avatar
    Chad Ernst

    Hey guys, thanks for the awesomw list. I’m going to europe soon. How are your shoes working for you?

  50. name Avatar

    Why didn’t you guys get a bigger futura that actually sits on your hips. I got one recently, and the pressure going on your lower back isn’t too comfortable when you have heavy loads ๐Ÿ™

  51. person Avatar

    You guys should of gone all merino wool and gotten merino wool briefs, merino wool beanies, merino wool socks, merino wool fleeces, merino wool pants and merino wool backpacks. Merino wool isn’t waterproof although, so you would have to stop at the jackets. You could get some sponsorship by icebreaker or something and totally be marketed all around the world. ๐Ÿ˜€

  52. Nick Avatar

    Sorry to take so long to reply. The Deuter 32 is great. I’m a big guy at 6’3″ and it fits me perfectly. I really like the features, especially the integrated rain fly. The spring steel frame is awesome. Being a big guy, my clothes take up a little more room, hence the bigger pack. Also, I’ll carry a little more weight for thebconvenience of having a few extra creature comforts.

  53. Minchin Web Avatar
    Minchin Web

    I bought a Lenovo X61 about a year ago and have loved it. It works great for taking hand written notes at school, and I absolutely love the small form factor – most other laptops now seem large and unwieldy; I carry mine just about everywhere. Good luck on your adventures!

  54. p Avatar

    hey what did you use to compress your clothes like that? are those just zip lock bags or something else?

  55. gorida Avatar

    Awesome post. Thank you so much for the details. Great job.

  56. bzenny Avatar

    This is crazy shit! You’ll look like rich Americans everywhere you go! And probably get ripped off everywhere and serves you right! Make do, as and when, like the natives! You’re going to live like a tourist, whick isn’t travelling. Still, if you enjoy spending money………….

  57. Alex Shalman Avatar
    Alex Shalman

    I just ordered a flexoline clothes line. I normally just put clothes in the drier, but I just bought a couple of running t-shirts from nike and adidas, and they require line drying.

    I’ll be using this in my backyard, and perhaps on vacations.

  58. john Avatar

    love it guys, i’m quite a nomad meself, but i seem a quite a bit cheaper than what you carry, nice though

  59. AccentJim Avatar

    Just picked up the backpack and the packsafe lockup before heading off to London and Ireland for a little over three weeks – have had a few of the other items. I’m packing less than I ever had before, partially because I’m recovering from a torn rotator cuff due to hefting a heavy pack in Greece last year! I’m carrying a lot less, and I’m not carrying any of my wife’s extras this time. Also taking my 14-year-old son for his first overseas trip – He’s packing minimally, too, so hopefully he always will!

  60. paleopdx Avatar

    I gotta get me a pair of those socks.

  61. Axsd9id Avatar

    nice post … find an indian version of the same type of gear that can survive heavy travelling specially in indian conditions… heres my site

  62. Pablo Stafforini Avatar
    Pablo Stafforini

    All the image URLs are broken

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