Monday, February 6, 2012

My RTW Packing List

I've landed in Auckland, New Zealand!

The weather couldn't have been better for the first day of my trip. Auckland greeted me with blue skies and warm sunshine, and I was more than happy to don a dress and flip flops while checking out the city.

But let me back up a bit first. I didn't have time to put together my packing post before I left Seattle, and I want to get it up quickly so I can move on to posting more exciting stuff!


I collected everything I needed for my RTW trip over the course of two months. To determine what I needed to buy, I looked at several other bloggers’ packing lists and noted the items that seemed to pop up again and again. I would have been lost without those lists for reference!

So, here’s my contribution to the collection of RTW packing lists already on the Interwebs. I ended up packing at the last minute — literally, about two hours before I left for the airport — and, miraculously, everything just fit in my pack. (Every smart traveler will tell you to do a test pack first, so don’t be like me.)

My DSLR camera and its bag almost wouldn't fit. The bag is wonderful for hauling the camera around and protecting it, but it’s pretty big. I wound up cramming it in my daypack, and I can carry it separately when I’m not on flights in which I’m trying to pass off the main pack as my carry-on and the daypack as my personal item.

I thought about leaving the DSLR behind and just taking my Canon S95, but… but… my heart wouldn’t let me. Those stunning New Zealand vistas deserve a DSLR.

Without further ado, here’s my complete packing list with photos. I have no clue how much everything weighs since I didn’t have time to weigh it.

Also… I don’t want to know! (Edited to add: As of one month into my trip, my pack weighs 11.7 kg, or just about 26 lbs.)

Note: Since this is a very popular post, I edited it in Sept. 2012 to add further details and notes about the items I brought on my RTW trip, as well as links to where they can be purchased. All links to are affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item using one of those links, my travel fund will grow a tiny bit and I'll be very grateful. Just wanted you to know. : )


Osprey Farpoint 55 pack with detachable daypack
Sea to Summit waterproof compression sacks (XS and L)
Eagle Creek packing cubes (thanks, Mindi!)
Large Hefty plastic zipper bags
Small Ziploc plastic bags
DSLR camera bag


15" MacBook Pro laptop and charger
InCase neoprene laptop case
Western Digital My Passport portable hard drive with USB cable
Belkin mini surge protector with extra outlets
Canon S95 digital camera (not shown) with protective pouch and battery charger
Canon Rebel T2i with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and battery charger
Memory cards (3)
Kindle Keyboard 3G with lighted cover and charger
Outlet converters — Australia/New Zealand and Europe/Asia
Steripen Traveler with AA lithium batteries installed
Energizer Trail Finder headlamp
Samsung Vibrant Android smartphone (unlocked) and charger
Garmin Forerunner 305 and charger


Doxycycline (malaria pills)
Ciprofloxacin (for diarrhea)
Azithromycin (for diarrhea)
Fluconazole (for yeast infections)
Allegra allergy pills
Bug spray with 30% DEET
Antibiotic gel (generic Neosporin)
Muscle gel
Antibiotic wipes
Pepto-Bismol tablets
Multivitamin (not pictured)


Large Sea to Summit DryLite travel towel
Deuter backpack rain cover (I originally bought a Deuter pack, but this cover also fit my Osprey well)
Sink stopper
Silk sleep sack
Point-it dictionary
Carabiners (attached to the outside of my pack)
Pocket mirror
Large Hefty plastic zipper bags
Sewing kit
Portable laundry soap sheets
Ear plugs
Locks (3) — TSA luggage lock, cable lock, combination lock
Safety whistle
Duct tape
Business cards by MOO
Klean Kanteen water bottle

Cross-body zipper purse
Lightweight hat
TrekDek (from the WDS swag bag!)


Body wash
Face lotion with sunscreen
Headbands (3)
Bobby pins
Hair ties
Mini loofah
Wet wipes
Body lotion
Diva Cup — a must-have for female travelers!
Face scrub
Nail clippers


In an extra-small Sea to Summit waterproof compression sack:

ExOfficio underwear (7)
Sports bras (3)
Regular bra (1)
Socks (3 pairs)
Bikinis (2)
CEP compression sleeves (for running)
Sleep shorts

In a large Sea to Summit waterproof compression sack:

North Face convertible pants
Lululemon Groove pants
Champion leggings

Old Navy chino shorts (2)
Brooks running shorts

Old Navy tanks (4)
Lululemon running tank
Old Navy tees (3)

Reversible dress
Forever 21 dress

Lululemon pullover
Lululemon long-sleeved tech shirt

Helly Hanson waterproof shell
North Face fleece hoodie


KEEN Whisper sandals
Flip flops — I started out with cheap Old Navy ones, but bought Havaianas in New Zealand and highly recommend them for comfort and durability!
Tieks foldable ballet flats
Brooks Ghost 4 running shoes


Immunization certificate
Driver’s license
Debit card
Credit card with no foreign transaction fees
Back-up “oh, shit!” credit card
Starbucks gift card (I recently hit a Coinstar!)
New Zealand currency
U.S. currency
Extra passport-sized photos
Eagle Creek travel wallet
Extra copies of important documents
Copies of prescriptions
Folder with printouts of itineraries and confirmations
Notepad, pen, Sharpie (not pictured)

Here's everything all packed in the main pack:

And I packed my laptop, DSLR camera, S95 camera, Kindle, wallet/money and important documents in the daypack, which I kept with me on both flights.

My main pack passed as a carry-on for the Alaska flight from Seattle to Los Angeles, but Air New Zealand made me check it because it exceeded the airline's carry-on weight limit. I'm glad I packed all the valuable items in my daypack! Even so, I locked the main pack, and nothing appeared amiss once I landed in NZ.

I'm still on Day One of traveling, so I'm learning where to keep certain items and how to keep track of things as I move from using my full pack to the daypack to the purse and back again. I have no doubt that I'll learn something new every day!

Aaaand I'm finally starting to feel tired from my big day and night of flying, plus my day walking around Auckland. I have one more day to explore Auckland before I hop on a Stray bus up to the Bay of Islands, and then I'll continue with Stray down through the rest of New Zealand. Time to rest up.

Good night!


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  1. You made it!! Can't wait to hear from you about the greatness of your adventure!

    Hoping the best for you!

  2. Love your wife would love that found room for your Garmin:)

    1. It doesn't take much room! I've only used it once so far, though... : )

  3. I love these packing lists. I'll have to do mine soon as well!

    Have fun in NZ and say Hi to the hobbit folk for me :-)

    1. They're so helpful when you're planning a trip! I believe I'll be visiting the hobbits soon, and today I hiked in the shadow of Mt. Doom. : )

  4. Loved these pictures! You seem so organized! Hope you have a great time in NZ.

    1. I'm glad that I SEEM organized! I collected everything in a big bag over two months and then threw it all together at the last minute. It seemed to work out. : )

  5. Hi Devon-

    I just found our blog and I'm adding it to my reader. I love your story and I can't wait to follow it. Good luck on your trip!

  6. Good girl!!! I recognize those pants. Lol.

    1. Yes, I love the pants! Thanks so much for the rec. I bought the gray and the navy, but only brought the gray with me. I figure that I'll ruin the gray ones as I travel, and then I can switch them out for the navy at some point. They're so comfy!

  7. This is awesome. I'm going to be freaking out when I leave for my trip, so this will be super helpful when it comes to packing for it! Thanks for sharing - makes it seem very doable :) Great job!

    1. I'm glad it's helpful! I found that the IDEA of packing was much more stressful than the packing itself. It actually went a lot faster and more smoothly than I had imagined.

  8. I'm in the process of planning and I've read quite a few blogs and seen many packing lists. Yours seems to be the best so far. I think I'll use it as my guide and adjust a few little things to suit my needs. Thanks for posting.

  9. I noticed you don't have sunscreen on your list. Just a tip, when you get down to Australia, make sure to buy some good SPF 30 or 40 sunscreen. Take it from an Aussie, face lotion with sunscreen in it is just not going to cut it here ;-)

    Enjoy your travels!

    1. Trust me, I've gone through tons of sunscreen in New Zealand already! I didn't bring any because I'd only be able to fit a tiny bottle in my carry-on. I've been buying huge bottles of SPF 40+ here, and I'm sure I'll go through even more in Australia!

  10. Amazing and detailed packing list Devon, and congrats on setting out on your adventure last month, it's so fun to follow the thrill of those first months on the road. Love this detailed list and will be linking from my resources page! Safe travels :)

    1. Thanks, Shannon. It's an honor to be added to your resources page, as it was SO helpful to me while I packed and did other pre-travel prep! Thanks for THAT, too!

  11. Well done! Question: How much did the main pack weigh?


    1. I didn't weigh it before I left, but it is well over 7 kg/15 lb (airline weight limit for carry-ons here). I'm guessing at least 25 or 30 lb? I'll have to check the next time I fly!

    2. UPDATE! Just had my main pack weighed at the Sydney airport and it currently weighs 12 kg (about 26 lbs). I've added a pair of jeans, some toiletries and a few shirts to it since I first set out, so it was probably in the low 20s back in the day.

  12. Cool post and great organisation!

    How much have you gotten rid of already? ;)

    After setting off on many long trips, I only pack half of what I used to pack. I have gotten rid of so much stuff in the first couple of months, when I realised what things I really needed and what things were just hanging out in my backpack.

    1. That was my exact thought...what has been left behind by now.

    2. Not much!! I accidentally lost my towel, but replaced it. I've added jeans and a few tank tops. I replaced my flip flops with better ones. There are things I haven't used much yet, but I know I'll use them in SE Asia (SteriPen, KEEN sandals). I'll probably leave the ballet flats, lululemon pullover and North Face convertible pants with one of my parents when I swing through the U.S. in May.

  13. Less then 12 kg is impressive! How many liters are the bags?

    World Nomad

    1. The big bag that is less than 12 kg is 37L. The daypack is 15L, and I have no clue how much it weighs because it holds different things at different times... and I never have to weigh it!

  14. Hi There, thanks for your tips! I am about to embark on a RTW adventure starting iwth a 1 way ticket to Nepal and will be covering off India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Africa for 7 months and then i'll decide where to go from there! I just had a couple of questions about the Osprey Farpoint 55 and your packing.. i have to take a sleeping bag with me on my trip as i'm over landing! and I will also have a Canon 50d, 24-105 and 70-200 F4 lens as well as a gortex jacket! Do you think there was much more space in the 55L farpoint to accomodate this extra gear? Also, what did you store your DSLR in before putting it into your day pack to protect it?

    Any tips you can give me would be very much appreciated! Belle

    1. Congrats on leaving for your trip soon! I would not have been able to fit that extra gear in the Farpoint 55 with all the stuff I showed above, but if you are packing much lighter in other areas (clothes, toiletries, etc.) you miiiight be able to. It depends on how small your sleeping bag and jacket pack up. I think there are some bags that allow you to attach a sleeping bag to the outside — is that an option? I stored my DSLR in a camera bag and usually just carried the camera bag separately from my other bags, as it didn't fit comfortably in my other bags with everything else packed, too. I'd say in my un-expert opinion, you may need a larger bag since you'll need some technical gear and I didn't have to pack any of that stuff. Good luck!

  15. I'd love to hear how the Tieks have worked out for you? I'm enamored with the idea of high-quality, flexible, cute(!!) shoes...but comfort level is a high priority for me. I'd hate to drop that much money if they give me blisters! Can you walk around in them all day? Can you clean them easily? Thanks!

  16. That's an impressive packing system you've got there, I can't believe all those items fit in that bag! Thank you for this amazing comprehensive list - I'm heading off to Asia in Feb for a year or more and this list has greatly reduced my stress levels :)

  17. An update: my Osprey Farpoint 55 (small) just arrived and I love it! It's plenty big enough for what I need. Thank you again!

  18. Can I make a note about the meds? I've heard of Ciprofloaxin being used for diarrhea. Apparently that's a thing. But when I was in Mongolia, I got sick (bronchitis or something) and a local doctor prescribed me Cipro. Thanks to that, I wound up with a nasty, nasty C. diff infection. It's the most debilitating, soul-sucking kind of illness that severely affected me for months until I figured out what was wrong; the problem is, your brain gets so fuzzy that you just can't figure out that you're dying. A little research and I discovered that Cipro is BY FAR the most commonly linked antibiotic to C. diff.

    Thanks to that, I will always be at risk for another C. diff infection. I can never take antibiotics unless it's a life-or-death kind of situation. I just want to caution everyone about the risks of Cipro.

    Azithromycin (aka Z-pack) is also a very popular antibiotic right now. If you go to a doctor with just about any complaint, they'll throw it at you. But like all antibiotics, it carries a risk of creating resistant strains of bacteria, and a risk of problems like C. diff. Please please please try other methods to control diarrhea before popping one of those guys. And if you do have to take either of those medicines, be sure you take it for the full 11 days or whatever is prescribed and never miss a dose. The consequences aren't worth it.

    If you would consider referring to my comment within your post, I think it would be a good idea. Antibiotics are scary, and C. diff is the worst experience I have ever had.

  19. Thanks for posting this! I'm backpacking through Italy for 3 weeks, and I just bought the same Osprey pack you have. Great tips for packing!

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. I ended up packing at the last minute literally, about two hours before I left for the airport and, miraculously, everything just fit in my Zipper bags .

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