Note: We will update this section as we travel, making note of what was not needed and what we wish we’d brought. We will also add items which we have bought on the trip.
Updates will be added at the bottom of the page.
We are both carrying an Osprey Exos 58. They both have a waterproof cover we bought separately; the cover is useful for air travel to stop all the straps flapping everywhere and possibly getting caught. It is also a good way to make opportunistic theft (such as on public transport) more difficult. Sometimes you can even use it to keep out the rain!
We have a Lowe Alpine 22L rucksack which we’ve used for years. This is good for longer hikes where we need to carry lunch and water, or for trips where we are staying overnight and want to leave our main rucksacks at a hostel.
The Vango 10L bag is mainly used when we are travelling between places. When our main rucksacks are under the bus in the luggage compartment, or on the overhead section on a train or in the baggage compartment on a plane this bag has everything we need access to for that journey. It also has a section for a hydration pack so we can use on for treks too.
When not in use these smaller bags are tied to the main backpack with bungy straps.
Salomon X Ultra Women’s Trail Running Shoes.
Salewa Approach Shoes
Andrew: Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Shoes.
5 wicking t-shirts
4/5 pairs of socks
Lightweight Waterproof coat
Hand sanitizer (two each)
Spare razor blades
Skross universal power adapter (with USB addon)
4 USB to micro-USB cables
13,000 mAH Anker battery (One each)
Kindle (One each)
LED headlamp (one each)
Camera: Sony NEX-6 with 16-50mm lens
Sony 55-200mm lens
Mobile phone: Samsung Galaxy S3
Micro-SD cards (with SD card adapter)
3L Platypus hydration sack (one each)
Berocca (vitamin tablets)
Lonely planet guides (we tore out the pages we thought would be useful)
Sleeping bag liner (to sleep in in hot counties)
Travel bed sheet
Travel washing line
Travel knife/fork/spoon set
Lightweight plastic mugs
Medical supplies including basic first aid kit, blister plasters, malaria tablets, Beecham’s cold sachets, deep heat, ibuprofen, paracetamol, savlon, bonjela, etc
Annemarie has a couple of different brands of shirt. She has found that the Craghoppers Nosilife shirt isn’t so good in the heat, so she usually wears The North Face shirt but the most comfortable was a cotton shirt. I have found that I cannot bear to be covered in the heat and haven’t worn my shirts once. I have bought two new wicking t-shirts on the trip to make up the shortfall.
I also bought another pair of trousers and had them posted from the UK. They were Berghaus Ortler and one thing I’ve learnt on this trip is that across almost all of Asia you can’t buy original high quality branded clothing. Apart from Hong Kong and Bangkok pretty much all North Face shops are fake!
The shampoo and soap leaves just haven’t worked out. Unlike the shaving leaves we have had two major problems with them, firstly they don’t lather up enough and become soapy enough to wash with and secondly they often leave a dry whitish residue. So we have been buying small shampoo and shower gel bottles as and when we need them. They are cheap and lightweight enough not to cause any issues.
We aren’t very happy with the rucksacks. They are top loading which means most of the bag is emptied every day to get access to clean clothing and equipment. This is just a pain in the arse. The balance is also very sensitive, if we pack them even slightly wrong the bag can pull back or be very uncomfortable.
I was recommended in a number of shops to buy a newer style of bag, which has the straps of a rucksack but also wheels to pull it like a normal suitcase. They also have a zip around the bag so you can access the whole bag easily. I dismissed that idea expecting most places to require me to carry the bag. How silly of me! In over 3 months of travelling I haven’t been anywhere in Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand or Philippines where I couldn’t have dragged the bag like a normal suitcase. Please do at least consider them!
We are carrying a lot of medical supplies. What we didn’t realise was just how many pharmacies there are in Asia. In every country we have been to there are usually a few pharmacies within walking distance of the hotel or hostel we have stayed in. In Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand they have most of the brands we recognise in the UK. Anything from aspirin, paracetamol, Ibuprofen, etc can easily be purchased when required rather than carrying them all the time.
Tablets to stop you going to the toilet, tablets to make you go to the toilet. Bite cream, insect repellent, dry skin, muscle aches, everything can be bought when required.
The portable power supply is incredibly useful. The trans-Siberian railway had no power and without these chargers we’d have had no power after a couple of days. It is also great on long train and bus journeys, especially overnight train journeys. The battery will charge a Galaxy S3 about 4 times. It can also charge the kindle and the camera. The battery was great for trekking in Nepal, many lodges will charge you by the hour for charging a phone or camera (some even have different prices depending on whether you want a camera or phone charging). A single 13,000MaH battery lasted us a full 10 day trek and saved us a little cash (almost paid for itself in a single trek).
The chopsticks haven’t been used yet. At every restaurant and cafe, no matter how remote, chopsticks or a fork which we think is clean enough to use has been provided. Many come in paper/plastic bags to show they are new and unopened, even on the streets of Thailand the chopsticks have been fine and we haven’t been ill.
The travel fork and spoon has been used, but maybe 5 times in 105 days of travelling. Useful in an emergency but that’s about it.
At home we bought the Lonely Planet guides for most of the countries we planned on visiting. Obviously this was too many to carry so we ripped out the useful sections of each book and packed them.
About 2-3 weeks in we just had to ditch a load of weight as the bags were just too heavy and the guides were the first thing to go. We photographed every page then threw them in the bin. In hindsight we should have done that at home.
Even easier, buy the guide just as you arrive, and leave it in a second hand store or in a hostel for others when you move on. We have found it only takes 3-4 hours to do a high level plan of a tour around a country, so although it may feel like last minute it’s not as bad as it seems.
Annemarie’s shoes the Salomon X Ultra Women’s Trail Running Shoes have worn out. The sole is worn flat and has very little grip remaining. They lasted 5 months of continual usage and a 10 day trek in Nepal. Unfortunately, been in Nepal we can’t buy the same shoes again, so Annemarie now has a pair of Salewa approach shoes. Despite the Salomon shoes wearing out Annemarie would buy these again as they were the most comfortable shoes she’s ever owned.