Category Archives: Kit

How to pack for a Two Year Trip

As we mentioned before we set off in our packing dry-run and what do you pack for a two year trip posts, there’s plenty written about what to take on this kind of extended world travel and why to take it. Once you’ve read your fill of those posts and made your kit decisions, here’s a post on how to pack that kit for epic adventures!

Our large rucksacks with space to spare from our packing dry run 4 months before we set off

Our large rucksacks with space to spare from our packing dry run about 4 months before we set off

We carried two rucksacks each – a small one for valuables and day trips, and a large one for everything else. The smaller rucksacks are great for carrying shopping when we visited markets, and for overnight trips like when we spent a few days in Chiang Rai from our base in Chiang Mai, Thailand, or as an overnight bag when we slept on the caravan sofa bed my brother and family hired in Amsterdam.

First, some general tips on packing rucksacks:

  1. Put everything in separate carrier bags – this is to make the contents waterproof. They want to be no more than ¾ full so the top of the carrier bag can be rolled or folded over. If it’s electrical: cables, batteries, camera memory cards, or made of paper (books, leaflets or entrance tickets) use two – they’re light and take up no extra space.
  2. Put the heavier stuff at the bottom – this will make it easier to lift, easier to carry, and its better for the spine too.
  3. Have a place for everything – it might take a few un-packs and re-packs starting out, but 3 months in we had our systems down to a fine art. The benefits are not just being able to quickly find stuff when we needed it, but we knew we had everything before we left because we got used to the order everything had to be packed in!

How to pack a rucksack

Basic rucksack packing guide

Basic rucksack packing guide. The photo was taken outside the Hostel Hospital in Sabile, Latvia near the start of our trip

Top Pocket: Handy stuff we might need in a hurry: raincoat, hat, scarf, gloves, toilet roll

Side Pockets: More space for handy stuff! We’d typically put things like mugs, forks and spoons, suncream and mosquito repellant and padlock and chain-lock to deter opportunist thieves in the side pockets.

Starting at the bottom, here’s how we’d pack an empty rucksack..
Bottom: Heavy, bulky stuff at the bottom and towards the back (i.e. closest to the spine when it’s worn): Spare shoes, flip-flops, clothes in separate bags. I bought dry sacks, but carrier bags will do just fine. One bag for underwear, one for trousers, bottoms and swimwear, another for t-shirts and tops, and don’t forget a bag or two for dirty clothes or laundry – I try to find a colourful bag for laundry so it’s easy to spot.
Middle: This is the area hardest to reach as most rucksacks have openings at top and bottom. Here we put things we think we won’t need while we’re moving between places, such as souvenirs or books we’re not currently reading. This is also the place for toiletries. It’s worth having a wash bag (yes, even for the guys!) as it’s so much easier to carry toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gel, shaving gear and deodorant to shared shower rooms down the hall from hostel rooms if it’s all in one bag. I took a medium-sized LifeVenture washbag which was perfect, but a carrier bag worked just as well on occasion.
Top: Anything we might need first when we arrive at our destination: Charging cables, any food provisions we had left over such as bags of pasta, tea & coffee, stock cubes and seasonings, sweeties, etc.

Side note.. on the pros and cons of rucksack liners:
Julie used a big waterproof rucksack liner, and on the whole would have preferred separate smaller bags for the single reason that invariably the thing you need is at the bottom which means unpacking your entire bag. That said, on the one occasion of our trip where our bags were completely soaked, everything of Julie’s stayed dry and our guidebook, which was in my rucksack but not in a plastic bag, took 4 days to dry out properly!

Given our experiences, we’d avoid rucksack liners in favour of carrier bags and smaller dry sacks because of the convenience. It’s a pain having to completely unpack when in dorms or we’re only staying somewhere for a few nights.

Day sack: On the move..

1 year in, Joypurhat, Bangladesh

1 year in. 17th March 2014, Joypurhat, Bangladesh – waiting for a bus to Paharpur (photo credit: Roman, a very kind student we met on the train)

When we were moving we’d have a quick think about what we were likely to need and pack that in our smaller rucksack, such as our sleeping bag liners, toothbrush and toothpaste and earplugs if we were on an overnight train. We’d always keep the most important things in our smaller day sacks as they’re much easier to keep with us or close by, and they’re easier to secure with a padlock.

A document wallet is the best place to keep passports, pre-purchased travel tickets, copies of travel insurance, spare SD-cards for digital cameras, emergency cash (in USD), and driving licences. Together with a document wallet each, we’d also carry our sunglasses, digital cameras (and spare camera lenses), iPads and my laptop in our day sacks.

Day sack: Out and about..

Andrew with a baguette in Dijon, France

The full french experience – carrying a fresh baguette through the markets of Dijon, France

If we were staying in shared accommodation we’d put all of the important stuff in Julie’s larger day-sack and padlock it, then put it in a locker or leave it with the reception in their luggage room. My smaller day sack was perfect for carrying the stuff we needed while we were out sightseeing or heading to the markets.

If you have any packing tips for long-term travel, please share them in the comments!

Two Years of Travel in Apps: Our recommended travel apps

It is getting increasingly easier to travel, the wealth of information from bloggers like us has made researching and travel planning a quick search away. Timetables and bus routes are generally easy to find for all but the least touristed destinations, and translation apps are arguably taking the fun out of ordering meals in restaurants – though you still have the choice to use them, and we never did!

Andrew's 64GB WiFi iPad Mini

Both our iPad Minis have been invaluable in preparing, planning and travelling around Europe and Asia for two years

Here follows a few mobile apps, websites and resources that we’ve used during our trip – are there any you’d add? Let us know in the comments!

Kayak - flights

Kayak – Getting there

We tried to travel overland as much as possible, but on the few occasions we needed to fly we consulted Kayak. It’s our favourite app (and website) for finding destinations and checking routes because it shows lay-over times clearly and has easy filtering for the number of connections.

Rome2rio - travel planning

Rome2rio – Getting there and getting about

Do any kind of search of the format “how do I get from Place A to Place B” and Rome2rio will rightfully be in the top results. It quickly became invaluable to us in planning our movement around Europe and Asia on our two year trip. It shows trains, busses, ferries, and flights on an interactive map and it’s an excellent starting point for finding out possible routes and rough pricing.

BlaBlaCar - car sharing
Bla Bla Car

Bla Bla Car – Getting about with the locals

A late entry to us but an easy recommendation that we’ll be using after our trip is BlaBlaCar – a car and journey sharing website! Introduced to us in its French language version – – it was especially handy in Europe as some of the train journeys would have really eaten into our budget, plus we got to meet new people!

AirBnB - staying with locals or entire apartments

Accommodation – Finding somewhere to stay

Throughout our two year trip we’ve generally booked our accommodation about 2 weeks in advance, except for major capital cities and well, pretty much everywhere in Japan where we had to start booking about a month in advance to get the best deals.

For longer stays we prefer to rent private apartments or stay in apartment hotels so we can shop at the local markets and cook for ourselves. We’ve used a combination of fellow traveller recommendations, other travel blogs and accommodation booking websites, and our favourites (in order) are these:

  • AirBnB – Our favourite for booking homes and rooms around the world. We’ve had some truly amazing hospitality when staying with families through AirBnB, and its often been cheaper than hotels or hostels! We tend to seek out the new hosts – those recently registered, with few if any reviews but good descriptions and photos.
  • – The first app or website we checked when looking for shorter stays.
  • – Great when we started out, but over the two years we’ve been away the prices, especially in Europe, have rocketed up. It tenuously maintains a place on our list as a resource of last resort as I can’t remember the last time we actually made a booking through it. Oh, and there isn’t a secure way to log in to the website.
  • – AirBnB-like rival that we’ve used occasionally when we haven’t found anything on AirBnB.

No CouchSurfing on our list? We did stay with friends 5 times on our trip which would qualify as CouchSurfing experiences, but we arranged them with people we met on the road as we went, or who we already knew. - essential offline maps – On the ground

We’d usually pick up a map from the hostel, hotel or local Tourist Information office as they’re quicker to consult and easier to carry, and in some poorer Asian countries we didn’t want to be flashing expensive electronics around. However, there were a few times in some of the smaller towns when it was difficult to ask directions where proved invaluable. Note that you need to download the maps for the country or region in advance, and they’re often a few hundred MB so remember to save the remoter destinations before you depart!

XE - currency exchange rates
XE Currency

XE Currency Exchange Rates – Knowing what stuff costs

Not an app that we used often, but essential nonetheless as we used it to work out a rough exchange rate to our home currency we could carry in our heads. It also works offline too. - weather forecast – Planning around the weather

Once we had our list of sights to see, activities to experience and restaurants or cafes to visit we’d have a quick check of the weather forecast. Oftentimes we only had a few days in a place, or other constraints like opening times or museum closed days would dictate the order of our travel itinerary more than the weather, but when we had flexibility we’d plan the outdoor things for the better days. We’d often do the outdoor activities sooner if we knew the weather was going to be good.

Google Translate icon

Picking up the lingo

We always try to learn a few words of the native language and it really helped build rapport when ticket sellers, market vendors, shopkeepers and waitresses heard us making an effort. Not everyone speaks English and nor should they!
This involved a quick online search for the common phrases before we arrived, such as “Hello”, “Please”, “Thank You”, “Sorry” and the first few numbers. If we were staying longer we’d make more of an effort to learn the most common questions and our answers. We’d occasionally use Google Translate but it was often easier (and more fun) to watch people decipher their language written by us or to draw pictures in a little note book.

TripAdvisor icon

TripAdvisor – What to do when you get there

We took it in turns to do the majority of the planning each month, an idea we got about sharing the workload from a post by travel bloggers Warren and Betsy. Guidebooks and longer-form travel articles form the starting point, but then we’d do typical “Top 10 in X” searches and cross-reference with TripAdvisor to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. With the latter we found it’s important to read the most recent reviews as often the bad reviews complain about things that either aren’t relevant or don’t bother us – don’t just use the star rating! Good reviews often contain tips for visiting, e.g. best time to visit, how to skip the queue or join a free tour.

In no particular order, here’s a list of travel blogs we follow for inspiration or consulted often..

  • Legal Nomads – Jodi has a wonderful writing style and fantastic posts for South East Asia, especially Vietnam. We stayed at the Nyugen Shack in the Mekong Delta because of her post!
  • Never Ending Voyage – An inspiration for us when we started researching at home as they’re a young couple from the UK like us. Their photos are amazing and Erin’s posts on Thailand accommodation are excellent. We happened to be in Chiang Mai at the same time and we tried to meet up but they were too busy!
  • Married with Luggage – Warren and Betsy have created a great archive of travel writing, though more recently they’re about helping others find the good life through travel and the “how” rather than the “where”.
  • Ottsworld – Sherry Ott’s one-woman adventure-seeking is inspiring travel writing, and she also takes stunning photos.
  • Uncornered Market – Daniel and Audrey have put out a wealth of information and inspiration that convinced us to visit Central Asia. They’ve covered most of the planet and remind us to be more adventurous!
  • Amateur Traveler Podcast – Chris Christensen interviews people about the their recent travels. His entire back catalogue is available and we’d often listen on trains, busses or over dinner to tales about the next country or city on our itinerary. See if you can spot the names of guests from the links above!

While we’re researching, we make notes of places that interest us as we find them on paper, in Trello or in spreadsheets, which we then go back through to look into further: reviews, how to get there, opening times, etc

Dropbox icon

Dropbox – Documents backup and photo sharing

We planned for the worst – lost or stolen baggage, technology, and travel documents – and we kept photocopies of passports, passport photos, visas and insurance documents in Dropbox. It’s also great for sharing photos with fellow travellers when we were in places without internet access as we could swap email addresses and upload and share them via a shared folder later. If you sign up with this affiliate link we’ll each get an extra 500MB of space!

WiFi Photo Transfer icon
Photo Transfer

WiFi Photo Transfer – Simple, local photo sharing

We’ve often wanted to transfer photos between our iPad minis, onto the laptop, or with other travellers we’ve spent the day sightseeing with. This amazing free app is really handy for transferring larger numbers of files, but its killer feature? It shows photos in albums by default so we could quickly organise then transfer just the photos we wanted!

Skype icon

Skype – Keeping in touch

We kept this blog for two reasons: we wanted to write about our adventures as a reminder for ourselves, and to let our friends and family back home know what we’ve been up to. In addition we’d always send our families an email or text message with our travel plans such as flight numbers, accommodation etc, but there’s no substitute to actually seeing and hearing those we missed most. I talked to my Mum about this and we agreed that just the first few seconds of a Skype call are enough to reassure us that they’re alive, well, and enjoying themselves – and that goes both ways! Our Christmas presents to both sets of parents before we left was setting up their computers with webcams and a quick Skype training session :o)

Rain, Rain icon
Rain, Rain

Rain, Rain – Help getting to sleep

The soothing sound of rain on all manner of surfaces helped us get to sleep by blocking out the noise of other travellers on trains or in hostel dormitories. My favourite sound is the rain on a tent, but Julie preferred listening to podcasts (which she’d then have to listen to again as she’d often missed the endings!)

Trainyard icon

Games – Idle entertainment

We found we couldn’t see sights every day for weeks on end and remember everything – sometimes we just needed a break, and a favourite way I like to relax is playing games. When there wasn’t anyone to play cards or boardgames with, like the time we played cards with a bunch of Mongolian students on the train from Ulan Ude to Ulaanbaatar, we’d play the occasional computer game. Ones that work offline are obviously the best.

  • Mahjong Solitaire Epic – Classic tile puzzler
  • Flight Control HD – Cute traffic controller-style simulator that’s also one of Julie’s favourites. I like to play it on flights
  • Extreme Road Trip 2 – Dukes of Hazard meets Paperboy in this go as far as you can stunt racer
  • Asphalt 8 Airborne – I love racing games. Asphalt has amazing graphics, beautiful cars, and enough upgrade management to keep it interesting
  • Trainyard – Clever twist on the routing puzzle game, with coloured engines. A good game for train journeys!
  • Reckless Racing 2 – Lovely top-down racing games with plenty of sliding and drift
  • Letterpress – a very clever word game that Julie usually wins because she plays strategically whereas I try for impressively long words. This one needs internet access.
  • Clash of Clans – Saw this advertised everywhere in South Korea and became addicted. I now lead a clan named after Penny Arcades D&D exploitsAcquisition Inc (#RG98U9P) – and we’re recruiting! This one also needs internet access.. :o)

1 Year on the Road – Kit Review

Before we set off, we did a lot of research to decide what we needed to take with us on our two year trip. After a year of travelling 12 countries, through various climates, here’s a run-down of how our initial packing decisions turned out..

Our passports - pretty essential kit for crossing borders

Our passports – pretty essential kit for crossing borders, checking into hotels & hostels, and for renting scooters

How much of your original kit are you still carrying?

Most of it, which shows that the careful thought and lots of research we did largely paid off.

What was the first thing you bought on the road?

A fleece hoodie in our first country, Riga. I knew it would be cold, and having grown up in the north of England I thought of myself as pretty hardy, but my word Riga in March was bitter. Two shirts, a jumper, gloves and a windproof jacket just weren’t enough, so we bought a hoodie and a fleece-lined beanie hat to cover my ears.

What was the first thing you ditched?

After almost a year, Julie ditched her camera bag in favour of a smaller waterproof pack. She found the camera bag was bulky in her hand luggage, and made her back ache when carried all day on its own.

With hindsight, what would you have left at home?

The tripod. I’ve used it all but a handful of times, and while it’s definitely the right bit of kit for those times, honestly, a table-top-sized one would have served just as well without the bulk and weight.

.. and what do you wish you’d brought with you?

We’ve found it easy to buy the odd thing we’ve needed, and there’s not been much besides the usual consumables (toothpaste, shower gel, sun cream, etc).

What piece of kit do you find you use the most?

We use most if not all of our clothes and kit on a regular basis, with the fortunate exception of our medical packs, but the most regularly reached for kit would be our iPads.

As I mused in our 12 month summary, and discussed with fellow travellers we’ve met on the road, the prevalence of mobile internet connected devices makes backpacking so much easier. Some posit that they mute the spirit of discovery and adventure as it’s too easy to research destinations before going. For us, finding somewhere to stay in an unfamiliar town when tourist visas are too short really helps our planning and means we can visit more places, and they’re invaluable for backing up our photos too.

A special mention also goes to the excellent Skross multi travel adaptor. It’s pricey, but with the separate dual USB charger that fits most Asian sockets, it’s meant we can charge both iPads and Julie’s camera at the same time.

.. and what piece of kit do you find you use the least?

In terms of what I thought would be more useful than it has actually been, I’d say my penknife. I remember using it all the time when I went camping as a young lad. I used it so often it had a designated pocket in my trousers so it was always at hand. For some reason I thought it would be as handy on this trip, but like the tripod I’ve only used it a handful of times. However, it’s one of those things that for its size and utility, I wouldn’t be without.

Have you had to replace anything?

Tragically, my Tilley Hat of Trekking suffered a critical injury while taking a shower in Vietnam. But, because of Tilley’s guarantee and amazing customer service, they arranged for a replacement to be sent to us in Thailand. I have a brand-new Tilley Hat of Trekking! (it’s an Organic Airflow in Khaki/Olive if you’re curious).

Julie bought a new pair of jeans, and I’m on to my second pair of Scarpa hiking shoes, both of which her parents delivered when they arrived to meet us in Beijing.

Finally, do you have any kit-related advice for travellers about to embark on a long period of travel?

The best bit of advice from our experience is that you don’t need as much clothing as you think you will (extra hoodie notwithstanding). I originally brought 6 t-shirts and I probably wear 3 of them regularly. It’s handy to have more because it means we don’t need to do our laundry as often, but it does mean we have more to carry. Trying to choose items that you can layer up or down is helpful too.

Basically try to pack as light as you can, you’ve got to carry it.

Managing our photos on the road

As I’m sure you would expect, we take a lot of photographs. How many? Well, in the past 6 months we’ve saved almost 21,000 – an average of about 115 photos, or 62 photos each, per day.

That takes up 76.2 gigabytes of storage, which includes the odd short video. If we average it out given our numbers above, it means we need about 430 megabytes of storage per day of travelling, or to put it another way.. we’re generating 3 gigabytes of digital memories per week. Wow. Having just worked that out, that figure shocks me too!

Being the geek and designated IT support for the trip, I did a lot of research before we left into how other people manage their digital media when they travel for long periods of time. The solutions are varied and at times ingenious, but I didn’t find one that satiated my paranoia for data loss and didn’t involve carrying extra equipment that could get lost, busted or stolen.

Here’s the solution I came up with, and some observations about how well it’s been working so far..

Photo Management Diagram

Our photo management solution


We decided to bring an Apple iPad mini each with us, and this decision was partly based on the Apple Photo Connection Kit which allows the easy transfer of photos from our digital cameras onto the iPads[1], and from there we can review, edit, and upload them.

But upload them where? Cloud storage is fine for a couple of gigabytes as the likes of Flickr, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Amazon, Azure et al have free starter packages, but I knew we’d quickly need more than the free allowance, and over two years or more it worked out more costly than.. buying our own cloud..


The Synology DS411slim – our personal cloud. Loaded with 4x 2TB laptop-size hard drives

I am already a fan of Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, and having owned a single-disk box for a little over 4 years it was time to upgrade – I needed more space and I also wanted some peace of mind in case a disk decided to stop working.

Synology NAS boxes come with an excellent web-browser based management interface that works well on the iPad, as well as a suite of free mobile apps for specific features, such as DSphoto+ for uploading and tagging photos.

Our Solution

We’ve got 5 SDHC memory cards between us, (1x 4GB, 2x 8GB, 2x 16GB), but in reality we only use one each which we try to have at most 3 days worth of pictures on. Typically every night or every other night we’ll copy them onto the iPad minis, review, delete or enhance them (crop, rotate, etc), then connect to the Synology NAS box back home and upload them[2].

Once the photos are copied back home, we keep them on the iPads until we’ve blogged about the place they were taken, or until our iPads are full and we need the space – it’s easy to retrieve the odd photo if we need to.

The Synology box is tucked away in a corner at my parents’ house, and I set up their broadband router to forward the necessary ports, and to register itself with a free dynamic IP service so we can always reach it.[3]

Every couple of months or so, I instruct the Synology box to copy the latest photos, videos and tags/captions to an external 3TB USB drive that Mum and Dad plug in at my behest, so we have an offline backup as well.


I cannot fault the Synology box at all, and I’m in good company. It’s small, quiet and while it can take some time to generate photo thumbnails, that’s not a issue for us. It sends me emails when it has recovered from power outages or when backups have completed.

The DSphoto+ mobile app for iOS has, largely, been fine. There have been two updates in the past 6 months that prevented us connecting and therefore uploading photographs, but Synology respond to feedback and have been quick to remedy the problems. That said, we have found it to be very unstable on iOS7, so now we don’t switch to other applications – we just leave DSphoto+ front and centre.

The iPad minis have been great. They’re excellent for reviewing photos, and the battery life is fantastic. iOS7 is not without issue though, and the Photos app resets or crashes too often for our liking, as we tend to switch between applications quite a lot. I suspect iOS7 is a bit too resource hungry for our 1st generation iPads, though I fully expect Apple will remedy this over the next couple of months once they’ve reviewed the myriad crash reports.

Overall, our backup strategy is working well with the single proviso that it obviously requires wifi internet. The only place that’s been a problem so far was Mongolia, where the internet is either non-existent, or it’s patchy and slow. We were almost 3 weeks behind backing up our photos and were onto our 2nd SD cards by the time we arrived in China.

How do you backup your photographs and other digital stuff? Do you have any suggestions, comments or improvements I could make to our strategy or process?

[1] yes, digital cameras can be connected to Android tablets with USB On-The-Go (OTG) cables, and Julie was very taken with the Asus built Google Nexus 7 – especially as it was half the price of the iPad mini. I’ve also seen a few Microsoft Surfii on our travels, but they’re too big and heavy for our purposes.

[2] I had originally planned to use SSH and tunnels to make the connection to the Synology box, but having read about restricted internet access in China, I installed the VPN server package on it almost as an afterthought just days before we left, and it is by far the easiest way to connect to it. The initial setup on the iPad took less than a minute, connecting takes 3 taps (Home button, Settings, VPN), and all the Synology mobile apps work without additional ports or tunnels. And we have a VPN to get around country-level firewalls or local ISP snooping. Just because I’m paranoid..

[3] I use for free dynamic IP address, only because they’re explicitly supported by both the broadband router and the Synology software. Their recent policy change for free accounts that requires logging in to their website every month is an annoyance though.
Edit: Dyn ceased their free dynamic IP offering, so I switched to No-IP – sure, I have to log in to my account every month to maintain it, but they send an email to remind me!

What do you pack for a Two Year Trip? Our Packing List

The purpose of our packing dry run 4 months ago was to see what our packing lists looked like in the flesh.

As I mentioned then, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need to cater for every eventuality – the “oh, that’ll be handy” thoughts that prompt the reflexive action to drop another item on the packing pile.

How are we stopping ourselves from taking everything and the kitchen sink, while still doing our best to adhere to the Boy Scout motto “be prepared”?

Well, mainly by trying not to confuse “being prepared” with “taking everything”. If you have been a Boy Scout, a Girl Guide or have a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, I’m sure you’ll remember that most of the activities we did each week were learning – learning how to use nature and the materials at hand to make shelter, to make fire, to find food, to survive.

In essence, we were learning resourcefulness.

And resourcefulness doesn’t count towards our baggage allowance.

With that I’m mind, here’s the list of things we decided to take that do count towards our baggage allowance:

Andrew’s Kit


Essentials & Admin

  • Passport
  • Drivers License
  • Copies of Passport, Drivers License & Visas
  • Copies of Travel Insurance Documents
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card: Halifax Clarity, currently the best choice for overseas spending and cash withdrawals
  • $USD Emergency Cash
  • Spare Passport Photos (for visas as we go)
  • EHIC Card
  • Vaccinations Record Card
  • Travel Document Walletkeeps everything together and organised
  • Couple of books


  • Rucksack: Lowe Alpine TFX Kongur 65:75
  • Drysacks: Exped Ultralite Fold Dry Sacks (x5: xl, l, m, s, xs) – for easy packing, organising, and keeping my stuff dry
  • Day Sack: Jack Wolfskin Velocity 12great little rucksack for carrying a few essentials while out and about, and it comes with a rain cover
  • Small Penknife: Victoronix Ranger – includes scissors and a bottle opener – essential!
  • Small Padlocks and Retractable Cable Lock for Rucksack – to deter opportunistic thieves, especially while we’re sleeping on trains
  • Water bottle: Sigg 1ltr – A hand-me-down that I’ve had for years, and taken almost everywhere
  • Mug & Spork
  • Cotton Sleeping Bag Liner – handy for trains, and as an extra layer in the cold


  • Digital Camera: Sony DSC-HX9Vsuperb. 16x optical zoom, good manual settings, panorama, full HD video and GPS/geotagging. Charging cable, spare battery, case, 4 memory cards (2x 16GB, 2x 4GB)
  • Mini Tripod: Manfrotto MKC3-P01 Compact Photo Kitbit of a luxury, but I love long exposure shots, and want to experiment while we’re away
  • Apple iPad Mini: 64GB WiFifor staying in touch, booking places as we go, sorting photographs, and updating this here blog. Charging cable, USB camera connection kit and case
  • Mobile Phone: Cheap Samsung E1120 and UK PAYG SIM – for emergencies and the odd text message. Mains charger
  • Small 8GB USB Memory Stick – contains copies of our documents
  • Torch: LED Lenser – very small and very bright. Spare batteries (3x AAA)
  • Notepad: Field Noteslo-tech, but very handy for jotting down times, what we’ve spent while out shopping, thoughts and ideas.


  • 5 normal and 1 long-sleeved t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of hiking trousers
  • 1 belt
  • 1 pair of shorts which double for swimming
  • 14 normal, and 1 pair of hiking socks
  • 14 pairs of underwear
  • 5 handkerchiefs – I do like a clean handkerchief
  • 1 woollen jumper
  • 1 fleece-lined hoody – bought in Riga, as a t-shirt, jumper and jacket wasn’t enough!
  • 1 Jacket: Berghaus Men’s Choktoi II GoreTex Fleeceeveryday jacket, superb – especially when carrying a rucksack
  • 1 Waterproof Jacket: Berghaus Benvane GoreTex Jacketexcellent waterproof jacket with rolled up hood in the collar
  • 1 pair walking shoes: Scarpa Crux – I’ve hardly taken them off since I got them last year. They are the most comfortable and grippy shoes I’ve ever bought. When I wear them out, I’ll be getting another pair
  • 1 pair trainers: Nike Air Pegasus 28 – I’m hoping to get a few runs in here and there, and I’m not really a fan of sandals or flip-flops
  • 1 pair of gloves – they’re liners really, if they aren’t warm enough, I’ll pick up some proper gloves later
  • 1 Tilley Hat of trekkingkeeps the sun off my head and out of my eyes. I also get comments about it when I wear it: “that’s a great hat” an old lady once said to me in Galway. And no, she wasn’t taking the Guiness.
  • 1 beanie hat – also bought in Riga as the Tilley doesn’t keep the wind from my ears!
  • 1 pair of Sunglasses, and case (thanks to Stu’s sister Karen for the case ;o)

Washbag & Toiletries

  • Toothbrush, case, and toothpaste
  • Bottle of multi-wash: shower gel, laundry, and washing up liquid in one
  • Shaving razor, shaving gel, and spare blades
  • Suncream
  • Deodorant
  • Aftershave – the last of my bottle from home, until it runs out
  • Toilet Roll – when you need it, you need it
  • Mosquito Spray
  • Large travel towel
  • Small hand towel – actually a bar towel
  • Small bottle of hand sanitiser
  • Ear plugs
  • Lip balm / chapstick

Julie’s Kit


Essentials & Admin

  • Passport
  • Drivers License
  • Copies of Passport, Drivers License & Visas
  • Copies of Travel Insurance Documents
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Cards: Halifax Clarity, currently the best choice for overseas spending and cash withdrawals and Santander Zero, also no charges for spending abroad
  • $USD Emergency Cash
  • Spare Passport Photos (for visas as we go)
  • EHIC Card
  • Vaccinations Record Card
  • all kept in Travel Document Wallet
  • Books – just a few…



  • Compact System Camera: Olympus PEN E-PM1 – with 3 lenses, flash, spare battery, charging cable and 2 memory cards (8GB)
  • Camera Bagwith rain cover and enough space for all camera related paraphernalia and my tripod
  • GorillaPod TripodHybrid size, so that we get some photos of both of us!
  • Apple iPad Mini: 32GB WiFifor staying in touch, booking places as we go, sorting photographs, and updating the blog. Charging cable, headphones and case
  • Torch: Mini Maglite
  • Hardbacked Notebooks and pens – for diary writing


  • 3 normal and 3 long-sleeved t-shirts
  • 2 long sleeved shirts
  • 2 vest tops
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of hiking trousers
  • 1 belt
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 bikini
  • 1 sarong – can double as a scarf, shawl, light blanket, etc.
  • 10 normal, and 2 pairs of light hiking socks
  • 10 pairs of pants and 3 bras
  • 1 fleecy jumper
  • 1 pair leggings, sports top and sports bra – going to try to do some yoga
  • 1 Soft-shell Jacket
  • 1 Waterproof Jacket
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 pair Birkenstock Sandals
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 fleecy hat
  • 1 Polar Bufffleecy snood to keep my neck warm
  • 1 pair of Sunglasses, and case

Washbag & Toiletries

  • Large Wash Bag
  • Conditioner, comb, mousse and hair bands
  • Toothbrush, case, and toothpaste
  • Shower gel
  • Soap and soap dish
  • Body butter
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm
  • Deodorant
  • Suncream
  • Insect repellentfrom Avon (thanks Dawn!)
  • Large travel towel
  • Small travel towel – for drying my hair
  • Small bottle of hand sanitiser
  • Bottle nail varnish – my one concession to bringing make-up!
  • Nail scissors, tweezers, compact mirror

Shared Kit

Medical Kit


  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Imodium tablets
  • Selection of plasters, dressing, micropore tape
  • 1 bandage
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Antihistamine cream – for insect bites
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Hydrocortisone cream – for eczema
  • Ibuprofen gel
  • Water purification tablets

Too much? Too little? What do you think we’ve missed, or what wouldn’t you be without? Let us know in the comments.. :o)