I will be embarking on an 11 month RTW trip starting in June travelling on the Trans Siberian Railway from Russia to Beijing, visiting Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and L.A.
I have a 65l backpack and am trying to decide the quantity of clothes to take with me. If there are others who have been on a trip to the same countries could let me know what they took and if they took too much/little of an item please? I am also unsure whether to pack for all climates from the off or to pick up clothes when I get to each place.
You can normally buy any extra clothes you need as you travel. Bangkok is very cheap for clothing. You can buy shoes too upto UK size 11 in those places. I found on such trips I got through a lot of socks. I take all one colour so if one gets a hole in it, I don't end up throwing away a good sock.
From your schedule starting in June, it looks like you will be missing any very cold weather, though a normal coat should do it. Pick up a small telescopic umbrella from a Poundland or whatever. A few pairs of sunglasses are handy too.
If you are using a digital camera, take a few extra memory cards for your photos. Some people who have downloaded them to sites in internet cafes have picked up viruses on their cameras (they act just like another drive) and have lost all their holiday photos.
I think you would be far more comfortable with a smaller, lighter pack (it's your back)!
1 pair cargo pants
1 pair cargo shorts
1 pair swim shorts
All in a 25L pack-beautiful.
Thanks for your responses. I will be sticking to this size bag, it's not too big and still comfortable when full.
I was thinking:
1 pair craghopper trousers
1 pair of jeans
1 pair shorts
1 pair swimming shorts
1 long sleeve lightweight shirt
1 waterproof lightweight jacket
1 pair flip flops
1 pair running shoes/hiking
1 pair of trainers
7 pairs of socks
7 pairs of boxers
For clothes, would that be ok? I will just have to get in to the routine of washing weekly right?
Also, has anyone got any opinions on packing cubes and whether they are a help or a hindrance? What about a separate sack for dirty clothes?
Do you fold clothes or roll them to minimise creases and maximise space?
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Mar-2012, at 02:48 by choco_bear ]
Any opinions on the above?
i travelled a similar route with the same size bag
i took loads.
i would say - NOTHING WHITE!
about 5 vests
1/2 pairs of good shorts (i took denim ones- dressy and casual)
1 thick pair of leggings for warmth
1 normal pair of leggings for comfortble travelling on sleeping buses
a lightweight cardigan/jumper
waterproof (you can buy regatta ones for about £10 on ebay)
2 long sleeve tops
fleece thermals are a must if it will be cold anywhere
i would say converse but if your going to beijing they have an amazing market where we picked them up about around £5.00
i picked up a lot but i didnt think bangkok was good for shopping - i picked mine up in cambodia i think.
in oz we shopped in some bargin shops and charity shops.
EDIT: just realised your a boy... haha amend where necessary!
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Mar-2012, at 14:36 by Gudders ]
Hi Choco Bear,
Nice to know you are going on a RTW trip. My husband Roy and I have done several RTW in the last twenty odd years, and now we have our packing down to a fine art.
When we did our frist trip, we both went out and bought lots of travel gears, including a lightweight Gortex jogger's rain jacket, which packed down to a small 6" bundle, which is our best buy as we are still using it more than 20 years later. Our worse buy was a 70 l and 60 l backpacks, which we filled with all sorts of things we thought we would need. Huge mistake! The bigger bag the more you tend to fill it.
Our first trip was a few days short of 12 months. It was a harrowing time lugging these monster bags allaround the world, and all the responsibility of keeping an eye on them. They were more trouble than its worth as we could have bought any of these packed items anywhere in the world. So don't fall into that trap. Over the years, we have gradually refined our packiong into a fine art, so much so, we could run for a local bus or train without any hassle. Now our bags are inexpensive soft day backpacks, which could be taken as carry-on luggage on planes and usually weighing no more than 10 kg- 11kg.
How do we do it? We pack for travels and not for holidays - we are not dressing up to impress anyone. So all our clothese are light weight and practical, easily washed and quickly dried overnight, with the ability to layer up for cold or high altitude regions.
Generally we have three, or maximum four, changes of clothing, which could be mixed and matched, mainly in subdued tones so as not to attract attention to ourselves as we want to blend in.
Everything is packed into 11" x 8" freezer bags, the reasons being:
1) When folded properly, clothese are kept relatively dust and crease-free,
2) If backpacks got wet, our clothes, electricals, diaries, etc are kept dry;
3) Using freezer bags, makes packing, finding and repacking very easy.
4) Anything too bulky to go into these bags, donm't take them.
We have travelled into over 85 countries, and we always include the following basic items:
Very light-weight Gortex-type rain jacket,
Light-weight and compact wedge shaped mosquito-net (not box or bell-shaped);
A pair of polypropelin long-johns for the occasional extreme cold weather;
A polypropelin long sleeve vest (like Heli Hanson);
And try to include a pair of light-weight flipflops to use as slippers and in puiblic showers.
What we don't take are large economy-sized toileteries, but buying the smallest and replacing as we travel.
Good luck and travel safely.
Roy and Jean Romsey, Traventurers.
Great advise from Roy and Jean, and I have to agree with most of what they said. I don't have quite as much experience as they have, but in 10 years I've gone on many trips to about 45 countries, including my first big world tour that lasted 3 1/2 years, covering everything you mentioned except Russia. The whole time I lived out of a 36L backpack and never once did I feel that I didn't have enough stuff. I still travel with the same pack, only it gets less and less full every trip I take.
Like others have said, the first thing I would do is ditch the 65L pack. I would recommend something closer to 40L. 50L at absolute max. Seriously, fill your 65L pack to the max, including the shoes you listed and any gadgets you think you need and see how much it weighs. Put it on your back and see how far you can walk before you get tired. Not only that, but take it off put it on the floor, and put it back on again, then off and on again, and see how many times it takes before you want to kick it and never see it again. But that's what it's like traveling. Unless you hire a porter to follow you around, then you have to carry it, load it unto buses, and into taxis, carry it up stairs to cheap hotel rooms, and navigate crowded asian streets with it. You'll hate that thing after a week if you fill a 65L pack.
What you pack will depend on the weather. I'm not sure what it's like in Russia in June, but I suspect it'll be your coldest leg. A quick web search says that lowest temps are 5 or so in Siberia. You might want some long pants, shoes, and layers. I find a long sleeve tee, a fleece, and a thin waterproof windbreaker quite sufficient for temps down to about 5 or 10 degrees. If I feel cold, an extra tee underneath does the trick. For this leg if you are really worried about being cold, then throw in an old cheap hoodie.
Once you are in Beijing in summer, you will never look at your winter cloths again. For most of asia in summer it will be HOT - the kind of hot where you don't even want to use the energy it takes to towel yourself off after a cold shower because you just end up in a sweat. When I travel in this kind of climate I wear shorts, a tee (or dress shirt), and flip flops. Jeans are just uncomfortably hot and there is no need for a hoodie. If you want pants, try for something lightweight and breathable. Those Craghoppers look good. I carry a long sleeve tee shirt and a dressy shirt for evenings when it might be a little cooler or want to feel a little more stylish. But your hoodie and fleece, you won't even want to carry those anymore since it's just extra weight that you'll never use. Chances are you won't need them again until maybe NZ, so ditch them, and pick up something cheap if it gets chilly later in your travels. Your shoes as well, I can't imagine you'll want both hiking shoes and trainers. You probably won't want to wear either of them in most of asia unless you are doing an actual hike, or you just really like wearing shoes.
Really though, asia has so much great clothes to buy, that with the exception of the staples of a jacket and pants, you're backpack will be a revolving wardrobe over the year. When you buy new shirts, and you will, ditch an old one to keep your load light.
One important bit of advice that I would recommend is to be prepared to do laundry often. Find a universal sink plug, a thin clothesline (with hooks on the ends), and buy a bar of laundry soap when you arrive. Some travelers find it a pain to have to do their own laundry, but if you handwash it every night in the sink it's literally 10 minutes out of your time. This will greatly reduce the amount of things you have to take, especially socks and underwear. I take 3-4 pairs of boxers and wash them every day or two. When I carry shoes (rare), I carry 2 pairs of socks and wash them before I go to bed. Besides the fact that it means I can carry less, have you ever smelled dirty socks and underwear that you've been carrying around in your backpack for 6 days in Asian heat? You won't want to do that. Wash them everyday and carry less.
Other things: As mentioned before, don't stock up on toiletries. You can buy everything when you arrive, so take the minimum and replenish as you go along. You can also buy books and guidebooks as you go along, so don't load up on them - they are very heavy. Bring a travel towel rather than a normal bath towel. They dry fast and are very compact.
I'm carrying a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad as I'll be camping on my RTW. Even still, I'm taking a 40 - 50l pack.
65 sounds miserable unless you're a very tall man with Big- n -Tall clothing. When you take all the advice here, make sure your pack is no more than 2/3 full. You won't pack as tight or neat for the rest of your trip as you did at the start. So, everything you brought will slowly require more volume. Also, you may wanna purchase some items along the way.