Our Packing List

You don't have to start from scratch. Here are all the things we brought with us, what we liked, what wasn't worth it, and where you can find specific products.


Apart from replacements here and there, we are traveling for the entire year with the sole contents of our backpacks. This is not a simple task, and we've learned a lot about what works, what doesn't, and how to determine if an item is worth it.

The Packs

I believe at this point in our lives, between the two of us, we have about six Osprey backpacks to our name. We couldn't bring all of them with us... but we did bring our his-and-hers Osprey Atmos 65 and Osprey Aura 65 AG heavy-duty packs. Andrew acquired his Atmos nearly 8 years ago before his very first big trip, and I don't think they even carry it in that color anymore, but I've had my Aura for only a couple of years. 

We were gifted some sweet Daylite packs for our wedding, coordinated with our power colors, and these are used for day hikes and just being tourists.

Lastly, I needed a purse better designed for travel use. I found this Travelon crossbody bag on Amazon and I'm OBSESSED. It's got a clip on the top zipper to prevent pickpocketing but mostly it's the perfect size to carry my kindle, wallet, phone, keys, pocket blanket, etc. And so cheap! I'll probably use it forever.

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Because yeah, we were gone for about a YEAR, and went through American deserts, winter in the Swiss Alps, spring in the British Isles, and at least some time in Ecuador and Mexico. We sure made it easy to plan for climates, didn't we?

The plan included some variability. Clothes get ruined (burned on a stove, shrunk in the wash...) and some things get discarded as the weather changes.


For layering:

- Two Smartwool long-sleeve shirts. (Merino wool is great because it's warm and doesn't get as smelly as other fabrics when you wear it a lot.) These are very outdoorsy but can pass in civilization for a normal-ish shirt
- Two camisoles
- A quarter-zip Padagonia
- Four t-shirts of varying cuts/colors

For trying to look like a normal person:

- Two sweaters of different styles
- A fashion scarf (with llamas on it)
- Little heeled booties that I'm obsessed with
- A couple of dresses: one long-sleeved, a t-shirt dress, and a sundress
- A long coat that I picked up in Paris


- Dark wash jeggings
- Light wash stretchy jeans
- Thermal leggings (with POCKETS)
- Actual denim jeans for Workaways
- Pajama pants
- Once upon a time I had black hiking pants, but I melted them on a stove in an attempt to dry them in Italy and they are long gone.
- Small black stretch shorts for sleeping/wearing under dresses


Andrew has brought a similar array of options for clothing. His challenge is that, being a larger person, his clothes take up more space and weigh more, particularly his Workaway outfits.

For layering:

- Three t-shirts
- Three base layers: one merino wool hooded quarter-zip, one running quarter-zip, and one silk
- A crewneck sweatshirt

For trying to look like a normal person:

- A black cotton henley
- A red plaid wool sweater
- A plaid flannel


- A gift from our Swiss Workaway hosts: some awesome work pants
- Homemade "capris" of light Prana pants (that he ruined and had to hem), and the same pair but in a different color and not ruined aka full-length
- Charcoal grey everyday pant (also by Prana)
- A pair of jeans (also by Prana)
- Running shorts that double as swim shorts or for sleeping


What you put on your feet is no small thing. We know we're going to go through a few footwear items throughout the year.

Waterproof hiking boots: The Surrey II's for Jill, Oboz for Andrew.
Lighter walking shoes: A cheap pair of New Balances from Marshall's for Jill, and Andrew picked up a pair of Lems Boulder Boots that are super lightweight and packable.
Extras: Nike running shoes for Andrew, a pair of cheap sandals for Jill, and Jill's aforementioned fashion booties


- Down puffy coats: Jill's  bright turquoise one, and Andrew's Arc'teryx
- Rain jackets: Jill's old REI brand (seriously needs replacing) and Andrew's olive green one from the REI outlet
- Jill's aforementioned long wooly coat

(Once we were actually traveling, we both realized we regret our outerwear for a few reasons, so learn from our mistakes: choosing colors that are dark and neutral is better--read: not turquoise or bright blue--and updating an old rain shell is always a good idea. We have also had to borrow coats at Workaways a few times, because they require something a little more heavy-duty than down puffies.)


Survival Goods

Getting dressed is one thing, but then there's all the rest. 

- Travel towels (super absorbant, packable and fast-drying)

- Ditty sacks for organizing socks/underwear/dirty laundry

- Minimalist toiletries and small, refillable travel tubes for flights (plus things like scissors, nail clippers... things you may not take on vacation but are necessary on the reg)

- Waterproof backpack cover for when there's a downpour (turns out Andrew's has a massive hole in it, so not very helpful)

- Band-aids, a year's supply of Jill's contact lenses, Ibuprofen, allergy meds, antibiotic ointment, Tenacious Tape, etc.

- Warm beanie hats (that match!)

- Water bottles


Both of us set out with Google Pixel phones (the first generation) on the Google Fi network. On Fi, you pay for what you use, and it works seamlessly in most other countries, so we didn't have to worry about losing data or service after leaving the US. However, it is expensive if you use a lot of data, so we're hopping between Fi and European phone plans to save money. 

We have also brought a USB Type C portable battery charger. We use it probably every day. It was a necessity during car camping, and we take it with us on day outings since we rely so heavily on our phones for navigation and photo-taking. We cannot speak highly of this device enough, and we will never travel anywhere without a portable battery again.

If you're going international, don't forget a universal outlet adapter!

Our theme for birthday gifts in 2018 was a Kindle Paperwhite for each of us, plus of course the personalized, homemade artwork on the covers.

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