On Sunday, I hop on a flight to Sydney with nothing but these two bags for the first 4 months of my $418 Epic Quest.
These are places I’ll be visiting between now and June: Sydney, Auckland, Queenstown, Brisbane, Cairns, Alice Springs, Uluru, Perth, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, San Francisco, and Portland…along with dozens of towns and cities along the way.
After that, I’ll be visiting Atlanta and then heading up to Boston for a friend’s wedding, and then in July I’ll begin the second half of my trip: Chicago, Dublin, Galway, Cork, (Scotland? England?), Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza, Monaco, Paris, and back to Boston.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I’m bringing with me on my adventure, so I put together this post that lists every single thing I’m packing. Be warned: this post is HUGE, complete with pictures, links and descriptions (Full disclosure – some of these links are affiliate links. If you buy something when you click through to Amazon I get a small percentage in return. If you can find it cheaper elsewhere, by all means do so!)
I’ve also recorded video of me talking about everything I’m packing, but they’re massive and I didn’t anticipate how long it’d take them to upload, so it might be a while until I can get them added to the Nerd Fitness YouTube page.
Okay! Here is EVERYTHING I’m bringing on my epic quest.
- Gap athletic long sleeve shirt – For when it gets a little chilly at night. Not the fastest drying material, but it works, keeps me warm, and it’s relatively stylish. Can be worn on top of, or underneath t-shirts depending on the situation.
-Sixthman T-shirt – Created by the company I used to work for – one of the best shirts ever (and one of the best companies ever). Soft, comfy, quick drying. And will remind me of the awesome people over at Sixthman. Who rule.
-Old Navy long sleeve button-up – For the rare occasion that I need to look somewhat classy, I have this long sleeve navy blue shirt from Old Navy.
-Nerd Fitness T-Shirts (3x) -It’s not like a band, right? Where a it’s not cool to wear my own t-shirt? Because I’ll be rocking Nerd Fitness shirts as often as possible. Comfy, lightweight, quick drying, stylish, and 15% more awesome than any other shirt automatically. It’s science.
-White T-shirt – two weeks in and I can already see myself chucking this thing very soon. 100% cotton, heavy, slow to dry. I give it another few weeks before I get rid of it.
Blue Jeans – I know, I’m not supposed to bring jeans – everybody and their mother will tell you not to bring jeans on a trip like this, as they’re bulky, slow to dry, heavy, and don’t travel well. Ya know what, BACK OFF! I’m bringing jeans, and I’ll wear them whenever I need to feel less homesick and more normal. They were $19 dollars, and if I have to get rid of them at some point it’s not the end of the world.
Columbia Silver Ridge 2 Convertible Pants (x2) – Yeah, they’re dorky, but damn they’re comfy, functional, lightweight, quick-drying, and can be worn as pants or shorts. I probably could have gotten by with only one pair, but I got a great deal if I bought two online, and they pack up to be very small. I think two might come in handy if I decided to ditch the jeans.
-Nike basketball shorts – These are what I’ll work out in and what I’ll sleep in. Just a normal pair of athletic basketball shorts with pockets.
-RipCurl Board Shorts – For surfing, swimming, scuba diving, going to the beach, etc. I’ve had these for a few years and they hold up well while out on a surfboard. Nothing really special about them.
-Exofficio Men’s Give N’ Go Boxer Briefs (x3) – Only two shown in the picture, but after trying them out for a few days I went out and bought a third pair. Their company tagline is “17 Countries, 6 Weeks, 1 Pair of Underwear. Okay, maybe two.” Lightweight, odor-resistant, comfortable, quick drying…well worth their expensive price tag (I got them for 18 dollars apiece online).
-Regular boxer briefs (x2) – Just some of my regular boxer briefs – there’s nothing special about them, and I can see myself getting rid of these as my trip goes on and they get worn out from excessive washing.
Mountain Hardwear Synchro Softshell Jacket – Expensive, but I found a deal online that allowed me to get this bad boy for almost 60% off. It’s really light, practically waterproof, but also fleece-lined. It’s very comfortable and will keep me dry in a rainstorm and warm when it’s chilly out.
Vibram Five Fingers KSO – My pride and joy. My workout/hiking/walking “shoes” that I’ve been wearing for about 18 months now. They do get smelly, but damn I love these things. Here’s why I love exercising “barefoot.”
Rainbow Sandals – Expensive for flip flops at $50, but I wear them almost daily and they’re the best kind I’ve ever had. I’ve worn Rainbows for probably the past seven years, and I’ve only gone through three pairs. High quality.
K-swiss Sneakers – I had to wear these back when I went on a cruise in October and found them to be pretty comfy. I don’t usually wear sneakers, but I know I needed something close-toed for when I’m out hiking, at temples, etc. I have no real attachment to these shoes (they were given to me), so I can see myself possibly dumping them along the way if I can track down a pair of shoes I like better.
15-inch Macbook Pro – Bulky, awkward. However, this is a “business trip” and I need to be able to run my business while I’m traveling. If I was rich I would have upgraded to a Macbook Air, but this is a perfectly good, three year-old laptop. I did three weeks in Peru without a laptop and used just internet cafes and hostels, but I found it to be too difficult to get my work done – I hated monopolizing hostel computers, internet cafe computers were in rough shape, and because I didn’t have my bookmarks, saved passwords, etc, everything took 30% longer than it should have….which is why I’m bringing my laptop. I also need something to use to edit all of my photo and video.
Apple Magic Mouse (not pictured) – Expensive, but worth it. Allows you to scroll up and down, left and right, zoom in and out, right click, left click, with just finger gestures. There’s no extra dongle or messy cords (or buttons for that matter). It’s awesome.
Universal Plug Adapter – Definitely need one of these suckers! Plug a US-style plug in one side, and then you can adjust the other side to whatever particular type of outlet you need to plug into! They’re less than five dollars, and work like a charm.
USB Emergency Charger – The model I’ve linked to isn’t the same one I have, because mine was given as a gift and I can’t find it online. Same premise though – it holds a few charges, and then you can charge an iPhone/phone/whatever while on the road in case it dies.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 - I’m as amateur as they come when dealing with photography, but I know I needed a good camera in order to capture the adventure. Big thanks to my friend Will Byington for helping me decide on what camera to get. I looking forward to learning how to be a great photographer and snapping some quality shots.
Kodak Playsport Zx3 HD Waterproof Camera – It can film in 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps. It can also film UNDERWATER! I hope to use this when I’m surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.
1TB MyPassport External Harddrive – In case my laptop breaks down, gets stolen, etc, I have everything backed up on a MyPassport with Apple TimeMachine. If I were to lose my laptop, I could buy another one and be up and running within a few hours as long as I have this – which is why I’ll be keeping it in a separate bag. I also have everything backed up on a second hard drive back in Massachusetts (in case I lose both this and my laptop), and I have everything backed up online as well (at Mozy.com, but that may change now that they changed their pricing).
Belkin Mini Surge Protector – In case I’m in a place where I don’t have many options but need to charge a WHOLE bunch of things at once. It was only 7 dollars, and when combined with the plug adapter I’ll be sure all of my gadgets will be fully charged at the same time. Probably unnecessary.
iPod Shuffle – For when I’m working out – it clips right onto my shirt, weighs practically nothing, and gets the job done.
16BG SDHC memory card x2 (not pictured) – for my video camera and my digital camera.
iPhone (not pictured) – I’ll be bringing my iPhone, but I’ll be using it in airplane mode only so I don’t get destroyed with roaming charges. When I can find WiFi, I’ll use it to update twitter, check email, etc. For the rest of the time, I’ll be using it as an iPod to watch movies, play games when I’m bored, etc.
Cases (not pictured) – Small individual cases for my two cameras and the external harddrive. Big enough to carry the cameras/hardrive, the cables needed, and an extra battery for each camera as well.
Backup Batteries for both Cameras (not pictured) – In case I’m out for a long time shooting lots of pics/video and don’t have access to charge the battery.
Amazon Kindle 3G - I LOVE this thing. I can read a few books a week, and the thought of toting around a library didn’t really appeal to me. Fortunately, the Kindle allows me to carry 10,000 books in my backpack, has a battery life of a MONTH, and most importantly allows me to use the internet anywhere in the world for free. That means if I’m stuck in a foreign country, can’t find a hostel, can’t find wifi, don’t have a phone, and need to get in touch with somebody I can use this kindle to check my email or search Google for the nearest place to stay.
Reading books on it is a treat, as the e-ink makes it feel like you’re reading a real book – no eye strain, even after hours of reading. One of the best pieces of technology I’ve ever had. (I also got the basic official leather case for it, which was definitely worth the money.)
Pacsafe Coversafe Waist Wallet - This is one of those “better safe than sorry” purchases. In case I’m ever in a place where I feel like wearing one might be a better option than keeping my money/documents in my front pockets, I’ll be wearing the money belt. I hope I never need to wear it, but I’d rather be prepared.
MSR Packtowl Personal Towel (XL) – Odor-resistant, quick to dry, packs tiny, dries big. This will be my shower towel and my beach towel. When I need to go quickly and don’t have time to dry it out, I can at least pack it up, put it back in its pouch, and clip it to the outside of my bag. I know this picture makes it look huge but this pouch is only about 5″x3″.
Travel Umbrella - Not that this will help me in the monsoons, floods, and tornadoes that are currently ravaging Brisbane and the Australian coast (stay safe down there Nerd Fitness readers!), but for days of rain it will certainly come in handy. I’ve never been an umbrella guy (or a rain coat guy), but now that I have both I’m looking forward to actually doing stuff even if it rains on me. Take that, weather!
Cocoon Air Pillow – It’s tiny, but when you’re in a place with no pillow and need to sleep, simply blow this thing up and BAM your head has a place to crash. Jackpot baby!
Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod – To use with my two cameras, just in case I’m ever in a situation where I can’t find somebody to take a picture/video of me. The legs are all flexible, so you can bend it to hang on a the side of a pole, upside-down, etc. Very cool.
Pacsafe 120L Backpack and Bag Protector – Another “better safe than sorry” purchase. At almost four pounds, it does add some weight to my bag, but I can see this certainly coming in handy when I’m in places where I don’t trust the lockers or when I need to put my bag on the underside of a bus. I’d explain how it works, but this video by Karol does a far better job.
Shake Flashlight - So that I’m never without a light. It doesn’t run on batteries, but rather kinetic energy (nerds ftw!). Simply shake it for a few seconds and it powers right up. I don’t know how well these things are supposed to hold up, but I figured I’d give it a shot and then buy a cheap battery powered one if necessary.
WeGiveH20 Water Bottle – Given to me by NF Rebel Andrew, this will be my go-to water bottle for my trip! Great concept behind the site too – every time you buy a water bottle, a portion of the profits go to one of three water-based charities. Thanks Andrew, looking forward to meeting up with you in Japan!
Coughlan’s Bungee Clothesline – For me to hang my clothes on – it’s stretchy, has clips on the end, and is braided so that I can pull it apart to slip it over a door knob, handle, whatever. I’ve used it a few times thus far and it’s fantastic.
Bridgedale Coolmax Lowcut Socks - They were expensive, but I figure if I’m only going to have a few pairs of socks with me on this trip, one of them better be legitimate hiking socks.
Socks – I honestly don’t know what brand these other socks are, but they’re comfy and get the job done. I do plan on wearing mostly flip-flops and Vibrams, but I’ll obviously need socks whenever I’m in sneakers.
Microforce Cordless Razor – $10 at CVS, battery powered, tiny, and actually does a pretty good job at shaving. I have a really expensive electric razor at home that is AMAZING, but I was worried about bringing along yet another super expensive gadget. I’ll settle for 80% proficiency when it comes to a teeny tiny razor.
Red Padlock – I’ll use this for my hostel lockers or when using my PacSafe 120L Bag Protector.
My Red Sox hat (not pictured) - Can’t go anywhere without my Sox cap. To answer your first question – yes I grew up in Massachusetts and have been a fan since birth.
Safari hat (not pictured) – For the Outback and days when it’s just way too effin’ hot.
Sunglasses (not pictured) – That sun be hot.
Simple Wristwatch (not pictured) – So that I know what time it is…I think this might be a good thing.
Notepad and Pen – For taking notes, keeping track of expenses, etc.
Cheap Toothbrush – Not much to say about this other than it came from my Dentist a month ago (NO CAVITIES, Mom!), it cleans my teeth and keeps my breath fresh. Thanks Crest!
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (x2) – Another tip from my friend Karol. I bought a small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, and emptied it into two 3 oz. travel bottles. I’ll be using this stuff to clean my clothes in the sink (again, thanks Karol!), and even as back up shampoo and bodywash in a pinch.
Sunscreen 30SPF – Sunscreen dumped into a 3 oz. bottle. I’m sure I’ll run out of this very quickly down in Australia and New Zealand because it’s Summer and I plan on being outside a lot, so I’ll be refilling my little bottles as I need to along the way.
Oxy Facewash – Gotta keep my skin clean! Dumped into 3 oz. bottles like the rest of my liquids, so I can fly with all of my luggage and not have to worry about it.
Trek & Travel Bodywash and Shampoo – They come in a travel size and they’re biodegradable, super-concentrated, and actually smell pretty good. Once I run out of this stuff, I can reuse the bottles for whatever is needed.
Advil and Pepto Bismol – Hopefully I don’t have to explain the need for these.
Travel Toilet Paper – …or this. I’m guessing I won’t need to use this until Southeast Asia, but I’d hate to be caught with my pants down without it. Zing!
Clearasil – For the occasional pimple. Damn skin!
Neosporin – Cuts and bruises are a given while out hiking and climbing, so this stuff will keep me from getting infected. Well, it’ll protect me against most infections…if it’s a zombie infection I might be in trouble.
Travel Duct Tape – Duct tape fixes EVERYTHING! I purchased a few small travel rolls of duct tape, as traveling with a massive roll didn’t make much sense to me.
Crest Toothpaste – To fight the Cavity Creeps.
Band-aids (not pictured) – For the cuts and blisters.
Deodorant (not pictured) – Nothing special – just picked up two Old Spice Deodorants, and then I’ll pick up another along the way when I need it.
Floss (not pictured) – To protect my precious gums.
Bug spray (not pictured) - Somehow this escaped the pictures, but I have bug spray to keep away the bugs when I’m out hiking and such.
Toiletries bag (not pictured) – I can’t find the exact model (as mine was a gift), but it’s similar to this model – hangs on a towel rack, will fit all of my stuff, has a mirror, etc.
Jump Rope – I generally jump rope for about 3-5 minutes and then do 100 jumping jacks to start my workout (along with some hip mobility work). As long as I can find enough room to jump rope, I know I can get my heart racing in just a few minutes. Plus, I get to pretend like I’m Rocky.
TRX Suspension Training System – My brother got me these for Christmas. I’ve used them for a few weeks since not having a gym and they’re pretty awesome. It is a cool concept that can create a heck of a workout. As long as I can find something to suspend the straps from, I can do things like suspended push ups, dips, inverted rows, one legged lunges and squats, and more. Unfortunately, these suckers are super expensive and not perfect – I’m hoping to use them on my trip and find a way to create a superior product that’s far less expensive for the NF community.
iPhone Headphones – Headphones! To listen to my music and such.
Visa Photos – I have a bunch of official visa photos of myself for the countries that require them.
Playing Cards – I love gambling, so I’m never too far away from a deck of cards. If only I brought some dice too, I could be running a full blown casino out of my hostel bedroom! Okay, maybe I just want to have some cards for drinking games and a way to pass the time with my new-found friends on the road.
Passport – Apparently, I need a passport for this trip! Who knew?
Paper Tickets – Because some of my flights are on some older airlines, I had to be issued paper tickets…which is kind of a pain in the ass. I’m still able to make changes to the dates of my itinerary, but it has to be done at the American Airlines desk at the airport. I’ve already made a few changes and plan on making a few more…it’s not that bad, I just need to make sure I don’t lose these tickets! I think I’ll probably staple them to my forehead so I don’t miss place them….don’t want to look stupid!
Jansport Aircure Daypack – This will be my daypack/laptop bag throughout the trip. The majority of my clothes and toiletries and such will be in the big bag, and everything else in this one. I tried out a bunch of bags at a local outdoor goods store, then came home and ordered this one online for $30 cheaper. It has a separate pouch for my laptop, tons of other pockets, and it’s high quality.
Kelty Coyote 4750 - This is a backpack loaned to me by my friend, Mike (who is the man). It’s a 67L backpack, with a front and top loading pocket, tons of extra space, side pockets, a spot for my water bottle, and more. This bag worked out beautifully in Peru, so I have no reason to believe it won’t work out for me on this grand adventure either.
Money/Cards/Etc. – I currently have a Charles Schwab checking account that has an ATM card with free worldwide ATM usage. Worked fantastically in Peru, and will be using this to get money wherever I am. I’ve put most of my money into my ING online savings account that I can quickly transfer into my Charles Schwab account, in case my debit card is stolen…they won’t be able to get much!
I also have a Chase British Airways Visa that has no international fees worldwide either, so I’ll use that whenever I can instead of paying cash. Lastly, I still have my Starwood Preferred Guest small business card so I can conduct my online business and pay for things online back in the States.
Documents – I have all of my documents backed up online in about a million different places, emailed to my parents, etc.
Insurance - I currently have regular health insurance here in the states, and I’ve signed up for incredibly reasonable travel insurance with World Nomads. I also have small business insurance to cover Level Up Enterprises, LLC (my company) and my equipment. Although I hope nothing gets stolen or broken or anything happens to me on my trip, I’ve done everything I can to protect myself on this adventure. Ultimately, I want everybody to know that I might be taking a crazy adventure, but I’m doing it while still being smart in my decisions so that I can come back to the States and not miss a beat.
Lodging – I have nothing planned for where I’m staying on this trip. Seriously, I have not selected one place yet. I’ll spend the next few days researching Sydney, and then I’ll arrive Tuesday morning at 9AM with nothing but two bags and my wits and figure it out from there.
Anything I missed? I still have three days in LA to pick up last minute things. If there’s something glaring omitted from my list, let me know. I know there are a few things I might decide to get rid of after a month out there (the white shirt and the cotton boxers), but hopefully I end up using everything!
Holy crap, this is actually happening.
LET’S DO THIS THING!