For us, our adventures Road to Happiness Adventure was open-ended so we had to pack or get rid of everything we own.
Neither of us owned property so it was a case of giving up our respective accommodation (Hannah in Manchester and Phil in London) and getting rid of all our stuff. Read below for how we found the packing experience and what we ended up taking on our trip!
We’re an Amazon Affiliates partner, and most of what we’re taking can be found on Amazon by clicking on the things we’ve listed. We’ve discovered that while it’s great to use independent retailers, the reliability of Amazon has been a huge help in preparing for our trip. If you end up buying anything through our links we’ll get a small percentage of the sale, but it won’t affect the price you pay at all.
Five years ago I arrived back in Manchester after an extended trip away with a backpack and not much else. Fast forward to 2017 I had a houseful. Luckily I live quite a minimalist lifestyle and only buy what I need. I gave away my camping stuff for free to via a Facebook Group and all my beautiful art to my friends and family. Apart from that, the majority of my other stuff was household objects. My landlord told me that his new tenants were Junior Doctors and would LOVE to keep all my furniture and kitchen stuff. I considered this an act of good karma so let them have it all for free. I cleaned the house and was off!
My Packing List:
I suffer from Chronic Pain and at one point was on thirty painkillers a day and often used a walking stick. I took myself off the painkillers slowly and now have to be really careful about looking after myself. Lots of sleep, good food and yoga work for me. As a result, I couldn’t take a really heavy backpack so settled on a 45L Lowe Alpine Carry On and a Day Rucksack.
My Day Bag is a Fjällräven Kanken Daily Backpack. It fits in all my electronic equipment and leaves plenty of space for snack, drinks etc!
- Fjällräven Kånken Rucksack I just love these, they look great and have loads of space, plus you can open the zip all the way down the side, making them really easy to pack and sort through.
- Apple MacBook Pro 13″ This is basically my lifesaver. I am a COMPLETE mac convert since I bought my first one in 2011. For me, I think they are better quality, great customer service and last much longer then any PC I have owned.
- Kindle Fire Tablet I bought this when I hitchhiked round Africa with a Carry-on and just wanted a way to keep up on social media, check emails, watch films without lugging round a laptop. It also doubles up as a book and I use it pretty much every day too – It does everything I personally would want an Ipad to do at less then a 10% of the price.
Canon EOS 1100D This Camera films as well, and while I am not asemi-pro like Phil I’d like to capture the trip in my own way as well.UPDATE: I’ve since sent this back to the UK to sell when I return as I bought a new Iphone 7 to create videos and photos. Manfrotto Befree Travel Tripod The best travel tripod in the world. Packs down tiny and goes up to 6ft high. Plus really light so can fit incarry on and not have too much weight.UPDATE: I later sent this back to the UK as we were not using it much.
- Moleskine Notebook & Pens Because of a head injury from 2012 I need to constantly keep track of my to-do lists in analogue format. I also want to journal for the book I plan to write at the end of the trip.
- Vdealen Stainless Steel Sporks Well a girl got to eat right? As we are travelling for so long we will need to keep on a good budget for food / drink so sporks will mean we can pack lunches and eat from supermarkets / takeaways without using plastic cultery. We want to look after the planet as we go, not destroy it!
45L Carry On:
My main bag is a Lowe Alpine AT Carry-On 45. Its perfect for me!
- Lowe Alpine AT Carry-On 45
- Eagle Creek Packing Cubes – to organise my bag and fit more in
- Bago Travel Toiletry Bag
- Shoes –
Hiking Boots, Trainers and Flip Flops (UPDATE: Returned Hiking Boots half way through the trip)
- Clothing (I’ll do a seperate blog post about exactly what I have bought)
- Yoga Mat
- Karrimor Travel Towel
- Silk Bed Cover
- Berghaus Waterproof Jacket
- Tevina Universal Plug Adapter with USB
- Games – Travel Chess, Dobble, UNO and Cards
- Spare Bags (small leather evening bag & spare Tote bags)
Normally, when I’m travelling for work, I check in a big heavy bag full of tools and work gear, and use a carry on for everything else. My feeling is that you should try and strike a a balance between what you really need, and what will make your life easier and more comfortable on the road. However, we generally need less than we think. On this trip, I’ll be carrying more than Hannah, and have decided to approach packing using a modular system. This will give me the flexibility to carry everything all together (more than 110 litres if I go crazy); a smaller 20-30 litre bag for day trips and short excursions of a few days; or if needs be just a 10 litre sling bag to hold my cameras and minimal stuff for heading out into the city.
10L Sling Bag:
After a lot of research (and another sent-back sling bag) I settled on the Peak Design Everyday Sling. This means my cameras will always be within easy reach, and fits my Macbook Pro, too, so I don’t have to leave it at the hostel!
- Peak Design Everyday Sling Versatile, easy to use, and my new go-to bag. Full of features for professional and enthusiastic photographers and filmmakers alike. Just look at what I can pack in there.
- Apple MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar I actually really like the Touch Bar. And the new display is amazing.
- Kindle Paperwhite (for reading in the dark!) I’m a total Kindle e-reader convert. While everybody loves the smell of books, I like the stories more. And I like being able to carry a library around with me most of all!
- Panasonic FZ2000 Camera This was a toughie – competition in the video camera world is fierce, and the tiniest detail can make all the difference. For this trip I needed a camera to cover all bases (it just does): 24 – 480mm zoom lens, built in ND filters, and with a viewfinder that I actually want to use (0.74x crop baby)!
- Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Tripod It’s not always convenient to put up a full size tripod, so with this I can get stable on a tabletop, the back of a chair, a lamp post, or a rock. Also useable as an ugly selfie stick at a push.
- Rode Videomic Pro Audio on this trip was always going to be an issue, as on camera audio is almost always useless. While a little mic like this won’t quite yield pro results, it certainly helps.
- Rode Smartlav+ This little lav conects to any smartphone, meaning you don’t need radio packs to have a wireless lavallier setup
- GoPro HERO5 Black Ideal for a trip like this to capture impossible shots, and in any environment
- GoPro Karma Grip Stabilizer This thing is great, and has proved it’s worth after just one shoot. Keeps GoPro footage silky smooth for stable handheld shots.
- USB Battery, plus various Apple dongles and memory cards
70+30L Main Bag(s):
I’ve had some great travel experience with the Lowe Alpine AT Carry On 45, so when it came to choosing a main bag for this trip Lowe Alpine were my first stop. The Lowe Alpine AT Travel Trekker 70+30 fit the bill exactly. It has an adjustable back system, with a proper hip belt to take the weight; it is both top- and front-loading; and the super-versatile day pack attaches to both the back and the front shoulder straps and expands from 20L to 30L with a zipper.
- Lowe Alpine AT Travel Trekker 70+30
- DJI Mavic Pro Drone*2
- Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
- Lifeventure EX3 Rectangular Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
- Lifeventure SoftFibre Travel Towel
- Toiletries Bag
- 4-way UK power bar (with a euro/schuko plug)
- Lomo Lightweight Dry Bags (to keep our various cables and adapters dry and organised)
- Small First Aid Kit
- LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB Hard Drives to handle all the video data
- Berghaus Hillwalker II Walking Boots, Nike Free Rn trainers and flip flops
- North Face Mountain Light Triclimate Gore-Tex Jacket
- *The Canon EOS 1100D has been discontinued and isn’t currently available on Amazon, so we’ve substituted it for the update Canon EOS1300D in our links.
- *Please be aware that currently the DJI Mavic Pro is shipping from most sellers with a long lead time. If you buy through Amazon you may be paying a higher price to get a hold of one quicker.