Backpacking Southeast Asia: What’s In Our Bags?

We’d booked the flights; we were excited to go. There was only one thing left to do: pack. Facing the task of packing a bag that is suitable for a variety of weather conditions, terrains, and cultures for 6 months can be a daunting thing.  Here’s the list of what we took, and what we couldn’t live without now, for anyone looking for ideas of what to pack for backpacking south east Asia.

The bag

We decided early in our plans that we wanted to buy bags that were small enough to take on planes as carry on; around 45 litres. This would not only save us money but also mean that on buses/ trains we could always keep our bags near us (under a seat, on our laps if necessary). We also wanted to be able to pick up our bags and move quickly if we needed to (we have this habit of running late… a lot) and that was only going to be possible with a smaller bag. We chose the Osprey Porter 46L bag for several reasons: its weight, concealable straps and front loading panel being particular stand outs. We’ll post a full review of this bag soon, after we’ve put it through its paces some more.

For women: Sophie’s bag

Clothes

  • 2 knee length dresses
  • 1 shorter dress
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 midi skirt
  • 3 cotton t-shirts
  • 1 vest top
  • 2 button down shirts (one sleeveless, one t-shirt sleeves)
  • 1 denim shirt
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 sports bra
  • 2 other bras
  • 1 bandeau
  • 1 beach cover up
  • 2 bikinis and one extra bikini top
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1 large sarong scarf for covering shoulders/ legs/ on the beach
  • 1 magical Uniqlo water-resistant-down-packs-into-a-tiny-bag jacket
  • 1 pair of Nike free runs
  • 1 pair of Teva Terra Fi Lite sandals
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses
  • 3 necklaces
  • 2 headscarves

Make-Up

  • The little that’s left of my liquid foundation as it has SPF 15 and I’m not planning to wear it much
  • 1 concealer stick
  • 2 liquid concealers
  • 2 cream blushers
  • 1 liquid eyeliner
  • 2 mascaras
  • 1 bronzer
  • 2 combined eyebrow pencil and powders
  • 3 lipsticks
  • 1 tinted lipbalm
  • 1 tin of Vaseline
  • 2 nail varnishes. Do these count as make up or toiletries?

Toiletries

  • 1 travel wash bag
  • 1 Mitchum roll on – I discovered on our wedding day that this stuff is The King Of All Deodorants, and now I’d highly recommend it for tropical climates too.
  • 1 bar of soap and soap box
  • 1 toothbrush and sanitizer holder
  • 1 full size tube of toothpaste
  • 1 microfibre towel
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Nail varnish remover wipes
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 3 bobbles
  • 1 pack of bobby pins
  • 1 tangle teaser
  • 1 comb
  • 1 travel sized face serum
  • 1 travel sized face moisturiser
  • 1 travel sized handcream
  • 1 travel sized bottle of shampoo
  • 1 travel sized bottle of conditioner
  • 3 razors
  • 1 pair of mini scissors
  • 1 nail clippers
  • 1 tweezers
  • Eye mask
  • Earplugs
  • 1 50% DEET mosquito repellent roll on
  • 1 SPF 20 spray on sun lotion
  • Anti-malarials and other first aid essentials

We lost quite a few toiletries at the airport as we’d surpassed the limit on liquid volume…

We’re still pretty sore about it.

Electricals

  • 1 Amazon Kindle + charger
  • 1 Asus Eeebook + charger
  • 1 iPhone + charger
  • 1 point and shoot + charger
  • 1 worldwide adaptor

Miscellaneous

  • Travel washing line
  • Headtorch
  • Multiple waterproof document and phone wallets
  • Printed out scans of all our important documents and insurance details
  • 4 packing cubes
  • 1 bag tether and cable lock for securing bags
  • 2 locks for our bags
  • 1 Osprey superlight stuff pack
  • 1 silk sleeping bag liner
  • 1 umbrella

For men: Ryan’s bag

Clothes

  • 1 light insulated jacket
  • 1 thin fleece
  • 1 pair of cotton trousers
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pairs of swimming trunks
  • 3 quick dry T-shirts
  • 1 long sleeved T-shirt
  • 2 quick dry polo shirts
  • 7 pairs of underpants
  • 2 pairs of ankle socks
  • 5 pairs of trainer socks
  • 1 cap
  • 2 pairs on sunglasses
  • 1 pair of Adidas Climacool Voyager Shoes
  • 1 pair of Teva Terra Fi Lite
  • 1 cheap Casio waterproof watch

Toiletries

  • 1 travel wash bag
  • 1 deodorant
  • 1 bar of soap and soap box
  • 1 toothbrush and sanitizer holder
  • 1 full size tube of toothpaste
  • 1 microfibre towel
  • Beard trimmer
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 1 travel sized face moisturiser
  • 1 bottle of eye drops
  • 1 lip balm
  • Eye mask
  • Earplugs
  • Lip balm
  • 1 95% DEET spray on mosquito repellent
  • 1 travel sized SPF 50 sun tan lotion
  • Anti-malarials and other first aid kit essentials

Electricals

  • 1 Amazon Kindle and charger
  • 1 iPhone and charger
  • 1 camera and charger
  • 1 portable hardrive
  • 1 Pebble Explorer portable charger
  • 1 worldwide travel adaptor

Miscellaneous

  • cable ties
  • sewing kit
  • 3 dry bags
  • 1 silk sleeping bag liner
  • 1 Ex Ped Cloudburst 25
  • 1 bag tether and cable lock
  • Headtorch
  • Multiple waterproof document and phone wallets
  • Printed out scans of all our important documents and insurance details
  • 4 packing cubes
  • 2 locks for our bags
  • 1 umbrella

We hope you find our packing lists useful if you’re deciding what to pack for travelling around Southeast Asia. Let us know what you think, is there anything you think we missed?

Now all that’s left is for us to go and see the world. First stop, Japan!

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3 thoughts on “Backpacking Southeast Asia: What’s In Our Bags?

  1. Really enjoying your blog, your descriptions of the sights and sounds experienced so far brought them to life. When I was a little girl I used to lie in bed imagining how little I would need to pack if I needed to escape for any reason (yes, I was an odd child) – I still thought I’d need more than you packed for 6 months-and you both manage to look amazing in your photos. Mind you, I always had to include a cuddly toy in my rucksack, but you have each other! Love you both, Mum x

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  2. Wow, you two are definitely creating special memories. As I’ve read your blog tonight, I felt like you were inviting us all to join in with your experiences – THANK YOU. Looking forward to the next journey… Lots of love Kerry x

    Like

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