What to Pack for A Long-Term or RTW Trip (Male Edition)

From experience, packing for a 1-year trip was the hardest aspect of preparing for it. Now, having traveled and lived out of my backpack for well over a year, it’s a piece of cake. This post will provide some general advice on packing, as well as the exact items with pictures I would pack if I were leaving for a long-term or RTW (round-the-world) trip today.

Update: Make sure to also check out our female edition of what to pack for long-term or RTW trip.

First, some overall advice:

  • Figure out approximately how often you want to do laundry. My recommendation is every 5 days. (If you start out with 5 days of clothes, as you travel this number will steadily increase – not because you buy more clothes but because you’ll wash things in the sink and your smell test will become easier to pass.)
  • You’re not traveling to the moon; don’t pack for every imaginable situation. If you need something you can almost always find what you’re looking for or something close to it at your destination.
  • You can send things home too. If you end up packing too much, not a big deal. Sending packages home is reasonably priced.
  • If it gets cold, you can buy a jacket. If it’s hot you can buy extra T-shirts.
  • Think versatility. Almost everything in your pack should serve more than 1 purpose. You’ll see what I mean below.**

The Backpacks

  1. Main Pack – I’m not a pack expert. There are a lot of articles that can help you choose a pack. My main piece of advice is to find a good quality pack (you’ll use it for a long time) with two ways to get into the main compartment.
  2. Daypack – I started out with a nice North Face daypack, which was great during the day. However, when I had both packs on, I was miserable. I hated having my day-pack in front and my main pack in the back. I ended up ditching it (sent it home) and went with a small, thin, foldable day-pack. One of the best decisions I made. Unfortunately, I’m still not sure what these are called or where to find them. I purchased this particular one in South Korea.


  1. (1) Short sleeve gym shirt (Also used as PJ’s when clean)
  2. (1) Long-sleeve gym shirt (Also used as PJ’s when clean & a base layer when cold)
  3. (1) Pair of gym shorts
  4. (1) Wind-breaker type jacket
  5. (1) Pair of jeans
  6. (1) Belt
  7. (1) Pair of zip-off cargo pants/shorts (Also used as PJ’s when clean)
  8. (1) Pair of shorts
  9. (1) Pair of board shorts (Also used as underwear when necessary)
  10. (4) T-shirts (You can easily add more, as t-shirts do not take up a lot of room)
  11. (1) Long sleeve collared shirt
  12. (1) Long sleeve shirt
  13. (5) Pairs of underwear (the athletic and quick-dry types are easy to wash in the bathroom)
  14. (5) Pairs of socks

When we entered cold weather I purchased:

  1. (1) Beanie
  2. (2) Pairs of gloves
  3. (1) Hoodie
  4. (1) Pair of leg warmers

And I layered! Depending on how cold it was, I would literally wear almost all of my clothes at the same time.


  1. (1) Pair of Sandals (used as shower sandals as well)
  2. (1) Pair of athletic Shoes (used for walking, running, hiking & going out)


  1. (1) Backup Hard Drive (I recommend online backup as well)
  2. (1) Steripen with 4 rechargeable AA batteries (Pretty small to bring around, saves money and great for the environment)
  3. (1) Olympus Digital Camera (Point & shoot, nothing special, but does the job)
  4. (1) Amazon Kindle (This is a new purchase. It’s surprisingly tiny.)
  5. (1) iPhone 3GS (Essentially becomes an iPod Touch when abroad)
  6. (1) Asus Eee 1005HA Netbook (Small and awesome, love it!)

Storage Things

The reason choosing my pack was not a big deal is that everything goes in a bag before it goes in my main pack. The space bags are great because they vacuum out the air and are easy to pack and unpack.

  1. (1) Large Space Bag to go (For clothes)
  2. (2) Medium Space Bag to go (For clothes)
  3. (1) Large Ziploc bag for Papers, Notebook, etc.
  4. (1) Small bag to store sandals
  5. (1) Small Eagle Creek Storage Bag (Camera charger, Pedometer, Battery Charger)
  6. (3) Eagle Creek Stuffer Bags (Black – Laundry, Blue – Extra/Miscellaneous, Red – Locks)


  1. (1) Bar of soap with Ziploc carry bag
  2. (1) Bottle of shampoo
  3. (1) Razor cord
  4. (1) Deodorant
  5. (1) Inhaler (I have asthma)
  6. (1) Drain stopper (Useful for washing your clothes in a sink.)
  7. (1) Saline Nasal Spray (All of the climate and altitude can really dry out your nose.)
  8. (1) REI First Aid Kit (Nice to have, but barely makes the cut into the bag.)
  9. (1) Razor
  10. (1) Tiger Balm (Great for lots of things — mainly mosquito bites)
  11. (1) Pepto-Bismol
  12. (1) Traveler’s diarrhea medicine
  13. (1) Toiletry bag with usual stuff – Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc.
  14. (1) Sunscreen
  15. (3) Extra Ziploc bags
  16. (1) Large fast dry shower towel


  1. (1) Notebook (General note-taking, but mostly for work.)
  2. (1) Copy of immunizations (I’ve never had to use this.)
  3. (1) Copy of Passport
  4. (1) Copy of birth certificate (I’ve never had to use this either.)
  5. (1) Passport
  6. (5) Passport photos
  7. (100) Business cards
  8. (1) PADI Diver’s Logbook & PADI Dive Card (if you’re a scuba diver, of course)


  1. (1) Blow up neck pillow (also used to wrap my netbook for safe traveling)
  2. (1) Eyemask with earplugs
  3. (1) Laptop lock (I’m cautious and always lock it up when I leave it in my room)
  4. (1) General lock with cord (If you have a locker or something similar)
  5. (1) Headlamp (I love my headlamp. It comes in handy for many situations, especially in a hostel dorm early in the morning or late at night)
  6. (1) Pedometer (I like seeing how many steps I walk in a day)
  7. (1) Gorillapod (This is an adjustable tripod for your camera. They’re great. Get a knock-off though, they’re far less expensive)
  8. (1) Swiss Army Knife (Primarily used to cut bread and spread peanut butter)
  9. (1) All-in-one power plug adapter (This doesn’t change voltage, it only the adapts the plug, which is all you generally need.)
  10. (1) Laptop power cord
  11. (1) Pair of super sweet sunglasses
  12. (1) Small notebook and pen (Always in my pocket and very helpful)
  13. (1) iPhone arm band for working out
  14. (1) Rechargeable battery charger (For Steripen batteries)
  15. (1) Camera battery charger
  16. (1) Small bag of sewing materials (This has come in handy many more times than I expected)
  17. (1) Bag of cords – Kindle cord, camera cord, headphones with microphone (for Skype), regular headphones, iPod cord, backup hard drive cord, small wipe to clean iPhone.

That’s it! Wow, to be honest, I had no idea there were so many things!

Did I miss anything you would never consider leaving home without? Leave a comment and let me know!

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