First of all, it’s necessary to figure out the total weight of a full backpack that you’ll always carry on your back: we usually hike with backpacks that don’t exceed 25% of our body weight – in order to not feel uncomfortable or burdened. With this weight limit in mind we have sorted the stuff that we will take with us for our World Tour (goodbye my heels!)
We opted for backpacks with a rain cloth and side pockets for stuff that we would like to be easily available. Our backpacks also feature a full length zipper, so we don’t need to empty our bag entirely each time to access the bottom!
But the most important point is that our backpacks fit us perfectly, to transfer 80-90% of the total weight to the hips in order to relieve our backs and shoulders. Feel free to try several brands and backpacks types in a store, and ask a seller for weights to fill and test them full.
Another tip: Buy some packing cubes in order to compartmentalize your backpack and protect your clean and dry clothes from the dirty ones!
Our tips to have less heavy backpacks!
We had to find out some tricks to deal with all situations, all seasons and all climates. So we favored lightweight dual-purpose clothing such as convertible pants, down jackets and long-sleeved t-shirts as it reduces unnecessary amounts of clothing!
We also have preferred some fabric types:
- Synthetic for tops, because it’s a very breathable material that dries quickly: ideal for daily hand washes!
- Cotton for underwear: comfortable to wear and very breathable, it’s recommended for women who are sensitive to urinary infections;
- Thermal underwear with high thermic protection which are an indispensable base layer for cold and can be used as pajamas;
- Microfiber towels for how light, fast-drying property and ultra-absorbent they are;
- Silk liner for sleeping bags: a light liner that protects our sleeping bags from dirt (also silk liner is way easier to wash) and makes you feel warmer.
Before leaving, sort all your clothes and if necessary buy your equipment second-hand (an economical and ecological solution). However, for dual-purpose clothing such as convertible hiking pants or down jackets, do not hesitate to invest in quality and fitted products.
Another option to avoid unnecessary clothes to carry: buy clothes directly in the country you visit. It’s often cheaper and adapted to the local weather. And when your clothes are no longer used, you can give them away or send them back home via postal packages.
To always have something to lit paper or wood, or to burn the used toilet paper in the middle of nature…
Our favorite tool to secure extra stuff on our bags!
Essential accessories to hang our linen during our camping days, or at local’s house
Used for our small backpacks, where valuables are stored
The essentials for traveling!
Efficient tools for writing notes, drawing our hitchhiking signs etc.
Convenient to read all our books without being burdened by the weight!
An optional, which proved to be useful as soon as we got outside Europe
A soft, light and foldable canvas bag that we keep with us to avoid unnecessary plastic bags when shopping!
In our case, we carry a Lifestraw® that allows us to drink impure water directly, thanks to the filters built into the straw!
Absolutely essential for fixing our clothes, shoes and bags while traveling (tested and approved!). A spare set of laces is always useful!
With our old smartphones, we still can browse internet via WiFi, to use certain offline applications (maps, dictionaries), to call each other if necessary, etc. Phone models we have are not really valuable anymore; but they don’t make quality photos…
If you have a valuable smartphone (which you also use to take quality photos, for example), taking an extra old cellphone might always be useful in places where there is a high risk of theft or a problem with your smartphone.
To listen to music everywhere! Personally, we make it simple with a pair of headphones and computer sound!
To adapt the different SIM cards that we get locally for our phones: micro SIM, nano SIM …
We brought a quality foldable solar panel and an external battery, so that we can recharge our devices at any time. In terms of alternatives, you can also find water and wind turbines for travel!
Indispensable for our picnics and small repairs!
Used when camping, or when we have to venture into darker corners: a must, in our opinion!
Always useful on a hike: the whistle to warn, the compass to find your way – especially if the smartphone doesn’t work anymore (due to the lack of battery for example).
Before leaving, we bought the “Point it®”, a small Pictionary specially designed for travel: when words are no longer enough, you just have to point out your thoughts in pictures!
To sleep better, protected from noise or light
Indispensable stuff, which can help in certain situations!
The detailed list of our multimedia equipment
How to protect your valuable material?
All our valuable equipment, money and papers are stored in our small 20L backpacks worn in front of us. These small backpacks can be kept folded in our big backpacks or be used for a day outing.
Our tip for a better walk comfort: take small backpacks with a hip belt for a better weight distribution. When traveling, first hang your small backpack in front of you, then put on your big backpack and fasten the hip belt below your small backpack’s one, so your small backpack’s weight is on your big backpack’s belt. This method of hanging also allows you to drop your big backpack very easily (for a bus ride, or in a car trunk) and keep your small backpack with all the valuables items always with you!
Hygiene and First Aid kit
How to camp safely during your journey?
Our essential equipment for every season (tested and approved from -20°C to +40°C)
i.e. about 9 kg per person
Extra equipment we took lately without suffering a great loss of comfort (+2.6 kg)
note: good for 2 people
Non-essential equipment that allows us to enjoy our second passion: photography!
Of course, no one can say that our travel backpacks are very light, nor we are perfectly minimalists… But it’s a good compromise, in our eyes, to combine our two passions: travel and photography!
Which steps to follow to be well prepared for a long journey?
Big thanks to Dan, who helped us a lot with the translation of technical words!