Travel Update: 5 Weeks In Asia With 1 Backpack – What’s Inside My Gear Bag

I’ve been in Thailand now for about a week and decided to do a gear bag check with everything in my backpack that I took on this five-week trip. On most of my BMX trips I usually bring a huge bike bag, an enormous suitcase, a heavy camera bag, and a full backpack, so traveling abroad for more than a month with just a handful of items is a big change for me, but it’s working out great so far. Here’s what I’m working with…

The gear bag in action.

(*Click on any image to enlarge.)


The bag that everything goes into… An all-purpose backpack from Fox that I’ve taken on every trip for more than a year now. This thing has seen more than a handful of countries and has been through hell and back, but it’s still going strong!

The clothes… Not much there, but enough to get the job done!

1. Nike running shoes. Most comfortable and versatile shoes I’ve ever put on my feet. Light enough to swim in, good enough to run in. Easy to wash, and quick to dry.
2. Jacket. Bought this for $7 at Goodwill before my trip. Water and resistant. Again, easy to wash, and quick to dry.
3. Bandana. Because you never know when you’ll need to wipe something.
4. Two pairs of long socks.
5. Long sleeve thermal shirt.
1. Travel pants. These are water resistant, and once again easy to wash and quick to dry. They also zip off into shorts. They are huge on me like MC Hammer pants and look absolutely ridiculous. But they are much easier to travel with than denim jeans. Oh, and yes, I screwed up the numbers. D’oh!
1. Tank top. Yep, screwed up two numbers already. Not off to a good start. Deal with it.
6. Three pairs of boxer briefs.
7. Two cotton v-neck t-shirts.
8. Two pairs of short socks.
9. Pair of nylon board shorts with pockets.

Miscellaneous items. A little of this, and a little of that…

10. Queen sized bed sheet.
11. Travel towel.
12. Mosquito net.
13. Ballpoint pin and permanent marker pen.
14. U.S. and local currency.
15. Important documents sealed inside two Ziploc bags; including: passport, credit cards, driver license, international driver license, copies of all my documents and copies of all of my travel partner’s documents.
16. Journal that my girlfriend gave me before the trip with little notes from her written throughout it.
17. Water bottle and carabineer.
18. Sunglasses with case.
19. House keys.
20. Ear buds with case.
21. Nylon shopping bag.
22. Flashlight with two key chains and carabineer.
24. Pocket knife. (Yes, it slips past airport security every time.)
25. Shoe lace. Just in case I have to do some MacGyver type stuff.
26. Sleeping mask.
27. Foam earplugs.
28. Toilet paper in Ziploc bag with the cardboard roll pulled out.
29. Large rubber band.
30. Jump rope. For some reason I thought I’d want to do some cardio on this trip. Yeah, hindsight really is 20/20.
31. Various sized Ziploc bags and plastic trash bags.
32. Nylon zipper bag. This comes in handy for dirty clothes and packing souvenirs to bring home.

I may not keep up with my personal hygiene on the road like I do when I’m at home, but all the toiletries are here when and if I need them…

33. Toiletries bag.
34. Matches.
35. Baby wipes. When you only shower every few days, these can come in handy.
36. Deodorant.
37. Sunscreen.
38. Hand sanitizer.
39. Toothpaste.
40. Daily nasal spray for allergies.
41. Nasal spray for when my allergies get really bad.
42. Eye drops.
43. Razor
44. Daily allergy pill and daily multi-vitamins.
45. Dental floss.
46. Bar of soap.
47. Body wash.
48. Shampoo.
49. Conditioner.
50. Shampoo.
51. Conditioner.
53. Malaria pills.
54. Emergen-C.
55. Toothbrush.
56. Wash cloth.
57. Bug repellant.
58. Cotton swabs.
59. Ziploc bag full of various medicines and a few bandages.
60. Tweezers.
61. Fingernail clippser.
62. Lip balm.

This is the stuff that makes my bag weigh in at 35.5lbs, but also the stuff that helps make a trip like this all worth it. Without being able to creatively document what I’m doing, it just wouldn’t be the same…

63. 17” Apple Macbook Pro
64. 32GB memory card.
65. Canon 5D Mark II. I took the battery grip off for this trip to save space and weight.
66. Lens case.
67. Extra camera battery.
68. 2GB USB flash drive.
69. Digital camera case.
70. Canon 15mm lens.
71. Cheap tripod (around $19). If I need to save weight and room I can throw this away and not feel bad about it.
72. iPhone charger.
73. Canon 24-70mm lens.
74. Computer charger.
75. Camera battery charger.
76. Digi-cam battery charger.
77. Canon 70-200mm lens.
78. Apple iPhone 4.
79. Universal memory card reader. It’s slow, but it will read both of my cameras’ memory cards and the USB cable can also charge the GoPro camera.
80. GoPro Hero II HD camera with various mounting accessories.
81. 1TB USB portable hard drive.
(Not Shown: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS point and shoot digi-cam.)

I rigged up an extra strap on my backpack that goes around my waist. Instead of sewing it on I just used a bunch of safety pins. It doesn’t really help take the weight off my shoulders much, but it helps keep the bag in place.

I keep my digi-cam on the shoulder of my backpack so I can reach it quickly.

Here’s the whole bag packed up, complete with flip-flops I picked up at a local market in a random town here in Thailand.

A view of the beast from the side.

These extra bits are some things that my travel partner Lindsay Matush brought with her that I’ve been using.

A. Lock.
B. SteriPEN. This dope little gadget will purify water so it is safe to drink. It works off batteries and doesn’t add any chemicals to the water, so it never leaves a weird taste.
C. Power adapter.
D. Ace wrap. I hurt my wrist after falling on a rock while playing around a waterfall. I should learn to be more careful when there are a dozen signs that say things like, “Danger,” “No Entry,” “Slippery,” etc.
D. Universal surge protector and power converter with multiple outlets. Of course I screwed up one more time. I suck.

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