Travelling light

So, once we decided on our travel plan and booked our flights (every payday) we moved onto deciding what to take. Having picked the cheaper budget flights, in most cases we are limited to hand luggage only and in some cases a quite low weight limit of 7kg.

This has forced us to think very carefully about what essentials we needed to roughly cover all destinations. Following a fair bit of online research and some very helpful blogs Neverendingvoyage & Travelfashiongirl we both settled on a rough to take list. (See below for our final lists – we will update as we go along)


Moving onto backpacks, looking online is a good place to start but we would definitely recommend go to a few walking shops try some on and see what feels comfortable. As it turns out there are loads, and I mean loads, of backpacks out there and not all the ones that look good online are that great once you see and try them on. Given we were working off hand luggage for most flights we came to the conclusion bags around the 35 Litre (ish) mark would be a good shout. In the end we both chose Low Alpine Airzone Bags  which seemed to tick all the boxes; comfortable to wear, compact enough for hand luggage, top+side access, adjustable backs, plenty of pockets and options to extent the capacity if needed.

Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro 35:45 Litre (John)

Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro 33:40 Litre (Karla)

Also if you’re in the UK (we’re not sure about elsewhere) most walking and climbing shops are quite competitive with prices and will beat any UK based online prices (amazon and ebay excluded) by 10%. Hunting out the cheapest online price and using a few birthday vouchers saved us both quite a bit of money when buying our bags and a few of the items below.

John’s Final List


Wearing to the airport clothes

  • 1 pair of zip off trousers (Cragghopper)
  • 1 belt – with inside zip for emergency £
  • 1 T-shirt – short sleeved
  • Underwear obviously
  • 1 pair of light walking socks
  • Trekking/Hiking Shoes (Merrel Annex GORE-TEX) – purchased in a walking shop for much lower price by using price match and -10%n offer (cheapest online price I found was sports direct)
  • 1 Hoody

Backpack (not including clothes worn to airport)

  • Passport &spare passport photos – forgot photocopies 🙂
  • 1 Debit card, 2 Credit Cards (Halifax Clarity has no exchange fees at the moment)
  • 1 Revolut MasterCard
  • $100 US – emergency fund
  • 2 pairs of zip off trousers (1 x Cragghoppers & 1 x Peter Storm which are a little lighter) – stored in net bag (Tresspass)
  • 1 pair of swimshorts
  • 4 T-shirts (2 normal short sleeved, 1 long sleeved and 1 running top) – stored in net bag (Tresspass)
  • 1  long sleeved shirt (Nosilife)
  • 1 pair of thin joggers
  • 1 travel towel (Tresspass)
  • 4 pairs of boxers – stored in cheap travel bags from £1 land
  • 7 pairs of socks (6 short running sock style Karrimor and 1 longer walking sock style) – stored in cheap bags from £1 land
  • 1 waterproof jacket (Mac In A Sac) **Update Nov 16- waterproof now missing in action Nov 16 – wasn’t very good at keeping water out anyway!
  • Dry Sack 2L (Karrimor)
  • 1 normal belt
  • money belt (to hold larger items such as passport ect..)
  • 1 snood – thanks Steph 🙂
  • 1 loose beanie hat
  • 1 Spork
  • 1 Travel Cup
  • 1 deck of playing cards
  • Small notebook
  • 2 pairs of ear plugs
  • 1 head torch
  • 1 pad lock for side zip of bag
  • Retract a lock  – these are a great way of making the draw string top part of our bags more secure, you just thread it though with the draw string of your bag. You can also use it to lock the bags to stuff in hostels as well

Toiletries – John

  • Sun Cream 50ml, Bug Spray 50ml, Hairstuff 60ml & 30ml, Gillette wet shave razor with extra blade, Cheap razor, Lush Soap/Shampoo thing (thanks Steph), Toothpaste 20ml, Travel toothbrush, Travel Aftershave Container 10ml, Dove 48hr stick deodorant (doesn’t count towards fluid allowances which is helpful)

Electronics – Carried by John

  • 11 inch Levono 100s Notebook including charger and waterproof case
  • ADATA 1TB external hardrive waterproof & shockproof
  • Nexus 5x Mobile + charger wire (John)
  • HTC Ancient Mobile (Karla)
  • Kindle Fire
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • 2 pairs headphones
  • 1 headphone splitter
  • 1 universal plug adaptor
  • 1 camera + charger
  • 2 charger wires covering Battery Pack, Karla’s phone, Kindle Fire & Kindle Paperwhite
  • 1 battery pack **Update Oct 16 – broke after 1 week  – new one purchased in China for 50 yuan, lets see how long it lasts

Karla Final List


Wearing to the airport clothes

  • 1 pair of zip off walking pants(Cragghopper)
  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 Hoody ** Update Oct 16 – lost in Kathmandu, replaced in China as it was freezing
  • 1 pair walking boots (I took my old walking boots for trekking in Nepal, but left them there as I wont be needing trek boots for a while)
  • 1 pair Nike trainers (wore for airports after I ditched walking boots)
  • Obviously underwear i.e bra, knickers & socks

Backpack (not including clothes I wore to airport)

  • Passport & Photocopies & spare passport photos
  • 1 Debit card, 2 Credit Cards (Halifax Clarity has no exchange fees at the moment)
  • 1 Revolut MasterCard **Update Nov 16 – I’ve lost the Revolut card and blocked it
  • $100 US – emergency fund
  • 1 large scarf (doubles up as everything top/skirt/sarong/shawl/beach towel/blanket)
  • 1 cardigan/shawl
  • 6 vests
  • 4 T-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve top **Update Oct 16 – bought another in China, it was cold.
  • 2 light day dresses **Update Nov 16 – bought two more in Bangkok
  • 2 shorts
  • 2 linen hippy pants
  • 1 leggings
  • 1 bra (well 2 because I am wearing one)

  • 1 sports bra

  • 7 knickers

  • 4 pairs socks

  • 1 bikini set

  • 1 pair of walking sandals (Teva)
  • 1 waterproof jacket (Mac In A Sac)
  • 1 Travel towel (keep in a small dry bag – not in above photo)
  • 1 spare bag for dirty laundry
  • 1 silk sleeping bag liner
  • 1 pair of prescription sunglasses
  • 1 pair of normal sunglasses
  • 1 box of contact lenses
  • 1 fold up cup (never know when wine might need drinking and it did on the night trains in China)
  • 1 spork **Update Oct 16 – was so worried about eating with hands/chopsticks but I have embraced this now 🙂
  • 1 Note book
  • 2 pens
  • 2 pairs of ear plugs
  • 1 blow up pillow
  • 1 head torch
  • 1 pad lock for side zip of bag
  • Retract a lock  – these are a great way of making the draw string top part of our bags more secure.

This might sound like a lot but I bought vacuum storage bags that do not require an actual vacuum cleaner to draw the air out. Its amazing you just stuff all the clothes in, seal it, squash it and the valves let the air out but not back in. Hey presto my clothes are half the size.

I also use a separate vacuum storage bag for underwear, I have found it really useful having things in two separate bags so I know where everything is.

Toiletries – Karla

Okay, so brace yourself because there is a lot of stuff here. I will let you know 6 months down the line what bits get chucked.

  • Liquids – 100ml suncream, 50ml toothpaste, 100ml body moistuiser, 50ml dove face cream (keep the wrinkles at bay-ish), Roll on deodorant 60ml, 100ml DEET bug roll on, Teatree oil 10ml (love the stuff, put it on bites, cuts, spots whatever, does the job), Vaseline 10ml
  • Other toiletry bits – Shampoo/soap bar, Travel toothbrush, Hair bobbles, Hair band, Face wipes, Pack of tissues, Folding hair brush/mirror, Cuetips, Nail file, Tweezers, Razors 2 disposable,  Mooncup plus a few tampax, Eyeliner (pencil and liquid…I know I know), Mascara, Compact powder, Powder brush, Foundation

 **Update October 16 – 1 purchased 100ml conditioner (I tried to go without and ended up with a matt in my hair that I actually thought I might have to get cut out)

Medicine pack (one each)

We both made up a pack with the same things in, see below for quantities per pack in brackets and we will let you know how it goes.

**Update Nov 16**  Ibuprofen & Paracetamol we took one strip of each – we would definitely advise taking more than this if you can. We used all of our supply whilst we were trekking in Nepal within the first two weeks of the trip.

  • Paracetamol 500mg Tabs (14), Ibuprofen 400mg tabs (14), Loperimide 2mg diarrhoea caps (14) Cetirizine 10mg antihistimine tabs (14), Doxycline 100mg antimalarial caps (60), Procyclizine 3mg antisickness tablets (8), Dioralyte sachets (2), Plasters (10), Tegaderm Plasters (4), Sterile Gauze (4), Steri-strip artificial sticthes (1 strip of 5 each),one years worth of contraceptive pill (obviously not in John’s pack!)


John used the NHS website FitForTravel to check our travel vaccination and malaria prophylaxis requirements (some antimalarials aren’t suitable for some areas).

In the end we had boosters or full vaccination courses for Hepatitis A, B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Rabies, Cholera,  Diptheria & Yellow Fever.

We had to pay privately for Rabies & Yellow Fever – Boots pharmacy was surprisingly the cheapest.

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