In My Backpack

Because people seem to love packing lists (and since I love lists in general), I’m going to start sharing some of my travel packing lists with you here.

Travel (3)

Here’s a look at what currently travels with me:

My backpack(s)

Kelty Redwing 50 (blue) — This small, compact backpack has traveled around Europe with me for 3 months, and Asia for nearly 2. I love how small it is (it keeps me from over-packing), and love that it unzips fully to be front-loading. There are also some extra side and front pockets that make organizing easy.

Osprey Sojourn — For trips when a backpack isn’t necessary, I’ve started using a convertible Osprey pack. It has sturdy wheels on the bottom, but also comes with removable backpack straps, should you need them. I LOVE this bag — it’s the best of both worlds!

Packing must-haves

Eagle Creek packing cubes — Like to be organized? Then you HAVE to start using packing cubes. They come in multiple sizes, and usually fit together, puzzle-like, in any size bag. I use anywhere from 3-5 when I pack: one for shirts, one for shorts, one for skirts, etc.

Hoboroll — I love my packing cubes, but sometimes you need something with even more compartments for things like socks and underwear. I use a Hoboroll by Gobi Gear for all these miscellaneous items. It’s divided up into 6 compartments and has compression straps so that you can shrink it down.

Day packs

Pacsafe Slingsafe — This little backpack really packs a punch. With anti-theft features like slash-proof material and secure zippers, this bag is perfect to carry around just about any city. It even fits my 11-inch Macbook Air.

OE Acadia Backpack — The Acadia backpack from Overland Equipment was my go-to carry-on backpack for quite a while. It has a separate laptop sleeve for easy access at the airport, and plenty of other small pockets. I also liked that it’s quite slim — meaning there’s no problem fitting it under the seat in front of you on a plane.

STM Drifter — Meet my NEW go-to carry-on backpack! This bag is pretty amazing. Like the Acadia I’d been using before, the Drifter is slim and will easily fit under any airplane seat. It also has “floating” pockets for laptops and tablets, giving your devices a little extra padding. Lastly, the bag has a ridiculous amount of pockets, which is a must-have for this organizational freak.

Donner bag — Also by Overland Equipment, my new favorite travel purse is the Donner bag. It’s big enough for everything I would want to take with me for a day (my camera, wallet, Kindle, a scarf or sweater, etc.), and I also love the side pockets for water bottles or an umbrella.

For sleeping/showering

Cocoon silk sleep sheet — We’ve all experienced questionable sleeping situations on the road. A silk sleep sheet is the answer — it acts like a lightweight sleeping bag, meaning you don’t have to actually touch those sketchy sheets or mattresses. These also take up virtually NO space in your bag.

Micro fiber towel — Traveling with a quick-dry towel is a must for most travelers. I never go on long trips without mine. Even if I’m staying in a hotel where towels are provided, having a micro fiber towel can be great for the beach.


Keen Whisper sandals — Good for hiking or just walking around in a city, these lightweight Keens are my go-to if I don’t want to take sneakers but still want to have a shoe that will keep my toes protected.

Teva Tirra sandals — While not the cutest sandals out there, my Tirras are my most comfortable travel sandal. They’re not super clunky, and don’t look terrible when you’re wearing them out and about.

Crocs Adrina Flat — Okay, so I hate most Crocs shoes. I think they look ugly and obnoxious. But I was convinced to try a pair with the promise of supreme comfort. I found the Adrina Flats which don’t actually look like Crocs at all (and don’t have the name branded on them anywhere you can see it), and they ARE, in fact, incredibly comfy.

Merrell Moab waterproof hiking boots — I’m not much of a hiker, but I still think it’s good to have a solid pair of hiking boots in my arsenal. I bought these for my trip to New Zealand, and was SO glad I did. These are ankle-height, lightweight boots that actually don’t look entirely hideous. And, bonus, it didn’t take long at all to break them in!


Kindle Paperwhite — I used to be quite anti-Kindle, but now that I have one, I can’t imagine traveling without it! The Paperwhite is great because it comes with a built-in backlight, making reading on planes or in bed a breeze.

Olympus PEN series camera — I love the mirrorless cameras Olympus has come out with; they are small, good-looking, and take great photos. I also have a 40-150mm zoom lens to go along with my Olympus camera that I highly recommend!

Sony smartphone lens — This is a new find for me, but it’s pretty cool — and perfect for situations where you don’t want to carry a full-sized camera around with you. You can hook it onto your smartphone, or use it on its own. You can buy an SD card for it, or have it send photos to your smartphone via built-in wifi and a special app.

Panasonic waterproof video camera — I haven’t been converted to a GoPro user yet; my HX-WA3 has been doing just fine for me over the past year — and I love the flip-out screen it has so I can see what I’m recording.

For keeping charged up

Belkin SurgePlus Travel Charger — With 3 regular (US) outlets and 2 USB outlets, I never travel with out this surge protector. (It also comes in super handy when I find myself in a hotel room or hostel with too few wall outlets.)

myCharge power block — When you use your smartphone, video camera, and other electronics a lot, you run through a lot of battery. I’ve started traveling with a portable charger to make sure I don’t run out of juice in the middle of the day!


Travel (2)

What’s In My Backpack: Iceland

I visited Iceland for less than a week in March, 2012. Here’s what I took with me (and yes, I fit a winter coat AND boots into my backpack!).

Packing for a Trip to New Zealand

This list is for a spring trip, but could easily be tweaked to apply to any time of year in New Zealand. (Hint: take lots of layers. And a rain coat.)

What to Pack for 2 Months in Europe

I headed to Europe for 8 weeks in summer 2012, hitting up Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the UK — meaning lots of different types of weather!

Packing for Summer and Winter in One Trip

It’s bound to happen eventually if you travel often — the dreaded multi-season trip, where you have to pack for more than one climate in just one bag. Here’s how I fared packing for a trip to both Scotland (in winter) and tropical Belize in one go!

Packing for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia seems like it would be easy to pack for: hot temperatures and plenty of beaches. But don’t forget that many countries in this part of the world are slightly more conservative. Check out what I packed for 6 weeks in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Packing for the Arctic

Headed for the Arctic tundra, or maybe the South Pole? You definitely want to pack warm, and pack smart! Here’s a look at what I took with me to go chase the Northern Lights in northern Canada.



Travel Gear I Love

From the handbag I use, to how I keep my Macbook protected, to my new favorite iPhone case/charger, check this post out to discover what sort of gear I travel with beyond just my backpack.

Travel Photo Gear I Love

People often ask me what kind of camera(s) I use to capture photos and video footage on the road. Check out this post to find out what I’m currently using!



  • Alan says:

    Just found your website and signed up for your blog.

    I have been traveling for many years. Initially ever summer with parents 50 to 62.

    Did Europe in 77 for 110 days with a large backpack and a shoulder/hand bag that I carried things I bought until I mailed them home ever few days.

    In 2001 I took my first trip around the world in 73 days and carried only a small roller bag that was also a backpack and even carried dress clothes for making presentations.

    Looking forward to reading more about your traveling

    Alan recently posted..1stNamibiaACREfulledited

    • DangerousBiz says:

      It’s funny how, the more you travel, the less “stuff” you find yourself needing.

      I’m glad you’ve discovered my blog!

      • Evan Mylo says:

        I have been traveling only a couple years, but your comment on needing less and less as you go is without a doubt spot on!

        • DangerousBiz says:

          Definitely! (Though, now that I’ve more or less figured out what I need and what I don’t, I still do tend to bring a few extras along.)

          • Evan Mylo says:

            Clothes, hats, cheap sunglasses, vitamins, and some deodorant for the flight is mostly all I bring now. Waterproof by bagging and cellophane if headed to SE Asia. Sometimes a favorite instant coffee unavailable elsewhere will I find room for in by bag. I dislike the traveling portion of traveling immensely.

  • Julio Moreno says:

    I love this section. I stumbled upon it as I was looking around your archives :).
    Do you ever use space bags…or bags of any kind? I have yet to meet another traveler who likes them, but despite the room, it is nice to separate wet/smelly clothes :). They are pretty cheap too.
    Julio Moreno recently posted..10 Questions You Never had about Machu Picchu

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I don’t use space bags, but I do use packing cubes to help organize my bag! I LOVE them, and never travel without them these days.

  • Wesley says:

    I love the fact how more i travel how less stuff i Need.
    When I started to travel three years ago I had such a big backpack.
    Nowadays I walk around with maybe 50% less.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve downsized my backpack recently, but I’ve definitely hit a wall when it comes to how much stuff I pack. I have my few essentials that I refuse to give up, even if it would lighten the load slightly!

  • Hey girl,

    I just booked New Zealand for two weeks this December and I came across your blog. I have been reading it every day since. You write so well and so much incredible experience and passion for travel. Thank you!

    Do you have a short packing list for New Zealand by chance? My boyfriend and I are flying into Christchurch from Honolulu Dec. 3-17. Any itineraries would also be so helpful and exciting.

    This will be my second international experience (went to England/Scotland last Thanksgiving!) and my boyfriend’s first. Still new to the club :)

    YOu rock,

    Allie Dreadfulwater recently posted..In Motion

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Ali! So glad that you came across my blog! :)

      I don’t have a short NZ packing list, though I plan to put one together later this year, as I’ll be spending about a month in NZ in November! I would suggest the following for that time of year: lighter clothing (since it’ll be summer), but also some layers as it can still get cool at night down south. A rain jacket, because the weather can change quickly. And solid walking shoes (hiking shoes if you plan on hiking).

      As for itineraries… if you’re starting in Christchurch, I would suggest Akaroa, Kaikoura, the glaciers on the west coast, Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook, Wanaka, and of course Queenstown! But… that’s just the South Island! Haha. If you want more detailed suggestions, shoot me an email!

      • Amanda,
        Thank you for your quick reply and helpful information!

        I can’t believe you will be in NZ for a month! Lucky for my boyfriend and I that we will be following a few weeks after. I am already excited to the upcoming blog posts and will stay tuned for a more intensive list for NZ.

        In the meantime I will be researching the itinerary you suggested for the South Island and will shoot you an email once I get it more organized.

        Thanks for your help,


        Allie Dreadfulwater recently posted..Unfinished Journals

  • Caroline says:

    Hi! I have been checking out your website for a while. One thing I have found to be extremely useful while traveling is the Go Travel clip pouch wallet. I have been using it as my wallet for years now. I attach it to my bra strap or sock and no one can see it. It is particularly great if you are going out and don’t have pockets (like when you wear a skirt.) Or, if you want to go for a run and just want a piece of ID and a key on you. I bought it at an airport years ago and now pick up several more each time I find them. I’ve given them to friends all over the world. It is small, fits credit cards, and hides away easily. I also find traveling with a small bungee cord also very useful. I have used it for hanging clothes, securing items to my backpack, securing my backpack to motos… Another item that is great for girls is the Diva Cup. It’s a reusable menstral cup that I find to be more sanitary than tampons and you just need to bring the one cup. No more searching for tampons in random countries.
    Keep up the great work. And I love your pictures, by the way!

    • Amanda says:

      That definitely sounds like a great travel accessory!

      I haven’t brought myself to try anything like the Diva Cup yet, but then again I never travel for months and months at a time – so it’s usually easy enough for me to take enough tampons with me!

  • Alyssa says:

    I was just wondering – about the Belkin Surge Protector, when overseas do you just need an adaptor or do you need to use a voltage converter as well?
    Ps. Love the blog :)

    • Amanda says:

      These days, you usually just need the wall plug adapter, since most electronics (like cameras, phones, laptops, etc.) are made to be dual voltage. The only things you’ll have to be careful with are things like hair dryers and straighteners, because these usually are NOT dual voltage. (You can check on your chargers – the voltage is usually listed. If it’s already dual voltage, it will say something like 110-240V.)

  • Connie says:

    I’m concerned about using international plug converters to charge phones. We have older iPhones (4s). Do you use international plug converters to charge your phone or are there special adapters for smart phones? (We’re traveling to Iceland in a few weeks.)

    As a native Floridian, I’ve enjoyed your tips on what to wear/bring to Iceland. There’s a large part of my brain that’s terrified of snow, ice and weather in the 30’s. (I’m pretty sure we’re only allowed to have two days/year of that kind of weather, per Florida statute…)

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Connie! Don’t sweat it! Up until this year, I was also traveling the world with an iPhone 4s. All iPhones are made to handle most voltages, so you don’t need any special kind of adapter – just a plug converter for Iceland!

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