Packing light for Thailand – 7kg into a 35 litre pack – updated

So here is my packing list as promised. A must for any travel blog. I love reading these, they are so additive and many of my friends who travel seem to agree with me.

Having said that, speaking to several people of my parents generation this week, I have discovered that they seem to think it is a daft idea, why would you want to know what other people are packing…

Anyway here’s the rundown.  I went to America in 2010 for three months and did Camp America.  I took an 80 litre euro hike pack that wasn’t fitted properly and ended up donating it to a Goodwill store and buying a 65 litre pack which fitted me correctly.  I still had waaay too much stuff.  Ok so for camp you need more clothes than travelling as you can’t wash your clothes in a sink (ours went in the camp laundry) and you may need to change clothes several times a day due to messy activities, but anyhow…

In 2012 I took my 65 litre to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  I took loads of stuff I didn’t even unpack, and we rented all the gear anyway, really cheaply.  Apart from the climb we only stayed in three hotels and were driven between these so it wasn’t too bad.  But I still got fed up with my pack. I have read more ‘packing light’ blog posts than I can count.  I have deduced that if you buy a small pack, max 40 litres I’d say, then you can’t take much due to space.  Also don’t pack things ‘just in case’ you can buy EVERYTHING and I mean that, worldwide.  I saw Head and Shoulders and Colgate in Tanzania, as well as many more brands, extra socks, any type of clothing, everything.  For women it might be a little different for toiletries in rural areas but basically don’t be a Boy Scout and try and be prepared for everything.

Carry on only: I will be going carry on only for the first time.  I cannot personally claim to have experienced the merits of this as I have never had trouble collecting my checked in luggage, but the idea is that you can get off the plane and off you go.  No waiting around. This means no pen knives and only carry on liquid sizes.  If you need it, buy it when you get there, full stop. I have a 35 litre pack and it weighs about 7kg when packed.

My list is below.  Some people’s blogs guide you through exactly what to pack.  But I will just say; firstly you should shop in your own wardrobe before buying any technical gear.  You can mostly wear normal clothes anywhere, just research the country and find out if you need long sleeves, trousers for modesty, jumpers for the evening, gloves for that cold morning hike you’ve planned etc.

My bag is a 35 litre Lowe Alpine Eclipse and is in the ‘trail running’ section of their website which means it is very light, less than 1kg. It also has a hip belt to take the weight off your shoulders, something that is not common on most bags that are 35 litres or less.

List:

Clothes:

-Shorts – brown with black strip so they go with both colours
-Grey trousers – lightweight synthetic material
Black trousers – lightweight synthetic material – didn’t really need these, I could have used the grey pair on the only occasion I wore these and it would have been fine
Beige trousers – convertable zip off bottoms (lots of people dislike these but I have to see for myself if they are useful while travelling or not) – only wore once are are just taking up space in my bag
-Short sleeve t-shirts x3 x2 – synthetic material – update: only bring x2 not x3 didn’t need the third
Dark grey long-sleeve t-shirt – synthetic material – only used once at a temple, I could have used my dress shirt (see below next item) for this purpose
Long sleeve dress shirt – for evenings/smart occasions/temple modesty – only used once and I have now decided it isn’t worth carrying
-Tank top for beach and sleepwear
-Merino wool jumper light grey – I have read about the properties of this wool and how great it is for travelling – they cost about £45 but I got mine in a car boot for £1.50!  I’ll let you know if it is any good when I have worn it and if it would be worth buying new (or try ebay)
Dark grey camping fleece – but smart enough for evenings if needed – I love this fleece and I will have to carry it on this trip as I don’t want to dump it but one jumper is enough – update: actually posted this home
-Swim trucks – pack into a pouch
Black rash vest – for wearing underneath a wetsuit when diving and to stop me getting burnt on the beach – I can use a tank top for this purpose, not really allowed outdoor clothes in pools in England but no one minds here
-Microfibre underwear x7 x5 – update: from 7 to 5 as 5 is plenty
Waterproof North Face jacket – folds up small like a pack Mac but much more waterproof – this is my best waterproof and it is awesome but I haven’t worn it once so I have posted it home
-Socks x2 – high trainer socks one to wash and one to wear (I plan to be in sandles anyway most of the time)

Toiletries:

-Deodorant – hard Thai deodrant stone (lasts 1 year)
-Toothpaste – tiny tube as I will buy out there
-Suncream – tiny tube as I will buy out there
-Ear plugs – a must for hostels
-Razor
-Comb
-Tiny travel laundry sheets
-Dr bronners peppermint hard bar soap x2 – for washing hair and body
-Toothbrush
-Lip balm
-Floss

Medicine bag:

-Hydration sachets – just in case
-Imodium – just in case
-Paracetamol
Basic antibiotic – for Emergancy only – you can buy EVERYTHING out here, they even have a Boots Pharmacy
-Blister plasters – same as above – very useful
-Plasters – same as above

Shoes:

Black Toms – decided to leave behind, I will buy a pair of cheap espadrilles out there if I need them
Green closed toe sandals – turns out these were a bit worse for wear after Africa, I will buy some out there
-Flipflops – but can buy these
-Trainers

Other:

-Prescription Sunglasses
-Prescription Glasses
-Packable rucksack for use as a daypack
Packable Oyna brand shoulder messenger bag (packs down into a tiny pouch) – didn’t really use this, one daypack item is enough

Tech:

-IPad mini – second hand from ebay in case it gets lost or stolen
-Chargers for everything
-Phone – my provider has locked it for 3G and 4G so it can only be used for WiFi so no internet charges – I will buy a cheap local one to use out there – I didn’t buy one as I didn’t need it
-Camera – point and shoot but with a good lens
-Universal travel plug adapter

Other:

-Large packable travel towel – Mountain warehouse about the size of an orange
Thin gloves – I thought I might need these for the North but I’m not even going to explain what a joke bringing these in this heat
Face buff – same reason as above plus I have my sarong
-Sarong type thing for use as a beach mat/towel/face buff
-Travel clothes line – basically a piece of twisted elastic – needs no pegs
-Travel sink plug – rubber not rigid – so it will fit any sink
Notepad and pens – I took a whole pencil case full (the multi coloured one pictured below) I would only take a couple of pens next time and replace when they run out
-Address book for postcards (and in case my iPad gets lost)
-Guidebook & phrase book
-Swimming googles
Roll of tape for repairs – got through Gatwick ok but not allowed through Dubai airport? and was taken off me at security, will buy if needed
-Head torch and spare batteries
-Silk sleep sack
-Money belt
Mozzy head net – posted home as I haven’t used it and there aren’t many mozzys here
Babour waxed cotton hat – from an Oxfam charity shop – lost on the plane out here and bought another hat in Bangkok

Seems like a lot but it all fits nicely.  Not much room to expand though… I organise it all in packing cubes, see picture below. Not pictured is my camera, blue north face waterproof and my jumpers which I will be wearing on the flight. I may do some posts later on reviewing some of my gear.

Check out this post for my itinerary for the first week. That’s all for now folks.

My packing list for carry only travel

Next up: first impressions of Bangkok

Previously: my Thailand itinerary

Related posts: lightening the load – stuff I posted home – packing light update.

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