How to pack for a yearlong trip? Very Carefully. Surprisingly we often feel that we have packed too much rather than too little in our backpacks. Partly this is because the trip includes multiple climates varying from fall in New Zealand to monsoon season in India. The hardest part for Natalie was packing enough warm layers and comfortable shoes so that she wouldn’t freeze at night or have sore feet after walking several miles per day. For Josh, it was finding a comfortable day pack since he is responsible for the important documents and electronics.
Each individual pack for a backpacking trip will vary slightly, however, the majority of backpacks will ultimately end up with similar items.
First, you must select your pack, then decide what realistically you will want to carry around with you to cover multiple different climates, cultures and activities. Natalie chose an airport friendly 55L backpack by Deuter with a 10L zip-off backpack. The zip-off 10L bag came in extremely handy for a day pack. She really liked the fact that the shoulder straps zipped inside the pack when checking bags at the airport to minimize tearing/breakage. Josh opted for the Patagonia 60L duffel and a larger Osprey (24L) day pack.
After many trips to REI to test out items or shopping online sites during major sales, we were able to affordably furnish our packs with the proper items. If you have time, shop around online. We found a significant fluctuation in prices on different sites. Also, waiting for sales like the Patagonia semi-annual sale or REI member sale also can save mucho dinero.
One major factor in our merchandise selection was fabric type. Knowing that we would be constantly on the move and in mostly warm climates we tried our best to avoid cotton. Smartwool socks, polyester "dri-fit" type fabric that wicks away moisture without scent or appearance was essential for our trip.
Packing cubes are a lifesaver when living out of a suitcase. It makes packing and unpacking extremely simplified when moving around frequently. It also improves your packing efficiency and space used.