It’s 2017. There has never been an easier time to travel internationally with just one or two bags — a variety of products and services are available to make the experience as smooth as possible.
At the same time, we are now completely overwhelmed with choices for clothing, electronics, and accessories. There are many great companies out there, each routinely pumping out new, enticing stuff to buy. Lighter backpacks. Softer merino. Faster smartphones. Sharper lenses. For anyone researching this stuff for the first time, it can be overwhelming.
The goal of this post is to help you make smart purchasing decisions as you put together your own one-bag packing list. It will be updated on a regular basis.
Rules for all products that will appear on this page:
- The product must be available today (no pre-release stuff, no discontinued inventory).
- It must be available for purchase online.
- The cost must be within reason (i.e. $300 backpacks are OK, but $9000 diamond-plated smartphones are not).
For most product categories, both premium and budget alternatives will be presented. Where possible, there will be direct product links (either to Amazon or to the manufacturer’s website). All prices in US Dollars.
Ladies! My apologies, as this list is very light (heh) on women’s clothing. I’m working on amending this — in the meantime, if you have gear suggestions, send them my way. A couple brands to check out in the meantime: Pivotte and The Willary.
Disclaimer: this is going to be a controversial category no matter what — people can get quite emotional about their choice of pack! The idea here (and for all the other categories) is to present the most sensible choices that have no major weaknesses. All backpacks must have an outside water bottle pocket, and can’t weigh more than 4 pounds (~1.8 kg).
If you’d like a personal recommendation based on your unique needs and packing requirements, I recommend asking over at /r/onebag.
Ultralight (smaller than 15L): you probably already know what works best for you. You could even travel with a small dry bag. Or a grocery bag. Or a hydration pack from Osprey, like this Raptor 10 ($130).
Ideally, these are as packable as possible (so you can store them in the larger bag on your big travel days).
Sweater: Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Sweater ($40)
Active pants: Prana Brion Pant ($75)
Board shorts: Patagonia Men’s Stretch All-Wear Hybrid Shorts ($68)
Socks: Darn Tough Hiker socks ($20 — look for sales on these)
All-purpose (versatility for both urban and wilderness): Vivobarefoot Gobi II Desert Boot ($185)
(Trail) running: Merrell Trail Glove 4 ($100)
Sandals: Xeroshoes Cloud Barefoot Sandal ($50, Women’s version also available)
Flip-flops: Havaianas ($18+) or just buy them at the beach ($5)
Netbook: Chromebook ($180+)
e-Reader: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ($120)
Universal Adapter: FosPower All-in-One ($12)
Highly-rated compact cameras that easily out-resolve any smartphone:
- Sony RX100 Mark V (jack-of-all-trades, $1000)
- Panasonic LX-100 (jack-of-all-trades, $700)
- Ricoh GR II (fixed 28mm equiv. lens, $590)
- Fuji X100F (fixed 35mm equiv. lens, $1300)
For budget versions, check used gear and previous generations of the above cameras.
Popular Travel Accessories
Ear plugs: Hearos High Fidelity Ear Plugs ($14)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarers ($150), or buy them at the beach ($5)
Everything Else (Nice-to-haves)
Playing cards: KOVOT waterproof playing cards ($9)
Multi-function headwear: Merino Wool Buff ($28)
Travel friendly Multi-tool: Nite Ize DoohicKey ($5)
Spork: Light My Fire LMF Titanium Spork ($14)
Umbrella: Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella ($28) or buy a cheap one at your destination and leave it there ($5)
Am I missing anything? Is there something that should be taken off?
This list is always open to review and modification. If you feel that a certain product belongs in place of an existing one, leave a comment below and we can all discuss it.
Disclaimer: this site is not affiliated with any brands. All recommendations on this page are either based on personal experience, second-hand accounts, and/or hundreds of hours spent perusing travel gear blogs and watching video reviews.