We currently travel the world with nothing more than what can fit in a backpack on our backs (pictured, with our day bag pulled out). That includes everything we need to travel with a baby!
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We have quite a few bags with us. When we move from one place to the next, all our stuff gets packed into two large backpacks: Ali’s Osprey Porter and a Joe’s Pacsafe backpack. Both backpacks are about 45L each, the largest carry-on size, so we never have to check bags. We also have a smaller daypack that we picked up in Istanbul for under 10 bucks, a fold-up cloth bag for groceries and the like, and Ali’s Kipling Syro Crossbody purse.
It sounds like a lot of bags, but they’re all useful in different situations, especially when you have a baby and you need varying amounts of stuff with you at all times.
|Joe's Backpack: Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45||Ali's Backpack: Osprey Porter 46||Ali's Purse: Kipling Syro Crossbody Purse
Joe carefully picked out clothes that would last a long time, pack small, and dry quickly. Knowing that he’d be wearing each item a couple times a week, he elected to go with Merino wool for most of his shirts/sweatshirts. He also got some nice jean-looking pants and a pair of shorts that double as board shorts. The rest of his wardrobe includes 3 t-shirts, 4 pairs of boxers, 3 pairs of socks, a down jacket, and a fleece jacket (to be prepared for all sorts of weather, we have both winter jackets and summer shorts/t-shirts/flip flops). Lugging around extra stuff is one downside to traveling through such different climates on the same trip, but it provides versatility. If you’re traveling out of a home base, you can pack according to the climate, and pack much lighter.
|Joe T-Shirts x2: Smartwool Short Sleeve Polo x2||Joe Pullover: Merino Wool Half Zip Pullover||Joe Sweater with Collar: Merino Polo Sweater
|Joe Boardshorts: O'Neill Men's Traveler Superfish Hybrid Shorts||Joe Pants: Arctix Men's Advantage Softshell Pants||Joe Boxers x4: Men's Breathable Bamboo Rayon Boxer Briefs x4
|Joe Socks x3: Darn Tough Mid-Calf Light Cushion Socks x3||Joe Down Jacket: Marmot Insulated Puffer Jacket||Joe Fleece Jacket: North Face Men's Apex Canyonwall Jacket
|Joe Seahawks Beanie: Seahawks Beanie||Joe Shoes: Vivobarefoot Gobi II Men's Classic Desert Boot||Joe Sandals: Reef Men's Leather Fanning Sandal
In contrast to Joe, Ali’s clothes mostly fall solidly into the cheap-and-crappy variety. With pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding all happening on the road, Ali decided to bring whatever she had that was stretchy and replace as needed. The only clothing item we purchased specially for the trip was socks and shoes (chosen for durability to help Ali survive the Camino). Ali has 2 spaghetti strap shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 2 pairs of yoga pants, 2 pairs of leggings, 1 long dress, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 pairs of socks, a fleece jacket, a Seahawks hat, and some various footwear.
|Ali Spaghetti Strap Shirts x2: Women's Basic Solid Camisole Spaghetti Strap Top x2||Ali Long Sleeve Shirt: Women Round Neck Casual Loose Long Sleeve||Ali Yoga Pants x2 Stretchy Cotton Blend Yoga Pants x2
|Ali Leggings x2 Stretch Yoga Leggings x2||Ali Long Dress Women Short Sleeve Casual Long Maxi Dress||Ali Underwear x5 Cotton Bikini Women's Panties
|Ali Socks x2 Wrightsock Women's Coolmesh Athletic Socks||Ali Fleece Jacket: Columbia Women's Fleece Jacket||Ali Seahawks Beanie: Seahawks Beanie
|Ali Toms Shoes: Toms Women's Seasonal Classics Flat||Ali Walking Shoes: JBU Women's Mary Jane Flats||Ali Sandals: Reef Sandy Womens Sandals
Annabelle’s clothes actually take up more space than ours do, despite the fact that she’s so much tinier than we are. Then again, she has thirty extra pieces of clothing that we don’t have: cloth diaper liners (20) and covers (10). We decided to go the cloth route, and didn’t regret it. We made sure our AirBnBs had washing machines and kept a constant stream of laundry going. Besides those, she has onesies, pants, sleepers, and (the only thing not pictured below) one light outfit for hot weather which we bought in Bali, along with baby blankets and Baby Bjorn carrier.
Annabelle also has some toys. A plastic baby book (great for chewing on), a teething ring, Sophie the Giraffe (she’s a big deal in the parenting world), and something we call her Joy Toy, since it was a gift from her Aunt Joy. That’s all the toys she owns, but honestly she seems to get more pleasure from taking sunglasses off our faces and knocking over water bottles and stealing my phone than she would from a giant heap of toys. Babies are weird like that.
|Cloth Diaper Liners (20): Bamboo Cloth Diaper Inserts Reusable Liners (20)||Cloth Diaper Covers (10): Mama Koala Washable Reusable Cloth Diaper Covers (10)||Onesie (3): Simple Joys Short-Sleeve Bodysuit (3)
|Pants (2): Simple Joys Pants (2)||Sleepers (2): Simple Joys Sleeper Gown (2)||Baby Blankets (3): Simple Joys Flannel Receiving Blankets (3)
|Plastic baby books (2): Floating Baby Bath Books (2)||Teething Ring (2): Nuby Silicone Teethe-eez Teether (2)||Sophie the Giraffe Teether: Vulli Sophie
|"Joy Toy": Lamaze Flutterbug||Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier: BABYBJORN Baby Carrier|
Now for our toys (though Annabelle gets a kick out of grabbing and biting all these items, too). A Kindle Paperwhite each, phones (iPhone for Ali, Android phone for Joe), laptops (Asus netbook and Surface book), plus all the accompanying cords and plugs. We also bought a few items specifically for life on the move, like a battery pack, external hard drive, universal power adaptor, and a nice camera (Sony RX-100 III). Plus of course all the accompanying cords and plugs: micro-usb cables which charge the Kindles, Joe’s phone, camera, and battery pack. Lightning cable for Ali’s phone. Laptop power cables. No links to these things, as they’re all just generic, came with the device things, except for two car power adapters we purchased for the laptops for off-grid use later in our travels when we bought an RV.
We have a lot of technology for two people living out of backpacks, we know, but it’s an important category for us. We love being connected to our families, friends, and online groups, and a quality e-book reader is pretty much an essential when you love reading as much as we do.
|Kindle Paperwhite (2): Kindle Paperwhite (2)||Ali Asus laptop: Asus E200HA Laptop||Joe Surface Book: Microsoft Surface Book 2
|Portable Battery Pack: Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Battery Pack||2TB Portable External Hard Drive: WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive||Universal Power Adaptor: Kikkerland UL03-A Universal Travel Adapter
|Sony RX-100 III Camera: Sony RX100 VI 20.1 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera||Ali Refurbished iPhone 7: Unlocked, Refurbished iPhone 7||Joe Huawei Honor 7x Phone: Honor 7X GSM Unlocked Smartphone
|Ali Asus Laptop Car Charger: Car Adapter Power Charger for Asus E200HA||Joe Surface Book Car Charger: Surface Book Car Charger|
Sunglasses (cheap ones we get from the dollar store that are easily replaced when broken or lost) and a nice umbrella. Some countries have wicked rain storms!
|Joe Sunglasses: Aviator Polarized Metal Sunglasses||Ali Sunglasses: Women's Round Sunglasses||Umbrella: Totes Raines Mini Travel Umbrella
Vitamins and medicines, nail clippers, small packable quick-dry towel, that sort of thing.
|Small Pack Towel: Wise Owl Ultra Soft Compact Quick Dry Microfiber Towel||Men's Multivitamins: Vitafusion Men's Gummy Vitamins||Pre-natal Vitamins: Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins
|Advil: Advil Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer||Tums: Tums Antacid Chewable Tablets||Toothbrushes (2): Oral-B Whitening Toothbrush (2)
|Adult Nail Clippers: Bestope Nail Clippers||Baby Nail Clippers: Safety 1st Steady Grip Infant Nail Clippers||Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Paste: Burt's Bees Baby Diaper Rash Ointment
People might be amazed that we can pack everything we own into a couple of bags, but honestly it still feels like we have a lot of stuff. Especially when you have a baby, you find yourself carrying a lot of extra “just in case” things, like a few disposable diapers and packs of wipes. As long as we don’t have to check bags, we’re happy.
Wherever possible, we put the exact item we use. If our item is older or discontinued, we’ve put the latest model/version of that item, or the one we’d purchase now to replace ours.
Often the items are expensive, much more than we might normally spend. When we purchased these things, we decided to pay for quality. When everything you own you carry around in a backpack, you want all of those items to be high quality. We were very happy with our purchases, and where we weren’t, we replaced things, so all of the below are things we enjoy, recommend, and would purchase again. We found them worth the money.
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