Having only been on holidays/trips for a max of two weeks before, thinking about packing for a year seemed impossible. Queue googling and reading a ton of other blogs! Turns out, unsurprisingly, many people have done this before… And lots have documented their travels, advice, mistakes and packing lists. There are two main things to consider: the bag and the stuff.

The bag

About the bag, there seems to be two types of people: someone who packs a 60/70/80L big hiking pack full of everything you may possibly need, and someone who packs the essentials with a 20/30/40L bag. Having already travelled to China and America for a week with just a 20L carry-on rucksack, I aimed to stick with my light packing ideas. My current hiking/travelling pack is 55L which on our short trip to India I almost filled and half the clothes I did not use. A smaller bag would prevent me from taking too much unnecessary stuff which simply adds weight. Weight I do not want when running for a train. I decided on the Berghaus Arrow (in blue of course) which is 30L. Big enough for a weeks worth of clothes and the essentials – I hope.

The stuff

When thinking about what to take, we have to think about what we’re going to be doing. We intend to volunteer using WWOOF and work away, meaning we need clothes that can be used for any situation from working on a farm in pouring rain to teaching English and everything in between. It’s doubly tricky as we need to cover both hot and cold climates. This is everything I thought I would need…


Having stuffed all this in the bag, I had one very full and very heavy bag. It was manageable when catching trains and short walks, but an afternoon walking around London told me I had to be brutal. Luckily I was meeting my Mum in London briefly and I handed over a bag full of items deemed unnecessary which she kindly took home. Here’s the list of all the items I originally packed with the now removed items crossed out.


  • 1 pair of walking zip off trousers/shorts
  • 1 pair of jogging/sporty leggings
  • 1 pair board shorts
  • 1 pair of thermal leggings
  • 1 pair of loose trousers (pyjamas and for hotter countries)
  • 1 dress
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 long sleeved shirt
  • 1 long sleeved thermal top
  • 3 2 t-shirts
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 sporty/football shirt (woo Plymouth Argyle)
  • 1 jumper
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 down jacket (half synthetic/half feathers from Chinese ducks already slaughtered for meat says Decathlon)
  • 1 pacamac raincoat
  • 4 socks plus one really thick woolly pair
  • 7 pairs of pants
  • 1 bra
  • 1 bikini
  • baseball cap, woolly hat, scarf, (gardening) warm gloves


  • walking boots
  • sandals (I’m not a flip flop person)


  • toothpaste and toothbrush
  • soap and shampoo bar
  • deodorant
  • moon-cup, tampons/liners
  • first aid (paracetamol, plasters, etc)
  • malarial tablets
  • sun cream


  • phone
  • surface
  • kindle
  • charger
  • universal adapter
  • single charge battery
  • headphones and splitter


  • Japan by Rail
  • Phrasebooks: Russian, Chinese, Japanese, South East Asia
  • Journal


  • 10L day bag
  • bum bag (never used one before but apparently it’s best to sleep with one on with important stuff on the Russian trains…)
  • universal bath plug (apparently bath plugs are not common in Russia – even Michael Palin struggled)
  • soap bar for sink washing clothes
  • sewing kit
  • mini umbrella
  • water bottle
  • sleeping bag liner
  • microfibre towel
  • spork and sealable cup (for drinking tea and eating noodles out of)
  • and more: pack of cards, pens, sunglasses, foldable shopping bag, tissue, hand sanitiser, padlock, mini torch…


2 thoughts on “Packing for a year

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