I have my bag packed for a year of travel. I’ve done a bit of backpacking in the past, and nothing sucks more than an overweight bag, as you are walking a few miles in between your next hostel check in. Trust me. So be prepared to make some hard decisions, when it comes to deciding what to leave and what to bring. Here is my life in 33 pound carry-on for you…

How it all fits.

Pack completely zipped up

This pack allows you to zip the shoulder straps and hip belt away. Perfect for when you need to check your bag in, or when taking it short distances.

This pack is not big and bulky when worn.

I usually strap my day pack in front of me when at the airport, so that my bag is not questioned about being the proper carry-on size.

What I’m Packing

Tip: Watching Your Weight

At 33 pounds, my pack is 20% of my body weight. I recommend keeping your bag at 20% or below in order to stay comfortable. With a max at 30%. Ladies, this probably means looking at a 45 liter capacity bag.

General Items

  • Osprey Farpoint 55 Pack. 55 Liters, including the detachable day pack
  • 4x Eagle Creek packing cubes (2x Large, 1x medium, 2x small)
  • First Aid Kit: Foil blanket, Advil, assorted band aids, Neosporin
  • Water bottle with integrated filter
  • Silk sleeping sheet
  • Cloths line for drying laundry
  • Laundry bag: Travel wash, deodorant, tooth brush, lotion, nail clippers, etc… No shampoo or body wash though.
  • 50x pairs of disposable contacts
  • 2x pairs of prescription glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Notebook
  • Combo master lock for hostel storage units
  • 2x mini combo locks for pack zippers
  • Money Belt: Passport/Cash/California ID/Credit & Debit Cards


  • 1x long sleeve shirt
  • 1x short sleeve shirt
  • 3x t-shirts
  • Super light weight down jacket
  • Super light weight rain jacket/windbreaker
  • 1x pair shorts
  • 1x pair of jeans
  • 1x pair of light weight quick-dry pants
  • 1x casual/walking shoes
  • 5x underwear
  • 5x pairs of wool socks
  • 1x undershirt
  • Swim trunks
  • 1x casual cap
  • 1x sports cap
  • Outdoor Equipment
  • Climbing Shoes
  • Light weight climbing harness
  • Climbing belay device
  • Scuba/Snorkel Mask
  • Black Diamond Head Lamp
  • Medium sized waterproof bag
  • Vibram “barefoot sport shoes” for hiking and trail running
  • Local hiking guide book
  • Discrete titanium razor (for cutting ropes and other uses)
  • Pocket sized waterproof case


  • iPhone with Otter Box protective case + charging cable
  • Cannon Powershot G10 Camera
  • 11in. Apple Mac Book Air + wall charger + Hard Candy laptop case
  • Kindle e-Reader
  • USB rechargeable beard & hair trimmer
  • International socket adapters
  • 2 USB wall chargers
  • USB car charger & car AUX cable
  • micro USB charging cable

Tip: Check Lists

Create a very detailed packing list and double check it before departing. You’ll be surprised how much that forgotten laptop charger could cost, if you can even find it overseas! For iPhone/iPad users, I recommend the app Packing Pro for managing your lists. I have used it for over 4 years now.

As equally important to what I am bringing, is what I left behind.  You don’t see 10 changes of underwear, hiking boots, sleeping bag, etc… Washing a few items of clothing every couple days allows this, and I’m only bringing what I’ll use on a regular basis.  To force yourself to do this, use the smallest bag possible.

Happy Travels!