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My 25 Litre Backpack Challenge – The Verdict!

A few weeks ago I made the seemingly rash decision to travel Thailand on a 25litre rucksack. Literally nothing but.
Camera gear, clothes, everything in a day sack!

My mother thought I was nuts, as did my colleagues at work – but was this a stroke of deluded genius or simply an epic fail waiting to happen?! I’ve managed nearly two weeks so far so I’m now in a position to give some feedback!

Strategic Packing

The first issue was obviously whittling down what I defiantly wanted to take and from that what I actually needed!

The final kit list was the following;

2 x boardies
3 x boxers
1 x socks
1 x flip flops
3 x tshirts
1 x shirt
1 x trousers
1 pair of shoes 20110922-073738.jpg

Plus my shorts, tshirts and flannel shirt I wore to the airport.

On top of those clothes I also decided the following was needed;

iPad
iPhone
Canon 40d + 18-55 lens + 10-22 lens
Fuji point and shoot
Fuji XP30 waterproof compact (review coming soon)
chargers for all the above
Batteries for all the above
Card reader
Plug adaptor
Travel shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, suncream and insect repellant
Business cards (standard!)
Padlock
Dive log book

I then proceeded to roll, squish and squeeze all of that into single, carry on sized bag! Luckily the Dakine Photo Missiom bag I’d chosen to do the job was well up for the task and it’s camera gear dividers worked wonders to keep my stuff manageable and tidy. I’m so impressed with it as a bag I’m doing a stand alone review for it!

Putting Theory Into Practice

Even at the airport people were very confused that this was my only piece of luggage, and since I’m staying at hostels people are confused and impressed in equal measure.
I’ve saved heaps of money on cab fares alone simply because and small 8kg bag is easy enough to walk places with. I walked along the coast on arriving on Koh Tao and got some amazing pics along the way!

My entire bag fits in most standard hostel lockers so everything is super safe and boarding ferries and jumping on mopeds is easy even with my bag in tow. 20110922-072643.jpg

Having such little stuff to route through also means everything is quickly to hand. I can grab a camera, my boardies or even a shirt to go out in in seconds. I don’t waste anytime rummaging aimlessly through my entire life’s possessions!

It’s made me realize how much we over pack as backpackers.

Sure I’ve had to wash tshirts and boxers in the shower, but I’ve saved money on laundry as it’s such an easy thing to do!
I’ve lived in the same two pairs of boardies (swooping them around occasionally for swimming or wearing) and it’s so blooming hot out here I hardly ever wear a tshirt.

I also feel like less of a target when wandering through a new place or where I’m not sure of my location. Big rucksacks and aimlessly sweaty wanderings are a recipe for pickpockets, overpriced taxis and stress.
I’ve not had any of this!

The Bottom Line

Sure there’s been times where I wished I had that little bit of extra room for maybe some new trinkets (although that’s saved me money too!) or I’ve had to struggle with a zip (but who hasn’t?!) but I’m loving this new minimalistic way of backpacking.

Admittedly I’m only away for 3 weeks, but I think if you were to say do Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia over a coupple months you could easily manage on the same as the climate is very similar and you’d pack almost identically for each.

It’s not for everyone thought I can tell, and every girl who I’ve chatted about it has instantly written it off (I’m not stereotyping ladies…I know alot of you could do it too!) but it’s certainly made everyone think about how much they really need to carry.

So next time your packing have a good hard look at your kit list and make your bag a little lighter and your life a little easier!

Have you got any packing tips or have you set yourself any obscure travel challenges?! Let me know if you have – I’m well game for experimenting some more before my next RTW trip in 2012!

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