packing gear

Packing Gear Tips by Full Time Travelers

As frequent travelers, we’re always impressed by some of the packing strategies of our fellow nomads. We had the chance to ask some of our friends about their packing gear and tips to make it all work. Hopefully, what they shared with us will help you discover the best way to pack for your own situation.

It’s All About the Packing Gear And Your Carry-On!

packing gear

Kit Whelan and Nick Schneble are full-time digital nomads who started the 7in7 Digital Nomad Conference/

This couple’s packing gear includes  everything in Tom Bihn Aeronaut backpacks so they never have to check bags at the airport. In 2015, Nick actually down-sized from a 45 liter bag to a 30 liter travel bag. Pretty impressive!

Tom Bihn Aeronaut backpack

packing gear
packing gear
As Kit told us, “We’ve had Tom Bihn Aeronauts for almost six years and LOVE THEM!… They carry everything we need for living and working anywhere in the world in any climate (minus Antarctica) and we can carry them onto any plane without worrying about them fitting in the overhead bins.”

Nick gave us a little more detail on what he’s carrying in that down-sized backpack these days. The main pocket holds his sandals, liquids bag, laptop and compression sack filled with clothes. He explained to us that although he has several electronics – phone, hair clippers, razor, laptop – he cuts down on power cords by having everything charge via USB on his Macbook!

Here’s Nick packing gear in his Aeronaut:

  • 3D Clear Organizer Cube: Liquid toiletries
  • Stuff Sack Size 1: Non-liquid toiletries
  • Stuff Sack Size 2: Cables & MacBook plug adapters
  • Stuff Sack Size 3: Razors, contacts, travel lock, and other ephemera
  • Stuff Sack Size 4: Empty to use as a dirty clothes bag
  • Aeronaut 30 Small, Steel Packing Cubes: One in each side pocket, holding the stuff sacks, hair clippers, toothbrush, Platypus water bottle, and glasses case
  • Laptop Cache: To protect his beloved MacBook

packing gear

Stuff Sacks

Travel Stuff Sacks is packing gear that serves several purposes: they store and compress items like down jackets, they can be used to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes, and some people use them for packing clothing that doesn’t need to be folded. Tom Bihn Stuff Sacks are made of Halcyon/nylon ultralight ripstop fabric. They cinch shut with a drawstring closure and cord lock.

Tech Travelers

packing gear

These folks might look familiar! Troy and Dorene are also a couple of full-time nomads. We asked them to share more about their favorite packing gear tips; their handy compressor bags and their Pacsafe travel safe.

Outdoor Research Lightweight Compressor Bags

packing gear

Troy says, “Compressor bags are our favorite space-saving item for our clothing. Dorene and I each carry three 8-liter compressor bags. This allows us to cut our clothing space in half. The reason we use three 8-liter bags is that they compress down smaller and will pack a lot easier than larger bags.” They use these bags for all their clothes, towels, jackets.

Pacsafe Travelsafe X15 Anti-Theft Portable Safe

packing gear

Since Troy and Dorene work from their laptops and do video work for many of their clients, keeping these valuables secure is a big priority. “Now that we travel full-time, we use Pacsafe products every day to carry our video, camera, and computer equipment,” says Dorene. They lock up all their valuables before leaving any hotel room. They say that the Travelsafe X15 bag is perfect for laptops, small cameras, hard drives, and passports. “We need packing gear that adjusts to different living situations. Every time we move, we lock up our gear in different ways, depending on the location… We affix the bag to sinks, or any permanent fixtures in hotel rooms, to give us the added peace of mind that our precious items are safe.”

For more info, see Troy and Dorene’s awesome video review of Pacsafe products.

Here’s a list of their other Pacsafe Favorite Products:

Toursafe EXP29  Anti-theft wheeled gear bag

  • We use this bag on our longer term travel visits (when we need more space) We aren’t light travelers like Kit and Nick!

Venturesafe X30 Adventure Back Pack

  • Our regular carry on backpack

Dorene’s backpack Venturesafe 65L backpack

  • This goes on all of our trips, my favorite backpack ever!

The  Venturesafe 45L

  • Excellent bag that is like a small soft suitcase – great for business travel

The Z100 BBi-foldingwallet

  • Super safe wallet for everyday

Frequent Flyer Master

Chris Guillebeau, author, entrepreneur, and blogger at The Art of Non-Conformity makes frequent overseas trips. We know him through working on the annual World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon.

packing gear

Jedd and Michelle at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit

When it comes to frequent flying, Chris literally wrote the book on it. Even though he’s already completed his quest to visit every country in the world, he still flies often – doing book tours and several round-the-world trips each year.

“I don’t own a backpack and haven’t willingly checked a bag on one of my extended adventures,” Chris says. “My gear is consistent pretty much anywhere I go. The only difference if I’m going to cold and hot climates on the same trip is to add a sweater and change the light jacket for a slightly heavier one.”

He tries to do laundry at least once or twice on a trip, and if necessary, will buy an extra shirt or whatever he needs along the way.

packing gear

This is everything that Chris packs on most trips:

  • Running shoes
  • Work out clothes
  • Slacks
  • Jeans
  • Dress shirt
  • 2-3 T-shirts
  • Socks and underwear
  • Contact lenses
  • Passport and tickets
  • Cash
  • Credit cards
  • Journal and notebook
  • iPod touch
  • Books, magazines, and Nintendo DS
  • Cliff bars
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Electrical adapters
  • Amenity kit from the airline

“Other than the jacket and scarf that I wear, all of the items are packed into the one carry-on bag and one laptop bag that you see here. I also take a much smaller handbag with me that gets packed into the carry-on. I bought this in Hong Kong a while back and use it to carry my notebooks and iPod when walking around during the day.”

Intentional Travelers (that’s us)

packing gear

We consider ourselves long-term, budget travel nomads. Our overseas trips tend to last a month or longer, though we do stay in Oregon much of the summer, usually doing house-sitting. For flights, we usually check in our travel backpacks and each carry on a second bag that holds our laptops and other valuables. Because Jedd loves to cook, we tend to pack a few weird items – like cooking knives and home-mixed seasoning salt (and sometimes even a non-stick pan!).

Packing Cubes

packing gear

Before using our packing cubes (from Eagle Creek and Florious), our luggage was a jumbled mess. The cubes keep our clothes organized. I tend to use a small one for socks and underwear, a medium one for rolled up shirts, and a medium-large for all my work out clothes. Pants and sweaters I’ll put together in a large packing cube. It’s nice when we’re staying somewhere that doesn’t have any storage area because we can keep our clothes in the cubes and use them instead of drawers.

Packing cubes are our packing gear hack – we’re still learning from our fellow nomads and hope that someday we’ll be able to do only carry-ons… We’re really happy with our backpacks: the Osprey Farpoint 55 and Osprey Atmos 65. For day bags, Jedd uses a Deuter ddaypackand is considering getting a new Tom Bihn backpack or an Osprey Atmos to match Michelle. Michelle’s carry-on is a Clark & Mayfield leather laptop bag.

We hope these packing hacks and travel gear tips are helpful for you!

For more tips on packing gear please drop us a note and ask!

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packing gear

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About the Author Intentional Travelers

This is a guest post by Michelle and Jedd of Intentional Travelers. This 30-something couple left their full-time jobs to join the Peace Corps, then became digital nomads, doing work online as they travel the world.

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