What’s In My Bag: Asia Backpacking Trip

Packing for an Asia backpacking trip is challenging, particularly when you need to be prepared for varying climates. I managed to fit everything into one big backpack, one small backpack, and a small messenger bag. How I’ll fare lugging these around for 5 months is TBD, though I’d like to think I’m fit enough to handle it!

I’m also counting on getting rid of some of this gear (especially the food, toiletries, etc) to make room for things I’ll gradually acquire throughout the trip.

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Packing the Big Backpack

I knew straight away that I wanted to organize my clothing and gear by climate/location, separating them in storage cubes for easy access:
packing for asia backpacking trip

Cold weather gear for Nepal trekking:

  • 2 sports bras
  • 5 pairs of wool socks
  • 1 wool long-sleeved shirt
  • 1 pair of thermal leggings
  • 1 pair of tights
  • 1 pair of black leggings
  • 1 long sleeved shirt
  • 5 pairs of quick-dry underwear

I know this doesn’t seem like much – that’s because I’ll be buying/renting the bulk of my cold weather trekking gear once I arrive in Kathmandu. After Nepal (March and on), this cube will be at the bottom of my backpack.

Warm weather clothing for India & Southeast Asia:adventure travel

  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 pair of cropped spandex pants
  • 1 long skirt
  • 2 regular bras
  • 2 pairs of cotton underwear
  • 1 cardigan

I won’t need these things until after Nepal (March and on), so they are in a separate cube that I will leave in storage in Kathmandu while I’m trekking in February.

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Hot weather clothing for Southeast Asia:

  • 5 tank tops
  • 1 tank dress
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 bathing suits

I won’t need any of this stuff until Southeast Asia (April and on), so I stashed it all in a separate packing cube along with all my extra supplies that I won’t be needing anytime soon (vitamins, toilet paper, makeup). I’ll leave all of this in storage as well while I’m trekking in February.

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Other Items:

  • Feminine hygiene items
    Erm, note to self: next trip, invest in the diva cup!
  • First Aid Kit: band aids, hydrocortisone, tape, ibuprofen, immodium
  • Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, razors, face wash, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes
  • Water purifying tablets and droplets
  • Sunscreen & bug spray
  • packing for asiaToilet paper
  • Baseball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Head lamp
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Small sack for storing dirty clothes, etc
  • Pillow case
  • Waterproof bag for electronics
  • Makeup bag
    Arguably frivolous, but guess what – I don’t fancy looking like a complete frumpster all the time!
  • packing for asiaVitamins & Tums
  • Pacsafe 85L
  • Yak Trax
  • 2 books (not pictured)
  • 1 pair of Havaianas flip flops
  • 1 pair of Toms shoes
  • 1 pair of Merrill hiking boots
    I SWEAR by these boots! They barely need to be worn in, zero blisters, super comfy. LOVE!
  • Water bottle & camelbak water bag
  • travel adventureSnacks: trail mix, plantain chips, dried fruit, dark chocolate
    For the 30 hour journey to Kathmandu, plus the EBC Trek


Packing the Carry-on Bags

Anything fragile/valuable, or that I’ll need on the plane, went into these bags. Essentially, the backpack is full of camera gear and electronics, and the messenger bag contains mostly books, money, and my passport.

packing for asia backpacking trip

Carry-On Gear (electronics, etc):

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

Where in the World is This?

  • That is a lot of stuff! You must be in good shape.
    I love the idea for different cubes. Great how-to guide!

    • lindsaypunk

      Thank you! And UGH I know! And a month later it’s even more stuff. The big bag is WAY too heavy, it hurts :( The cubes are pretty ace though, I must say!

  • a bit too many closths, combine your cold and warm weather cloths and
    save room and weight, ditch the memory card reader, connect your camera
    via USB cable,ditch the Kindle, use your iMac air or iphone to read
    e-books. Ditch the shampoo, conditioner, soap etc, can be picked up in
    the country you’re in same for toilet paper. Just my advice from
    experience of long term travels

    • lindsaypunk

      Great advice, thank you! :) Re: too many clothes – I had to pack thermals and other cold weather gear for the EBC trek, there was no way around that. (Quality base layers are hard to find in Kathmandu). I used every single cold weather item I packed PLUS I bought some outer layers after I arrived. I got rid of a lot after the trek, at least!

  • Pingback: Packing For Asia: How'd I Do? | FRUGAL FROLICKER | Independent Adventure Travel()

  • Ben Smith

    Highly recommend an extension cord (gives you 3 plugs with 1 international adapter) – There is also this really neat new clothing organizer for backpackers called Rolo – its better than storage cubes and you can back their Kickstarter at http://www.bit.ly/rolotravel

    • lindsaypunk

      YES to the extension cord – I found myself wishing I’d had one on multiple occasions on this trip. Next time for sure! Also, that ROLO looks like a lifesaver! Hope it gets funded!