Top 10 things in the backpack

In general, we believe that our months of research have fully paid off, because we are so happy about every single thing we have in our backpacks. We are glad that we always made sure our equipment is good quality, low weight and a small pack size. Up until now we don’t have the feeling that we are carrying anything around for nothing. And quite often our eyes meet when we see other backpackers with huge tents and sleeping bags mounted outside of their overpacked backpacks. Then we are so happy that we can easily fit all of our stuff IN our backpacks without force. (including tent, sleepingbag and camping kitchen)

Maybe I could have left a couple of tank tops at home but im sure I will find a use for them in warmer areas. 😉

We are really looking forward to making a short stop in Dougs hometown in October to be part of Rachael & Keith’s wedding as a bridesmaid and groomsman. We also have speculated about leaving some things in Boston which we don’t need anymore after South America.

Some of the items in our backpacks have already proven themselves as pretty awesome. This list includes those things which we currently see as indispensable. It will change a litte bit over time, as we get to warmer regions.

We got the following things at:

  • Bergwerk Linz
  • Bergwöd Wels


#1 – Insulation Jacket

The North Face Thermoball (Anna)
Weight: 0,7 Ibs
Mountain Equipment Compressor (Doug)
Weight: 0,8 Ibs

Important! Important when you get to windy and colder areas. In combination with your hardshell jacket it is like a winter jacket. We decided to go with Primaloft technology. The synthetic filling is less sensitive than down, even warms when wet and dries quickly without clumping. Also the outer layer is windproof and water repellent. The best thing about good insulation jackets is that they are very light and can be stowed in its own side pocket. We always have them in our daypacks!


#2 – Sleeping bag

Mountain Equipment Helium 400 (women’s model)
Pack size: 6,7 x 9,4 inches
Weight: 1,8 Ibs
Mountain Equipment Helium 400 (men’s model)
Pack size: 6,7 x 10,2 inches
Weight: 1,9 Ibs

Our beloved down sleeping bags have saved us from freezing to death quite a few times. We find it pretty cool that the sleeping bags not only keep us warm up to 28 °F (Comfort Limit) but also have a small pack size and light weight. That’s why we can easily pack them away into our backpacks. There are also models with more or less filling, we think we have decided on the perfect middle – for South America at least. For Southeast Asia, the silk sleeping bag will probably be more than enough.


#3 – Microfiber Towel

Cocoon Travel Towel Large
Weight: 0,3 Ibs
Size: 47 x 24 inches
PackTowl Personal
Weight: 0,04 Ibs
Size: 10 x 14 inches

A must-have for backpackers! And again: rolls up small, light weight and above all those things, they dry really fast. Sometimes we miss the good old terry towels but we would never want to carry them around in our backpacks. There are also microfiber towels with terry but they are bigger and heavier. We have a big microfiber towel for showering and a small facial one with us.


#4 – Packing Cubes

Thank god we have our packing cubes and don’t have to get annoyed with loose things and plastic bags. Plastic bags are a No-Go anyways if you want to prevent being „that guy“ who wakes up the entire dorm by searching for stuff in plastic bags in the middel of the night. (And that is often the case when you have to get up earlier or get „home“ late.) There are many packing cubes from different brands. Though our favourite travel blog ( we got the idea of getting them at IKEA for really cheap.


#5 – Backpack

Osprey Ariel 65l (women’s model)
Weight: 5 Ibs
Osprey Aether 70l (men’s model)
Weight: 5,4 Ibs

Osprey simply knows what features a backpack needs. Everything is thought out to perfection. Perfect size, easy to organize and most importantly: Top Quality! Cool details are: hydration system compartment outside, hip strap pockets, comfortable carrying system, compressible, bottom sleeping bag compartment, front strech compartment, …
We think the best part is the J-zipper in the front. So you always have quick access to everything without having to take everything out to get to the „bottom“.


#6 – Toiletry bag

Sea to Summit hanging toiletry bag (L)
Weight: 0,3 Ibs
Volume: 6l

We first ordered different toiletry bags (Jack Wolfskin Wash Salon), but sent them back the next day, because we found them completely impractical. We are 100% satisfied with our second decision. The bags are easy to organize and even with various compartments, everything stays where it belongs and nothing falls out. The hanging hook is very practical because you – for hygenic reasons – don’t really want to put the bag down. We think our toiletry bags are perfect and we would not want to exchange them.


#7 – Money belt

Tatonka Moneybelt Int.

I think everyone is running around here with a money belt. Not only tourists but also locals. This thing keeps money, credit cards and important documents in a safe place. It is also practical not always having to search for your wallet in the backpack. We nominated Doug as the financial minister. (We only brought one money belt.) When im off alone sometimes I get to wear the golden belt. 😉


#8 – Flip Flops

I don’t know what I would do without my flip flops. I think I have worn them already more often in showers than on the streets – and that’s exactly why they are so important. There is nothing more to say.


#9 – Backpack Cover

Osprey Transporter

It’s great because we just have a better feeling during transport. That way the backpacks stay undamaged longer. Often, the bags are not treated with much caution or are just strapped on top of the roof of a Jeep. That’s why we think that a protection is absolutely necessary and really worth it. The backpacks are packed away pretty quickly. The Transporter is also a lot more durable than other (damaged and taped) covers that we have seen.


#10 – Cameras

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2
GoPro Hero 4 Black

Both are underwater, action cameras which can be used anywhere. They are durable and take great pictures and videos. The Olympus we mostly use for taking pictures and the GoPro for taking videos. Both record in Full HD. We bought the Olympus two years ago and we are still totally happy with it. There are already newer models available which offer even more features but for us ours is still perfectly fine.
-That GoPros are simply awesome, goes without saying. 🙂

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