Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Year Long Trip Around the World on a small 20lb. Backpack

There’s an interesting article posted over at artofmanliness.com about a person that traveled for 12 months all over the world with just a small backpack, taking a just a laptop computer, camera, couple spare set of socks and underwear and little else, focusing on high quality, lightweight gear. I think it’s a great exercise on minimalist travel and it goes to show how in today’s world you can basically live and travel all over the planet with a passport, credit card and some cash to move around. Of course this means you’ll be sleeping mostly indoors, eating out and sticking to urban areas. Such a minimalist approach obviously doesn’t include much in terms of preparedness, but given that in our community so many people stuff massive backpacks full of gear, in many cases items that aren’t needed, this would be a great place to start and only then build up from there.

Although not as minimalistic, I have backpacked in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, taking a 45L backpack. I did need to bring along a tent, sleeping bag, food and cookware since I spend most of my time outdoors, but I did learned to appreciate the freedom of not having a huge, heavy pack.
One of the things I liked the most about the article was his focus on quality, light weight gear. A lot of his clothes are made of merino wool, which is an excellent material for this kind of task. Carefully selected clothes go a long way.

In terms of shelter he went for a Sea to Summit Silk Liner, which isnt much and you sure can’t sleep outdoors in cold climates with this alone unless you work hard in improvising better shelter. It is better than nothing but a something along the lines of Naturehike Outdoor Sleeping Bag would be better if sleeping outdoors is expected.
What I Would Take
I completely agree on going for high quality clothes. Merino Wool base layers make a lot of sense given that merino wool is comfortable to wear, warm enough in winter, keeps you fresh enough in hot climates, wicks most away from your skin, reduces odor and has antibacterial properties.

Arc'teryx Alpha FL Jacket
I’d go for Icebreaker base layer top and bottom. For a midlayer, a good softshell such as Arc'teryx Epsilon LT Jacket. A waterproof hooded jacket such as Columbia’s Watertight II Packable Rain Jacket or Arc'teryx Alpha FL Jacket would complete the setup to deal with most climates.

5.11 TacLite Pro Pant
As for pants, no question about it, 5.11 TacLite Pro Pant are what I would wear if I could only have one pair. They are tough, repel water, dry quickly, comfortable and with big enough pockets. They aren’t very warm but would do well with long underwear.

One of my few criticisms would be his choice of shoes. Light hiking shoes may be enough for walking from airports to hotels and walk around the city some but such footwear wont last when used extensively in more rugged terrain. Personally I would have gone for Salomon Quest with Goretex.
Oh, and an Iphone? For traveling around the world?? Hell no. I’d go for a waterproof Samsung Galaxy S5 Active.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Anonymous said...

Some good advice up there - thanks for linking and posting your own experience. I haven't been as fortunate with having opportunities to backpack and stay out there for days. My outdoor experiences are smaller ranches, where you mainly drive out and camp out where you are - period.

Very little hiking involved. So posts like these are valuable to me - thanks.

Anonymous said...

There is a rugged phone out there that doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar. This is the Kyocera Brigadier. The battery last for two days of light use with the GPS, Bluetooth, and Wifi on. It is one of the few phones with sapphire glass. My last phone was the Casio Commando. The Casio was slow, buggy, and the battery lasted less then a day with light usage. The Gorilla glass on the Casio broke one day when I dropped it! I've had the Kyocera about 6 months, and, so far, it has been bulletproof. It is fast and does what I need it to, with a built in compass and barometer. Check it out.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post. I've been looking for a pair of pants as well as a jacket for emergency usage. I already have the boots and I can attest to their comfort. I'm normally in Merrell's when just walk around. But when I hike and camp, it's Salomon's all the way.