I recently wrapped up 18 months of being a nomad. During that time, I lived primarily out of two carry-on bags. Here’s what was in them.
My fully packed Red Oxx Airboss ($275.00) bag weighed in at 22 pounds.
It included the following (pictured in the featured image):
- Homage Zip Hoodie. One of the softest hoodies I’ve ever worn and a main part of my wardrobe. It’s great for fall and spring temperatures, plus air-conditioned summers, and is a nice added layer for really cold winters. $65.00
- Next Mileskin Jacket. It took me going to Scotland to find a coat that looked good on my slender frame. This is a great winter coat that layers nicely and isn’t too heavy when carrying it. £90.00
- Tommy Hilfiger Rainwear Jacket (now discontinued?). A very lightweight jacket that repels the rain and can easily be folded or scrunched into a bag. Also makes a decent make-shift pillow.
- Clarks Leather Sandals. A casual pair of sandals for beach days, laundry days, and quick errands. $29.99
- Nike Downshifter 6 Running Shoe. $49.94
- Aldo Men’s Boot (similar to these). The first pair of boots I owned were great but started to fall apart with all of the walking I did, so I switched to a pair of Aldo Men’s boots that are comfortable for most of the day and look nicer than gym shows. $109.95
- Aldo Edoewin Oxford Dress Shoes. A nice looking pair of dress shoes to go with the navy suit I have for events. $79.95
- Going in Style Travel Laundry Clothesline. A must-have for drying out clothes in hotels and AirBNBs. $12.95
- Metolius Carabiner. A carabiner I used for attaching said clothesline to things. $9.95
- Travelon Inflatable Hanger. For hanging up clothes when a hanger isn’t available; I never used it. $10.00
- Microfiber Travel Towel. A compact towel that dries quickly. It doesn’t feel nearly as nice as a real towel and can start to smell quickly, but is a must for when you’re crashing somewhere that doesn’t have an extra towel for you. $14.95
- Parachord Bracelet. A combo chord and whistle; luckily I never had to use it. $8.99
- Inflatable Neck Pillow. Always better in theory than in practice, I tried using it periodically and never really enjoyed it. I still travel with it just in case. $13.99
- Bounce Dryer Sheets. These served more than one purpose, including their intended use when drying clothes, but also to prevent shoes from smelling, and to (supposedly) prevent mosquito bites. $15.99 for a big pack you don’t need.
- Small Lint Roller. Useful for cleaning off hairs and fuzz from your clothes, particularly helpful when you crash at someone’s place who has a cat or dog. $7.99 for 4
- Uniqlo Men Heattech V Neck T Shirt Long Sleeve. A long sleeve shirt that is thick enough to provide extra warmth but thin enough to be used with other layers. $14.90
- Woolly Men’s Merino Wool Short Sleeve V-Neck. A staple of any nomad wardrobe is merino wool and this is a cheaper alternative than a lot of other brands. I replaced an Icebreaker shirt that started gaining holes with this one and was happy with it’s performance. It’s odor resistant, easy to wash in the sink, and quick drying. $39.99
- Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Short Sleeve V. The second merino wool shirt I bought and worked great in alternating with the other shirt. By switching between the two daily, I could go at least a week between washing if I wanted to. $51.99
- Uniqlo Men Heattech Tights. Uniqlo calls them tights, I think of them as long underwear, but either way they provide a nice base layer for the legs when the temperature drops below freezing. $14.90
- Ex-Officio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Brief (x3). Another staple of a nomad’s packing list is the underoos. These boxers are odor resistant and quick-drying. With three pairs, you have flexibility and can do your washing every other night. Hang them up while you sleep and you’re good to go in the morning. $14.99 each
- Darn Tough Men’s Merino Wool No Show Socks (x2). The final staple of the nomad’s wardrobe is socks. These Darn Tough socks work great while wearing tennis shoes. Also odor resistant and quick drying. $15.95 each
- Darn Tough Men’s Warlock Crew Light Cushion Hiking Socks (x2). A long version of the Darn Tough Merino Wool socks that go great with boots or dress shoes. $19.95 each
- Suitsupply Sienna Blue Suit. An incredible well-made suit with a tailored fit and a professional look, perfect for the presentations I give and more formal affairs. $599.00
- Olivers All Over Shorts. Multipurpose shorts that can be used for casual attire, workout shorts, or swim trunks. They’re probably more expensive than what they provide, but nice to cut down on space. $65
- Uniqlo Slim Fit Straight Leg Jeans. Fashionable jeans that fit well but also stretch when moving around. They aren’t the most rugged–I went through 2.5 pairs during my trip–but there may not be a jean that exists that can survive the wear and tear of nomadic living. The plus is that these are cheaper than alternatives from places like Bonobos. $49.90
- Adidas Performance Training Pants. Comfortable pants for lounging around or working out in colder temperatures with the added benefit that they are part of the ComedySportz uniform. $29.99
- J.Crew Slim Washed Shirt (x2). A slim fitting button-down shirt that works great for business casual situations and is part of my standard jeans+button+hoodie look. $19.95 each
- J.Crew Thompson Dress Shirt (x2). A nicer quality button-front shirt that goes well with a suit. $34.50 each
- American Apparel 50/50 Crewneck T-Shirt. A casual t-shirt for summer days. $20.00
- Ohio State Buckeyes Shirt. A casual t-shirt for rooting on the Buckeyes (or showing off Ohio pride). I’m not sure of the price because my mom got it for me.
- Various Toiletries (see below).
In the Red Oxx Bag was a Tom Bihn Clear Quarter Packing Cube ($32.00).
I used to used toiletries, including:
- Travel sizes of: toothpaste, hair gel, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, body spray, and cortizone.
- Regular sizes of: bar soap, deodorant, fingernail clippers, cuticle scissors (surprisingly TSA compliant), thermometer, and beard trimmer.
- A “switchblade” style toothbrush (much better than the ones you put into the long tube).
- A small plastic soap holder and a small empty spray bottle.
On my back was a Tom Bihn Synapse 25 ($200.00) that carried my electronics along with a few other tools (and snacks!).
- Microsoft Surface Pro 3. I started out using a Macbook Air and enjoyed it. Then I got the Surface Pro because I doing an event for Microsoft and I didn’t look back. All the benefits of the Macbook Air plus I never had to put it away on flights because it’s also a tablet. $799
- Seagate 1 TB External Drive. For backing up large files and for carrying various media with me. $57.99
- TROND USB Hub for Surface Pro. A USB hub for the surface pro so I can connect multiple devices at once. $13.99
- PNY Mini Displayport to HDMI Adapter. To connect my Surface Pro (or Macbook Air) to projectors. $8.99
- Rakie Mini Displayport to VGA Adapter. For older projectors. $9.99
- Cmple 1.5ft HDMI Cable. A short HDMI cable for hooking up my laptop to projectors and hotel TVs. $5.99
- Logitech Professional Presenter R800. A remote for my presentations. $47.99
- Zoom H2n Handy Recorder. For picking up audience sound and for recording audio interviews. $159.99
- GoPro HERO4 Silver. For recording video for shows and general adventure (like snorkeling in Hawaii!). $399.99
- Joby Magnetic Tripod with Smartphone Mount. A gorillapod-style tripod for the GoPro / my smartphone. $22.99
- Stony-Edge Simple Lav Microphone. A lav to record audio straight into my phone for videos. $59.95
- Anker Lipstick Sized Portable Charger. A rechargeable charger to maintain phone battery on long trips with no power source. $19.99
- Travel Surge Protector. For when outlets are sparse, particularly great at airports when someone is using all of the outlets, you can ask to replace it with this for more spots. $12.99
- Universal Travel Power Adaptor. For international travel. $21.95
- iPod Touch. They no longer make the version I have but it has 60GB worth of music on it.
- Audio Technica Over the Ear Noise Canceling Headphones. So you can actually hear music or a movie when on an airplane. $99.95
- Petzl Tikkina Headlamp. To scare off bats in Idaho. $19.95
- Light My Fire Titanium Sport. To consume delicious food when utensils aren’t available. $13.95
- Various cables including: iPod cable, spare phone cable, 3.5″ mini cable, and micro USB cable.
- Various travel accessories including: EZpass for NYC, FastTrack for Bay Area, and USB car adapter.
- Various health items including: Advil, diarrhea pills, and first aid kit.
- Various snacks often including: Pop Tarts, protein bars, and candy.
- A plastic water bottle.
- Various travel documents.
Check out pictures all of my gear in this Flickr album.