How Does a Permanent Nomad Pack

UPDATED: 2019 (after 19 years of non-stop travel)

It’s been 19 years on the road and one of the most common questions I’m asked is about what I pack and travel with as I bounce around the world nonstop. I’ll warn you: it’s pretty simple.

Normally, I just take my pile of possessions, stuff (or gently place) them into my small but unbelievably reliable Timbuk2 Co-pilot Roller suitcase or sometimes my trusty Kelty Redwing 44 backpack and be on my merry way.

But, I do notice that many people are quite surprised when they see ‘my life in a small suitcase‘. After all, I do indeed carry my life around with me as I travel the world on a permanent basis. Apart from a box full of random things that I keep at my mom’s place in the USA, I have all my possessions with me at all times.

And what I have…it’s not too much.

How Much Do I Pack? – Weight

Typically, my main luggage weighs about 11 kgs (24 lbs). I also carry a messenger bag for my laptop and other electronic gear, which weighs about 4.5 kgs.

The reason I travel relatively lightly is simple – the less weight I pack, the easier it is to travel. There’s a huge difference between hopping from bus to bus, from guesthouse to guesthouse and from town to town with 11 kgs of luggage as opposed to 25 kgs worth of stuff. There’s a difference having a main suitcase that’s carry-on size (even if I do check it from time to time) instead of a suitcase the size of a hippopotamus. It’s just easier.

How Much Do I Pack? – My Stuff

Here it is…everything that I generally travel with:


  • 3 shirts
  • 3 pairs of jeans
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of exercise shorts
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 7 t-shirts
  • 3 button down shirts
  • 1 pair of New Balance sneakers (always NB!)
  • 1 pair of cross-trainers
  • 1 pair of beach sandals
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 sarong



  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 2 boxes of extra contact lenses
  • 1 bottle of contact lens solution
  • Toiletry bag with all the stuff I need
  • Electric toothbrush

So there it is. That’s everything I need to travel the world nonstop.

Sure, if I end up somewhere in the middle of winter, I’ll buy a winter jacket or take my jacket that I have in the USA if I know in advance. But other than that, as a permanent nomad, I’m good with the above, no matter where I go or for how long!

How do you pack for your travels? Any questions about the above?