What’s in My Bag: The Southeast Asia Edition

What’s in My Bag: The Southeast Asia Edition

It surprised absolutely nobody when I announced I was going to try to fit my entire life for the next three months into one backpack. I traveled with a rolling suitcase exactly one time before, and after dragging the thing uphill on a narrow, winding cobblestone road under the scorching morning sun in Granada, I vowed to never pack what I couldn’t carry on my own back again. (Also, I’ve found that people rarely ask backpackers if they need help with their bags, whereas having a rolling suitcase pretty much guarantees that someone will insist on carrying your bags for you. If that’s not your jam, backpacks are great!)

So naturally, I had to document the packing situation. I love gear, it’s a problem, y’all can deal. In addition to getting everything to fit in one bag, I was also planning to do a lot of outdoor/adventure sports activities and production work/photography, so I packed accordingly.

(Side note: I had originally managed to cram everything into my 28L backpack, save for several things that were hanging off of carabiners, but didn’t want to deal with crap hanging all different ways and decided to bring a larger bag instead.)

Introducing the Southeast Asia edition of What’s in My Bag?!


  • Osprey Aura 65L + Rainfly
  • Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack + Rainfly
  • Kipling Fanny Pack
  • Combination Lock
  • Passport + Immunization docs
  • Wallet/Coinpurse

Everything I have fits in the Osprey (bags in bags!) so that I’m not dealing with carrying a ton of crap when on the move. The Mountainsmith is awesome because it converts from a waistpack to a shoulder bag and fits my DSLR and a book. I’ll likely be using the Mountainsmith as a daypack for hikes and as my day-to-day bag. Not sure if bringing the fanny pack was overkill, but I wanted an ultra-light option for when I didn’t have anything but my wallet and phone on me.

None of my stuff is RFID protected because I don’t think that stuff is necessary. If I haven’t been conned into marrying a Nigerian prince after Western Unioning three grand to save his dying grandmother yet, it should be fine. Plus, my wallet was stolen last year from my own workplace, and my banks were pretty good with helping with fraud protection and getting my money back (shoutout to USAA and Fidelity!). I guess that’s a hot tip, make sure you know what’s what with your bank and cards in case of loss or theft. Back up all your documents (I took pics of them and saved them in multiple places).


  • 4 Tank tops
  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 Sheer long sleeved breathable shirt
  • 3 Shorts (khaki, denim, and gym)
  • 1 Jeggings
  • 1 Yoga capris
  • 2 Dresses
  • Under Armour longsleeved active top
  • Denim jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • 3 Sports bras
  • 8 Underwear
  • 4 Socks (3 ankle-length, 1 hiking)
  • Sarong
  • Bandana
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 Buffs
  • 3 Shoes (running, sandals, flip flops)
  • Hat

To be honest, I think I packed too many clothing items. I could have probably done without the flip flops, 1 of the buffs and/or bandana, a couple pairs of socks, and jeggings, but we’ll see. And maybe not the UnderArmour. It’ll be hot and humid, so not sure what I was thinking there. Probably for extra layers while hiking? I’ll also be picking up a bathing suit once I get to the Philippines.

I’m sticking with sports bras throughout the trip because, again, it will be hot, and sweaty boobs are never fun.

Just about everything fit in those packing cubes in the picture, which made it so easy to get all my stuff into my backpack.


  • Makeup (eyeliner, eyeshadow, loose powder, chapstick)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • Lotion (I brought 3 different kinds because my skin sucks)
  • Shampoo + Conditioner
  • Comb
  • Bar of soap
  • Razor
  • First Aid Kit (with ibuprofen, malaria pills, and diarrhea pills)
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Steripen
  • Water filter
  • Quick dry towel

The one random thing I’ve been stressing out about has been the water situation. Less because I’m actually worried, more because I keep on having dreams about getting sick or drowning. Most people recommend just drinking bottled water, but I’m trying to be environmentally conscious, hence the Steripen and filter.

This is also the year I’ve started trying to take care of my skin, so I’ve kinda gone overboard and bought sunscreen and insect repellent and all sorts of lotion. That stuff can get expensive in Asia since it’s all imported from elsewhere and Trump is trying to start a trade war  so I’ve decided to just bring my own.

Another thing people recommend is bringing your own toilet paper (BYOT…P?) since that stuff isn’t common in Asia, but I think I’m gonna try and bucket-in-bucket/bum gun it. Oh my, we’re learning way too much about my grooming habits now, shall I move on?

Electronics (cat not included)

  •  13″ Macbook Pro + Western Digital Portable Harddrive
  • Travel Adapter
  • Petzl Headlamp
  • Nikon Df + 35mm lens + 80-200mm lens
  • Joby Tripod
  • AT2020 USB mic + desk stand
  • AKASO EK7000 4K Sports Action Camera
  • EMNT Portable Charger
  • Ditty bag + all the cords
  • Pixel 2 (not pictured)

Soooooo, on a normal trip, I would not bring my laptop and all the accessories that come with it, but I’m planning to do some remote work (hire me!) and podcasting while abroad. All this junk makes up the bulk of the weight in my pack, but I do my best brainstorming and production work while solo, so here we are.

I bought the AKASO EK7000, which is a GoPro knockoff, on Amazon. It comes with a waterproof casing, which is great because I was looking for a cheap camera to use while underwater (I’m getting PADI Open Water certified while in the Philippines).

Normally, I wouldn’t bring my telephoto lens on trips since that thing weighs like 4 pounds, but I’ll be doing some jungle/wildlife trekking in Indonesia.

Basically, I’ll be living my best life, and it’s extremely heavy.

All of the electronics, with the exception of the large bulky items, fit in a packing cube.

A few other items I’ve brought, which are not pictured, is a recyclable tote, a journal and a book. I’ll be ditching the book once I finish reading it.

Once I got to the airport, I was pretty pleased with how everything worked out. Since I put everything in packing cubes and stored the electronics together, it was pretty easy to just pull out what needed to be separated in the security line. Then I was able to fit everything I needed for the flight in the waistpack and store the backpack in the overhead bin!

So that’s what’s in my bag! How’s that for a post that’s interesting to absolutely no one except for me? Just wait until the “What’s in my camera bag?” post. That one will be extra riveting. (¬_¬)

2 thoughts on “What’s in My Bag: The Southeast Asia Edition”

  • You might want to grab water shoes in the PI if you plan on going to beaches or water adventures. Hopefully, you brought a drivers license for motorbike rentals if you choose to on less traffic areas. If you do get diarrhea, let it flow for at least 24 hours if your schedule allows to allow the bacteria or virus to come out before taking your meds. And don’t over medicate or you’ll be super clogged.

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