Most people when they spend 6 months in Asia would be tempted to bring a huge ass hiking backpack. I had no desire to do this as 1) it's huge and heavy and unwieldy and I'm lazy. 2) it makes you look like a tourist. 3) you have to deal with storing it everywhere you go, as it's impractical to have it on you all the time.
I bought a medium sized backpack, slightly larger than your average messenger bag size and fit into it everything I needed. It's a Brooklyn industries bag that I found on a sale rack for $65 bucks.
Here's what I put in it:
Baldwin raw denim jeans ($220)
225 bucks is a lot of money to spend on a single pair of jeans but considering they were the only pants I brought and they last forever so it's worth it. The thing with raw denim is that you don't wash it until the 6-12 month mark of constant use so I didn't have to deal with cleaning them. I actually bought them back in October as it takes a few months to break them in. (Editors note: I actually had a crotch blowout the day I left for my trip, I think it's because I either got ones that were slightly too small, or because my balls are too huge. I bought a cheapo pair of khakis at uniqlo in Seoul to wear while I got my Baldwins repaired)
Outlier Cotton/Merino Wool button down ($175)
This shirt is also overly expensive but worth it, it's the only long sleeve short I brought with me, and it looks casual but still classy and great. I've got the reddish pink one because when I visited their offices in NYC to buy it, it was the only one they had, but now I'm glad I got this instead of gray or black or blue. If you know me well you've probably heard me go on a rant about how much I love merino wool: it's soft as hell, warm when it's cool out and breathes well when it's hot out. It wicks away sweat and doesn't trap odors so you can get away with not washing merino things very often.
Outlier Merino Wool Tshirt ($98)
Also super expensive but the only tshirt I brought. It also looks really great, good cut. I got the slate blue. All of the above benefits but even better because it's 100% merino.
Icebreakers Merino Wool boxer briefs ($45)
I really had to go on a wild goose chase to find some merino underwear and I'm not sure it was worth it in this case, they definitely don't smell, but I don't like the fit. I think they are supposed to be used more as work out underwear. I had so much room left over in my bag that I brought a bunch of normal cotton boxer briefs and have been mostly wearing those.
Wigwam merino wool socks ($15)
I've actually been wearing these socks for years and absolutely love them, they are what turned me on to merino. They are super thick so they keep your feet warm, but never too warm. I brought 4 pairs, even though you can go at least a week without washing them. I never wear normal cotton socks anymore. Fuck cotton.
Soap, deodorant, toothpaste, floss, Chapstick, A little anti microbial quick drying towel that folds up really small, etc.
I also brought:
- My MacBook Air 13"
- Amazon kindle (fuck carrying books and the battery lasts for like a month)
- My Clark boat shoes
- Timex watch
- A little med kit that I made (mostly band aids, ibuprofen and my malaria meds)
- Copies of all my documents
- An extra battery pack thing courtesy of my dad
- Various charges and converters
That was all the essentials. With all of this stuff I still had a ton of room left so I threw in:
- Some more cotton underwear.
- A few more pair of thinner, shorter wigwam socks.
- A couple tee shirts.
- A sweatshirt (some $10 H&M crap)
- My jacket (bought at a comune sample sale a few years back, it's somehow worked for me both in LA and NYC winters…I brought it mostly for Korea and China, I plan on ditching it in South East Asia as it's bulky and I don't need it and I should probably get a new jacket anyways)
Most of the extra stuff I don't need and kind of wish I hadn't brought (apart from the underwear)
That's it! It's super possible to travel extremely lightly and I highly recommend doing it. Something satisfying about not having to worry about digging through your huge bag to find a fresh tshirt, you're already wearing most of your clothes.
It's totally feasible for ladies too.