What to pack and and how to pack really depends on the destination we are heading to, the weather we are going to meet, the culture we are going to dive in, the activities we are doing, the means of transportations involved and many other variables. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that most frequent travelers tend to develop some fixed bits of kit they carry with them, using them as a base to add destination-specific items.
We already talked about packing here, (part 1, 2 and 3), but i just came back from a month around South East Asia for both work and leisure and i carried the updated ATD1 as my only luggage, so i wanted to share some insight about its use and, at the same time, share my packing list hoping it could help someone willing to explore the same latitudes.
Destinations: Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangkok (Thailand).
Weather: Cool and rainy in North Vietnam; hot, sunny and sometimes a bit humid for the rest of the days.
Reasons of the trip: Leisure, work in HCMC.
The Packing List
- ATD1 backpack
- Macbook Pro 13'
- A book
- Muji small dopp kit with toiletries (mostly solid) and prescription contact lenses.
- SAK (i swap my Electrician or Solo Alox for a black Sentinel when out of town)
- Klean Kanteen Reflect bottle (regular cap, the Reflect one is noisy and flimsy)
- Linen travel towel
- AFP Pouch size M (on body EDC).
- ASP Sling Pouch size S (2nd tier EDC, mainly packed, sometimes worn as sling).
- 2 ACU Packing Cubes in size M for Accessories and L for clothing.
Let's see the pouches and cubes in detail.
The Medium AFP Pouch was always on me in cargo pockets or worn as a sling (under or over my shirt) using a paracord strap. It held:
- Zebra pen
- 1st tier EDC in a small tin box (spare lenses, compass, Dyeneema cord, SD card with documents, SERE stuff)
- Airpods when needed
- Mask when needed
- Wallet, when not in my front pocket. A Secrid card holder with a custom fit wallet i made to "expand" its use without adding bulk (stay tuned...)
Not pictured and not in the pouch when in use:
- Small binder clip (to hide stuff in hotel rooms or hold documents and cash)
- Niteize S-biner (keyring for room or rented vehicles keys)
- Proton Microlight attached
The small ASP pouch is my 2nd tier EDC, i carry it in any bag also when not traveling and rarely have on me when i don't have a bag. Sometimes i used it as a sling bag, since the things listed below leave some room to host also the items in the previous pouch. It featured:
- Multitool (Victorinox Spirit, removed or checked in when flying)
- Flashlight (Olight)
- Hands sanitiser
- Lip balm
- some Duct tape
- Lightning cable
- Two adapters to charge my phone with most cables (and the opposite)
- Powerbank (Mophie)
- Soft cover A6 notebook (Moleskine)
- Small mechanical pencil (Zebra TS-3)
- Wooden Comb (large teeth to work for both hairs and beard)
- Small FAK (bandaids, sanitizing wipes, hemostatic gauzes, aspirins, ketoprofene)
- Tin Box with micro toiletry kit (perfume, toothbrush, paste, floss, cotton swab, nail clipper, Allume as deodorant and hemostatic, mini Tiger Balm tin) and a small sewing kit (bobby pins, needle and some black nylon thread for repairs)
Coming down to ACU Packing Cubes, the small one held all non-clothing stuff:
- Spare mask
- ATD1 removable waist belt
- Prescription glasses + clip on magnetic sun mask
- Macbook charger
- Ventile® cap
- a couple Aloksak ziplock bags
- Ortlieb 50l dry liner (it's so light and saved my ass so many times in monsoon weather that i just pack it anyway)
- Sea to Summit 3l dry bag for kayaking and beaches (and laundry, sometimes)
- IFAK (more bandaids and sanitizing wipes, bandage, scissors, tweezers, gloves)
- Medicines kit in an old Cordura® pouch i made (thermometer, antibiotics, aspirine, anti-diarrhoic, paracetamol, painkillers, antihistamine, ibuprofen, etc)
- Outdoor/Survival kit (emergency blanket, chlorine tablets, firesteel and starters, sharpener, peanut lighter, Dyneema microcord, tape, whistle, signaling mirror).
- a Cordura® tote bag i made, great for shopping, the beach or to carry my laptop and EDC when i had to check the pack in.
- Its shoulder strap.
On the other hand, the big cube was for clothing. All the garments i had are in the pic above, except for what i was wearing in that moment: sneakers, Outliers futureworks chinos, a black cotton t-shirt, a pair of briefs and and no-show socks.
- 4 briefs
- 3 merino or cotton no show socks
- 1 Merino hiking socks (top right)
- 1 cotton scarf-towel-sarong bought in some market (bottom right, in this case a "krama" i bought in Cambodia ten years ago)
- 1 hardshell jacket (Patagonia Torrentshell)
- 1 lightweight puffer jacket (Muji V neck down jacket)
- 1 lightweight and warm crewneck jumper, made of extrafine italian merino.
- 2 short sleeved t-shirts
- 2 long sleeved t-shirts
- 1 shirt
- 1 cargo pants (carhartt)
- 1 pair swim pants
This is all packed in its container
I placed the towel against the bottom of the pack, L Cube first and the M Cube, Dopp Kit and ASP Pouch on it to have them at hand if needed. The ASP has the zipper facing outside so i can engage its content easily unzipping the pack just a bit when moving. During transfers, ATD1's front compartment just kept the book, the wire locker, some tissues and an occasional extra layer that could also been kept in the roll top or laying on the cubes before closing the clamshell.
This setup worked great, it was easy to be unpacked when i needed the ADT1 as a daypak and i would not add anything even if i had to stay longer.