**Update: Read my new review of this packing list after traveling for a year**

How much can you fit into a 43-liter backpack? Surprisingly, you can fit a lot. Here’s what I’m packing for one year of travel in just one backpack. It includes a wide assortment of items I may need along the way, from nail polish to an iPad Mini.


Backpack – The Kelty Flyway 43 was my choice of backpack because of it’s carry-on size and many separate compartments, including a shoe compartment. It also comes with a built-in rain cover and internal sleeve for a laptop or tablet. I also like the haul handle on the front which I can easily hold on to if I’m not wearing the pack.

**Update** Upgraded my daypack for more comfort and style and am now using a Cotopaxi Kilimanjaro 20L Backpack.

Shoes – I’m bringing just three different types of footwear including Teva Kayenta SandalsNike Flex Experience shoes and Old Navy flip flops.

Jackets – For the winter cold I’m bringing a Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, which can compress down pretty small. For the rain I have a North Face rain shell and for regular day wear I have a cotton jacket.

**Update** I picked up a Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece along the way for additional warmth on the South American leg of this trip.

Headwear – Since I’ll probably have many bad hair days while on the road, I have some headwear to help hide them including a North Face cap and 4 summer headbands, (not pictured). For colder weather I have a winter headband.

Electronics – I have just a few electronics I’m taking with me such as a head lamp, iPad mini with a Logitech keyboard, Nikon Coolpix S9700 camera, iPod Shuffle with headphones, wristwatch and outlet converters.

Miscellaneous – I’m taking an assortment of medicine, laundry soap and more. The full list includes a dry bag, paracord, Sea to Summit insect repellent travel sheets, dryer sheets, (to keep my bag smelling fresh), Woolite laundry soap, liquid soap, thread and needle, sink stopper, cough drops, Immodium, Advil Cold & Sinus, Pepto Bismol, Airborne, door stopper, collapsable bowl, spork, Kleenex, Band-aids, sleeping mask and gum.

Underwear – I’m taking a bikini, one sports bra, a regular bra, six pairs of Under Armor underwear, three pairs of Asics running socks and a pair of warmer Fits socks.

Tops – For the trip I’m packing four T-shirts, two tank tops, one Columbia button-up shirt and a Columbia top base layer.

Bottoms – I have a variety of bottoms including two pairs of shorts, Under Armor gym shorts, Columbia pants, REI yoga capris, a skirt and Columbia bottoms base layer. I was hesitant to only bring one pair of long pants, but I think we’ll mostly be in warm weather and I will end up wearing my yoga capris the most.

Bags – While walking around the cities I’ll use a Cotopaxi day bag or a small black purse. I also have two Eagle Creek packing cubes to help organize the clothes in my backpack.

Toiletries – I have a lot of items in my toiletries such as razors and makeup, as well as a Conair travel hair dryer and hair straightener, (not pictured). Other items include a REI travel towel and Eagle Creek toiletry bag.

14 Responses

  1. bestbackpackup4.wordpress.com

    I am perishing to know where these llama bags (and elephant bags, and so on) are originating from! Each time they make a look in this collection, I try to find them online without success. Referrals?

  2. Svenja

    Hi there,
    I stumbled across your website, spent a looong afternoon reading all of it, and now keep checking for news on a daily basis. Love reading about your travels!

    I have just bought the same backpack you use (Kelty Flyway), and I wondered if you could answer some of my questions. Have you had any trouble taking it on a plane as your carry-on bag? I have lived out of dufflebags before, never out of a backpack, is the Flyway as useful and comfortable as it seems?

    Oh, and something else, after a couple of months on the road, what are your thoughts on your packing list? Would you change it, have you maybe changed it, or did you pack exactly right for your trip?

    Anyways, keep up your blog, please, and have tons of fun around the world!

    • Britnee Johnston

      Hi Svenja,
      Thanks for reading along! I’ve been meaning to do a review of the Kelty Flyway. The Kelty Flyway has been awesome! I’m really happy with my choice of bag. I’ve taken it as a carry-on on most of my flights including Delta, EasyJet, RyanAir, Norwegian Air, etc. There were some times when I checked it in when I wasn’t sure, but I think that I could’ve carried it on all the flights. It fits perfectly into the carry-on checkers at the airport and fits in the overhead space on the planes. It’s comfortable and nice to have the separate compartment at the bottom that I use for dirty clothes and shoes. The backpack has zippers down each side that open out making it easy to look for items at the bottom of the bag. It fits a lot for its size.

      As for the packing list, since we’ve left I’ve bought another pair of pants, shirt, and bra on the road. Also bought two notebooks, one for taping my ticket stubs and the other for notes. Other than that, what I originally packed has been exactly what I needed, luckily. Although, I’ll admit it’s starting to get old wearing the same clothes for three months now. :)

      Are you going on a fun adventure soon? Stay in touch!


      • Svenja

        Hi Britnee,
        Thank you so much for your detailed answer, I was kinda worried about budget airlines like RyanAir…

        Love the idea of taping ticket stubs into a notebook! I used to collect our ticket stubs from all our trips and pin them on a wall in our apartment. Moved houses though, and all of them now live in a box in the basement. Guess I’ll go notebook shopping soon :-)

        We aren’t planning a year-long adventure like yours, at least not right now, but I admit the idea is more than tempting, and both our jobs would allow a sabbatical, so who knows…
        I’ve never been on the road for more than six weeks so far, and usually rotating the same couple of t-shirts for five or six weeks makes me shove them to the bottom of the stack back home, so I don’t have to see them for weeks after returning. Guess after a year I’d be ready to burn them 😉

        Actually, I bought the Flyway for shorter road trips in the UK, which usually start off with a RyanAir flight for us, and I really wanted something that allowed me to fly carry-on only AND is comfortable to use on the road. We just came back from a 10-day trip through Scotland, and we are already planning the next one :-)

        I’m pretty lazy about blogging and instagram these days, and most of our blog usually is in German for the family, but if you like, you’re more than welcome to take a look.

        Take care & fun travels!

      • Britnee Johnston

        Looks like we just missed you…we just arrived in Scotland last night! Yeah, I am tempted to buy a few more shirts just for variety. :) I was able to take my bag as a carry-on with RyanAir, so you should be fine too. We’ll follow you on Instagram! Safe travels to you too.

  3. Svenja

    Have fun in Scotland! If you like whisky, take a tour at a distillery, quite interesting and usually you get a dram to taste…

  4. matt

    Hi, I’ve been searching for bags and found this bag to be perfect! Been searching high & low for this one. I live in Singapore and it’s very disappointing to find it out of stock or unavailable for shipping to my country. Only Amazon has it which almost double the price.

    Do you know where can I get this (online)? Thanks!!

    • Britnee Johnston

      I purchased mine directly from Kelty.com, but I just checked their website and don’t see it on there any more! :( Their closest options would be Redwing 44 or Redwing 32. I think they look exactly the same as the Flyway, they just don’t have the separate shoe/clothes compartment on the bottom.

  5. Michelle

    Hi Britnee!

    Thanks for having an amazing resource for RTW travel! My fiance and I are planning on taking an extended trip after we get married, and sounds like your trip is pretty similar to what we hope to do next year.

    I do have one question – how much did you bag weigh? We previously took at 2 month trip to Peru, China, and Taiwan and I took the Osprey Kyte 46L. It weighed in at 18lbs (9 KG). This time, we’re trying to shoot for 7KG in smaller bags (think: Jansport Big Student backpack I used in middle school…) to be able to take advantage of Norweigian Air’s cheap flights from US to Europe.

    Anyways, thanks so much for documenting your travels and posting extensive reviews!

    Michelle recently posted…The Discomfort of FreedomMy Profile

    • Britnee Johnston

      Thanks for checking out the blog, Michelle! Unfortunately, I don’t remember how much my bag weighed, but it was fully packed. The heaviest items I had was my iPad Mini and small point-and-shoot camera. With my Kelty Flyway 43, I was able to have it as a carry-on on Norwegian Air from Bodo to Oslo in Norway. I don’t know if it would be more strict on the U.S. to Europe route. Looking at their website, you should be fine even with the 46L at 9kg. Their website says 10kg is the limit: http://www.norwegian.com/us/travel-info/baggage/hand-baggage/

      Hope you guys have a great trip. Congrats on your future wedding and travels!


  6. Melanie Arcic

    Love this post! My boyfriend and I are actually planning a year long trip as well in 2018! This has deff helped with what I plan on bringing. Love your website! I’m glad I stumbled upon it. :)