RTW Packing ListCombine the Summer and Winter packing lists and you get the ultimate all-season round-the-world packing list! This list should also suit you if you’re travelling during shoulder seasons, when the weather can be nice and sunny one day, and pouring with rain the next. Most long-term, RTW travellers try to follow the warmer weather wherever they go. If this is you, you won’t need to take so much winter gear and you could get by with just the Summer Packing List depending on where you’re headed. Adjust according to your own circumstances.

What’s Included?

  • 1 waterproof + windproof jacket
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 1 long sleeve button-up shirt
  • 5-6 tank/short sleeve tops
  • 2-3 long sleeve tops
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 2 capris, shorts or skirts
  • 3 dresses
  • 1 pair of leggings

And the rest…

  • Warm hat (buy a cheap sunhat when you need it, as it’ll get squashed in your bag)
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • 2 swimsuits
  • Sarong
  • Underwear – I suggest no more that 8 pairs with weekly washing. Less if you plan to hand-wash more frequently.
  • 2 Bras
  • Socks – a mixture of lighter and thicker socks. 4-5 pairs should be plenty.
  • Optional: a light cardigan that rolls up small and you can carry in your purse.

This is the absolute maximum amount of clothing I would ever carry for an all-season RTW trip. Most likely, I would take less, even if I was planning to spend a lot of time in both extreme cold and high heat and humidity. Cut out a summer dress, one less tank, one less long-sleeve, one less bathing suit etc. My goal here is to show that you can travel around the world in a carry-on, while still having lots of clothing options and being prepared for all climates.

Notes

  • Pictured top left is the REI La Selva Rain Jacket, which is what I currently use. It is stylish, warm, windproof, relatively lightweight (for a jacket – it still weighs 700g) and served me well during a freezing winter trip to the USA recently. I especially love that it’s a full trench-style – it covers your butt so you’re fully protected and can sit down outdoors without getting a wet backside. However, it’s still rather bulky for RTW travel. If you’re not going to spend much time in cold, windy, rainy weather, a smaller, more packable rain jacket would be better. The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket weighs a much more reasonable 340g and is more easily stuffed into a purse or day bag, ready to pull out during unexpected showers. If you’re mostly travelling in warm weather, you could also consider ditching the rain jacket altogether and opt for an umbrella as needed, depending on your activities. They’re usually cheap and easy to find in most places, and good in humidity when you don’t want to add more layers. But they won’t be much use in the wind and are bulky to carry around – even the little ones.
  • I like to take a few dresses when travelling because they’re a whole outfit in one lightweight item. If you prefer shorts, skirts or pants, adjust accordingly.
  • If staying in shared dorms, you might like to add a pair of pyjama bottoms or sleep shorts, or just sleep in the leggings.
  • Try to wear your heaviest items on the plane – it gets pretty chilly on planes anyway, so you’ll want to wrap up warm.
  • A rough weigh-in of the above clothing at home came to 5.7kg. But that’s everything, including accessories, with most of the weight coming from the aforementioned bulky jacket, sweater, fleece and jeans. In reality you’ll be wearing a few of these pieces, so you shouldn’t be carrying any more than 4-5kg in clothing at any one time – less if you choose your fabrics wisely.

The most important thing is to bring only what you feel comfortable wearing. If you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t want to wear it on the road.

This is part of a series of packing lists designed to give you an idea of what to take on your journey, so you eliminate unnecessary bulk and carry only what you need. Ultimately, the decision over what to take is very personal, but this list should serve as a basic guide that you can tweak to fit your own particular needs and circumstances. See also the Summer Packing List and Winter Packing List.