Advice | December 13, 2016 9:00 am

How to Pack for 12 Months on the Road in One Backpack

Without going commando

“Literally everything I own fits into a small travel backpack,” says Jacob Laukaitis. “I’ve been living like this for the past three years.”

Laukaitis, who runs an online coupon biz called ChameleonJohn, caught our eye when he shared a photo of himself on Facebook sitting beside what looked like a weekend’s worth of clothing.

He was actually packed for the year.

Intrigued, we sent Laukaitis a few questions about his packing acumen — currently, the world traveler and digital entrepreneur is encamped in Thailand as part of his 12-month Asia adventure.

His advice is pretty common sense — it’s pretty much “you can get what you need where you’re going” — and won’t work for everyone. If you’re opposed to constantly buying new clothing that you’ll dispose of quickly, it might not be your new approach to traveling.

(If you’re still interested, here’s a video where he explains his packing a bit further.)

Who you are, why you travel, and, mainly, how are you able to travel for 12 months? 
I’m a digital nomad who travels the world while running his online coupons business In the past three years, I’ve visited over 55 different countries and spent most of my time in Asia. The reason I’m able to go whenever and wherever I wish is because all of my work is done online and I can work from literally anywhere as long as I have my computer and a WiFi connection. Since I never lose my income, I’m able to do this indefinitely.

What’s the biggest mistake when people pack?
People take way too many things that they never use. They think “Well, in case it this or that, I might need this item,” but they never do … or if they do, they can easily get it wherever they are. I’m convinced that overpacking makes one’s travels much less interesting, stressful (with all the check-in luggage) and less flexible, since you need to carry all of that stuff with you all the time.

How do you wash your clothes when you’re away?
You will find laundry machines in almost every hostel around the world. If they don’t have it, there will be a public laundry place nearby. If you travel staying at hotels they can always do your laundry for you. I often do laundry about once a week and it definitely isn’t a big hassle.

As someone pointed out on your Facebook, you didn’t pack much in way of underwear … is that correct?
Nah, I just didn’t mention it in the caption, but it’s in the picture and the video.

Your packing seems solid for hot weather, but what about packing for cold weather?
You’d absolutely need more clothes. I’ll be going to the Nepalese and the Indian Himalayas to do trekking and motorbiking and I’ll definitely need more clothes. But I’ll buy/rent them for that one month and get rid of them once I’m leaving the place. That’s exactly my point with packing light — you can always get stuff on the go.

What kind of bag are you packing this in?
Lowe Alpine 50-60L backpack. It hardly gets wet and is very comfortable to carry. Love it!