A long time ago I worked out that you needed exactly the same amount of stuff for a one week trip as a 3 month trip, particularly when it comes to clothes. You've just got to wash them regularly, you know, like you do back home. It's hardly rocket science. And if you get bored with your clothes, just buy something new. Easy!!
Firstly, my bag for this trip will be a 30L Osprey backpack. This was what I used for a 3 week Javan adventure back in 2010 (when I didn't bring a laptop), and it's been my go to cabin bag for most of my other trips - the ones where I travel with real luggage, like ski gear. I love this pack for its lightness (780g), its comfort, and its size. It's just small enough to not be too uncomfortable squeezed between your legs on a long bus trip, and it's just big enough to accommodate my laptop in the water reservoir pocket for easy access through security checkpoints.
If you followed my 7kg challenge from 2014 you'll know that I ended up deciding to purchase and bring a 40L backpack on my 2 month trip through Java, because I was bringing camping gear and needed the extra room for gear and food. Since I won't be camping on this trip, and I've purchased some nifty new gadgets recently, I've managed to cut down on gear and weight, yet will be keeping most of the functionality.
So, no camping planned, but I'm bringing some basics that pack up small and give me some options should I get caught short. It goes without saying that I'm bringing a mosquito net because malaria is still present in the east. I'm also packing an emergency bivvy, a sleeping mat and a silk sleep sheet.
I don't go anywhere without a sleep sheet. It not only protects me from some dodgy mattresses and blankets, silk deters bedbugs (not been bitten yet), it's an extra layer to keep me warm and it can also be used as a sarong at a pinch. My old silk sleeping sheet expired, after 20 odd years of use and considerable attempts at repairing tears, then got repurposed as a dress.
The sleeping mat will double as a protective sheath for my laptop, so it won't be unused. Popped in to a lightweight dry sack, it's my version of a multifunction laptop bag.
No cooking gear on this trip, but I am going to bring my water bladder and Steripen, and try to avoid purchasing bottled water. Mainly to avoid the environmental consequences of all that plastic.
Hat. Never leave home without a hat. Old Australian saying, ignore at your peril! Works well in hot steamy Indonesia too. While I'm on headgear: an LED headtorch takes up little room, and doesn't drain your iPhone battery.
Laptop, Kindle, spare hard drive. Cables and cords and adaptors. I've rejigged my setup for travel to use more space on my laptop thus only requiring one hard drive for backups. That drops 250g immediately.
|plus a few cables|
Mask and snorkel. Yep, I'm going to do a little undersea exploring, maybe even go scuba diving. Bringing my own snorkelling gear gives me the freedom to not need to look for hire places.
Clothes: 3 undies, 2 bras, 2 socks, 2 trousers, one long sleeved shirt, one woollen thermal, 2 polo shirts, one singlet, one pair of trail runners. And maybe that silk dress….
Travel towel and minimal toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, tweezers, cake shampoo, insect repellant and sunscreen. I use copious amounts of conditioner whenever I wash my hair (which isn't very frequently) so it makes more sense to buy product only when I need it. The reason I bring toothpaste is because I get small tubes from my dentist every 6 months which are perfect for travel.
Camera and 2 lenses, battery charger and spare batteries. I'll be bringing the Sony A7R, which is mirrorless and much smaller and lighter than my old SLR. And a new tripod setup.
Remember on my last trip I thought I might not bring both trekking poles with me on my next trip? Well after reading lots of stuff in books and online I've come to appreciate that using 2 poles is more energy efficient and comfortable than using just one. So I'm bringing both, and will be learning to walk with 2 sticks. Then I discovered a nifty little attachment that links together your trekking poles and one tent pole to create a camera tripod. So I can leave the big heavy tripod at home, and just use this wee gadget. That saves a whole kilogram! More multi-functionality.
Full post on this coming up....
So I shoved everything, including camera gear, very haphazardly into my bag and it fits with the absolute minimum of effort. All up it'll weigh a bit less than 8kg.
Last trip I had about 11kg of gear and still managed to get my gear on as carryon. Air Asia allows you a 7kg carryon, PLUS a laptop bag or purse, so I shouldn't have any problem aceing this 7kg challenge.
Now in case you were wondering, I'm already packed for Japan...