After Three Years On the Road, What’s In My Bag?

Part 1: Clothes

Rose Ernst
10 min readJun 29

Rose Ernst

Clothes are the most extensive and essential packing category for nomads.

They’re also the sneakiest: you buy one t-shirt here, a pair of socks there, and soon your bag is bursting at the seams.

In this and subsequent articles, I’ll discuss what’s in my bag and the reasons behind it. I’ll also explain why I left behind certain items that seemed necessary when I bought them.

Note: You can access just the packing list here.

What’s In My Bag Now

My whole life is in a 35L Pakt clamshell backpack and a smaller Fjällräven daypack. Here’s the clothing in the 35L backpack:

· 3 pairs of leggings

· 3 t-shirts

· 2 long-sleeved shirts

· 1 cardigan

· 2 dresses

· 1 longer sweatshirt/hoodie

· 1 down jacket

· 1 one-piece bathing suit

· 1 long rain jacket

· 1 pair of rain pants

· 7 pairs of underwear

· 2 bras

· 5 pairs of socks

· 2 buffs

To be clear, my packing strategy is for long-term travel, not for brief trips. Your mileage will vary!


Rose Ernst. Note: I’ve since whittled it down to 3 leggings.


Leggings are the best packing strategy for lightweight and compact bottoms if you’re comfortable wearing them often.

They serve as daywear, sportswear, tights, and as pajamas. They’re quick-drying, and if they’re black, they don’t stain.

But they must be comfy.

I’ve searched high and low for leggings that don’t create segmented-worm syndrome, and the key is to find ones without that nasty elastic band. They’re often called “high-waisted.”

Rose Ernst

Scholar, writer, editor, and autistic traveler. Autistic Traveler: Writing Sprints: