Hobbies All The Way Down

The 30-Day Bag and Stuff Within

At the end of my trip around Belgium/Germany/France/Netherlands, I ended up pretty happy with my packing choices. Here’s what I did and didn’t take, how it all worked out, and future choices:

Everything but the Macbook Pro, backup battery, running jacket, and extra shirt


I didn’t need the 15” Macbook Pro that I brough. Probably didn’t need a 13" MacBook Air. The Pro added way too many pounds and a form factor that mandated a lot more structure to support the weight and length. An 11" Air would get closer, but an iPad mini with a keyboard would tuck into a pocket instead of necessitating a big sleeve.

But, the flip side. I needed that laptop to do work, and working was the only way a thirty day trip was possible. Which is why I’m so excited for a rumored 12" MacBook Air--I’m putting my money on Retina, which means I’d be able to take screenshots (part of the job sometimes!) as well. Please, please do that Apple.


I was worried that one rainy day could ruin a full day of walking, and my shoes were very red. So I packed a pair of Clarks Desert Boots (which were suede, so don’t do that). A nice pair of dark blue running shoes—like the new Cascadia 10s!—would go nicely just about anywhere.

And your...


I switched my socks about twice a day; sometimes three. I brought four pair, and that was just right. I was running every day, though, so you might just need two. Make them Smartwool—although just about any pair of merino wool socks will do the job—and hang ‘em up to air out every day.


Have two t-shirts that are heavier than Everlane’s tee. Switching from Everlane to a heavier weighted shirt was maddening—I didn't want to.

I’m going to buy a few of Wool & Prince’s (wool) tee shirts when they’re back in stock. If you’re not traveling every three days, two t-shirts is totally doable.

And only one long sleeve button-up. I ended up taking two, only needed one.


Two ExOfficio boxer briefs. These things are better than sliced bread, I think, after using two pair for 2 weeks, and then down to one pair for two weeks! (I left a pair at an Airbnb spot.) I’m sure for a lot of people this sounds disgusting, but I can’t stress enough that as long as you’re not hiking up mountains in them, they won’t stink. At all.

They do start losing form (stretching) after about a week until you wash them again, but maybe don’t go that long. Some people might still be worried about offending others’ sensibilities...I get that. (Side note about ExOfficio: the Heather Gray color sports a different ratio of fabric material. The slightly different blend keeps form longer, feels better, and, I mean, you don’t want to get too flashy in your underwear colors. It’s much better than the others.)

Running stuff

I practice the “shower in them to wash them” thing, with a full wash after two or three runs. During this trip, two pairs seemed fine. Might have been able to get away with one, though you’d need to a serious drying regiment.

My running jacket was essentially waterproof and coldproof. It wasn’t a big deal in freezing-or-above temperatures, and I had a pair of gloves, a Buff (or one like it), and would throw on an extra layer of short briefs if it was below 32 degrees. Throw in a $20/€20 and you’re all set. Explore and run.

Oh, and a short-sleeved, fast-drying, tech shirt. Wear it in the shower afterwards as well for a quick wash. (I brought two.)

Extra electronics

I brought a big battery charger and never needed it. A small, lipstick-sized version to be super-safe just in case, but it’s not necessary in a place with plugs.

Because of course you’re keeping your phone in your pocket except for a quick offline map to get to the next place.

The Pack

It’s all in there. Nothing for scale.

That was essentially everything inside the pack. My pack—a new Timbuk2 Aviator I purchased in December—was too heavy and didn’t have the right sort of pockets. I should have made a quick trip to REI for something else, but I decided I didn’t have the time to shop.

I’ve already sold it.

First trip that I kept all my toiletries contained in one of dem case-things, and I can’t believe it took me until my 29th year to make that happen. And I brought a ton of contacts because who cares. Essentially weightless. Oh, and dad was right: I should’ve packed a little bottle of detergent.

Just make sure every other apartment has a washing machine.

Oh, I also brought a water bottle that I didn’t use and a weird new washcloth my mother gave me for Christmas. Called Norwex, apparently doesn’t require soap? Pretty sure it’s the product of a pyramid scheme, but I can’t say that it’s a bad washcloth.