Written by Anne Rapp, one half of the Yoga Nomads

Backpacking, as a form of traveling, has been around for years. It takes on many different meanings to different people, but the core concept is all the same. You could be trekking through a mountain range in Colorado, following the Banana Pancake Trail, or traveling by train through Europe. (We love all three!)

My partner Brandon and I have been traveling with only carry on sized backpacks for 2+ years. We usually set up shop in our favorite locations for 2-4 month at a time.

Whether you take your backpack on a weekend trip or a year-long adventure, the most important aspect is what goes inside! Through extensive research (read: making tons of packing mistakes) we’ve finally nailed down our essential packing list for the adventurous yogi.


Choosing the Right Pack

Time to get serious. It doesn’t matter if your trip is three days or three months, choosing the right pack can make or break your experience. Since you’re choosing a home for your belongings and resting it on your shoulders, comfort is a priority.

We are big fans of carry-on backpacks and it’s all we’ve used while traveling all over the world the past 3 years. Carry on sized backpacks save money from Airline fees and let’s be honest… you don’t need that giant 7,000L Osprey for your beach vacation.

After trying out tons of backpacks, we’ve landed on the Osprey Farpoint 40L for women and the Tortuga 40Lfor men.


What’s Inside?

Let’s begin with packing cubes. Although we typically travel carry-on style only, packing cubes are still just as useful when using a larger pack. They reduce the space of your items and make organization easy! Consider them like drawers for your stuff.

In addition to our packing cubes, we each carry 2 Sea To Summit waterproof stuff sacs. These are useful for camping excursions or anytime we worry about electronics, etc. getting wet.

Now that you have your backpack and packing cubes, let’s talk about the essentials…

We never leave home without

New Balance Minimus Zero – These shoes are the perfect compliment to hiking boots and sandals. They provide just the right amount of support for short runs throughout the city or the jungle. The comfort is unmatched and I dig the low profile style.

Yogo travel mat – As nomadic yogis, we need a mat that is lightweight enough for us to want to lug around everywhere, but also one that is sticky enough. We have found our perfect mate with this mat from Yogo. It’s foldable and even comes with a carrying strap built right into the mat. Score!

World Nomads travel insurance – We’ve used World Nomads on every trip since 2014. You essentially pay a small amount of money upfront, and if anything happens where you need to go to the doctor/hospital, all your medical bills are covered. We’ve been reimbursed for over $3,500 in medical bills since 2014 We discuss all things travel insurance here: What does travel insurance cover?

Quick dry travel towel – We love the Nomadix towel. Made from 100% recycled material, this towel is great for everything! We use it as a bath towel, beach towel and yoga towel! It’s multi-purpose and works well for camping and outdoor excursions too. I’ve even been known to pull it out during cold plane rides to use as a blanket!


Cell Phone + Case – I use an iPhone, and since dropping it a few times and cracking the screen, I’ve decided to finally invest in a shock proof case. I prefer the LifeProof Case but have heard great things about the Otter Box as well. This case is water, shock and shatter proof so I never have to worry about a thing.

MacBook Air Laptop – We both use Apple laptops, one is an 11” and the other is the 13”. Since we work and make money online, we can’t leave home without it! We use the larger screen when watching TV series or movies when we need a break from all the work. We also carry a headphone splitter, which comes in handy when watching movies together on a noisy train or plane.

Klipsch Inner Ear Bud Headphones – We use our headphones often. Whether we are out for a run, working side by side, or traveling to the next destination, our headphones are nearby. I love the carrying case that these come in, so that the cords don’t get twisted and knotted.

Olympus EM5 Camera – For photography, we use both our cell phones and this camera.

Travel Adapters – Depending on what country we are going to, it is useful to pack a travel adapter to charge all of our electronics.



Clothing varies greatly on the location we’re traveling too. City vs beach town? Summer vs winter?

As a general rule of thumb, pack versatile clothes and bring WAY less than you think you need. Thankfully, we’ve never been anywhere that doesn’t sell clothes. Although Brandon struggles to buy shoes in Asia 

Is there anything we missed? We always love hearing what new gadgets and travel hacks our fellow nomads are into. Leave your suggestions in the comments!


About The Yoga Nomads

Anne is an international yoga teacher, vegetarian food enthusiast and world traveler. She enjoys meeting new people and embracing each new opportunity that life presents her. Anne helps other yoga teachers build their business online at TheYogaNomads.com.