Asia, Travel & Lifestyle, Travel Tips

Confessions of an Overpacker, Chapter 1!

18th September 2017

Yes I am going backpacking for a year, yes I know there are clothes shops where I am going, yes I realise I need to carry everything I pack and that no-one is there to help me. And you know what … I DON’T CARE! I’m an overpacker, I confess!

I’m currently sat in the airport after checking in my 18.5kg backpack (told you …over packer!). It was so full my dad had to sit on it for me to close it. May have to offload a few items when I land in Bangkok but for now, I’m not going to worry!

Packing cubes in action

My Defence:

Now, I have a few points to make in my defence …

Firstly, I like my things. I like the clothes I already have, I like to know I have outfit options, I don’t want to land in Sri Lanka and have it dawn on my that Topshop don’t deliver there but that dress I saw in the window last week would have been PERFECT for a cool profile pic opportunity on the beach.

Secondly, you get told about all the amazing markets, especially in Bangkok. Now, have you seen the size of a Thai woman’s hips??? They bare no similarity in size to mine, I can tell you that much!

Thirdly, I won’t be getting caught short on laundry day. I literally love the laundry scenario I have experienced across South East Asia, for just a couple of US dollars they take a huge bag of your dirty clothes, wash them, dry them, iron them and return them as good as new! Usually this is within the day, but what if you miss them before they close, or what if they need to keep them over night … if my bag is full the changes are much more likely that I’ll have backup clothes to wear while the rest is in the wash.

In an ideal world, I would have a backpack that resembles the trunk of Harry Potter’s car or Mary Poppins’ handbag (two references there which should cover a wide age range of my potential readers). Nice and small, but fits endless amounts of anything and everything I may need.

As I get older I can safely say I am becoming more sensible with my packing, in January 2017 I went to Cambodia for a few weeks and packed my GHD’s, a curling wand, two sets of different length hair extensions and 3 new boxes of false eyelashes. Of all these items I used precisely zero of them, so this time none are going to make the cut. See … I’m sensible now!

My Medical Disclaimer:

Now some things I will be packing are completely non negotiable.

I originally ordered a 55 litre backpack but just from looking at it I knew that wasn’t going to cut it. For example 6 months worth of medication for my RA and Lupus. Considering I take 9 pills per day, 7 days a week, and it will be 22 weeks until I can get a new prescription, that means carrying around 1,386 pills from day one. Obviously they will go down as I travel, but to begin with that’s a fair chunk of my space!

Here at home I also take another whole load of probiotics on top of those, it’s surprising I don’t rattle when I walk! But those are staying back in the UK or I’ll be paying excess baggage every step of the way if I try and pack it all.

6 months of medication which all need to be packed … eeeek!

Some serious OCD in action, counting the exact amount per month and bagging them up. Luckily I have a letter from the hospital to stop me looking like a dodgy character!

I’m going to write you a full and honest list of everything I have squished in to that bag.

I’m going to re look at this list a month or two into my trip and I will be completely honest with myself, and with you, about what I have and haven’t used.

So here we go, the initial list from Confessions of an Overpacker, Chapter 1!

The List:

Clothes & Shoes:

12 x bikini tops

16 x bikini bottoms

I don’t ever wear matching bikinis … hence the odd numbers!

2 x one piece swimsuits

3 x denim shorts (2 blue and 1 black)

2 x day shorts

1 x dressy shorts

2 x maxi skirts

1 x 3/4 length culottes

3 x dresses

2 x thin long sleeved t shirts

1 x playsuit

6 x dressy-ish tops

7 x day tops

6 x black tops

3 x t shirts

12 x underwear

3 x socks

3 x bras

1 x trainers

1 x beach flip flops

1 x sandals

1 x waterproof jacket

2 x sports bra

1 x gym shorts

1 x leather belt

Toiletries & Make Up:

Shampoo & Conditioner

Suncream – SPF 50 & 30

Facial SPF 50

Hair protection spray

Shower gel


1 x black nail varnish

1 x blue nail varnish

Nail varnish remover pads



First Aid Kit:




Tampons (as I mentioned in my previous post, 7 Things to Know Before Travelling to Asia, they can be hard to get hold of)

100% Deet

After bite cream

Tiger balm

Allergy tablets


2 x Plug Adaptor

Laptop & Charger

iPhone & Charger

GoPro & Charger

Olympus Pen E-PL8 & Charger

Kindle & Charger

Electric Toothbrush & Charger

Portable Charger & USB Lead

UE Portable speaker & charger

This section is heavy … I blame all those chargers personally!


3 x padlocks (small for my backpack zips and a large one for hostel lockers)

Eye Mask

Ear Plugs

Sleeping bag liner

Happiness Journal

3 x paperback books


Are you an overpacker or a light packer?! Whichever camp you’re in there must be something you would never leave home without! Comment below on what your non negotiable travel essentials are!

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  • Reply Anna Murawski 18th September 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Love this! That’s about the same as I packed for two weeks in Asia – so you’ve done good!
    Safe travels lovely xxx

    • Reply Helen_Renners 21st September 2017 at 10:57 am

      Haha thanks! I honestly think they’re all the bare essentials. Got to my first hostel last night though and my bag didn’t fit in the locker …whoops!!!! xx

  • Reply Gail 20th September 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Another great blog Helen. I am surprised that you have only packed 3 pairs of shoes 👠 It will be interesting to see what you don’t use x

    • Reply Helen_Renners 21st September 2017 at 10:56 am

      shoes were the only easy decisions! Flip flops for all occasions! I’m pretty sure I need everything so I’m intrigued too! xx

  • Reply Emsa 22nd September 2017 at 10:45 am

    12 bikini tops and 16 bottoms?! Stimpy! Haha Also you missed your make up! How many lipsticks?

    • Reply Helen_Renners 24th September 2017 at 8:32 am

      Thats a sore spot … only 2! I shouldn’t have left it so late to pack 🙁

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