When we decided to take Felipa on a backpacking trip through South East Asia, I immediately started making lists. If you know me, then you know that I live by lists — I’m serious, my lists have lists! I mean, how else are you going to ensure that you don’t forget anything important?
So where do you even start when packing for 3 weeks with only 2-40L backpacks for 2 adults and a baby? You start with all the baby stuff first. I figured that me and Phil would have to make due with whatever space was left after we had packed all of Felipa’s gear.
This post is dedicated to just baby packing. I’ll eventually get to posting our complete backpacking packing guide, but we’ve had so many questions regarding what to pack for babe so we’ve decided to start there.
Tip 1: Don’t Overpack!
What we quickly realized after traveling to Los Angeles and Europe was that Felipa only needed the essentials. In the past we would travel with 2 full size luggages and a carry on or two. This is way too much!
On average we used to pack about 50lbs in each luggage, with one being dedicated solely to Felipa. So the idea of only having 2 carry on backpacks at a maximum of 8kgs each gave me a bit of a panic attack.
I would like to brag for one minute — I sucessfully packed both backpacks with exactly 8kgs each!! It took a lot of “editing” on what we actually packed versus what I wanted to take, but in the end I am happy that we took minimal “stuff” and just kept it to the essentials.
So what did we pack for Felipa? Here is the complete list of clothing that we packed:
- 4 pairs of pants
- 4 pairs of shorts
- 6 tshirt onsesies
- 3 long sleeved onesies
- 2 sweaters
- 1 windbreaker
- 3 bathing suits (mix of short sleeve and long sleeve)
- 1 terry cloth with hood sweater (for after swims)
- 1 reusable water diaper
- 2 sun hats (one for water and one for everyday use)
- 2 nicer outfits (we have Christmas and New Years here, but you can omit this)
- 2 pairs of sandals
- 1 pair of running shoes (Felipa started walking the day we left for Vietnam so this was essential!)
- 4 headbands to match her outfits
- 2 pair of socks (1 thick and 1 regular)
We’ve also listed some of the essentials that got us through our trip below. Of course, you don’t have to travel with these items but we found that we used them almost everyday. Here is the list of some of the extra items we brought for Felipa:
- Infant Life Vest
- Mini Monkey Mini Chair
- Infantino Baby Carrier
- Mesh/Water Ring Sling
- Banana Teether
- 2 of her favourite toys
- Eucerin Sunkids Lotion SPF 50
- Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo
- Small Knapsack for Day Trips
- Portable spoon, cup and bowl
- Bib and Snacks
Tip 2: Pack a First Aid Kit
You never know when you are going to need it and hopefully you never have to use it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and have everything you need for small cuts, scrapes and allergic reactions. No one wants to spend their vacation in a hospital, and worse yet in a foreign hospital!
We always pack the same First Aid Kit when we travel. This trip we couldn’t bring the actual case it came in and had to opt for a ziplock freezer bag due to space constraints, but we always bring some version of it with us!
Here are our recommendations of what to pack in your First Aid Kit:
- 20 waterproof bandaids
- 4 pieces of large gauze
- Medical Tape
- 10 small packs of Antiseptic wipes (hydrogen peroxide and alcohol)
- Children’s Benadryl
- Children’s Tylenol
- Antibiotics for Traveller’s Diarrhea for adults and children (you can get a prescription at a Travel Clinic before you leave)
- Topical Benadryl ointment for mosquito bites
- Natural Insect Repellant
Tip 3: Bring Enough Diapers and Wipes to get you through 36 hours
This one is very important! We actually landed ourselves in dangerous territory in the Lisbon airport this summer when our plane got delayed 4 hours. Did you know that airports don’t sell diapers or wipes?
We didn’t and we only had a handful thinking it would be enough. Luckily Felipa didn’t have any blowouts in that time, but if she did we would have been screwed.
Traveling in Asia so far and having been to approximately 5 airports, I have yet to see any diapers or wipes for sale. So do yourself a favour and make sure to pack enough for the flight and a bit more at the very least!
If your baby has any sensitivities, then consider packing enough diapers and wipes for your entire trip. We know for a fact that they do not sell the same brands in Asia and sometimes you are just stuck with what they have and need to make it work.
For example, in Vietnam they only sell pull-ups for infants. I am not too sure the reasoning on this but they are horrible. The sides are made of some crazy indestructible material and impossible to rip. So, if you are bringing checked baggage, then make sure to pack some cuticle or baby scissors to help you out.
Tip 4: Keep Your Backpack Size to 40L or Less
If you are going to take the leap and backpack with your baby then make sure to get a backpack that is 40L or less in size. This will allow you to bring your knapsack as a carry on (as long as it’s under 8kg). We absolutely hate waiting for luggage after a long flight. By bringing a backpack that doubles as a carry on, you have the luxury of just stepping off the plane and grabbing a cab or taking transit straight to your hotel.
Another tip is to ensure that you splurge a little and get a really good backpack. Doing some research and going to test out different bags is key before you travel. We love our MEC bags and have taken them across Europe, Thailand and now on this trip.
To keep the packing simple, use packing cubes like the ones we got off Amazon. They come in a pack of three and we only used the medium and small bags. The large ones just didn’t work with the configuration of our bags so we didn’t use them. You can just save these for packing luggage in the future.
Packing cubes are the easiest way to organize your stuff and way faster to quickly grab what you need from your bag. If you opt to not use packing cubes while backpacking, then just note that you will be unpacking every single item every time. This is because you only have one compartment in a backpack and it can be frustrating and inefficient.
Tip 5: Invest in a Good Baby Carrier
This is not the time to cheap out on gear for your babe. We decided on the Infantino baby carrier because it is light weight and you can wear your baby 4 different ways. This one also supports the proper “M” position for your babe’s legs/hips and will be more comfortable for the little one.
You will be carrying your baby 90% of the time, so it is essential that you are comfortable with your baby carrier. We do not recommend buying one right before you leave. Make sure to try out a few and then take babe out on a couple of long days out in your city. This will ensure that you are comfortable with the mechanics, your baby is supported and you can also troubleshoot anything within the comfort of your own city.
If you have the space then make sure to bring a ring sling or light weight carrier as a back up for very hot days. Currently in Vietnam the weather is 37 degrees Celsius and a humidex of approximately 90% every day. There is no way that we could bring Felipa in the Infantino carrier everyday here — she would just overheat.
We purchased this great ring sling off Amazon that is a lightweight mesh material. Not only is it breatheable, but we can actually wear her in the water with it!
We thought that backpacking with a baby was going to be way harder but we were prepared and made sure to research everything before we left. Following these simple tips will ensure that you are prepared with the basics for your little one. If there is anything that we didn’t cover that you want more information on, then please leave us a comment!
Make sure to check our Travel section for more great tips and posts about our travels across South East Asia!
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