Packlist for a family outdoor trip (4 months) | The Family Without Borders

The Family Without Borders

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equipmentTravel tips: with kids


Family outdoor packlist

Packlist for a family outdoor backpack trip

2 adults and 2 little kids? For 4 months? Camping? In cold New Zealand and on hot South Pacific islands? And you have only those 2 backpacks?? – people are asking us. Well, everything had to fit into 2 backpacks. And all had to be light enough to carry it. Let’s have a look inside!

All your car can carry

On our first trip we started with one baby and in the car in Berlin. Of course we took quite some things we never used on our trip around the Black Sea. The worst piece of luggage was a stroller which we used only once in 6 months and which took hell a lot of space. You know what we said? “If we leave at home all the things we don’t need, we can take another baby on the next trip”.

All the flight company allows to take

So on the second trip with our two little kids our limit was the weight limit of the air company (30kg a person/child). It was not a big problem to keep this limit, but it was definitely too much to carry without a car. The worst item this time was travel bed for Mila which we left at the end on the streets of Mexico.

This time: All we can carry

This time limiting factor is the strength of our body, since on the Pacific Islands we will not have any car. We can’t take more than we can easily carry for some hours. Everything has to fit into 2 backpacks. When we started in Berlin our luggage was approximately 45kg. But if you are on a camping trip you will also still have 10 – 15 kg more for eating and drinking (water).

Ibiza or Arctic expedition?

Of course you pack different things for an Ibiza holiday than for an Arctic expedition. We knew, this time we will sleep most of the time with our kids in the tent. The temperature would be between 5° C ( 41° F) at nights in New Zealand and 35° C ( 95 °F) in the South Pacific sun. Higher temperatures, less luggage. Secondly, we don’t need much luxury: no evening dresses or fancy toys. Therefore we probably have a bit more photo equipment then other traveling families. But we tried to take only the most essential things. Here we go! This is what we packed:

Camping: tent, mats, sleeping bags

Tent, mats, sleeping bags – Packlist for a family outdoor trip
Tent, mats, sleeping bags –
  • a light 4-people tent (3.5 kg)
  • 4 inflatable light camping mats to sleep on (each aprox. 400g)
  • 1 sleeping bag for each person (Mila still has a small kids one). When the nights started to be to colder we bought for 5 dollars one more for Hanna. Now she is the warmest.
  • 1 pillow for Mila (lucky girl!). We wanted to check on the way if a pillow is really needed. Sleeping on the your bag with clothes can be also okay, but it’s still not really comfortable. Therefore we enjoy now even more every real bed with real pillows we sleep in!
  • 2 aluminium foil mats to sit on and to protect the tent from the bottom

Medicine and Washing

Washing, First Aid Kit – packlist for a family outdoor backpack trip:
Washing, First Aid Kit

First Aid: Of course it is good go have some plasters and something to clean a wound. We took a small first aid kit with plaster, wound coverage, disinfections and really used it. Furthermore with took:

  • an anti-mosquito-spray with DEET (which is in some countries difficult to buy, but needed, especially if there are malaria or dengue around)
  • some gel after mosquito bites
  • sun protection
  • tweezers (on Tom’s knife)
  • anti-pain and anti-fever pills (1 package Paracetamol) and special ones for the kids (Ibuprofen)
  • some things against a coughing and cold
  • an antibiotic cream for healing wounds
  • somethings against diarrhoea

Things for washing you can buy everywhere. So you don’t have to buy much stuff in advances. In our backpack we have a toiletry bag with:

  • very light, little towels
  • shampoo in a small bottle
  • toilette paper
  • little wet wipes
  • toothbrushes and toothpastes
  • deodorant
  • little scissors
  • liquid washing soap for clothes + a little brush

Transport / Packing

  • 2 backpacks (60+ litres for Anna, 80+ for me)
  • a backpack protection against rain (useful if long, rainy days are to be expected)
  • compression bags, many, different sizes (cool if the have different colours)
  • a small backpack for day tours
  • a second purse to hide some things


Cooking: Petrol stove, kitchen, water, dishes – Packlist for a family outdoor trip
Cooking: Petrol stove, kitchen, water, dishes
  • fuel cooker + fuel bottle, wind protection (
  • 2 pots with cover as a pan
  • chop board (plastic)
  • 1 bowl for eating for each
  • flexible bowl (mainly for washing up)
  • water bottles (foldable)
  • dish towel (not only for drying) or just an old baby diaper
  • gummis

The useful things

The small useful things – Packlist for a family outdoor trip:
The small useful outdoor things

There are some things which are really useful on the trip. Of course everybody takes a knife and not the first time I had to leave it on the airport because it was in my hand luggage. Don’t be as stupid as me, please.

  • a Swiss army knife and one bigger knife
  • a lighter
  • duct tape (!!)
  • some ropes and belts for fixing things on the backpack, hanging clothes or also for playing horse with your kids
  • 2 headlamps and a bigger light for the tent (hanging, standing)
  • if needed: adapter for plugs
  • rechargeable batteries + loader
  • needle + sailors rope
  • safety pin

Clothes: All you can wear

Clothes - Packlist for a family outdoor trip
Clothes – you don’t need much!

How much clothes you need depends very much on your personal preferences. I (Tom) took:

  • 4 short and
  • 2 long T-shirts (during the cold nights I was happy that one of them was even nice and warm)
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 1 long and 1 short trousers
  • underwear: 3 slips, 3 socks, a swimming suit
  • a rain jacket
  • 1 pair of shoes
  • a big scarf

The only things I am missing so far is a light short trousers (boxer short) for warm days. My girls had of course still some more dresses to look nice on the pictures. Perfect for packing clothes are compression bags (the best with different colours to find your stuff easily). Compression bags keep your luggage small, sorted and dry.

Papers, Documents, Money

Important documents, copies, cards – Packlist for a family outdoor backpack trip
Important documents, copies, cards
  • passport
  • copy of passport
  • visas (if needed, check before!!)
  • flight ticket
  • vaccination pass
  • credit card(s)
  • some dollars, euros?
  • (international) driving license and other licenses (diving, sailing…)
  • travel health insurance (check before!!)
  • notebook + pen
  • passport pictures (sometimes needed)
  • important phone numbers and address (embassy, credit card company, bank, insurance)
  • maps

Travel blogger electronics: Photo, Computer, Drives

Electronics, Laptop, Photo Camera - packlist for a family outdoor backpack trip: All the photo, video and computer stuff is really heavy. We have big and heavy lenses and camera. But good lenses are mostly big. There are now also good and small cameras on the market (like Sony nex-7), but if you buy it you still have to get extra lenses.

  • Photo Cameras: SLR Canon 6d, Lenses: 24-70mm/2.8; 50mm/1.8, 70-300mm/3.5-5.6, 2 SD cards, 2 batteries, loader
  • Storage: 2TB WD Elements, Image Tank Nexto
  • monopod for making videos (take one with a flexible top, mine doesn’t have it and I am missing it)
  • Laptop (13”) with Lightroom/Bridge and Photoshop, loader
  • mobile phone (can be also used as a modem for your laptop)
  • Lenovo tablet
  • Rollei Actioncam S50

Things that make your wife happy

All that makes Anna happy – Packlist for a family outdoor trip Anna loves some good chocolate, somethings nice to drink and reading books and travel guides and of course my backup and trust. And I? I need her ;)

Things that make your kids happy

The toys of our kids for the trip
The toys of our kids for the trip
  • special sun cream
  • special anti mosquito repellent
  • toys / books
  • their best friends (e.g. teddy bear)
  • pictures of friends, grandparents etc.
  • a small backpack Hanna (Mila doesn’t like yet to carry her backpack)
  • water wings/swimmies
  • mp3-player with some songs/audio books

If the kids are smaller (for babies and toddlers):

  • baby carrier
  • diapers for 3 days
  • baby food/milk
  • thermos bottle (for hot water, milk, warming up food)
  • pacifier (or better: make your baby get rid of it as fast as possible, then you don’t have to look for it all the time ;)
  • cream against the pain of growing teeth (dentinox)

Nice to have, but maybe just for us

  • little gifts for the people we meet/we stay at (e.g. magnets with photos from our hometown)
  • an ukulele with ukulele chords table, because the guitar was too big to be taken

This post is also available in: German

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We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
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