What’s in Greg’s #40KFarAway Backpack? Version 2 (Guest starring a dog and a cat)

Frequent Miler's 2019 40K to Far Away Challenge is done! Greg, Nick, and Stephen competed to see who could go farthest with 40,000 points and $400! Click here for contest results and next steps.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my 40K to Far Away practice run.  I was going to Denali National Park with Rapid Travel Chai and I used it to test out my packing plans.  Can I take everything I need in a small backpack?

That experiment was extremely helpful.  For one, I decided that I didn’t like the giant fanny pack that I had brought with me.  It was fine when walking around, but when sitting in an airplane or lounge, I wasn’t happy with it.  It was uncomfortable to wear sitting down, and it was awkward to set down on its own. Still, despite that, I do like having certain items in easy reach when walking about, so I downsized to a small fanny pack.  Yes, I’m keeping the dorky look, but on a smaller scale.

I also realized that I needed to bring more clothes. I have two pairs of quick drying t-shirts and boxers which I can theoretically swap every day.  The idea is that each time I shower, I would put on a clean and dry pair and then hand-wash the sweaty pair.  In an ideal situation, the hand-washed clothing would be dry by the time I needed to pack up.  I tried out this idea many times on travels this past summer and it worked every time until Alaska.  For some reason, the quick dry clothes didn’t quick dry there.  Luckily our motel had a hair dryer which worked wonders on the clothes.  I can’t count on finding the same during the 40K to Far Away Challenge, so I’m bringing extra clothing.

Can you guess where I’m going?

a pile of clothes and bags on a wood floor

The video at the top of this post includes a few little hints.  I don’t think you’ll guess my actual route, but you might be able to guess where I’m going or where I’m not going.

Packing List

I’ve listed below most of the items I’m bringing along.  I did a lot of research to decide what to bring, so you might find this list helpful if you have similar needs.  In many cases, the links to the products are affiliate links.  That means that I’ll earn a commission if you click through and buy something.  Keep in mind that in some cases (but not usually with Amazon), you may be able to earn extra rewards by clicking through from a portal rather than from this page.

Recommended Items

Here are things I’m bringing with me which I’ve used for long enough to feel good about recommending to others:

  • Frequent Miler water bottle. OK, so I haven’t really had this long enough to recommend it, but I do know that it looks awesome.  If you want to buy one, I recommend clicking through from a rewards portal (find one here) to Zazzle and then search for “frequent miler”. a white bottle with a black and green logo
  • Tumi Alpha Bravo Backpack.  A couple of years ago my wife got this for me during a terrific sale, and I love it.  In addition to looking good and having lots of pockets, it has a couple of unusual features: it has a sleeve for attaching it over the handles of a roller bag; and it stands up on its own.  It’s hard to explain why a self-standing backpack is so great.  Just trust me, it is.  The specific version of Tumi’s Alpha Bravo backpack that I have is no longer available for sale, but the Alpha Bravo Nellis is very similar.  Unfortunateley, it’s also very expensive if you go with the leather option.a black backpack with zippers
  • Inflatable seat cushion.  When sitting for more than a couple of hours, my butt tends to hurt like crazy.  I bought this cushion in March and have been happily using ever since for long flights and long drives.  It makes a huge difference.a black bag with white text
  • Rainleaf microfiber towel.  This thing is great. After using the medium size this summer, I bought two large size towels for future travels.a blue and grey towel
  • Polarized Sunglasses: These are, by far, my favorite pair of dirt-cheap sunglasses.  They feel solid, they’re comfortable, they work well, and they look great.a pair of sunglasses with blue lenses
  • Quick Dry T-Shirt: As advertised.a man wearing a blue shirt
  • Moisture Wicking Boxers: As advertised.a pair of men's boxer briefs
  • Lara Bar Protein:  I tried a number of protein bars and these were my favorite. They don’t taste great, but they’re maybe less awful than the others.  But, importantly, they staved off hunger for quite a while.  Note that with regular Lara Bars, the one’s that don’t say “Protein” really big on the front, I get hungry again right away.a box of chocolate peanut butter cup protein bars

Maybe I’ll recommend soon?

The following items might be great, but I haven’t had enough experience with them yet to know.

  • Sea to Summit Packable Backpack: This thing folds up tiny.  I certainly wouldn’t have brought a second backpack if not for how small this thing is when folded into itself!  We’ll see how well it holds up.a blue sleeping bag with a black label
  • Coofandy Men’s Packable Rain Jacket: I haven’t had much time to try this one out yet, but I’ve formed opinions already…  Pros: folds up very small, surprisingly good looking, big hood keeps out the rain. Cons: it doesn’t fold up into its own pocket, and the tiny zipper can be a finicky.a blue rain jacket with a zipper
  • Travelrest Inflatable Travel Pillow: This seems like it will work well, but I haven’t used it enough to decide if it’s worth looking so ridiculous.a grey neck pillow with a strap
  • Friendly Swede Sleeping Bag Liner: I’m confident that I’m going to like this thing, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.a grey blanket with zipper

Not bad, but not perfect

Here are some items that I might recommend under the right circumstances, but they’re not quite perfect…

  • ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA: This is a tiny Chromebook convertible laptop with a 10.1 inch screen.  Pros: Super light, fairly inexpensive, surprisingly good keyboard, swivels into a tablet, good battery life.  Cons: small slightly washed-out screen. Doesn’t run Windows or iOS.a laptop with a screen on
  • Feiyu pocket sized foldable phone gimbal stick: Gimbal sticks are used to keep your camera (or phone in this case) steady when recording video. I bought this one because it is super lightweight and it supposedly fits in your pocket.  And, it’s sort of true… I can cram it into a pocket, but not comfortably.  The stick works pretty well, but there’s definitely a learning curve to it.  The app that comes with it has some interesting features, but I prefer to use this gimbal stick without the app.  I just use the phone’s built in video recorder.a black smartphone with a black screen
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Dan - Legal Bank Robber

Im surprised you don’t have a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones with how many flights you have. You should use your Biz Plat Dell Credit on the Bose QC35 well worth the price. Can stack with AO/Ebates/Dell Credit.


Thanks for sharing your travel wallet. Did you have your yellow fever vaccine before planning this trip? I’m guessing you are going to some countries in South America or Africa…


I’ve been trying to get my yellow fever vaccine for a while, but they are hard to get in the Bay Area, Looking forward to hearing about your travels 🙂


Thanks for your list. We also never travel without this travel umbrella https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NQH46T1


I went to Europe with my 6 year old, my friend and her sister in May for 13 days. We were doing it on the cheap, so had low cost carrier flights and luggage limits. We did the entire trip on just a back pack. Midway through the trip, we did laundry. It worked out great because we could get off the plane and hit the ground running. We had the Samsonite vacuum seal bags that compressed our clothing…plus because we were in different parts of Europe, we had to plan for different temps, so we had pants, capris and shorts…plus swimsuits because we had to hit the beach as well. Didn’t have to pack a computer, but did bring kindles and my son had books, toys, and crayons/activity books…plus of course we had snacks (never leave home without snacks with a six year old). Most people thought we were nuts for going there for that long with only a backpack, but it worked out great and I would totally do it again.


I’m into light packing. It’s a challenge. It’s not the clothes that take up all the room…it’s all the other stuff…phone cords, keys, caffeine gum, gifts for other people, otc medications, gift cards, toll road transponders, umbrella, rain ponchos etc. I always have a huge pile of the lagniappe to stuff in the empty spaces.

Btw…wear your fanny pack crossbody around your chest. Do an image search. It’s the style now. I bought a plastic Champion brand one and it saved me in Nassau….I know…plastic…sounds weird but it’s cool looking and waterproof for rain events. So I wanted to keep my valuables close on the way to Atlantis to gamble. I had cash. I wore it crossbody and tucked it under my arm pit. It was a torrential downpour too. Worked perfect. My stuff was dry, secure, and I was hands free. No backpack to take off during the taxi ride.


Yes!! Looks more in style. I also think if you’re in a sketch area it’s more secure. I think also more comfortable when seated…that’s why I originally posted. I rode in a crowded group taxi in Nassau and I didn’t need to remove it and it didn’t impede on anyone else’s space either.

Jan W

My 26-year-old daughter informs me this is quite popular now. Who knew?


Nice! Have you thought about swapping out the jeans for a pair of convertible zip-off pants (we have the Columbia brand). They would weigh less and you’d have shorts in an instant. We love ours!


Ahhh . . . I don’t think I’ve ever slept in mine. This will be an interesting trip. Can’t wait to hear about it!