Roma & Natalia - Travelers. Photographers. Storytellers.
We quit our jobs and sold everything. We are looking for our own path.

What do you pack for an indefinite trip?

When we took our first vacations a few years ago, we would be packing the night before at 2am after a few celebratory drinks. We remember the frantic mental state of OMG I NEED TO PACK EVERYTHING. We would end up with a huge suitcase full of every nice piece of club and beach wear from our closet and a duffle bag full of alcohol and cigarettes. That was just to go to Miami for 4 days.

Our first trip to Europe was for 3 weeks, so we bought two large rolling luggage suitcases. They were a pain to maneuver through crowds, even on wheels, and we took way more clothes than we could possibly wear. As our subsequent trips grew longer and longer, our luggage grew ever smaller. We found out what worked and what didn’t, how much to take and how to organize for maximum efficiency. We had the packing down to an art after 3 months in Europe, where we could wake up and be ready to leave in 5 minutes. Recently we went to Turkey and Israel for 6 weeks with only 2 tiny carry-on luggages.

Yet here we were, starting to plan our trip across North America, going camping with no end date. Our camping experience was limited to short weekend trips and partying at Camp MD beach parties. We really didn’t know how to approach it, what to bring, what car would work. We spent a few month researching and deciding on the essentials. We went through thinking about getting an RV, a VW van, a huge american truck or SUV, a Dodge Sprinter FedEx type van. Eventually after all of the crazy scenarios, we settled on a Toyota Highlander SUV, with good gas mileage, 4 wheel drive, good clearance and a v6 engine.

So there we were again, a few days before we wanted to leave, seemingly yet again frantically trying to stuff everything into our new much bigger suitcase – our Toyota Highlander.

The car is supposed to have 80 cubic inches of cargo room and we managed to take out both rows of back seats … so it should have a plenty of space, right? Well, we barely stuffed everything that we frantically bought and packed in the few weeks prior to starting this trip.

For two weeks the UPS guy was our best friend, and he couldn’t stop being amazed by the shopping spree from Amazon. Every day we were getting 4 or 5 anxiously awaited packages full of camping supplies, camera equipment and hiking clothes. Along the way we are realizing that some things we don’t need, some things we don’t have and the biggest realization of all is that we may need a MUCH bigger suitcase!

We have changed the packing configuration 4 or 5 times. Right now we are settled on an organization that works very well, but already contemplating more improvements. What do you all think, are we crazy to bring some of the things we did? Have you had to make hard packing decisions for a long trip?

Here is a list of things that we ended up taking with us, our “suitcase” bursting from every door:


coleman stove grill coal chimney
Coleman PERFECTFLOW™ 2-BURNER PROPANE STOVE and Small Propane Canister (too big and crappy quality, RETURNED stove) Portable Charcoal Grill Coal Starter Chimney

charcoal grate firewood
Bag of Coal Firepit Grate Firewood

kettle francis illy
Electric Kettle Francis Francis Esspresso Machine 12 boxes of Illy coffee = 216 shots

beer-cooler coleman cooler
1 Small Soft Beer Cooler Coleman 48quart cooler
(too big, REPLACED with 28quart Igloo)
Igloo 28quart cooler

skewers tupperwarecups shoebox
Brbq Skewers with wood handle plastic tupperware and plastic cups 1 shoebox of utensils
1 shoebox of canned goods
1 shoebox of spices

kazan pot bowls
1 iron cooking pot / Kazan 1 aluminum soup pot Nested Bowls

pans wine glasses espresso
2 iron pans 2 wine glasses 2 esspresso cups


tent canopy stakes
Tent for sleeping -
Eureka Tessel with aluminum poles
Kelty Canopy Tent –
goes over picnick table
Extra Aluminum tent stakes

down bag bag bags
1 down sleeping bag – The North Face: Hotlum 15 Degree Sleeping Bag 1 synthetic sleeping bag – The North Face Casaval Sleeping Bag - 20 Degree 3 cheap sleeping bags for padding

comforter pillows towels
1 down Comforter 4 pillows 4 towels

lamp lantern chair
2 electric lamps 1 Colemn LED Pack-Away Battery Lantern 2 Folding Chairs

container gas canister water jug
1 plastic container with personal hygiene and medicine supplies gas canister 2 – one gallon jugs of water

fuji-bike bike pump  
2 road bikes bike pump  


hatchet buck knife spiderco knife
1 Wetterlings Swedish Small Axe / Hatchet 1 Buck Redpoint Folding knife 1 Spyderco Native Folding Knife

hammer saw small tools
Hammer 1 Hand Saw Various Small tools (screwdrivers)

headlamp flashlight tarp
1 headlamp 2 Flashlights 2 tarps


lighter splitter inverter jumper cables
1 Electronics Car Splitter 1 Small car power inverter Jumper cables

speaker laptop backpack
1 Logitech Rechargeable Speaker S315i 2 laptops 2 backpacks with Camera Equipment

garmin iphone usb
1 Garmin GPS Ipods and Iphone Assorted electronic and computer cables

surge cord tripod
1 power surge adapter 1 waterproof electric extension cable 2 Slik Sprint Mini II Tripods


duffel bag container jacket
2 small duffel bags of mixed clothes 2 plastic containers of shirts 3 winter jackets

shoes boots boots
5 pairs of shoes for natalia
3 pairs of shoes for roman
2 pairs of flip flops
1 pair of hiking boots for natalia 1 pair of hiking boots for roman


What do you think?

About Roma & Natalia

Roma and Natalia are world travelers, photographers, and an all around fun couple. When they are not travelling far away continents or driving around USA in their trusted Highlander, they can be found in San Francisco, California.

Recent Posts

  • Road trip to Arizona for a photowalk
  • Free Enterprise: Best Summer Job in America
  • My camera went to Burning Man
  • The road to Burning Man
  • Bolivian Offroading
  • White House Photowalk
  • Holi: Festival of Colors
  • Offroading video from Capitol Reef
  • 3 weeks, 3 people, 1 car heading to Salt Lake city
  • Who shrunk the Highlander?