What’s in my Travel Backpack? 2020 GEAR

Hey there! My name is Sheridan Cahoon and I am a professional backpacker, photographer, digital nomad, and adventure seeker! I have been living in and out of various backpacks since 2013, and in this blog post I share with you the gear I currently have in my travel backpack in 2020.

Table of Contents

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Over the years my travel backpack and the items I carry with have changed. I started out as the over-packing newbie, then I became a minimalist carry-on only backpacker, and now I am a full fledged digital nomad. Basically I’ve done it all and packed it all!

What's in my Travel Backpack?

My travel backpack has actually just gone through an upgraded setup. I am progressing more towards my professional photography career and slower travel. Which means I bought some new travel gear and damn am I completely satisfied by the backpacks I have now!


First let’s start with backpacks, and yes this is plural! I actually travel with a handful of backpacks, each one has a very specific use. Honestly it’s so nice to have all these backpacks with, and for me they are not much extra weight to carry around compared to their usefulness.

My Main Travel Backpack

Since the fall of 2018 I have been traveling with my Osprey Kestrel 48L. It has been with me through Mexico, Scotland, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and a handful of countries in Europe.

What I really like about the Osprey Kestrel is that I can use it both for slow travel and adventure travel, like hiking up a 5,348 meter peak in Pakistan and then living on a beach in Bali for a couple months.

The Osprey Kestrel 48L is sized perfectly for airplane carry on, when not fully stuffed, or when sometimes haha. Being Osprey, the Kestrel backpack is extremely durable, the suspension is comfortable when fully loaded and I like the strap points and pockets so I can attach things like hiking boots and camera gear.


Kestrel 48 L
  • Small enough for carry-on
  • Very comfortable
  • Multi-uses from hiking to digital nomad life
  • No front opening, only side and top access to the main compartment
Outsidevibes Rating
Travel Backpack 88%

My Travel Chest Pack

Before I started carrying a ton of photography equipment my chest pack was usually a small 10-20L backpack that came with my main travel backpack. I used a Deuter for years and once I got more into the digital nomad life that’s when they got bigger and more specific. Now that photography is a bigger part of my business I upgraded to a Wandrd PRVKE 31L for my travel chest pack needs.

The Wandrd PRVKE is a bit pricey but man am I impressed with this camera backpack. It fits all of my photography equipment and my digital nomad gear. The quick access laptop pocket is so handy for flying! I have worn this backpack, fully loaded, all day long taking photos and my shoulders felt perfectly fine.


  • Very comfortable for all day wear
  • Protective against the elements
  • Easy acess laptop sleeve
  • High priced and add-on's cost extra
Outsidevibes Rating
Camera Backpack 92%

Other Backpacks I Always Bring With Me

I collect backpacks like some people collect shoes, I just can’t get enough! Aside from my main backpacks I still travel with these two backpacks and use them every day.

I really love the detachable small backpack that comes with the Osprey Fairview 55L. I stole this from my mom and use it just for my day-to-day computer and digital nomad gear when I want to work in a cafe or co-working space.

The small Quechua Arpenaz 10L backpack is my favorite little bag ever. I have a couple of them, they are cheap and the perfect size for a day on the beach or to put my snacks in when doing travel and transit days.


Fairview Detachable Day Pack
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Perfect nomad size
  • Front accessory pockets
  • Not sold on it's own, part of the Fairview/Farpoint series


Arpenaz 10L
  • Holds 2 bottles of wine!
  • Cheap and Lightweight
  • Perfect size for day activities
  • No internal divider

My 3 Backpacking Must Have's

These are the items I have learned, from my many years of backpacking, that are key to have with on any trip or adventure. Everything I bring with me has a function and has helped my travels but these are so useful items to have with.


Airporter Duffle
  • Lightweight duffle that you put your whole backpack inside, for protection during flights, buses and to lock up your gear.


  • So handy, I use them to hang my boots, waterbottle, and other things from my backpacks. They are great for bottle openers and snack closers.

UE Boom 3

Portable Speaker
  • I always have to have something playing in the background. Whether its music, podcast or audiobook. This waterproof, bluetooth speaker goes everywhere with me.

Miscellaneous In My Backpack


15L Dry-Bag


Nalgene Water Bottle

Black Diamond

Waterproof Head Lamp


Daily Planner


Air Ranger Knife


Card Game

Sea to Summit

X-Seal Container

TSA Approved

Hostel Dorm Lock


World Travel Adaptor

Wise Owl

Microfiber Travel Towel

My Travel Clothing

No matter where I travel to I usually don’t bring that many pieces of clothing, I’ve really learned what I like to wear and what I don’t and pack minimally. These are the staple clothing items I bring with me on any trip anywhere in the world.

North Face

Venture 2 Rain


Yogger Shorts

H & M

Men's Jogger




Canvas shoes


Trail Glove 4



Electronics I Travel With

My life is now hustling as a full time digital nomad and less wandering backpacker. Still doing life on the cheap cheap but my days are now mainly focused on my photography, website design and blogging. Along with social media and my other projects, I tend to spend quite a bit of time sitting behind my computer. Here’s the gear I carry with in my travel backpack to be a successful digital nomad.


Macbook Pro 13"
  • Small body size
  • Lightweight
  • IOS software
  • Price


Alpha A7R
  • Slim build
  • Continuous shooting speed
  • Processor functionality
  • Default picture profile


24-70 F2.8 FE Lens
  • Build quality
  • Glass sharpness
  • Focal length
  • High cost


Rocket Air Blaster


Variable ND Filter


Lightweight Travel Tripod


Laptop Stand


Wireless Keyboard


Wireless Mouse


Protective Laptop Case

Silicon Power

Waterproof External HDD


SD & Micro SD Converter


Battery Charger


Memory Card Case


Pro SD Card


Wireless Remote

Final Thoughts about what is in my 2020 backpack

There you go gang! These are the main items that are always packed in my travel backpack. I have other little things like organizers and more clothing that I usually pick up from my local stores or abroad and change out with each trip.

I’ve definitely niched down my gear and I am focusing more on work related items, have to work to support this travel lifestyle! But everything I pack serves a purpose and keeps me happy with my minimalistic life.

Flying over a Resort in French Polynesia
Getting lost over the beauty of French Polynesia

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4 Responses

    1. Hey Doly, yeah there are soooo many backpacks to choose from! The first thing you should look is what you intended to use the backpack for, travel, photography, hiking, climbing…etc then it’s easier to decide.

    1. Hey Lily, thanks for the compliment. I’m mostly focused on travel and photography gear but when I was in high school I loved my Volcom skater backpacks!

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Sheridan is a full-time adventure seeker, professional photographer, and creator of Outsidevibes. Having a serious case of wanderlust Sheridan has traveled extensively around the world. He has overcome multiple, serious injuries from traveling but he is determined to continue experiencing life to the fullest.

Hey, I'm Sheridan.

I’m a full-time adventure photographer, coffee creator, van builder, and writer!

Welcome to Outsidevibes, the BEST resource for all things travel, outdoor, hiking, backpacking, and nature-related. As an adventure person, I aim to share honest information, passionate stories and promote positive inspiration for those who love travel and the outdoors.

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