We’ve talked about packing, but is there anything different about packing for long-distance train travel. As the NAPL American Identity Tour comes closer (less than 3 weeks now) I am focused on pulling the practical details of the trip together. This includes a packing list for 28 days. This includes 12 segments on Amtrak trains.

Packing for Long Distance Train Travel. Photo by Anna Blanch

On one hand, I want to make the final packed luggage as light as possible, but on the other, I do have some additional freedom and needs because of the train travel scenario. I also have one flight from Portland to Louisville on this trip so I do need to consider how to make sure my setup in airline friendly, preferably carry-on.

I have been able to find precious little information on how to effectively pack for a multi-leg trip via train in the US like mine, so I thought I’d add to the collective consciousness on the topic. This is my initial list. It takes into account the need to be comfortable sleeping in coach, as well as some nights visiting with friends, and in sleeper cars, and hotels. It also accounts for the reality that this is a working trip.

Just before I leave for the trip, I plan to write an updated post about what made the final cut. As much as I have room on the train (there’s a loose limit on the amount of baggage you can bring) I need to keep things light – in part to stay very self-sufficient, but also to stay healthy.

Some (not all) of these links below are affiliate links. All are either exactly what I am taking or something very similar.

Basics for packing for long-distance train travel

Bags (Luggage)

Samsonite Rolling Backpack

This backpack will fit all the work equipment plus my sleep system – a lightweight blanket and pillow combo.

Swiss Gear Rolling Carry-on Suitcase

This will carry clothes, a towel and toiletries. Find it here.

R.Riveter Otto (in cross-body configuration)

This is my go-to bag on a daily basis. Dressy enough to take to my meetings in Washington DC, and practical for this trip. The Otto is made from canvas, with a lovely striped fabric inside. It has a heavy-duty zipper across the top of the bag and fits a hydro flask, a book, snacks and ID without being too big. This was the only no-brainer on the luggage side of my list.

Packing List

Cocoon travel blanket

Teton travel pillow


Silicone earplugs

5 pairs of Thinx underwear

Long cotton pants

black swing dress

1 x shift dress

Cotton Dress with pockets

1 x Grey travelling pants

camisole top

1 x long sleeve shirt

1 x short sleeve shirt

1 x black cardigan

1 x Bob’s Black/Grey Neoprene shoes

1 x black shoes with gold buckle (for dressy occasions)

1 x brooks zip jacket

small tote bag – folded in a zipper bag

2 piece swimwear

Toshiba Satellite laptop

Nalgene containers

compact umbrella

1 x small toothpaste

1 x compact toothbrush

1 x deodorant

1 x compact hair brush

1 x mousse (3 oz)

1 x Shampoo

1 x Conditioner

1 x sunscreen

Meir collapsible insulated bag (to keep food cold or hot).

2 x wet wipes packages

3 x Pocket Tissue packages

Travel organizer bag for electronics

Anker 20100 Portable battery charger

AllPower 30000mAh Portable Laptop charger

2 x USB charging cords

Belkin Swivel 3 powerstrip with a surge protector

1 x Black Diamond headlamp

1 x microfiber towel

1 x foldable sunhat

1 x sea to summit spork

1 x metal mug

1 x Gerber knife

1 x hydroflask

8 x laundry detergent

1 x small square scrubber

1 x small concentrated cleaner

1 x small microfiber cleaning cloth (for cleaning)

1 x hand sanitiser


Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing.

Photographing. Reflecting.

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Traveller. Scholar. Photographer. Writer. Dreamer. Teacher. This Adventure around America is a crazy adventure marked with photos and word and inspired by the incredible women in Anna’s family, especially her late grandmother, whom she knew as Nan-Nan.

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