We use our expertise and real-world experience to provide practical resources and honest opinions, guiding you towards smarter travel.

Pack Hacker Team 2024
Pack Hacker Team 2024

Our Story

In May of 2015, Tom Wahlin decided to leave his 9-5 job in the tech industry and take his design skills on the road. With plans to travel the world and work remotely for years at a time, he sold nearly all of his belongings and packed up his New York City apartment (or what was left of it) into a single 40-liter backpack. His plans became a reality, but the process was arduous.

Deciding what to buy, what to ditch, and how to pack it all up became more intensive than the travel plans themselves. At the time, figuring out how to perpetually travel the world out of a single carry-on wasn’t something you could just find on YouTube. As a result, Tom dove in headfirst and became obsessed with figuring out the nitty-gritty details behind products and how he could optimize everything in his backpack to be best-equipped for any adventure in his path.

After two years of perpetual travel, Tom had things figured out pretty well. He shared his learnings in the Medium article, “Everything You Need to Travel The World in One Backpack” and found that he wasn’t alone. The article was a hit, and the idea for Pack Hacker was born.

After jumpstarting the company by creating a website, YouTube channel, and hacking together a few reviews, one thing become abundantly clear: he couldn’t do this by himself. Turns out, it’s hard to run a company that reviews backpacks and travel gear when you’re living out of a backpack yourself. Space—and lighting—becomes a very real problem.

As the years progressed, Tom gathered a team of experts to help him review the latest gear in the travel space and create impactful content. Pack Hacker is now headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, where Tom spends most of his time—along with some of the core Pack Hacker team—as a “seasonal nomad,” traveling the world regularly while still enjoying the comforts (and studio lighting) of home. All of the gear we have ever tested (and a whole lot that we haven’t) are stored here.

Nowadays, we focus on creating gear reviews, guides, packing lists, and other content to help you travel smarter and more efficiently. Through honest reviews that incorporate real world testing and an excruciating attention to detail, our goal is to cut through marketing jargon to give you the nitty-gritty stuff you need to know.

No fluff. No BS. Just real people giving real opinions on gear. Think of us as your friend that knows everything there is to know about travel gear. We’ll get you sorted.

Our Process

A small team of travel experts test and review a variety of premium and economical gear in their element for a minimum of two weeks. The output is an honest, objective review. We’ll never accept cash or allow free gear to influence a review. Ever.

Our Standards


The item should be durable and able to last through time, usage, and natural elements.


It should serve multiple use-cases and apply to more than one situation


The design should feel thoughtful with a considerate style beyond average travel gear.

While we strive for variety, we do believe in paying more for something that will last. And prefer brands with a good, ethical production process at a price point that makes sense for its lifeline.

Get in Touch

We’re always open to new gear and suggestions. If you are curious about a recommendation you don’t see on our site, just hit us up!