I’ve been changing gear a lot ever since my first bike touring / bikepacking trips. To make a long story short, I started with a traditional mountain bike with a fork suspension, installed a rack at the back and purchased the Ortlieb Classics. I had a cheap sleeping bag and tent as well as basic clothing.
As I gained experience, I learned that a good kit is important. For me, the most critical piece is the bike. This is what moves you and it needs to be on point. Any bike would do, but if you want a bike that will last longer and likely to save you issues on your trips, you need a touring bike. On top of that, a good touring bike will last you for many tens of thousand kilometers.
So after my Vietnam, South Korea and New Zealand tours, I sold my mountain bike and saved up enough money to purchase a proper touring bike. I went for a Surly Disk Trucker. There are many more out there, but after riding it, I fell in love with it. It perfectly suited my riding style.
By the time I was ready to leave for my journey back home, I had assembled a kit for a long journey. You can look at my kit list here.