It’s T minus 1 week until I leave, and I think I have my full packing list figured out!
Before getting into the nitty-gritty I want to cover one weird yet important thing: while making this packing list I was almost brainwashed by the internet. I have traveled extensively prior to this trip, but it’s always been with a [pretty] big backpack. Granted, that backpack was mostly filled with camping gear, not clothing, but still, I had a little more leeway.
Lots of people have written about “minimalist packing” and I learned a lot while obsessively reading those posts. But while reading them my list of “things I must bring otherwise I’ll fail at traveling” increased exponentially. I suddenly found myself lusting after compression sacks, high-end water bottles, cute footwear, and a theft-proof purse. I almost went out and bought those things before remembering: in my normal life I don’t wear cute shoes or carry a purse. In fact, I have never owned a purse, and yet I almost bought one for travel! Seriously, people, the power of the internet is strong, but you have to keep things in perspective.
So, the following is my packing list, and by “my” I mean it’s incredibly specific to me, the girl who feels overdone in black eyeliner and considers Chacos chic enough for fine dining. But I hope some of you find this useful when you’re working on your own list.
Oh, one other note, my packing list was complicated by the following two reasons:
1. Along the way I will be doing a lot of sportsy-type-things, including climbing at least eight big mountains, cycling between many cities, swimming three major bodies of water, and hiking hundreds of miles in the tropics and the Himalayas. That’s in addition to the usual stuff like chilling on a beach and walking through famous cities.
2. I am packing for my longest trip to date (14 months?) in my smallest pack yet (40 liters, carry-on size). I limited myself to 40 liters to avoid this scenario:
So, without further ado, the contents of my backpack:
For my day-to-day wardrobe I chose items that can all be worn together, are comfortable (both physically and mentally), don’t show stains, do wash easily, and aren’t too bulky. The “comfort” qualification is a big one. For me, a comfortable shirt is one that I can wear without ever thinking, “Does this show my stomach pudge? Are there sweat stains in my pits? Am I flashing the kindly shop-owner when I lean over this mound of fresh produce?” There are plenty of things to think about when exploring a foreign country–I don’t want my appearance to be one of them.
- Two t-shirts and two tank tops
- One pair of Prana Monarch pants that zip off into cute capris
- One pair of shorts
- One sarong-style skirt (modest length, doubles [quadruples?] as a towel, beach wrap, blanket, etc.)
The key to packing lightly and still being prepared is layers. Given my itinerary of peaks to climb in a variety of conditions I need to be warm and waterproof from time to time:
- Kuhl Wunderer long-sleeve shirt for cool days or as a layer on cold days
- Rain jacket to weather-proof myself (this one is from GoLite–it’s tiny and fits great–so far I love it)
That’s it! When it gets legitimately cold I can wear a t-shirt, my long underwear (see below), the blue shirt, and my rain jacket. If it’s really cold I’ll buy a sweater or something.
- Underwear, sports bra, daily bra (girls, find yourself a damn good bra–I can’t stress this enough)
- The underwear are cheap ones from Target, but I love them–comfy and quick-drying
- One pair of hiking socks, and one little pair of casual socks for chilly days around the hostel
- Sun hat (mostly for hiking)
- Long underwear top and bottom
- Bikini for beaches
- Athletic swim wear for my big swims
- Buff (great little thing, useful in hot and cold weather)
I think I put more thought into my footwear than anything else, and this is what I came up with. I’ll wear the Chacos 90% of the time. On chillier days or on casual explorations I’ll wear the Jambu shoes. And the hiking boots–they’re the full-size real deal. I wrote down all of my hiking/mountain adventures and marked off which ones will require legitimate hiking boots and it was almost everything, so I’m taking them. I loath the space the take up but it’s going to be a good decision, I know it.
Only the essentials.
- Tiny loofah, body wash, razor and blades, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss
- Glasses, contacts, contact solution
- Deodorant and wet wipes
- Hair brush, hair ties, bobby pins
- Tinted lip balm, eyeliner and sharpener, tweezers, nail clippers
- Feminine care (just enough for the first few months)
- Two Ace bandages for my bum knees :(
- Handful of bandaids, various sizes
- Arnica (homeopathic for bruising)
- Moleskin for blisters
- Thermometer (to see if I’m really sick or just feel crappy)
- Malarone anti-malarials (three-month supply)
- Ibuprofen for headaches, injuries, cramps, etc.
- Old floss container full of my BIG THREE pills:
- benedryl (in case someone gets stung by a bee)
- acetometaphin (for fevers or pain)
- immodium (in case someone gets the poops on a 12-hour busride).
This is my first time traveling with anything more than an iPhone. This time I’m leaving the iPhone and, because I’m trying to be a legitimate blogger on an epic project, I’m bringing a computer and a real camera.
- Asus Transformer Book netbook with detachable touch screen
- Canon SX280 HS camera with charger, spare battery and case
- GoPro Hero2 HD with waterproof housing and a couple of mounts
- X-shot extension for cool camera shots
- Sansa Clip MP3 player with 32 GB microSD card
- Kindle touch (with all my Richard Halliburton books on it)
- SteriPen Adventure Opti for water purification
- Extra memory cards
And the things that either didn’t fit into another category or I forgot to include in other pictures:
- Pocket calendar so I can do trip planning without being on my computer all the time
- Two tiny Moleskine notebooks for notes throughout the day
- Travel padlock
- US/Europe plug converter (which should work in all the 30 countries I’m visiting–we’ll see)
- Dive logbook and Advanced diver card
- Petzl Tikka headlamp with a red light for night-reading in dorm rooms
- Box of business cards (can’t wait to get rid of these)
- Eye mask and ear plugs
And that’s it! I can’t believe this all fit into my little 40-L pack, but see for yourself. The red/orange pack is the main pack. The little purplish one is for dayhikes and banging around town–it is not a front-pack. I abhor the front-pack.
And here it is packed:
And here it is packed with me wearing it—-so tiny!
Questions? Comments? Think I’m a fool for bringing ______ and not _______ ? Leave a message below!