Pack Up

[Audio https://dl.dropbox.com/u/9901364/03%20Pack%20Up.mp3%5D

The thing family and friends ask us most about our trip is: How do you pack for a trip like this? So I have been excited to write a post showing everyone what our backpacks look like. There are a lot of wise sayings about packing, but my favorite is by Rick Steves. He says: “You can’t travel heavy, happy, and cheap. Pick two.”

I have been traveling light for years – Tim actually has more trouble with this then me, and claims his clothes are just so much bigger than mine (but that doesn’t explain why his toiletry bag is bigger). The thing that people also forget is that unless you’re going to Antarctica you can get most things wherever you’re going, so it’s sometimes nice to buy along the way too – and there’s no room for that if your packs are full.

all packed up

Step 1: The Pack
Tim and I both have Eagle Creek Switchbacks. They are backpacks that can also be rolled, in other words, my kind of backpack. They also have a day bag zipped onto the main bag. I have the 22, which when zipped into 2 pieces meets standard carry-on requirements. Tim’s clothes are a little bigger so he’ll be sporting the 25 and checking his (we need to put the liquids somewhere anyway). We bought these bags before going to Africa so they have been tested – and even though someone did try to break into them unsuccessfully they’re still in good shape.

Step 2: The Packing System

Have you ever noticed that no matter how organized your bag may look upon leaving your house, as soon as you open it the thing you need is at the bottom, and everything gets thrown out of the bag in the process of finding it? Well it happens to me all the time. Tim and I also have packing cubes for our trip to help with this. Mine is double-sided, so I can turn one side into the hamper as we travel. A lot of the other things we’re bringing are bagged, stuffed, and compartmentalized.

Step 3: The Clothes

Robin’s list:

  • 3 tanks
  • 3 short sleeve shirts
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 light long sleeve pull-over
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 little black dress
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 pair of shorts (1 is capris)
  • 1 pair of linen pants
  • 1 pair of zip-off pants/shorts
  • jeans
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 1 bra
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 4 pair of socks (1 long hiking)
  • 1 rain jacket
  • Hiking Shoes, Flip-flops, black sandals

Tim’s List:

  • 1 tank top
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 2 collar shirts
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair zip-off paints
  • 2 pairs shorts
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 7 pairs socks (1 hiking)
  • 7 pairs underwear
  • 1 rain jacket
  • Hiking shoes, flip-flops

Step 4: Documents

  • Passports
  • extra photos (for on-arrival visas)
  • passport copies
  • advance visas
  • Yellow Vaccination booklet
  • Travel Insurance
  • phrase book
  • travel confirmations printed
  • Custom destination booklet (thanks to Ashley!)

Step 5: Gadgets

  • iPhone
  • iPod touch
  • dell netbook
  • iPad – loaded with a few unwatched seasons of our favorite shows
  • Kindle – complete with travel guides and 30 books downloaded
  • Canon Camera
  • Underwater camera
  • universal converter
  • wireless mouse
  • power strip
  • 4 sets headphones
  • 16 extra AA batteries
  • Chargers for everything above
  • extra battery pack for iphone/ipod
  • Eco Smart Solar Charger (Thanks Dean!)

Step 6: Other Travel Essentials

  • Sleep sack/sleeping bag – I am packing a silk sleep sack and Tim is bringing a light sleeping bag
  • Bandanas – for hair, hand towel, ice pack,marker,Tourniquet
  • sarong – cover-up, beach blanket, towel
  • shoulder bag – small day bag
  • Toiletries bag – essentials only(all travel sized): shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • bathwipes – for when you can’t shower
  • hand sanitizer
  • Lipbalm
  • Hats
  • sunglasses
  • Deet insect repellent – over there you need the strong stuff
  • medical kit – stocked with just about everthing
  • IBProfin – b/c there’s not enough in the medical kit for how bad my legs will hurt after climbing a mount
  • headlamps
  • flashlight/whistles – REI sells these flashlights, the glow and have a whistle attached – perfect for trekking and climbing
  • Travel Journal – I bring one on every trip to write notes about places and people and private thoughts
  • Budget journal – this is where we track our spending to our budget for our trip (more to come on that in another post)
  • sunscreen
  • travel clock – relying on phones I’ve learned is a bad idea.
  • Quick Dry Towels – not nearly as nice as our large cotton towels at home but they get the job done
  • Clothesline
  • Detergent packs
  • Travel TP – might be the most important thing on this list
  • baggage locks
  • Downy wrinkle release – This is the greatest product ever, freshens and de-wrinkles in a few sprays
  • Playing cards
  • arnica gel

This may seem like a long list compared to the bare essentials some travels take, but there’s a lot of benefits in traveling as a couple. We only need one of some things between the two of us which saves room. Also, we’re very comfortable with the amount of things we are carrying with us. We can run with our bags if need be (assuming my ankle works again soon) and we don’t travel with our packs completely full so we have room for new things. I’m actually really excited to live without my large closet of clothes for a few months. It’s a great reminder of how little we really need out stuff.

So are there other things that we shouldn’t leave home without? Feel free to let us know.

“What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat, shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it the tomb is sealed.”
– Sterling Hayden

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Todd Rodgers
    Oct 27, 2010 @ 21:10:47

    So… you’re packing a little black dress, but… Tim’s got… a hoodie? Maybe make him bring a tie?

    Reply

  2. Alicia
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 13:19:14

    Seriously cannot wait to read all about your travels. You guys are so lucky you are able to do this and you’re going to have an incredible journey. I should have you pack my bag for my next marathon trip. I always bring too much stuff and forget something important. Have a great trip and stay safe!

    Alicia

    Reply

  3. Sarah
    Oct 29, 2010 @ 15:11:21

    Can’t wait for the post about the budget journal. Tip of the cap to you, Mrs. Budget!!

    Reply

  4. wheresbatman
    Oct 30, 2010 @ 00:08:21

    Thanks Sarah and Alicia. By the way. Sarah, the first comment comes from your next door neighbor – you guys should seriously say hi to each other!

    Reply

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