Jenni : Packing :: Gremlins : Water. Packing sucks. Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys it? Our search for the proper gear for this trip has been somewhat of a work in progress for a while. Of course, the brunt of it was spent the week before we left for Chile. It’s a daunting task putting all you need for 6 months in one(ish) bag, and there are lots of travel bloggers out there who offer tips on how they packed, so I figured I’d do the same in case it ever comes in handy for one of y’all. Or in case you’re really voyeuristic and want to know how many socks I’ve packed. Also so you judge me less when you see in my pictures that I am wearing the exact same outfit day after day after day after day after…
Disclaimer: I realize we’ve definitely over packed on a lot of items, but I’m still pretty pleased with myself for getting it all technically in a carry-on (though we are checking our bags as we have big liquids (does this even matter at all after leaving the states?) and a pocket knife).
- Swiss Gear rolling 22” duffel bags (1 each) – this was a bit of a last minute headache. We were so torn on backpack vs. rolly bag vs. who knows. We ordered new luggage on Amazon right before leaving but it ended up not shipping in time, so before going to the airport on our last day stateside we ran to Target and picked up these bad boys (only $80 a pop, and seem to be great so far).
- REI daypack – it’s very light (not quite as light or compactible as the ultra-sil daypacks out there) and convenient, though there isn’t much in the way of organization. It’s basically one big compartment with a little zipper pocket inside. I do love that it has a safety (rape) whistle on it.
- Real daypack – Alan is carrying his actual hiking daypack, which holds much more than my little pack, so he has the immense pleasure of lugging around our massive bag of Rx pills and whatnot. We’re thinking this bag will come in super handy for Nepal and other various hikes.
Organization (the only fun part ;):
- Eagle Creek Specter Packing Cubes – these bad boys are super lightweight and you can really stuff them. I use 1 of the large for all my tops (excluding my raincoat and puffy down jacket), 1 large for all my pants and shorts, 1 medium for bras, sports bras, bathing suits and my beach cover-up, 1 small one for undies and socks, and 1 long one for cold weather accessories (hat, gloves, hiking socks, balaclava etc.)
- Lots of ziploc baggies!
- 3 quick dry t-shirts
- 3 cotton t-shirts
- 1 tank top
- 1 quick dry long sleeve shirt
- 1 hooded long sleeve shirt
- 1 “nice” long sleeve shirt
- 1 “nice” t-shirt
- 1 tank top
- 1 cardigan
- Fleece (generally wear this on the plane rides)
- 1 Dress
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of hiking pants
- 2 pairs stretchy exercise pants
- 1 pair fleece pants
- 1 pair linen pants
- 1 pair jean shorts
- 1 pair mesh shorts
- 1 pair sleep shorts
- Rain Jacket & Pants
- Light Down Jacket
- 1 sun hat and 1 wool hat
- Hiking Boots – big and clunky but necessary, especially for Nepal!
- Rainbow Flip-Flops – I finally ordered my second pair, as my first pair (that I bought as part of my initiation to LA) was looking so ratty I was embarrassed. I love these flip-flops more than I ever thought it possible to love a pair of flip-flops. If you don’t have them, you simply must try a pair. (They do take a few days to break in though, but after that they are formed to your feet and perfect)
- Flats – I’ve still never found a pair of flats that I walk around in comfortably for more than an hour. Except this super cheap pair of imitation Tom’s I bought at Urban Outfitters one day while I was walking around Westwood after work while waiting to pick my Dad up from a meeting. My feet were killing from the heels, so I went in and saw these shoes for under $10 and it was a done deal. I actually wore them a ton in India, so I thought they would be good for Asia, and at $10 I can throw them away when they poop out on me. I’m still very tempted to try a pair of Tiek’s, as many people have told me they swear by them and how comfy they are. The thing is, they are pricey shoes, and I’m not super crazy about them style-wise aside from the fact that they are comfy and easy to pack. We’ll see how long it takes me to cave.
Necessities (for all you man-folk, feel free to skip to the next section now…):
- Undies – I know I don’t NEED 15 pairs, but… the thought of not having at least some clean underwear scared me. Plus they take up practically no space at all. And what self-respecting lady can get dressed in the morning and not offer herself a range of pinks for her panties? I mean, you can take the girl out of LA…
- Bras – 2 regular, 3 sports
- Bathing Suits – 2 of them, plus one really thin, lightweight cover up.
- Socks – 2 pairs of tall hiking socks for my boots, 2 pairs of regular socks
Toiletries and Medication:
- Contacts – 6 month supply for each of us
- Malarone – unfortunately, we are going in and out of countries where there is a risk of malaria, and you need to start the medication a few days before entering those areas, and continue taking it a week after leaving. So we basically have to take it the entire six months we’re in Asia. We’re told some people take the risk and just “try to not get mosquito bites.” But, that’s a thing? I mean… you will get mosquito bites. It’s practically the first law of physics, or something. So, we figured we’d bite the bullet and carry 350 pills with us, which cost a truckload (over $1,000!!! Had we known this in advance, it may have altered our opinion, but… better safe than sorry?).
- Diamox – for altitude. We’ll be doing some serious hikes on this trek, including a trek in Nepal (probably the Everest base camp route), which puts us at elevations of around 20,000 feet above sea level. Holy! I’ve never been that high (ha ha), so no idea how it will affect us, but the Diamox should help make it more pleasant.
- Sea Sickness patches – my motion sickness has been getting worse as I get older, and given that we’ll be spending a lot of times in island-y locations, I thought it best to bring a few of these so I can enjoy those tropical Thailand boat trips.
- Birth Control – bit of a fight with insurance to get these bad boys in advance, but they sure are a whole lot cheaper than a baby.
- Cipro – in case of, you know… really bad food poisoning. Fingers crossed we’ll never need these!
- Advil, Pepto, a handful of cold medicines, etc. as well as everything that came in our handy dandy First Aid Kit
- Toiletries –I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say we probably (definitely) packed too much.
- iPhone & charger – I ended up putting my service on hold for 6 months (which AT&T allows you to do up to 6 months of the year). It brings my monthly bill down to $10 and I can still go back to unlimited data when I return. Plus, the phone still works with wifi, and it’s unlocked so I can plug in a new SIM card while abroad. (Alan also brought his)
- 13” Macbook Air & charger – for blogging, but of course! (Alan brought an 11” Macbook Air)
- Kindle & charger – I still like real, hold ‘em in your hands books, but alas, this is much more travel friendly, so I caved and bought one. Pretty awesome too that I can check out e-books from the Los Angeles Public Library from anywhere in the world! (Alan also brought his)
- Camera & charger – we use the Panasonic Lumiz ZS20 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00728ZBC0/ref=oh_details_o07_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1), which is OK, though to be honest we haven’t spent the time to figure our how to use it’s features yet, and thus I’m not a huge fan. I also edit most pictures with simple editing functions available in iPhoto. In addition, some photos are taken with our iPhones and some are edited on Instagram.
- Solar Charger – this was a gift from my former colleague, Darcy, and I think it will be a huge lifesaver on our trek in Nepal where we are without electricity for weeks!
Non-tangible but also helpful technology:
- I signed up for a Carbonite account to backup my computer. It only works with wifi, and it’s so slow often here that its utility is almost non-existent, but better than nothing I suppose
- VPN – I signed up for ExpressVPN service so that I can help protect my sensitive information when we have to log onto to public wifi hotspots
- Passports, driver’s license, 2 credit cards, debit card, a bit of cash in USD
- Copies of passports, visas, extra passport sized photos, proof of vaccinations, print-outs of itineraries and hotel reservations (those we booked at least)
- Clothesline with suction cups and laundry wash sheets for washing our clothes (every once in a while)
- My former colleague Darcy gave me these awesome mosquito repelling bracelets that have already come in quite handy
- Quick dry small towels
- Neck pillow for the many plane/train/boat/automobile rides in our future (usually it hangs off a carabiner on my daypack)
I’ll try to update this one day with any info on what was definitely not necessary and what we’re missing.