I’ve spent countless numbers of hours thinking about which items I should take with me. I’ll admit that I probably spent too many hours thinking about this as I’ll probably get rid of or change the items in my pack within the first month of using them. Some I’ll find useless. Others inadequate. With a [...]
I’ve spent countless numbers of hours thinking about which items I should take with me. I’ll admit that I probably spent too many hours thinking about this as I’ll probably get rid of or change the items in my pack within the first month of using them. Some I’ll find useless. Others inadequate. With a little more than a month to go before leaving this is my list of gear and some of my reasons for bringing it.
When thinking about clothes I knew that less was more. I don’t want to be hauling around a bunch of crap that I’m not going to use. At the same time I don’t want to wear the same pants and shirt everyday. My clothing would also have to work in a variety of environments; hot, cold, humid, wet, etc. In thinking about clothing I wanted things that would at least meet the following criteria if not more:
Quick drying – This means no cotton, or at least not 100% cotton. To keep things cheap I need to be able to wash my own clothes at night and have them dry by morning. I won’t have regular access to a washing machine, nor should I expect to. The added bonus of any clothing made from synthetic fabric is that they don’t wrinkle so after being crammed in my backpack for a couple of days they will still be wearable in public.
Not too heavybulky – Jeans are out for the ‘Quick Dry’ reason but also because they are a heavy material that just isn’t needed.
Large Pockets – This is for my pants and shorts. Not only do I want large pockets but having cargo-style pockets would also be usefulpractical. The pockets must also have some way of closing using a zipper or buttons.
The final list of items I’m bringing. I could do without some of the items listed below and this will probably change as I move around but this is what I’m at least starting with.
2 Pairs of Pants
1 Pair of ShortsSwimming Trunks
2 Short Sleeve Shirts
2 Long Sleeve Shirts
Micro-fleece pullover or jacket
3 Pairs of Boxers
3 Pairs of Socks
Sarong – Multi-functional item; beach towel, bag, sun protection, small pillow
BeltStraps – A brown leather belt I’ve had for years and also a couple side-release buckle straps.
I debated on this longer than I should have. In the end I’ve settled on bringing 2 pairs. A pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers. For sandals I’m bringing a pair of huarache’s that I made with the help of a friend. They are a bit atypical and are more of an experiment to see how they hold up. I’ve walked around in them to try them out and the feel fine. Also, if a strap breaks they are easy enough to fix. If they don’t work out then I’ll find buy some other pair of cheap sandals to wear. If they work for the Tarahumara Indians then let’s see if they work for me.
Over the past year I have worn Vibram’s Five Fingers more than any other shoe I own. I was originally thinking that I would also bring my Five Finger Treks as my second pair of shoes. Then I thought it might not be a great idea to bring two pairs of atypical shoes. So, I’ve reluctantly decided against it. I wanted a shoe that simple, no frills, no arch support and would be durable. I chose a pair of Chuck T’s, charcoal gray low-tops. Don’t mess with a classic.
There has been much debate with myself on what I should bring in this department. A camera is an obvious must but what about a laptopnetbook, ipod, or cell phone? Is this stuff really necessary? Will I use it? Will I care if something happens to it?
Camera: I’m traveling. This is an obvious must-have. In thinking about a camera I wanted something durable. To me this meant it could be thrown around, dropped and waterproof. There are a limited number of these ‘Tough’ style cameras on the market but the main two are the Stylus Tough Series and also the relative market newcomer Canon D10. The Stylus Tough Series has been the market leader in this segment for years with durable, small cameras. The Stylus camera is smaller, can be dropped from a greater distance, and work in colder temperatures than the Canon. The main drawback, however, is the picture quality. The Canon D10 has a far better picture quality than the Stylus. In the end your using a camera to take pictures so wouldn’t you want to go with the camera that takes the better pictures?
Also, I’m not worried about the temperature. I don’t plan on traveling through climates where the daily temperature is anywhere below 50 degrees. So, the only drawback for me is that the Canon is bigger and can’t be dropped from quite as high as the Stylus. It also has a funky lookcolor to it that I’m not a big fan of but I have been very satisfied with the picture quality. Reviews have been very positive and Canon is a respected, established brand. Hopefully the camera withstands the daily beating it is sure to take.
LaptopNetbook: After much debate I decided to bring a netbook. Weighing in at a massive 3 lbs (with charger) I think I’ll be able to haul it around without too much of a problem. Also, I wanted the flexibility of loading my own pictures and skyping outside of an internet cafe. It would also make updating this blog easier. Is this a must have? No. Would I be upset if it broke or was stolen? Maybe a little but if I’m really worried about losing something it shouldn’t be in my pack.
Ipod: I also decided to bring one. I really don’t have a good reason for bringing this as it can be stolen pretty easily and I won’t want to flaunt it around in public. This is truly a comfort item.
Cellphone: This was an easy no. I don’t want to have to worry about monthly plans, changing out sim cards, purchasing minutes, or anything else. If I want to call someone I’ll use Skype.
Other Goodies: merory cards for camera, flash drive, lightbulbelectric outlet converter, 3-to-2 prong electric adapter.
I tried to keep this fairly simple but in the end probably have too much. It all fits in a fairly small bag so it might be better to have a little too much than not enough. Here’s what I’m bringing:
Band-aids of varying sizes
Motion Sickness Pills
Immodium – An absolute must for the inevitable travelers diarrhea
I think the need for these items is self-explanatory.
LocksSecurity (a.k.a. Peace of Mind)
What I have below may be a little overboard but better to be safe than losing everything I’m carrying with me.
2 combination locks
1 Large key lock
1 Regular size key lock
2 smaller key locks
2 cords to lock up my bag
1 laptock lock
Eye hooks for a makeshift door lock
Travel Guide: The book getting me through Mexico and Central America will be Footprint’s “Mexico & Central America Handbook”. It’s relatively small for the number of countries and area it covers. It’s direct and to the point without all of the flowery language of the LP books. The LP Mexico Guidebook is 3 times the size of this book.
Reading book(s): This will obviously be changing as I read them. But I’ll have 1 or 2 books to read at any given time.
Journal: Something more private than this blog.
Notepads: I’ll use them to on a daily basis to jot down whatever I need. I’ll no longer have sticky pads.
Water Immersion Heater: When I tell people where I’m traveling to they tell me not to drink the water. I’ll drink it. But it will be boiled first. This is lighter and simpler than a water filter and no chemicals are needed. It’s also safer than a water filter since it would also kill any possible viruses in the water.
Water Bottles: A wide mouth Klean Kanteen to boil the water in and a Platypus bag that folds up when not in use. These two bottles will allow me to carry 2 liters of free water.
Quick Dry Towel: It’s small, light and dries fast.
Sleep Sack: For those times where I may not want to touch the bed I’m sleeping on.
Nylon Rope & Clothes Pins: If I’m washing my own clothes I need a place they can dry.
Drain Plug: Not all sinks have a plug so I’ll need my own if I’m going to wash my own clothes.
Ear Plugs: So I don’t have to listen to a raging party next door or the cars driving on the street without mufflers.
Flashlight: Seems like a good thing to have.
Sewing kit: Contains a needle, varying colors of thread, some buttons and some safety pins.
Electrical & Duct Tape
Compass: Small and basic to use in cities to know the general direction I’m going.
I might have missed a few items but that’s essentially it. Some items I’ll pick up while traveling but this should get me started and it all fits comfortably into my Kelty Redwing 3100 pack.