Packing for an unforeseeably long trip
Even I find the thought perplexing–how exactly does one pack for a trip with no planned ending? How on Earth will I possibly stuff my single carry-on sized backpack with all the clothing, gear and everyday essentials to outfit me as I travel through a plenitude of climates–from Amazonian jungle to arid dessert; from to the cool Andean highlands to the sunny beach; to scorching hot/dry volcanos to cool/damp cloud forests–for upwards to a year.
I figured out pretty early in the process that I’d adapt the old Rick Steve’s/Rolf Potts approach– pack half the crap I think I’ll need and plan for twice the budget–i.e. there are stores in Latin America.
So here’s the lowdown…
ALL OF IT
The process of choosing a pack was similar to that of choosing an apartment. I will be living from it. It will contain all my possessions. That thought alone makes me giddy.
With some research and deliberation behind me, I headed to REI to get my hands on a few packs. I didn’t necessarily need something to trudge through the wilderness or “backpack camp” with, but I wanted something more comfortable & portable then a roller duffle. It needed to be tough and light, practical and carry-on compatible.
Considering that criteria I settled on the Osprey Porter 46, which features a panel-loading opening, lockable zippers & stowaway straps, outer compression straps; weighs in at just 3.5 Ibs, with just the right dimensions for carry-on. A Christmas present REI gift card from my grandparents helped take care of the reasonable $99 price tag.
-Kindle 3G–loaded with fun stuff (I can hardly wait for my first long day of trains, plains & automobiles)
-Bluetooth Keyboard for iPod touch–an incredibly thoughtful gift from my former coworkers at The Colony. Now I can blog from ANYWHERE.
-Camera & iPod chargers & surge protecter
–Cocoon Organizer– to keep cords, chargers, extra batteries & memory cards, USB card reader, earbuds, jump drive, back up ion batteries. Pretty darn cool; not sure how I managed to live without this thing for so long?
-iPod Touch–bought it refurbished; for Wifi; keeping up with emails, skype/facetime with the fam.
TOILETRIES, MEDICAL STUFF, etc.
–Moon Cup -Hassle free & environmentally friendly (not to overshare or anything).
-Doorstop (for when I want to lock myself in my room, and feel safe).
-Safety whistle (read this).
-Journal & mini moleskin, pens.
– Head lamp.
-Plastic Eddie Bauer spork/knife.
-Universal drain stopper & laundry soap.
-Small waterproof wallet with clip (good ‘ol Bass Proshop).
– Sea Bands (for bus/boat induced nausea).
– 2 pairs eyeglasses, 1 pair sunglasses, lots of contacts.
-Rain cover for pack.
-Eye mask & REI travel neck pillow (along with ear plugs–”luxury” items; sleep aids).
-Reusable water bottle.
-Reusable shopping bag.
-Spanish Phrase book & fun size “Food in Latin America dictionary & guide” (I take my food seriously).
-Business/or “contact” cards.
– 3 random TSA locks for luggage/hostels/etc.
-Point & shoot camera, with super tough case.
Missed items that came to mind while writing this article:
-Thank you notes for couch surfing hosts, etc.
– Comb & deodorant (looks like my subconscious wants me to go “dirty-hippie?”)
Am I missing anything? Anything I should cut?