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You may be wondering – what am I packing?

I have always liked the idea of living with less. Packing for this trip was a good exercise in “what do I really need?” I wanted this pack to ideally be something I could live out of for years if I needed to. Paring down is an interesting process. Here is what I ended up with (more or less – little things keep being added and subtracted as my departure date gets closer).

First, what I will be wearing the day I leave:

The shoes I will be wearing are the (slightly mismatched) Scarpa boots on the far left. I have been wearing them in the past few weeks. No blisters at all so far, so that’s a good sign. Obviously I am not wearing three pairs of shoes, so I will be packing away the pair of Vans for sockless lounging, and flip-flops. For flip-flopping.

My bag will be full of all this stuff:
Clothes. Went as minimal here as I thought was practical. One extra bra, a tank top, two t-shirts. one long-sleeved shirt, one pair of lightweight, quick-drying nylon pants (legs can zip off to become shorts), 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 bandanas (multiple uses for those).

Beach Stuff. Bikini. Board Shorts. Rash Gard. 3/2mm full wetsuit. 3mm booties. Hat.

Rain and cold gear
. Arcteryx gore-tex rain coat and North Face gore-tex rain pants. Quality long underwear. Marmot bottoms and Duofold top. This stuff is generally on the expensive side, but having spent many many days working for hours out in the rain and cold, I know wearing the tech stuff makes a big difference.
Personal Care. I bought a box of Ziploc freezer bags to organize all the little things. Bathroom: toothpaste, travel toothbrush, razor, nail clippers, tweezers, mirror, earplugs, floss, DIva Cup (a must-have for the ladies), one small bottle of each: soap, conditioner, shampoo, three month supply of medication, assortment of cold medication (only because I have a bad cold right now), some advil, immodium, allergy medicine, sunscreen with insect repellant, first-aid kit: gauze pads in different sizes, roll of tape, muslin bandage, assortment of band-aids, rubber gloves, safety pins, needle, 2 povidone-iodine prep pads, 6 benzalkonium chloride antiseptic towelettes, irish tea bags from Clio.

Communications. Global phone with SIM card – I am going to rent a New Zealand SIM card and number for the two months I am there. Plug adapters for their 220v outlets. Little notebook with handwritten phone numbers (old school!), travel alarm clock with handy temperature reading. Canon G10 camera and leather case, one extra battery, charger, strap, 8BG and 16GB cards, Dell Inspiron mini-9 solid state laptop running Linux Ubuntu, power cord, neoprene case, USB card reader, iPod nano, power cord, cassette-tape adapter (just in case I get a car with cassette player!), New Zealand Lonely Planet guide.

Camping Gear. Sleeping bag. Foam pad. 2-person lightweight tent. Extra tent poles.

Camping Gear – Smaller stuff. LED headlamp and three AAA batteries. 1 enamel-covered steel cup, 1 stainless-steel cooking cup with fold-out handles. 1 32oz SIGG water bottle, 1 quick-drying large towel, 1 fold-out knife, three packs of camping toilet paper, 50 ft. nylon cord, survival/emergency kit: whistle, compass, swiss multi-tool, little LED light for key ring, DEET insect repellant, anti-fungal cream (ok not survival, but certainly necessary). waterproof matches. not shown almost forgot: 8 clothespins. fork, spoon, knife.

Stuff bags. (not all shown) 3 nylon mesh bags, 1 solid stuff bag, 1 medium Granite Gear waterproof pack-liner, 1 waterproof Sea-to-Summit bag (for communications kit). extra Zip-loc bags for food stuffs…
Passport and Wallet. duh.  I probably should’ve taken picture of my keys, too. I will be making xerox copies of passport and driver’s license to send to my parents in Virginia and to carry with me in another part of my bag.

I also have to get a day bag, something smaller to carry things when I can leave my whole pack somewhere secure.  My friend Al gave me one that might work out.  Smallish, looks waterproofed.  Could make a good carry-on, too.

Well, that’s the basics. I could obviously do without the laptop, iPod and phone. In fact I didn’thave any of those things the last time I took a long, overseas travelling trip.  That was 1998, and I was 21.  I did a week-long trip from Rome to Budapest, Vienna and Prague on my spring break.  Then at the end of the semester I spent a month or so touring Greece and most of Spain.  Phonecards were all I needed.

The laptop is for doing this.  Obviously.  The iPod to listen to Ajahn Brahm podcasts when I am feeling lonely, and music while I am driving.  And the phone will probably come in real handy when I am trying to buy and sell a car.  All worth the extra weight.


  1. looks good

    This looks like the stuff of a pro-fessional traveler. Well done. Glad to recognize my pharmaceuticals. The one thing I didn’t see I’ve always found handy is some big ziploc/small trash bags which can be used to store dirty clothes away from clean clothes – also helps distinguish them from each other. Of course you may simply get to the point where everything is dirty! I don’t like sound of “something you could live out for years” and expect to see you back here pronto. Also – don’t you dare listen to the iPod while trying to drive, and on the wrong side of the road at that (love, Mom).

  2. Re: looks good

    hey, someone read this and cares! weird….. I think I am going to have to be dumping stuff, as it doesn’t quite look like it will all fit. hmmmm….oh well. one day to go! I need more sleep. this cold is killing me.

  3. Great post 🙂 Sounds almost like what you get along with when not traveling. It’s really too bad you can’t take your bike. We are all so excited about your adventure and are looking forward to your many posts. Hope all goes smoothly and that the cold disappears soon. Hey! Redkate – how many Moms can a person survive? Love ya, PLOB

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