We are officially homeless. After handing over the keys to the house on Friday, we headed up to Wyoming to spend a week with family before flying to San Francisco for 4 days to spend some time with one of the most fun-loving and awesome people I know (have you met Ilsa?!), before heading to Kathmandu on the 18th.
Last night with bottle of wine in hand, Dean and I laid out our entire inventory of clothes, medical supplies, toiletries, electronics, and food (cause, you know, I get hungry). After getting all of my things organized between my backpack as well as my daypack, I realized…. I have WAY too much stuff.
Every travel blogger writes about this dilemma with varying opinions on how to maximize space and minimize the amount of stuff that you feel you need. Remember, you have to carry all of that tonnage on your back for 10 months.
Trust me, I’ve gone through my inventory five times now and I have done a good job (I feel) of removing unnecessary items. Then again, I’ve added quite a few others. Because when you’re leaving for an extended period of time, with a loose agenda and the need to be prepared for different seasons, you just don’t know what you can afford to leave at home.
Packed in my Gregory Jade 63 backpack are:
7 Patagonia & ExOfficio underwear
3 Lululemon sport bras
6 SmartWool hiking socks
2 Hanes no show athletic socks
1 bikini top
1 Athleta swim short
1 rash guard
1 Athleta capri dive pants
1 Athleta Pack Anywhere dress
1 Soloman hiking boots
1 red canvas Toms
1 black Chaco’s sandals (I’m officially a hippy, and I like it!)
1 Nike sneaker
2 Athleta tank tops
3 GapBody vneck Tshirts
1 FreeFly long sleeve Henley hoodie
1 Athleta Viva pants
1 Prana technical pants
1 Athleta ¾ tights
2 Lululemon shorts
1 Marmot rain jacket
1 Patagonia base layer
1 Under Armor base layer
1 Patagonia down sweater coat
1 Lululemon vinyasa scarf
1 Athleta fleece lined tights
1 set of gloves and a beanie
1 REI Lyra 24 sleeping bag (we need for those cold nights in Nepal)
1 scuba mask, watch & box
1 toiletry bag
1 dry bag (for scuba diving & laundry)
2 luggage locks and floss
2 large Ziploc bags of RX bars, Epic bars and Larabars (again, to combat hanger on the trail)
1 large pack of Huggies baby wipes
2 rolls of toilet paper (Dean recommended this as TP in Nepal is likened to butcher paper)
You’ll notice from the pictures (that I took on my in-laws covered pool table), that I have everything separated into smaller bags or packing cubes. I learned about the awesomeness of packing cubes last year, when I traveled 23 out of 52 weeks for my job at Softchoice (hello gold status!). Having the option to segregate my work clothes, gym attire, and casual clothes to different compartments within my carryon rolling suitcase made the packing for the regular journeys stress-free and I’m hoping for a similar experience as we load & unload daily while trekking to Everest base camp in Nepal.
You’ll probably also notice that almost all of my clothes are comprised of Athleta, Gap, Lululemon, and Patagonia brands. Yes, I like expensive clothes but also, I try to purchase clothes that I feel are well made and going to last. I particularly love Patagonia as I had a down sweater coat purchased in 2011 that developed a hole in the sleeve two days before heading to Toronto in January (during one of the coldest, soul-crushing winters in Canadian history – or so it felt to me). I took the coat into the Denver store and they put a patch on the hole. When the patch started to seperate a month later, they had me come in to exchange for a new coat. That’s right – 6 years after I bought the original coat, I got a new one for no charge! You just can’t find that kind of customer service any longer and I’m extremely loyal (and open for sponsorship opportunities – call me!).
I’ve included a picture of an empty bag as well as fully packed (roughly 35 – 40lbs). I have no doubt that I’ve over packed, and will hopefully be able to identify what items are absolutely necessary over the coming weeks/months.
For my carry-on bag, I purchased an Osprey Talon 22 with Camelback. Mostly so that I can have a daypack with hydration while on the trail, but also for use when traveling or to keep important items on my person. Listed below are the items that I currently have in my daypack:
1 Apple iPad with Bluetooth keyboard (so I can keep up with my writing and internet surfing)
1 toiletry bag with prescriptions and other medications
2 Yoga tune up balls, 1 large rolling ball, and 1 Voodoo band (for body care)
Wet wipes and face wipes (for use on long flights)
1 cribbage board and 2 decks of cards
Assorted charging cables for all electronic devices
Noise cancelling headphones and Bluetooth headphones (just in case one dies)
Ear plugs, sleep mask (absolutely essential for long flights and sleeping in hostels)
Toiletries for flights – brush, toothbrush, deodorant, face lotion, dental floss, antibacterial spray
1 Patagonia hat
And lastly, I have a luggage lock that I somehow seemed to randomly set the combination and now can’t open. My mission on our 14 hour flight to Singapore is to try every combination starting at 000. I will not be defeated!