Packing 43 days of stuff into one large backpack.
T-3 days until our trip begins so I figured I should start packing. If you’re anything like me, packing is stressful! I always over pack! Selecting items I think I’ll use and wear, when in reality I end up wearing the same 3 things. I’m a “what if” kind of person and when it comes to traveling I like to be over prepared. This can be helpful, but not when I have to carry in and carry out all my luggage on a 43 day adventure in the South American Winter.
In the past I’ve been very diligent to pack only a carry on suitcase- checking bags while traveling can get expensive and the time waiting in baggage claim can add up when on a tight schedule. I opted to take a large trekking backpack on this trip for the first time because the rolling suitcase became very cumbersome and awkward when traveling around Croatias coast last summer.
Fortunately I was lent a 40L EMS backpack from my good friend Cara – bags like this can run up to $250 so this saved me quite a lot. To accompany the large backpack I will also be bringing a smaller 10L Burton day pack and a small dry bag to keep my electronics safe in the unpredictable weather.
I began by researching the average temperature and weather in the countries we will be traveling to (Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil) for July and August. The temperatures will be a large range from highs of 80F in Brazil to lows of less than 30F in the high altitudes of Chile and Peru. I have decided to pack more on the conservative side – it’s safe to say I am kind of a wimp when it comes to cold weather after being pampered in Grand Cayman for the past year.
I knew we would be “roughing it” while in Peru, with our first stop at an actual hotel on day 11 so I packed accordingly in regards to undergarments and articles that would only be worn once before being laundered. After compiling a group of clothing I thought would fit into my backpack, I soon realized I didn’t need 3 of each article of clothing and quickly downsized. What my clothing list finally consisted of followes;
khaki x 1
sport shoes x 2
hoodie x 1
fleece x 1
Puffy synthetic down jacket x1 **this folds down to almost nothing!
1/4 zip dry fit long sleeve x 1
thermal x 1
Long sleeve T Shirt x 1
Cotton T shirt X 1
Dry fit T shirt x 4
Dressier shirts x 2
Tank tops x 2 **awesome for laying for colder days
Sports bras x 4
Underwear x 4
Socks x 10 pairs
Bathing Suit x 1
Thin gloves and thin hat
Ultimately my final decisions came down to function over fashion, placing layer-able items with most value. Knowing we will be going snowboarding in Chile helped me justify packing more heavy duty items like a synthetic down jacket and waterproof pants. Once I was able to narrow down my initially rather large pile of clothing I then sorted them into categories to then be placed in Ziplock bags. This will allow easy removal and keep my clothes cleaner when digging through a quite awkward large backpack.
Along with clothing and Toiletries (I won’t bore you with those details) But I will tell you I kept the toiletries to a minimum, just the basics no extra make up or creams. I’m sure if I absolutely need anything it will be available at one of our stops. I will also be bringing some other items with me that will be placed in a smaller backpack which will be my day pack and carry on bag while traveling. The items are as followed;
First Aid Kit – bandaids, tape, gauze, gloved, hand sanitizer, scissors, flashlight and advil, tide to go, bug spray WITH deet
Malaria and Altitude Medication
Pens and Markers (for signatures at Olympic Games)
American Flag – For Olympic Games!!
Polaroid Camera and Film
Pad Lock for lockers in hostels
Carabiners – great for attaching things to the outside of the bag when trekking, such as extra shoes, water bottle, wet clothing, etc…
Cards and Cribbage Board (How John and I pass time- we are quite competitive)
Passport and Yellow Vaccination Card
Travel Towel- microfiber towel which dries easily and is less bulky than normal bath towels
These items were placed into my smaller backpack and will be brought as my carry on bag for our flight to Cusco. I really advise people to pack wisely, and don’t pack things just because they fit. Things will be bought along the way and nothing will be packed as neatly as it was when first leaving for the trip. Allow room for expansion! I also brought items I wont mind parting with if something were to happen to them, such as stains, rips or getting lost.
My biggest tips for packing for a trip like is it;
**Function over fashion – I mean who can say they are going to look good after a 5 day mountain trek without a shower?!
**ZipLock bags!!! – offer organization, keep clothes clean and dry, much more affordable than travel cases and allow easy retrieval of items. I used smaller zip lock bags for charging cords and electronics.
**Make sure everything has a pocket or pouch. Items loose in your bag can easily get lost or damaged.
After the trip I will be re-blogging about what actually worked for my packing strategies and what I thought could have been better so keep in touch!
Upcoming – The Road to Rio; affordable accommodations and activity itineray