The sack on my back: Packing for nine months of travel 2

Posted by Caleb | December 10, 2015

Here I am, taller.

Here I am, and taller.

My default strategy in narrowing options down is always the round by round draft format.  This coincides well with my willingness and general enjoyment of analyzing meaningless activities or decisions.  Thus when choosing what I wanted to take on this trip, a draft seemed to be a great start.  Below I have listed the first five things I chose to toss in my bag, ordered on how useful I thought each item will be.  If you are looking for other ideas on what to take on a long-term trip, our full packing list is also posted below.  Keep in mind much of these items were influenced heavily by the trekking and camping portions of our trip.

Round 1: Dry Fit Hiking Pants

Previously I had been awkward jeans guy in our hikes around Colorado, not fitting in with the expected hiking attire of the other bearded men.  In preparation for the trip I excitingly purchased three pairs of dry fit hiking pants, including a sporty red pair that helps me fit in with all the Europeans.  These go round one as I will be wearing one of these three items nearly everyday for nine months.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Round 2: Waterproof Hiking Boots

The challenge in being a big guy and carrying nine months worth of stuff on your back is that my stuff is normally bigger.  This becomes an even bigger problem when in comes to shoes, as my hiking boots alone take up a quarter of my bag.  Nonetheless they are making the trip and I chose to spend a little bit more on these to keep my puppies dry.  These go round two as we plan to walk a ton in muddy/wet places, and I tend to get a little hissy when my socks are wet.

Waterproof boots, allowing me to set foot on an iceberg

Waterproof boots, allowing me to set foot on an iceberg

Round 3:  Amazon Kindle Fire 

As mentioned in previous posts, we are not doing a lot of hanging around in any cities and the number of places we are going will require a ton of travel.  I’m pretty pumped about the Kindle in that it will be my go-to for long bus rides and extended airport layovers.

Round 4: Eyemask and earplugs

We are going to be trying to sleep in some pretty uncomfortable places, and specifically in parts of South America where the sun stays up about 18 hours.  Not to mention I am going to be within five feet of my wife, 24/7, for nine months straight.

Round 5:  Hawaiian Shirt

Sleeper pick here, I figured at some point on this trip there is going to be a time when I needed a collared Hawaiian shirt, and when that time comes I’ll be glad I lugged it around for nine months.  We took a boat cruise the other day to see some pelicans and penguins, and the fellow travelers loved my shirt.

1 (6)

Noticeably undrafted:

Cologne – Just forgot it, big mistake as I often smell pretty bad.

Working beard trimmer – didn’t matter anyway, was growing this thing out!


Got a haircut in Arequipa, Peru for about $2.

Here is our full packing list, everything in our bags.  In total my full pack weighs about 42 pounds.


Gregory 65 Liter Mens Backpack – For the male

Osprey 65 Liter Pack – For the lady

Tent (Two person, REI 2+ Dome Tent)

Sleeping bags (29 Degree)

Polar Liner sleeping sack

Sleeping pads

PocketRocket Stove

ENO Hammock and Straps

Cooking Set – Bowls and Spoons

Quick Dry Towels

Travel Pillows

Water filtration set

Waterproof matches

Men’s Clothes:

3 pairs Dry Fit Hiking Pants

Casual shorts

Athletic shorts

Swim trunks

5 pairs synthetic underwear

Synthetic long-johns

3 cotton t-shirts

Dry Fit long sleeve

Hawaiian shirt

Fleece Jacket

Waterproof rain jacket

For my other extremities:


Waterproof gloves

Waterproof hking boots

Running shoes


5 Pairs dry fit socks

2 Pairs Smartwool hiking socks

Personal Hygiene:

Travel toothbrush

Contact Lenses and two bottles of contact solution


1 Beard and Dome Buzzer

Medicine and other stuff: (Heavily influenced and collected by Beth)








Malarone – For Malaria

Doxycycline – For potential waterborne bacteria

Anti-diarrhea – For the the worst yet to come


Technology for 2 people  (Mostly hand-me downs, so if we get mugged our friends are out more money than us!)

2 Macbook Pros

2 Kindle Fires

2 iPhones

2 Smart watches (Garmin Forerunner 15 and FitBit Charge)

2 External hard drives

Mini USB

Many sets of earbud headphones

1 Digital Camera

1 Go Pro – Thanks Kacey!

2 Power adapters

1 Power strip

1 Portable power charger

Miscellaneous Stuff

Fanny pack/Money Belt

Eye mask for sleeping

Ear plugs

2 headlamps

Document holder

Notepad and pens



Spare batteries

Drain stopper

Laundry soap

Passport holder


Safety pens

Sewing kit

2 TSA padlocks

Duct tape

Deck of cards


Women’s Clothes:

2 Dresses

1 long skirt

3 cotton short sleeve t-shirts

2 long sleeve shirts

3 pairs of leggings/athletic tights

pair of athletic shorts

cotton tank

dry-fit tank top

dry-fit short sleeve

2 dry-fit long sleeve shirts

1 pair hiking pants

1 cotton jacket

waterproof rain jacket

pajama shorts/nightgown


Rainbow sandals

running shoes

hiking boots

2 sports bras, 2 regular bras (1 with removable straps), 3 pairs wool hiking socks,4 pairs short athletic socks, 1 pair of Exofficio undies and several more pairs of underwear

Other Girl Stuff she brought:

Dry shampoo



Chapstick with SPF



Eye make up remover pads

Q tips

Cotton balls


Baby wipes

Hand sanitizer

Stain remover pen


Nail file

Nail clippers

Hair ties

Mini Kleenex packets

Eye drops

Basic make-up

Bug spray

Sometimes we carry all of our stuff into tiny bakeries.  What are you thoughts on that Beth?

Sometimes we carry all of our stuff into tiny bakeries. What are you thoughts on that, Beth?

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