The one thing that you do want to get right is to ensure that you purchase the correct rucksack. We have met many people who think that you can do it with a 40 litre carry on bag and just buy what you need on the road, but the truth is that most of these people think they’re travelling by spending their three months on a beach. They end up spending a fortune on clothes and suncream.
For our first trip I took a 65 litre Berghaus bag which has stood the test of time and I love dearly. However experience has taught me a few things and this time I knew that I needed something more. In the five years since we last went I experienced a back injury and now need my rucksack to be more supportive. I also wanted a front opening bag so I won’t have to take everything out to get to whatever I need which has inevitably made its way to the bottom of the bag. I also wanted a day bag which could attach to my rucksack. I opted for the Osprey Fairview 70 litre bag. The main bag holds 57 litres and the day bag 13 litres. The day bag will either zip onto the main bag or you can ‘turtle shell’ and clip it so you can wear it in front of you for extra security.
Once you have your bag you have choose what to fill it with carefully. We will be visiting some high altitude places in the Himalayas so need some warm clothing. This is where I have opted for layers and clothes that can be worn in a multitude of ways.
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get correct, comfortable footwear. We are taking four pairs of shoes which some people think it is excessive, but we will be doing a lot of walking and it’s not good for our feet (or for the other people in our dorm) to spend all day in the same pair of trainers. We have decided to take our running shoes, a hardy pair of walking/trekking shoes, a pair of walking sandals and a pair of flip flops for hostel showers. Obviously we’ll wear the bulkiest pair travelling.
The other important thing to remember is that you longer you travel for the less you need.
If you take things that dry quickly then you don’t need much, particularly if you are going to hot countries where washing will dry quickly.
I’m taking the following clothes wise:
5 quick dry T-shirts
1 vest top
1 long sleeve top
1 pair of knee length shorts
1 pair of short shorts
1 pair of running shorts
1 light wear trousers
2 pairs of lightwear, water resistant trousers
1 pair of leggings
1 tankini and 1 bikini
1 medium weight zip up hoodie.
I am taking a down coat which is waterproof and can be folded back into its own pocket for easy storage when we reach warmer climes.
I have also packed a reusable poncho which packs down really small.
I am also taking a multi functional item – the Chrysalis cardi, a convertible travel clothing item which can be worn as a scarf, a cardigan, and as a dress.
Besides this there are 6 x underwear and socks. All quick dry – try bamboo clothing here.
As well as these items of clothing, there are various other items of equipment that we will bring with us. This includes a first aid kit consisting of bandages, dressings, steristrips, alcohol wipes and blister plasters. There is also a medicine bag which contains Imodium, rehydration sachets, water purification tablets, a small number of painkillers, some bite relief spray, antiseptic cream and my own personal medication. I will also take a pot of tiger balm which is good for insect bites, headaches and general aches and pains.
We also have padlocks for hostel lockers, a couple of travel locks for questionable doors, waterproof bags, a small washing line and a double mosquito net. On top of this we have travel towels (smaller and faster drying than normal towels) and sleeping bag liners for when the hostel bed looks grubby or it’s too hot for any cover. We are also taking some travel wash and the ‘scrubba bag’ which is like a dry bag which you add water and a small amount of washing liquid to, fasten it up and roll it around and the nodules inside help scrub your clothes clean. And of course there are travel adaptors and charging cables, we have opted for multi purpose ones with USB points.
I can’t survive without my coffee so we have packed an adorable travel kettle, which collapses and folds down incredibly small. The majority of time we are sure we will have access to a kettle, particularly when in hostels, but some guest houses don’t have them and it’s not worth the hassle of me not getting my coffee. A kettle is also essential for fixing a quick snack of instant noodles. We have also packed a Stanley Master Flask for overnight train / bus journeys. A flask was something that we picked up on the road the last time we went and was invaluable to us. It held all sorts – coffee, hot water, soup and when we went to Tayrona it’s how we snuck rum in!
We are huge fans of packing cubes, not necessarily to save space but to keep everything organised. The chances to fully unpack our rucksack will be few and far between, so knowing where everything is and when you’re about to run out of clean knickers is a huge bonus.
I also keep a small packing cube in my day bag which contains everything we could possibly need in an emergency. This is formed of a small first aid kit, including some dressings, steristrips, water purification tablets, and Imodium for when we are on the road. I have also included toilet seat covers (these should only be necessary in an emergency whilst out and about), disposable she pees for dodgy toilets, hand sanitizer, a torch, a compass, a small power bank and emergency foil blankets. Hopefully the last item will never be needed, but with my sense of direction you never know!
For our wash bag I have invested in a Lush Shampoo bar instead of taking a bulky bottle. We are also taking some small bars of soap instead of shower gel. Joey is taking his electric shaver and charger with him.
We are keen photographers and are taking a DSLR camera and tripod with us as well as loads of memory cards. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about taking this, but I’d rather have loads of great photos to remember the trip by and take the risk.