Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 28: My Gear (How to Pack Light)

Packing is incredibly important. Especially when backpacking around the world, what I choose not to bring is just as important as what I bring. What if I forget something? What if I pack to much? Knowing what to bring requires planning and thinking. I have a strong bond with my stuff so packing was difficult. I'm writing this article in hopes that it will help future travelers calm down, organize, and pack well.

Ultimately, I packed two hours before my flight. How did I get away with that? Before I crossed the Atlantic, I crossed the Mason Dixon. I took a two month road trip down the east coast and through the southern states. During my trip through the States I was able to fine tune my gear. I recommend you do the same. If you are packing for a long journey and are unsure about your packing, go test it out – you don't even have to leave your house! Pack your bag and live out of it for a week or two before your trip. If you need something else add it, if you're not using something, remove it before you leave.

A major contributor to weight is clothes. My pack weighs about 35 pounds (18 kilos). I didn't bring many clothes because washing clothes in the sink is easy. One item not to skimp on is socks. I wouldn't bring any less than four pair of wool socks because having wet feet is awful. I also brought two dress shirts and a suit jacket in case I needed to impress. FYI: The dress shirts are fine but I wish I left the suit jackets at home.

I packed while keeping my goals in mind. When I left for my US trip I had artistic aspirations of grandeur. I packed my sketchbook, watercolor set, camera, and laptop. Since I didn't end up using my watercolors at all, that got me thinking. Watercolor painting would be nice, but my artistic focus while traveling is blogging. Once I made that mental decision, I was able to shave another pound or two off my pack. Figure out what you want to do while traveling and pack accordingly.

Consider your climate. This should be a no brainer but I didn't realize how much further north Europe is than the United States. Check some weather websites before you leave and see what sort of climates you'll be facing and pack accordingly. If I were traveling in the summer I could have saved a few pounds by not bringing my sleeping bag.

Bring a tent, you wuss. I bought a sweet one-man tent to live in while I stayed in Texas. I considered not bringing it abroad. How silly? Campsites are WAY cheaper than hostels. Even though I'm traveling in the butt of winter I still don't mind camping. Having a tent and sleeping bag helps me stay sane when I'm having trouble finding a place to stay. Didn't you read about Cinque Terre?

Bring good shoes! As you can see from my gear, the most weather resistant pair of shoes I brought was a beat up old pair of moccasins. It rains all the time in Europe and after hiking four of Italy's hill towns my knees are killing me! I just upgraded. Do yourself a favor and invest in some top quality footwear.

Buy the best. Since I'm traveling alone, I rely heavily on my gear. If my pack rubbed or my tent leaked I'd be miserable. Having quality stuff allows you to enjoy it more while you have it and helps ensure that you'll have it for longer. Buy the best gear that you can afford – you won't regret it.

Get lucky. Luck is light. Bring a few good luck charms because you'll need them. I carry a stone that my friend's family made in memory of his brother. It's nice to think that I've got people watching over me while I get whomped by the world.

Without further ado, here's what I brought:

Have fun prying into my life. Zoom on in. Don't be shy.

Canon T2i DSLR w/ Canon 18-200mm lens
Gorilla pod with swivel head
2 batteries
1 8gig memory card, 1 2gig
Macbook Pro
iPod Touch
Computer adaptor
European plug adaptor
Italian plug adaptor
Book light
Acme computer case
Bose Triport earbuds
Airline adaptor

Books: Tarot book by Jana Riley, Electric Acid Coolaid Test by Tom Wolfe, Parallel Thinking by Edward De Bono
Extra strings
String trick lube

Sam Stone
Quartz Crystal
Tarot cards

2 t-shirts
2 dress shirts
2 suit jackets
4 pairs underwear
Leather jacket
Terra Plana Barefoot Shoes
Leather moccasins
4 pairs of wool socks
2 pair of dress socks
green cloth gloves
2 pairs of pants
two belts

Baking soda
Nail Clippers
Small Microfiber Towel
Bar of soap

Copper Spur UL 1 Tent
Slumberjack Farenheit sleeping bag
Emergency money
2 locks

After photographing all my stuff it was 5 am. Time to repack.

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  1. so nice to see you brought a sam stone :) but i dont see those PATCHWORK PANTS!!!


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