The question on everyone’s lips when we told them we were going backpacking was “how many pairs of pants are you taking?”. So we thought you might be interested to find out how we went about deciding what to take and exactly what we ended up packing.
Planning our route, we made a decision to chase the sun. We wouldn’t need lots of cold weather clothing. But then we booked a hike up Machu Picchu, in a period that is likely to be pretty cold and very wet. All the research we did suggested that packing light was the way to go, so we had to fit in enough warm clothing for four days with the rest of our summer wardrobe. So here’s what we packed:
Sarah’s clothes & shoes: 4 x vest tops, 3 x t-shirts, 1 x long sleeved shirt, 2 x shorts, 3 x trousers (jeans/leggings/baggy linen), 1 x smarter dress, 1 x kaftan, thermals (for Machu Picchu), a big scarf/sarong, 1 x microfleece, 4 x bra’s (normal/sports), 6 x pants, 2 x headscarves (to combat the greasy hair look), 2 x bikini’s, 6 x socks, 1 x baseball hat, 3 x shoes (converse/sandals/running trainers) – also a pair of havaianas flip flops that were a planned purchase once in Argentina.
J’s clothes & shoes: 3 x short sleeved t-shirts, 1 x long sleeved t-shirt , 2 x vests, 2 x shirts, 2 x shorts, 1 x walking trousers, 1 x jeans, 1 x microfleece, 1 x set of thermals, 2 pairs trainers, 1 pair flip flops, 4 pairs boxer shorts, 5 pairs socks, 1 pair gloves.
Other clothing we considered and decided against: Walking boots – seemed like a sensible idea but considering how bulky they are and the temperatures we are expecting, we decided to go with running trainers instead. Waterproofs – as above, and we have waterproof covers for our backpacks. Zip-off walking trousers/shorts – seriously, who designs these?! Terrible looking and also not that practical – you still have to take your shoes off to unzip the bottom bits, just change from your trousers into shorts no?
Sarah’s toiletries: baby wipes, cotton buds, cotton wool pads, nail varnish remover, nail varnish, deodorant, tea tree spot stick, tampons, travel towels, flannels, sun cream, insect repellent, hairbrush, razors, anti-bacterial hand gel, toothpaste, toothbrush, exfoliating gloves, soap, 2in1 shampoo, lip balm, moisturiser, ’emergency’ dry shampoo, hair clips, makeup (we will see how much it’s used) and last but not least a she-wee (google it)!!
J’s toiletries: look at all those chap sticks! 8 in total, 2 deodorants, 1 bottle moisturiser (I’m a modern man), shaving gel, cut throat razor (I’m a traditional man), beard trimmer, toothbrush.
Medication: Anti-malaria tablets, sleeping pills, travel sickness pills, alka-seltzers, anti-histamines, painkillers (paracetamol/aspirin/ibuprofen), diarrhea tablets, senna tablets, antibiotics, antiseptic cream, insect bite cream.
Accessories: Money belt, travel document pouches, mini first aid kit, earplugs, portable washing line, universal travel plug adapter, moleskin journal, sunglasses, 2 x travel pillows, 2 x silk sleeping bag liners, 1 x fold away bag, mini sewing kit, lots of batteries, duct tape for Sarah’s mouth, safety pins, crocodile clips, anti-mosquito blanket (it works!), guide books, phrase books, padlocks, waterproof bags, tupperware boxes (to put things in you don’t want to be squashed).
Electronics: travel laptop with mini mouse, a kindle each, iPad, 2 iPhones, 4 pairs of headphones and headphone splitter, 4 x chargers, 2 torches, 2 head torches.
Now to how I ended up owning hideous, diamante-encrusted t-shirt. The moral of the story is pack more than 3 t-shirts. I fully intended to bring 4 (which is still pushing it on the low side), but somehow managed to lose one before we set off. When we arrived in B.A I ran out of t-shirts within 3 days. Obviously. As me and my brother are similar sizes I asked if he had a spare one. He had just the thing, he said. Our Mum had sent it over for him from England, he said. It was so special he’d never even worn it, he said. I think I know why…
James & Sarah