Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pack it Up, Pack it In

We've been doing a lot of packing lately. We've been slowly packing up the contents of our townhouse, preparing to put things into storage, and packing things up to give away to various people or donate to chariy. We've also been packing our bags for this trip. It's a daunting task to try to think about what you'll need for 15 months on the road and pack accordingly while keeping pack size and weight to a minimum.

The obvious starting point (for me, anyway) is the wardrobe. It looks like I'll have four pairs of shoes: hikers, runners, sport sandals, and flip flops. No heels, no boots -- no high-heeled boots, no open toed sandals, no slides, no espadrilles, no ballet flats. Sigh. To think about wearing four pairs of shoes over and over and over in the course of the trip seems pretty minimalistic, but the thought of carrying four pairs of shoes over 20-odd countries seems ridiculously excessive. I'm not sure how to reduce the load in this case except to make BG carry some of them (it looks like he'll have three or four as well, for the record.)
I have five pairs of socks -- two pairs of nylon-blend sport socks and three pairs of double-walled wool hiking socks. I also have five pairs of underwear, three sports bras, and one regular bra. It seems like I'm skimping a little bit in the bra department, but I also have three shelf-lined tank tops that I won't need to wear a bra with, so I figure I'm covered in the boob department. As far as shirts are concerned, I will also have one ribbed cotton tanks, a long-sleeved Cloudveil shirt, two short-sleeved tees (one pullover and one button-up), a fleece pullover, and a long-sleeved tunic that can be worn many ways (kind of like the Infinite Dress... but not as weird.) I am also taking along two pairs of pants with roll-up legs to become capris, a pair of nylon capri pants, one pair of Lululemon yoga pants, and a Macabi skirt. Extras include one bikini, a gigantic hat, sunglasses, a sarong, Gore-tex rain coat, and one or two bandanas. For the first leg of the trip, the one involving extensive trekking, we will also have long underwear (hey, we're Canadian!), warm mitts, scarves, and toques (I don't know, what do YOU call them?). We'll ship it to Switzerland once we're done.

BG has five pairs of socks, three pairs of boxers (look who's going to be doing a lot of washing!), six shirts (one tee, five button-down), one fleece, one Cloudveil shirt, two pairs of pants,a swimsuit, and one pair of shorts. He also has his Tilley hat, rain coat, long underwear, and sunglasses.
See how much longer my list is?

It seems I have way more stuff than he does, but I'm defending my list by saying that his clothing is probably 30% larger than mine -- except his underwear, which is about 300% larger than mine -- and it all evens out in the end.

Add to this the Giant Bag of Drugs and Band-aids (aka First Aid Kit), the electronics kit (containing camera, MP3 player, cell phone, battery charger, USB cords, transformer, and various other wires and cables), toiletries, cutlery, and three different kinds of moist towelettes, and you have two slightly concerned individuals.

We're like turtles, carrying all of our worldly possessions on our backs -- in 95 litre, waterproofed, ripstop nylon shells.


nikki said...

Are you taking a laptop with you?
I wore out the bottoom of my Nike sports sandals on a month long trek through Europe. On the 2nd last day the bottoms of my feet were hitting the pavement in Paris. I hope you have better luck with your shoes.

Erin said...

I totally love your blog. I am in the super early stages of planning an extended trip with my husband. It's tough when you own a house and are married though, a lot more stuff to get in order prior to taking off.

Good luck and keep up the good blogging!

Val said...

No laptop, just internet cafes! I'll be keeping track of blog-worthy thoughts the old fashioned way... pen and paper. I'm not against buying new shoes on the road, either.

Hi Erin! Nice to meet you!

Jenni said...

I'd say ditch a pair of shoes! You probably don't need the sports sandals and flip flops. Get a solid pair of flip flops and you're set! I had a pair of tevas which were incredible. I used them for everything including showers in bathrooms you'd rather not step into barefoot. And... guaranteed, you're going to be buying new clothes along the way so don't worry about not having enough.

hostels barcelona said...

I would go for the only pair of shoes and a pair of sandals. I spent a whole year in Asia using only my sandals, although I was carrying my trekking boots with me. After a couple of months I threw the boots and got me some very light nylon shoes. It really made a difference: almost 2 kg less and loads of space in my pack!