On our backs and in our packs

Travel research as well as our previous backpacking trips helped mentally prepare us for the scarcity of what we can bring.  That said, we’re actually bringing more than what seems to be normally suggested. To us, one pair of underwear seems ridiculous (we’ll let you know after the trip if we feel the same way).   But if anything feels unnecessary as we travel, we’re prepared to depart with it and give it away.  If anything is lost or stolen, we’ll be sad but ultimately ok with it.

As we accumulate things traveling, we’re planning on mailing items back to family at home.  We also have a few people meeting us on our trip, or at least promising to.  We’re asking them to bring packages we’ve set aside with them to replenish some goods, or change out some of our clothing.

Clothing | Toiletries | First Aid Kit | Medication Kit | Miscellaneous | Luggage | Technology

Mari –
tank tops (4)
long sleeve travel shirts (2)
t-shirts (2)
convertible pants/shorts (2)
sarong (1)
bikinis (2)
travel underwear (3), cotton underwear (2)
sports bras (2), regular bras (2)
pajama pants (1)
socks (3)
track jacket
headband/wrap, cool tie bandana
brimmed cap
shoes (3) – sneakers, flip flops, and crocs ballet flats (not super cute, but super lightweight)

On the maybe list – jeans (cons = too heavy, don’t dry quickly, pros = comfy, don’t scream typical tourist/traveler)

Jeff –
t-shirts (3)
base layer shirt (1)
polartec shirt (1)–provides some warmth, but still lightweight
travel underwear (1)
cotton underwear (2)
shorts (1)
swimming shorts (1)
pants (1 nylon, 1 convertible pair)
socks (2 lightweight running, 1 bamboo/wool)
soft shell cap (1)
cloth belt (1)
Cool Tie Bandana (1)–this bandana has some type of beads that if you add water, keeps the bandana cool for hours.  Reusable.
sandals (1)
Salomon shoes(1)–light, durable all-terrain hiking shoes.


Mari –
Toiletry kit – Eagle Creek Cruiser (decent size, hanging capabilities, lots of pockets) contents:
shampoo bar (soap/shampoo/conditioner/laundry all in one, from Herbaria soap)
Juice face wash
Juice tinted moisturizer
deodorant (travel size)
hand/body lotion
mini coin-size towelettes
contact solution (travel size) eye drops
razor plus blade refills
hand sanitizer
nail clippers
comb/brush, hair pins/ties
feminine hygiene products, mini toilet paper rolls

Make-up bag: (wasn’t going to bring this, but my vanity won out) pencil liner, lip balm, eyelash curler, shadow duo, bronzer

Toiletry kit – Eagle Creek Caddy (smaller size, hanging capabilities, some pockets) contents:
Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus Liquid Soap–concentrated, natural,and good as body soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and in a pinch…toothpaste.  Also, the Eucalyptus scent wards off the mosquitoes.
disposable contact lens
hydrogen peroxide
aloe vera
high absorption travel towel

First aid kit:

Adventure Medical Kit – Ultralight from REI.  Most likely contains more than we’ll need, but bonuses included duct tape, safety pins, tweezers, Alosak bags, common meds, moleskin, every type of bandage imaginable, and even a syringe.  A total of 78 items, in one 9.5oz. case.

Medication kit:

We’re not going to lie.  Neither one of us is looking forward to getting to know Montezuma or his revenge as evidenced by the more than ample amount of medications dedicated to stomach ailments.  We’ve heard Pepto Bismol  chewables  taken daily in risky places is a preventative measure.  Immodium’s been recommended as a first line of defense once an attack is initiated.  And for severe cases, we packed a couple of antibiotics and oral rehydration packets. Though the trip will be defined by varying meanings of success, at least on some level success will mean not diarrhea-ing in our pants.

We also packed a few general meds for headaches and colds as well as ginger pills for motion sickness.

Miscellaneous travel items:

For hostel life –
sink stopper (so we can do laundry)
headlight (dorky, but hands free way to search for whatever without having to wake or blind our hostel mates)
travel towels
silk sleep sacks
ear plugs, eye mask

For water activities –
travel snorkel and prescription scuba/snorkel goggles (Mari only)

For general travel –
cheapie wallet/wristlet and money belt
waterproof document holder
waterproof wallet
insect repellant
Wag Bag waste bags (portable, biodegradeable toilette in a bag–as gross as it sounds, when you’re on a nine hour bus ride with no bathroom and dysentery strikes…can be a godsend)
Freshette IUD (for women; a small funnel-like apparatus with an extendable tube, complete with storage bag–again, gross-sounding, but allows for urination while standing or even lying down if you purchase the longer tube, to avoid having to squat/crouch or sit on unsanitary toilet seats. Available at REI.  Supposedly they also have disposable ones, but this one you wash and reuse)


Mari –
Gregory 60 Liter Jade day pack.  Originally, I had purchased the largest pack available, the Eagle Creek Maiden Voyage 70 Liter travel pack, which turned out to be way too big/heavy/uncomfortable for my petite frame.  Even though my Gregory is smaller and I won’t be able to take as much with me, it fits and feels good, which is much more important.
Day pack – REI sling back (since I won’t have a purse or bag, this will be my carry-on and day-pack)
Osprey Airporter – A pack cover for my backpack.  Wanted it for a couple of reasons: 1) for security, since it’s hard to lock up a backpack and 2) for protection so my pack and straps don’t get mangled by the airport machines

Jeff – The Northface Stamina backpack and the Kata Digital Rucksack DR-467 for all the technology and electronics (www.kata-bags.com).  The Kata bag is well padded and not too big,designed specifically for camera equipment and has space for a laptop and accessories as well.


Acer Aspire One

With the updates to the website and all of the research we plan on doing as the trip progresses we committed to bringing along a computer.  We went with the mini-notebook Acer Aspire One for the light size but full features.  And though the keyboard is small, to be fair, so are we.  Using this, now we know how the rest of you feel on average size laptops.

Gps receiver mouse

We liked everything about the Aspire One except for the touchpad.  We knew we wanted something to help from always feeling constantly lost.   We found something to meet both needs: the Deluo travel sized mouse and GPS receiver.  Suffice it to say, we have high hopes for this little doodad.  As long as we download maps for places we’ll be going, we’ll have the aid of a live “you are here” button without internet access.

Spot Messenger

Jeff was getting a lot of Mari’s friends who were telling him he’d better take good care of her on the trip, all while shaking his hand a little too long and a little too hard.  So a second gps device was determined to be needed.  This one is an emergency responder, lets contacts know they are ok, and works with Google Maps.

EOS Canon Rebel 12.2 Megapixels and a Tamron AF 28-300mm lens

We really wanted to remember our experiences and be able to share them with others so we invested in some camera equipment that if we have any type of eye, should yield some good results.  And with the Tamron lens, we can use that as our all-in-one and not worry about switching lenses all the time.

Sony Digital camera and underwater case

We’ve also elected to bring a point and shoot camera for those moments it might not be as practical to have the SLR.   And since we plan on learning to scuba, we also have an underwater case for it.

SD cards

We’re bringing a bunch of memory cards with us but the cool ones we’re bringing are Eye-fi cards, which automatically upload photos to the web with it’s built in wi-fi


Mini-tripod that doubles as a stress-relief toy.  Yes please.

4 gb Ipod Nano and a headphones splitter

We’re bringing this partly for the times when it’s slow on the road, but partly for the chance to be listening to “Out of Africa”  as we’re leaving Africa!  Blows the mind.

Aqua Pure Traveller

While Mari boasts an iron stomach, Jeff is a little more, well,…sensitive.   So we were and remain a little nervous about getting sick from unsafe water sources.  Ultimately, we know it will happen but we wanted to at least minimize our risks.  We decided on purchasing 2 Aqua Pure Travellers.  We liked that it also fulfills our need for  a water bottle, purifies the water without leaving a bad taste, only takes 15 minutes, will last the full year, and was on the cheaper end.

Flip Mino Video Camcorder

We know that, despite what our friend Dave says, he really wishes he could see the butterflies with us.  So with this, we’re bringing them to him.

Power Monkey

This portable charger comes with some adapters for different countries and works on multiple devices. eee, eee, ooo, ooo.


We went with a cheap digital watch from Walgreens to try to attract less attention to us.  Also, it has an alarm function so we don’t have to bring a travel clock.

Flash Stick

For those times we want to use an internet café.