Two weeks before the trip is due to start I am busy putting together my equipment. When you carry all your belongings on your back it’s necessary to adhere to some packing rules. Here are the three most important ones (and no worries: I will put up a detailed list of my gear in the coming days):

1. Travel light

Start by packing only the bare necesseties. To me that is:

  • Clothing: t-shirts, Slips, bras, pants, socks, sweater, shoes, rain coat, hat, gloves, leggings, thermo socks
  • Electronics: camera, smartphone (communication instrument and GPS device), tablet (replacement GPS device, notebook and computer), powerpack (for the phone)
  • Drugstore items: shampoo (also serves as soap), deodorant, sun screen, washing powder, tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, wet wipes, nail clippers, nail file, comb, RubyCup mentrual cup, razor, exfoliating glove, contact lenses and cleaning fluid
  • Medication: band-aids / blister pads, Asperin, re-hydration sachets
  • Equipment: backpack (30 liter have to be enough), walking sticks (for added comfort while walking and added support on dirt tracks), reusable drinking bottle, head lamp, travel towel, cot / sleeping mat (in case couchsurfing doesn’t work out, sleeping bag (and liner), small note book & pen 

2. Travel light

Type and number are two very relevant parameters in influencing weight.

When it comes to fabrics I rely on microfiber and cotton. Even though cotton products are usually a bit heavier than microfiber alternatives I find them more comfortable in warmer temperatures. Therefore I prefer the natural fiber in t-shirts, underwear and socks. Bamboo is increasingly used as it combines wearing comfort with lower weight.

If you pack for a week at the beach you usually do not expect to do any washing inbetween. So you end up packing not only seven slips but also several pairs of pants or skirts and more than seven tops. That is OK as long as your suitcase only has to be moved from apartment to airport to hotel and back.

Having to carry everything on your back for hours on end makes things a bit more complicated.

That’s is why I apply the rule of three to t-shirts, slips and socks: wear one, dry / wash one and one for the night.

I also wear layers: I buy jackets and fleece sweaters in larger sizes to wear them on top of each other in cold weather.

For most other products look for lighter alternatives:

My pants are not only super-light but also socalled zip offs, long pants and shorts in one.

I wear super-light outdoor running shoes (The North Face Alkaline GTX XCR).

My sleeping bag is made for warmer nights and therefore weighs only 500 grams.

Modern bridge cameras – like the Olympus Stylus 1 which I am seriously eying to replace the old Canon SLR – do not only boast a very large focal length but often also offer HD video recording.

And my tablet is of course also the lighter netbook alternative (I added a folio case with a key board for more writing comfort). 

3. Travel light

An old trick to find out what else may go in the backpack is to only choose items with at least three different uses. For me those are:

  • Lock’n’Lock box: waterproof container for snacks etc., drinking cup and suitable for hot fluids and microwaves to make a warm meals
  • Travel Cutlery: a simple army knife with added spoon and fork
  • Therm-A-Rest cod: bed, seating and replacement tarp
  • Bikini: can be worn for swimming and as underwear
  • Carabiner, string, safety pins
  • External battery to charge the camera, phone and tablet
  • Vaseline: lip balm, skin care and lubricant
  • Sarong (African cloth): groundsheet, cover, towel, skirt, dress, towel

BTW: My crowdfunding campaign on Trevolta is still running. Can we finance the Olympus together?


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