Making the cut

All my worldly possessions for the next three months, grouped by theme.

I’m no Simran, but I do love me a good packing list. I’ve been hunting down items and checking them off a spreadsheet for two weeks now. It’s fun like a puzzle scavenger hunt. Or, more literally, a knapsack problem.

It’s all about multipurpose, light, and edit edit edit. No need to carry batteries (or backup of virtually any normal thing) “just in case”. Money is for just in case. All you really need to travel is your passport and a credit card, everything else is nice-to-have.

I consider myself a pretty light traveler; I’m not the kind of girl who needs a hair dryer in the morning. But I still found this a challenge. It took a couple of rounds of editing, per my own advice, before I got down to the version pictured here. Just a few last minute items and I’m ready! All told, my pack is about 80% full, a little heavier than I would like, but quite acceptable.

Some key/tricky/special items in my pack are:

  • all-purpose soap/shampoo
  • books with high goodness&length:weight ratio
  • mini computer
  • layerable and versatile clothing
  • compressible coat [North Face Blaze Micro Hooded]. Super excited about this, my only major purchase for this trip. It packs into its pocket, is perfect for the temperature range, and weighs 10oz!
  • convertible pants [Marmot Lobos]. Light weight, super stretchy, and actually fit for a girl; I know I’m going to live in these babies. Not the zip off kind, they instead roll up into capris.
  • lightweight shoes
  • sacks for compressing and grouping, making it easier to find items
  • my comfort extras: compressible pillow, sleep mask, ear plugs, gummi bears, favorite pens
Everything compressed down.
IMG_0755-1 (dragged)_preview.jpg
Packed up and ready to go!

5 thoughts on “Making the cut

  1. shout-out!! wheee!!!! i LOVE that you packed clothespins. you've really thought of everything!! curious, though, why you didn't sub the computer out for a tablet, which would keep you connected *and* allow you to read infinite books without adding any weight. (yes, i realize this is heretical, coming from me… but i'm curious seeing as how you have to be so pragmatic!)


  2. It's a good question. A couple of reasons: First, I'm only bringing things I'd be fine if were lost or stolen, and this computer isn't worth much to me. It was bought on a lark as a toy for cheap 4 years ago, handed down to Laura (so I've already “lost” it once), and she just got a new laptop so was about to get rid of it anyways. So this particular computer was free, is no loss if something happens to it, is less attractive to steal vs a tablet, and I'm giving it a new life! If this computer hadn't been an option, I may have taken an old iPad1, but that still wouldn't solve issues 2 and 3… Second, I've heard that when traveling by bus it's a good idea to not display any electronics, so for reading while in transit real books are better. Third, I simply prefer reading my books on paper and trading books with other travelers as I go. 🙂


  3. Wow, there are sooo many changes I would make to this list if I were to do it over (many changes I made on the road)! Better laptop, cuter clothes, bikini, an e-reader, proper conditioner, no water pump (didn't actually bring this, even though it is pictured), nail polish, shea butter, bigger flash drive, misc tools/decorations and other random usefuls.


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