They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Today, I want to share some of details of our trip research, particularly related to the equipment we are taking, so I decided to share some pictures as well.
I have done a lot of research leading up to this trip and I needed a place to record it all. I use 37signals’ appropriately named Backpack application to organize the info.
At first I imagined I would need a much smaller backpack than I actually do. I am 5’8″ and 170 pounds. At the store it felt right to go with something like 4000 cubic inches. Once I started adding up accessories, clothes and camping gear I realized I needed a lot more space. I ended up going with the navy Kelty Red Cloud 5600 with a 5600 cu. in. capacity. Today World Info
I made the right decision; the packed bag is comfortable, weights in at about 40 pounds and fits all the stuff I need to take with a tiny bit of room to spare:
Shoes – Must be Versatile
When it came to shoes I knew it had to meet all of the following 4 criteria: light-weight, comfortable, water-proof (or at least water-resistant), and stylish. I was surprised how difficult it was to find a shoe that matched all these. At the end of the day I went with a pair of Merrell Intercept.
Another thing to remember is that we’ll have very few shoes with us so whatever shoe we do bring, must be versatile enough to match a variety of different outfits.
I did try the Fivefinger Vibram rubber sandals and although very comfortable, they are not as practical as I had imagined. The Vibram’s also require weekly washing to prevent them from smelling weird.
Daypacks – Comfort is Key
These are generally smaller backpacks which you can carry with you on day trips while you leave your backpack at the hostel/campground lockers. I tried a couple different ones including slings. Due to the fact that I am taking a laptop, camera and Kindle a sling was big enough. Larger slings are also not as comfortable as a regular backpack. I chose the STM Laptop bag:
I did try a Pacsafe backpack. These packs a bit heavier and have generally fewer compartments. The big plus is that they are slash-proof and have wire reinforced straps.
Why would you need a slash-proof, wire-reinforced backpack?
It is not uncommon is less developed countries to have your backpack be a very big target for petty thefts. The thieves could try to pull the backpack from your shoulder by yanking and breaking the straps. This will be difficult with wire reinforced straps. The second strategy is to use an exacto-knife to slash the bottom of the backpack so that some of the heavier, and usually most valuable content will fall out, good luck slashing through metal wire.
I didn’t really like how the pacsafe I tried had only 2 large compartments, and very few smaller pockets for small items.
Tents – Look for the Lightest One
One of the heaviest items I’ll be carrying is a tent. A 2 person tent is really too small for 2 people. We chose to go with a Marmot Limelight 3 person tent which fits 2 people comfortably with a bit of room to spare as well as a place to put our backpacks.
Make sure the tent is sealed and waterproof. You will definitely want to get a footprint. A footprint is a plastic layer that goes below the tent; it’s waterproof and easy to clean. Some tents will come with one, as ours did.
If you choose to go with a smaller tent, make sure that there is space to store your backpack while you are inside the tent. Some 2 person tents have small vestibules created by the extending rain-fly. You can generally fit a smallish backpack under the vestibule (this will not be watertight).