Two words: Packing Cubes. They are awesome for keeping a suitcase or backpack organized and Ebags has a wide choice of colors and sizes. I recall trips where I had to dig through a pack in search of an item and I’m happy to say that those days are gone. Check out the photos below to see how the packing cubes work. Yes, I’m a labeller too, which should help keep the kids organized. Me too!
The Pack: I’m using an Osprey Porter 65L, which is a little big for my needs, but seems to be a well-constructed and well-organized bag. It’s a light-weight pack that carries like a suitcase but has shoulder straps, if needed. Fully loaded with my gear, it weighs about 26 pounds. We will be in all sorts of weather, which means we need everything from shorts and swim suits to multiple layers to keep out the cold. Below is the complete list of what I am bringing, including the items that I will be wearing at any given time.
Tops: 5 short sleeve (1 athletic), 1 sleeveless, 1 long sleeve (nicer), 1 athletic pullover
Bottoms: 1 jeans, 1 zipoffs, 1 athletic/lounge pants, 1 cotton pants (can roll to capris), 2 pairs capris (one normal and one athletic), 1 shorts. Capris are my favorite if they work with the weather.
Undergarments: 6 socks, 6 undies, 2 bras, 2 sports bras, 1 long johns, 1 pair jammies, 1 boxers. We are travelling pretty fast and won’t always be in places with easy laundry, so we are packing extras of these small, lightweight items.
Outerwear: 1 microfleece jacket for everyday wear, 1 thick fleece jacket, 1 rain/wind breaker, 1 lightweight hat and gloves (I am bringing a microfleece instead of bring an extra long-sleeved shirt).
Other: 1 ball cap, 1 sun hat, 1 dress (casual but nice), 1 bathing suit.
Shoes: 1 pair slip-on canvas shoes for everyday, 1 pair cross-trainers for serious walking and hiking (we are trekking in Nepal), 1 pair Tevas, 1 pair lightweight “barefoot” Mary Janes from Merrill (nicer looking for the occasional outing). I think I have one pair too many but can’t dump one yet.
Utility Bag: laundry brush and line, sink stopper, extra contacts (an 8 month supply), deck of cards, a bag in a bag (unfolds into an extra shopping bag), headlamp, sunglasses for me and the kids, backup eye glasses, bug spray, tampons, extra shoelaces (have you met my son?), hair bands, a cable lock and a tiny sewing kit.
Toiletries: the usual list in travel sizes, Will replenish as needed.
Day Pack or Carry-On
The Pack: An ordinary day-pack, the same one I’ve been using for years. Fully loaded, it weighs about 11 pounds, which is mostly the electronics.
Electronics: 1 Netbook, 1 Kindle reader, 1 iPhone (for wi-fi and local SIM cards) plus all associated cables chargers
Purse: Travels in carry-on until needed on its own. It’s a small specialty cross-body bag with straps that can’t be cut. It can fit the Kindle, wallet, sunglasses, phone, snacks inside and will be used as an everyday bag when I don’t need a backpack.
Other: notebook, pens and pencils, wallet, prescription meds (antibiotics and antimalarial), eyeglasses, travel utensils, snacks, eye patch, ear plugs, travel pillow (I’m very particular about pillows; like ‘em small and flat).
Tim, Charlie and A.J.’s Bags
Tim has a monster pack, which is a proper backpack that can be used for long-distance hikes (and was when he did the Annapurna Circuit in the 1990s). He is carrying a similar amount of clothing, plus the family medical kit (the usual stuff), four small microfiber travel towels, the SLR camera with extra lens, some workbooks for the kids, a power strip and travel adapter. His carry-on is a specialty backpack that also has a laptop sleeve and a camera case built-in.
The kids have wheeled bags from Eagle Creek that are legal carry-ons, although we will probably check them most of the time. I got these on a deep discount (only $69 each) from Sierra Trading Post and they look like fabulous, functional bags. In addition, they will have their school bags. For them we’ve packed a similar array of clothing, plus some school work, a whiteboard and dry erase markers (to help with road-schooling), a journal, a mini stuffed animal, a small water bottle, travel utensils and one or two personal items. A.J. has a tiny amount of Lego (one of the sets that can be made into 8 different things). Charlie has a point and shoot camera.
How Many E-Devices?
Huuummmm, not used to travelling with electronics. This is a change from my previous travels in the 1990s. But, yes, we’re travelling with electronics and yes, they will aid us and entertain us along the way. Have I mentioned how many long flights we have? But they will not take the place of actual experiences! The kids will not be playing Angry Birds when they should be looking at the beautiful scenery or interacting with the local kids.
Back to electronics. Some of it is covered above. But, overall, everyone in our family has their own Kindle reader (it has a very long-lasting battery, making it a must have for our long travel days) and this is instead of bring a huge stack of books! We also have 1 Kindle Fire for games and movies and 2 small computers (I’m carrying a netbook and Tim’s carrying a notebook). The computers will be used for school work, email, photo management, blogging, movies, etc and it was a big decision to take two instead of just one. Also thinking of bringing a couple of iPod Nanos or iTouchs so we’ll have some pocket-sized audio players. And, finally, we’ve got the unlocked iPhone. So, that, my friend, is how we got to over 2 devices per person!