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The prepared versus the unprepared traveller

Posted by somtam2000 on 19/2/2018 at 16:45 admin

So on Sally and my recent trip through East and Central Java, we noticed that we had "slightly" different packing habits. So much so we unpacked and did a comparison.

The results are pretty eye opening and in summary I'd suggest never taking packing advice from me ;-)

You can read the full story here. Got a gear tip? Add it in the comments below.


#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,089

Posted by flijten on 22/2/2018 at 00:57

Funny this :) I'd say I would be somewhere in the middle of you two. Over the years I greatly scaled down stuff I take, especially the amount of instances of single items though. I remember taking enough t-shirts to change in a fresh one every day for two weeks on end on my first multi- month trip.

Over time I moved from my first 75+10 backpack to a 50l one and then to a 35l one. It makes no difference if I go for 10 days or 3 months, doing laundry is really ubiquitous around all of the globe anyway. If it nets me 10 days, it will net me 3 months as well.

I too have learned of stuff I never knew existed from Sally's list :) I don't take it to Stuart's extremes though.

I don't bring more electronics then a simple sony rx200 camera that is great except for zooming, a very small portable music box, a very decent but small headlamp, a priceless e-reader and a single 25maH powerbank.

We custom designed a mini first aid kit (basically throw out the useless stuff from a storebought one :p)

I have a wind tight, waterproof softshell coat (folds very small) that combined with the single sweater I take will keep me warm for everything above zero degrees celcius

A linnen sleeping bags for guesthouse beds that look like they receive multiple guests before getting changed.

I take a notebook and a pen

A pack of cards

A daypack thay folds into itself and is about the size of two fists (folded, obv.)

Apart from that I take the smallest towel I own (which is not for kitchen use), a sarong kind of thing that is sarong/beach towel/headscarf/etc and a handfull of clothes and a small vanity kit.

Footwear is either walking boots or flip-flops.

Basically I spend good money on essentials (the windtight waterproof coat set me back a couple hundred bucks) that will earn themselves back thousandfold and skip all the other stuff.

If I go camping in scandinavia or something, I take the 50l though, more than one longer trousers, multiple sweaters, etc. change the packing game ;)

#2 flijten has been a member since 19/12/2016. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 80

Posted by exacto on 11/3/2018 at 19:54

I enjoyed reading this story too, as I am packing for a trip to Turkey and Germany as I type. When I was younger, I probably packed more like Sally. But over the years, I started packing more like somtam. Part of it is baggage weight limits, as a few of the flights I'll take on this trip are limited to one checked bag at no more than 15 kg. But mostly, it is because I discovered I rarely used much of the stuff I was bringing, and even then, if I needed something, it became more and more available wherever I was, even in larger western sizes.

For a trip to the middle of nowhere, I'd definitely pack more carefully. But for a trip to Chiang Mai or Bali these days, I think I could show up with a change of underwear and a credit card and be mostly just fine. The thing I remind myself and others is that millions of people live wherever it is I am going, and they tend to get by with just what they can buy locally. So, apart from prescriptions and a few other specialty items, and enough toiletries and clothes to get me though the first week, I pack light now. Besides, I think some of the fun is finding what I need when I'm on the road. Cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

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