Nuts & Bolts - Packing List

A few years ago, we took four leisurely days to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. On that short trip we each brought along forty, of what we thought were essential, pounds. Each. How much would we need for a trip of over three hundred fifty days? Fortunately there seems to be a direct correlation between the amount one carries and the amount of experience one has -- more of one usually means less of the other. We are a little more experienced now and have set out to limit our 2 packs to just over 50 lbs total. This may be mandane and boring to most of you, but fellow traveler's should find it helpful. Here's what we brought:

Things we left home with:
Adjustments and recommendations:
1 large backpack with detachable small pack
1 small backpack
2 small wallets
2 money belts
1 IBM Thinkpad laptop    
1 external CD Drive
1 Canon G2 digital camera
various power cords
personal cards with email and address
pac-safe security net with lock
2 small combination locks
5 blank cds
  we backed up our digital images, sent the CDs home and picked up more along the way
1 small flashlight
1 mini voice recorder
1 first aid kit    
1 toiletries bag - deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, clothes detergent, razor, tooth brushes and paste, non-water hand disinfectant, lip salve, lotion   note: deodorant/antiperspirant is not available in china. bring plenty! but it is available in most of southeast asia.
medication - ibuprofen, antihistamines, tums, cough & cold pills, anti-dirrahea pills, doxycyclin malarial pills
  you can buy most of these medications in any country - just bring a small supply
displosable contact lenses, saline solution, eye drops, one pair eye glasses
insect repellent (DEET)
water purification tablets
  we never used these - always drank bottled water
2 sleep sheets
  sleeping bags have not been necessary as all hotels and hostels provide sheets and blankets, but the sleep sheets are a must for protecting yourself at grotty hotels. we also suggest bringing a pillow case.
US$, traveler's checks, two credit cards each, two ATM cards each, passports, air tickets, driver's licenses, emergency phone number list
  we split this stuff up - each of us carried a set up cash/checks, credit cards and documentation in two seperate places/bags
copies of all official documents, left copies at home too
2 journals
1 small notebook for documenting expenses, etc.

Various guidebooks for the first leg of our journey

  you can pick these up along any major traveller route, which is to say, most of the world. don't try to bring all of your books from the beginning - it will be much too heavy. some travelers like to photocopy parts of a book and travel with small packets. we prefer to have all of the information at our disposal and then send the book home once we leave a country.
Various books for reading   always good to have a few of these on hand - even traveling has it's boring moments
For Nigel:
1 rain jacket
5 shirts
Collared shirts are much more suitable for Asia.
2 pair pants
  One pair discarded almost immediately. Heavy material = too much weight and long drying times on a clothesline. Buy light weight.
2 pair shorts
1 pac-towel
  very quick drying
1 bandana
  great for the inevitable cold you will catch
1 pair shoes
  do NOT buy Vasque
1 pair sandals
  I like Chaco but be prepared to be recognized as American
4 pair socks
  smartwool - dry fast and don't stink after 4 days on Nigel's foot. The crucible of stench.
3 pair underwear
For julie:
1 pair shorts
1 long skirt, rayon
  quick to dry is very important
1 pair pants
4 shirts
1 pair pajamas
1 thin jacket
  replaced with a warm, fleece jacket
1 bandana
1 pair sunglasses
2 pair socks
4 pair underwear
1 pair sandals
1 pair walking shoes
1 bath towel
  stick to a thin, fast drying towel
1 pair flip-flops   Budget accommodating require flip flops. Nicer place provide their own paper ones. Great souvenirs!
Purchases and additions made during the trip...
small tripod
A necessary item if you're serious about photography. They are only half the price in China.
lots of fiction and travel books
English books are expensive and hard to find in China -- bring as many as possible with you, you'll appreciate the reading and the trade value. Stock up on them in Vietnam - cheap rip off copies are everywhere (hey - we're on a budget man!), especially in Saigon. Rip off books are available in Thailand but they're not as cheap.
short wave radio   English television and newspapers are hard to come by in China. The BBC on short-wave is an excellent news source from almost anywhere. Plus it relieves boredom when you run out of things to talk about with your travel partner.
music CDs, flexi-case and small speakers   Pirated CD's cost US$1.25 in China! . We decided to load up on music and a cheap pair of mini-speakers - American music was incredibly comforting after a few months of not hearing it
playing cards   Good way to pass the time. We also suggest a small scrabble board, majong cards, mini chess -- those train rides can be very long.




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