We’re making a packing list and we’re torn. Every single one we’ve found so far is written for a made-up Lonely Planet public and is, in almost all cases, irrelevant to actual modern travellers…
The first time I went travelling I trawled over these curated lists: comparing, contrasting, blindly following…and ultimately ended up with a pack that would make Indiana Jones happy in a tight situation, but left me without anything to wear when I went to a bar with my new travel mates. There was SO MUCH I never took out of its zip lock carrier, let alone actually used. So we’ve made a new one.
Of course there are some gems of recommendations found on lists so far: ‘Chopstick Trainer’, ‘Laser Pointer’ and ‘Mini American Flags’ being my favourites. Equally as useless on this kind of trip, but less obviously so, include ‘trousers that double as shorts’, ‘hiking boots’ and ‘money belt’.
- Trousers That Double as Shorts
They look bad, the zips break or get stuck with gunk and you feel like a 50 something hill rambler. You gonna bring a walking stick too?
- Hiking Boots
If you’re going travelling for the first time on a gap year type trip, you’re very unlikely to need them. On our three week stint in Morocco we all climbed Mount Toubkal in any old trainers and depending on the time of year, you can too . Unless you’re going all-out serious with your mountaineering or jungle trekking, ditch the weight.
- Money Belt
- If someone is going to mug you, a strip of material strapped round your belly button will not stop them. If you look like a tourist, they will look for it.
- As soon as you lift your shirt to get some cash out, you look like a twat.
- You use a normal wallet at home and you’re fine. To stop someone pick pocketing you…put your wallet away somewhere safer than your pocket. Simple.
Complaining aside, this trip is unlike any I’ve done before in that we can’t go with the ‘we’ll just buy anything we’re missing along the way’ mentality. With no money to use, we have to get it right or deal with the consequences of getting it wrong…
We have a strategy to improve our chances of being picked up on the road, humoured in restaurants, and otherwise treated like normal human beings rather than nomadic oddballs. This strategy relies heavily on, and makes necessary, some otherwise strange choices.
Here’s the list so far (this packing list is the total items for both Lilly and I – we’re ‘sharing is caring’ types):
Two bags: 40L each
Day Bag: normal Eastpack style rucksack for me, nike mini for Lilly
Pacsafe 12L bag (Not necessary, but I love the careless abandon it allows and it fits inside my 15L Day Bag)
3 compression bags
Black white board pens and boards
Duct tape (Small amount wrapped around something else useful)
Multi-tool, including pliers, knife, wire cutters, bottle and can opener
Notepad and pencil
Head torch (why bring a regular torch when you can attach one to your head?)
Batteries for head torch
GoPro with charger and mounts
Phone and charger
Camera and charger
Multiple SD / MicroSD cards (Top Tip: make your first picture your contact info. If lost and found by a stranger, they can return it!)
Sarongs. They’re so useful, we’ve listed 99 ways you can use them.
Clothing & Toiletries
2 t-shirt tops each (light, airy and ‘normal’ looking)
3 vest type tops
2 pairs of shorts each
1 pair of trackies / trousers each
1 nice outfit (cotton summer dress?) each
1 pair of trainers / shoes each
1 pair of flip flops / sandals each
3 bras each (No underwire – I cannot be arsed sewing in stray wire whilst I’m on the road)
5 pairs of pants each (No, we won’t be sharing these – weirdo.)
3 pairs of socks each
1 swim suit each
1 hoodie each
1 waterproof each
“Hot pants, stilettos and bras, I reckon.”
Tooth brush each
Solid shampoo bar
razor with new heads each
Roll on deodorant each
Menstrual cup each (No, we won’t be sharing these – weirdo.)
We’ve been debating the key amount of pants (knickers to you American types) to bring along so that we’re not constantly washing but also, y’know, clean. ish. We’ve decided five, because that gives us about a week’s worth (with the odd double up day and commando day…there’s a lovely thought for you!) whilst retaining some sort of dignity since this trip is being documented in detail.
With toiletries, we’re trying to bring enough that we don’t run out of anything, but keeping in mind the weight and space taken up… we’ll keep you updated on whether we have the right amount or if we run short!
Let us know what you think we’ve missed, or need to ditch. And if you’ve got any questions as to ‘why’ (or indeed, ‘why not’) then fire away in the comments below…