Gear

kim's shit

kim's shit

Given that we were already getting rid of almost all the crap in our apartment, it made little sense to acquire tons of new backpacking gear. In keeping with our less-is-more habits, our plan was to travel very light and pick up necessities along the way. While I advocate packing the bare necessities, TD seemed to think he could get by with a pair of underwear, duct tape and a pocket knife. I gently persuaded him (i.e. personally attacked his mental capacities) to bring a few more key items.

* For an update on how our gear was working out on the road, read this post. We also ditched a ton of shit (crossed out below).
** If you are starting your trip in SE Asia (especially Bangkok), bring as little shit as possible. You can buy ANYTHING you need there.

BACKPACKS – (Kim) Gregory Jade 50, (TD) Gregory Z55. We tried on tons of packs and checked out online reviews. Gregory makes a fine pack for our needs, has great back ventilation systems and is big enough for all our shit. Mine weighed 25 pounds when fully packed.

CLOTHES – (Kim) Convertible pants, shorts, light hiking shoes, flip flops, sneakers,

td's shit
td’s shit

wicking socks (3),  jeans, t-shirts (2), tank tops (2), long sleeve shirt, summer dress, thin fleece, rain jacket, wicking underwear (3), bras (2), swim suit.

(TD) Convertible pants, jeans, t-shirts (3), hoodie, rain jacket, socks (3), underwear (3), button down (for clubs/nice dinners/etc), flip flops, city shoes, swim suit

TRAVEL EQUIPMENT

Sleep sack – Serves as protection from scratchy, bedbug ridden mattresses.

UV water purifier – Screw iodine pills. We can stick this pen into any glass or bottle for instant drinking water.

Duct tape
Leatherman
Combo utensils
Sigg water bottles
Guide books
Timbuktu bag – As our day pack. New cheap-y backpacks ($5 in Nepal!)
Rain fly – To protect our backpacks against the elements.
Travel towel – Quick dry, super absorbent kind. TD is obsessed with these.
Universal basin plug – For washing clothes in any sink.
Headlamp
Cheap watch with alarm – TD is rocking an 80’s era calculator watch for easy currency conversion.
Sunglasses – Gotta have your stunna shades on!
Nylon rope
Pillowcase
Inflatable neck rest – A must for long plane, bus or train rides.
Ziplock bags
Nesting bowl/mug – So we can have containers for our many picnic meals.
Notepad and pen – To jot down numbers, addresses, doodles…
Compression sack – Separate dirty laundry or to pack away things we don’t frequently use.
Toiletry hanging kit – Keeps all our shit in one place and hangs over door for easy access.
Micro tote – This reusable, little bag crumples up into its own pouch. Great for impromptu shopping trips.
Binder clips (for clothesline)

ELECTRONICS
Digital camera
Memory cards
Laptop
MP3 players
Power converter
Cell phone – All region
Skype phone
Flash drives

HEALTH
First Aid Kit
Cipro (diarrhea)
Malarone (malaria) – We didn’t bust into these malaria pills once during our trip. And we traveled to the Amazon and Laos, supposed hotspots of the disease. Look, at $6-8 a pill, these babies don’t come cheap so use your best judgement as to whether they’re necessary.
Ibuprofen
OTC anti-diarrhea
OTC anti- motion sickness
Cold medicine
Mosquito repellent – They eat me alive and I’m seriously worried about getting taken out by malaria.
Motion sickness acupressure bracelets – Because I’m a little bitch in my old age. – Or use a more basic remedy (i.e. closing your eyes).

TOILETRIES
Shampoo
Conditioner
All purpose cleanser – like a Dr. Bronner’s
Soap
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Moisturizer
Makeup
Comb
Earplugs/sleep mask – A must for when you don’t want to hear your hostel dorm mates banging each other.
Contact lenses
Sunscreen
Lip balm
Razor/blades

19 Comments

  • Ryan and Annie says:

    Hey Fuckers!

    Why did you choose a Skype phone, over using a laptop to connect up and do video/audio calls from there?

    FYI, wifey and I are headed out for a year starting in August… we’re headed west from Bostom, first stop is Alaska – looks like our itinerary crosses yours in south east asia then again in south america. fuckin’ a! We’ll def be in touch.

    All the best,
    Ryan and Annie

    • td says:

      We actually ditched the skype phone before we left and have been using a laptop and headset to make calls (before I broke the AC adapter).

  • Shivani says:

    hello hello!
    quick question for my fellow globe trotters:
    are your bags big enough or do you wish you got a 70 instead?

    • Kim says:

      We couldn’t be happier with the size of our bags. Plenty of space and easy to carry around (coming in at 10 kilos each). We chuckle when we see other travelers struggling with their heavy bags. Get the small one…trust.

  • Stan says:

    how do you get your shit through airports?
    it would be fucking amazing if you posted what brands and make/model of each item so I can go buy this crap for my on damn trip.
    you guys inspire me! you rock for doing this!
    hope you reply, until then, stay safe and have the time of your life doing this :)

    • Kim says:

      Stan – thanks for the comment! As for airports, we always check our bags….saves on hassle since we can’t bring liquids, leatherman, etc. on the plane. We’ve got an updated post “Gear review – 4 months in”, which gives details on what we’re carrying. Including links to where to buy (thanks to TD who is VERY detail oriented). Give us a shout if you need more info.

  • JB says:

    Hi, great post and blog. I read this and your follow-up post on your gear. I am going on a year-long trip similiar to yours and am deciding between a true backpack (like yours), or a pack has both backpack straps and wheels (i link to what we are thinking is below. Do you ever wish your packs had wheels; do you also laugh at people who have convertible back-pack/wheeled luggage? Any thoughts would be great.

    Keep writing, I enjoy your blog a lot. Thanks.

    JB
    something like this – http://www.ebags.com/product/victorinox/e-motion-40-22-trek-pack-plus/111320?productid=1293621&sourceID=GOOGFEED&CAWELAID=150144287)

    • td says:

      Hey JB,
      I’ve had bag like this before, I got one a for a short trip to Costa Rica a few years back where it stayed mostly in the trunk of our rented car or in hotels, and for that kind of traveling it was good. If you are going primarily from airport to hotel in developed countries a wheeled bag is nice and convenient. However for most of the world it is far superior to carry your bag on your back. I could count on one hand the number of backpackers I’ve seen in the last year with wheelie bags, and its for a good reason (and yes we sometimes laugh at them). You will hardly every have a flat road of nice floor to wheel your bag across, and the extra weight for that feature just isn’t worth it. I would also add that if your bag is too heavy to carry then you have way too much stuff. Kim and I have each stuck to about 10 Kilo (22 lbs) and have everything we need. For $300 you could get a bag like ours and have enough money for 15 days of nice accommodation in Thailand.

  • vago says:

    Glad to see you guys narrowed the list down. All that extra shit just gets in the way. I use the rule, if I don’t use it for 2 weeks it goes in the fucking free bin or gets ‘accidentally’ left somewhere where someone will find it. By the way, nearly half my gear was found where others had accidentally left it (hostels, hotel rooms, garbage bins, etc)

    Best,

    Vago

  • Paul says:

    Hey– Great blog.

    Curious to know what Power converter and cell phone you are using (especially in S. and C. America. Presumably you used the converter to convert AC to DC but am wondering if this is necessary when most laptops, digi cameras, etc. are speced for both. Does your converter also feature surge protection?

    Paul

    • td says:

      Hey Paul,
      Good question and since I used to be a cell phone engineer, you asked the right person. Quick lesson on electricity. All digital electronics (cell phones, laptops, camera’s, etc) run on DC electricity. In fact anything with a battery. The only things that run on AC are things like light bulbs, heaters and some electric motors. Everything else converts the AC to DC either internally, like a TV’s and desktop computers, or externally, like laptops or cell phone chargers. In the US our wall outlets are 110V, but most of the world, including S. America, are 220v or 240v, so you would need an AC/AC power converter to use things like hair dryers built for the US. We had one of these at the beginning of our trip, but we got rid of it early since it was bulky, heavy and we had no need for it. All the electronics we have use external AC adapters that can take AV voltages from 100-240 volts. Almost all AC adapters do this since it is cheaper to manufacture a universal adapters than different models for every country. Just look at any AC adapter you have and it will probably say “INPUT: 100-240V”, the only exception was out rechargeable battery charger, which I had to hunt for a 100-240V version. So really the only thing you have to worry about is the plug head, which you can buy adapters for almost everywhere and for less than $1. To answer your second question, we use a basic unlocked Nokia phone we bought on eBay. We just buy a SIM in the countries we think we’ll need it and it works like a local phone, though we rarely do this.

  • Paul says:

    Hey TD,
    Great–thanks of both counts! All my AC adapters are fine, and I have a universal plug head adapter– so I guess I am set. Beyond this, is there no need for a surge protector– or are electricity supplies in S. and C. America pretty stable? BTW, Fantastic trip and web page!!
    Paul

  • Ben says:

    Fucking love the blog
    I’m so glad to see that some of my favorites have been India tested by you guys!
    -The Gregory Z55 is seriously awesome, it’s like the magical harry potter tents – looks small but can actually carry tons of shit when you need it to.
    -SteriPen, saved my butt in haiti but I’ve been fretting the steri pen / classic pump debate. To the victor go the spoils!
    -Malarone. Yes. Done. Who wants to deal with cloroquine resistance or psychotic nightmares?
    **That hardcore mosquito repellent is best with at least 25% DEET. fucking hate mosquitoes….

  • 5Bsara says:

    Hey guys,

    I’m gearing up for a 4-6 month S America wwoofing/volunteering/nomad trip. Your blog has been really helpful- thanks! Did you ever wish you had a tent for overnights at volunteer sights and farms, or would it not be worth the hassle? Thanks!

    • Kim says:

      Hey there,
      We found that lots of places in Argentina expected you to have a tent, as the farm didn’t provide accomodations. Also, certain countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay) are expensive, so you can save tons if you camp. We lived out of ours for about a month and it was totally worth it. So if you’re doing a short trip, I think the benefits outweigh the hassle.

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