Monday, February 8, 2010

The Obligatory Packing List: Part I

This is Part I of a four-part series detailing the the list of crap I'm carting to the other side of the world.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Read the intro.

Let's start with with clothing.

from the waist down

  • Every seasoned RTW ('round-the-world) traveler says to leave the jeans at home.  I call B.S.  I live in jeans.  They're warm.  And I get tired of looking like a backpacker.  I want to feel like myself.
  • The hiking pants also double as really good climbing pants, or slightly dressier pants (if they're clean).  They're about 30% cotton, 70% poly-something, so they dry pretty fast but they feel nice to wear.
  • The cotton work pants and belt will stay in NZ.
  • The track pants do quadruple duty as sleepwear, something comfortable for hanging out/ long bus rides, for rainy days (they're polyester, so they dry fast after a shower), and trail days (again, they're polyester, so they dry fast after sweating).
  • The long skirt is by Macabi.  If you're fashion conscious, this is not for you.  I adore this skirt, although it can be static-inducing with tights.
  • The shorter skirt still covers my knees (what can I say:  I'm modest.  Fortunately, so is the majority of the world).  It's a cheap cotton jersey thing I got at Old Navy years ago.
  • I hate shorts.  I'm not bringing any.
from the waist up

  • The blue shirt is merino wool.  Hopefully I can wear it for days on end without smelling too awful.
  • The purple, dark green, and pink shirts are all cotton or a cotton/ poly blend.  
  • The green, blue, and brown tank tops are also cotton or cotton/ poly blend.
  • I'm bringing a lot of shirts.  Why?

    • Cotton takes longer to dry.  Again, conventional RTW traveler wisdom says to bring all quick-dry material.  Well, let me tell you a thing or two about quick-dry material:  it smells like HELL after intense wearing, it doesn't feel nice against your skin, and it constantly reminds you that you're a traveler.  People all around the world--even in the very locations you're visiting--do just fine wearing cotton.  Give it a day, and it will dry.  If not, put it on ever so slightly damp, and it will dry even faster.  So, I'm happily bringing seven shirts I like and already own that will take longer to dry, rather than two expensive shirts that look bad and smell worse but dry quickly.  (Rant over.)
    • I dislike doing laundry every day or every other day.  I'd rather spend my time doing other stuff.
    • Other than the blue shirt, I'm not too attached to any of them, and I wouldn't be surprised if I left these behind and picked up new ones along the trip.
    • I'm female, and my clothes are tiny.  I can bring two tee-shirts, or three tank tops, for the space of one men's tee-shirt.
under and other

  • Yes, cotton underwear.  No, not going for the standard backpacker ExOfficio briefs.  Call me a hippy, but I will go without before I wear synthetic underwear.  Six pairs because I do change my underwear every day, even when I don't change my tee-shirt or pants.
  • I love wool socks.  When it's too hot for wool socks, I'm wearing sandals anyway.  I'm bringing three pairs of EMS brand socks; one pair of heavy, warm, knit wool socks; and one pair of nylon liners (blister-prevention).  I pulled all of these out of my sock drawer--they've seen a lot of wear already--will they hold up over the course of the trip?
  • I'm blessed/ cursed with very curly hair.  The best way I've found to keep my hair relatively clean while outside for long periods of time is to keep it under wraps.  I'm bringing one regular bandana and one buff (expensive, but I had an EMS credit and I couldn't find anything to use it on).  Both can double as a particulate filter for water before using the Steripen.
  • Gotta have a hanky for hiking in temperatures colder than, say, 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).
  • Bras, bathing suit, wash cloth.  Blah blah blah.

  • The green microfleece and the peach merino long-sleeved shirt resist the funk pretty darn well.  I brought both to Peru last year and loved having them in Cusco (gets pretty cold there).
  • The black long underwear top is from EMS.  It does not resist the funk.  In fact, it rocks the funk like George Clinton (yucky synthetic quick-dry material!).  I combat the funk with apple cider vinegar rinses, but I think I'm losing the battle.  This top might stay in NZ.
  • The heavier black fleece is a good balance between warmth and size.  I sewed a simple cotton jersey pillowcase that fits the folded fleece, so I have something to use as a pillow.  I'm so fortunate that I can sleep just about anywhere, but having a pillow is so much more comfortable.
  • I got my rain shell on clearance from EMS a few seasons ago.  It's rather bulky, so I sewed a small stuff sack to keep it compressed in my backpack.
  • I found this pair of black merino wool long johns on a clearance rack (score!).  My synthetic EMS long johns aren't that comfortable, kinda stink (eww), and create massive amounts of static if I wear them under something.  Out of the pack.
  • The cotton sun hat is from Dollar Tree.  The fleece-lined wool beanie was from some other dollar store.  Sort of amazing, because both fit perfectly, look good, and function well.  Take that, overpriced EMS!
  • I knit the fingerless mitts from a beautiful eggplant-colored wool.  It was my first cabling project.
  • The canvas work gloves were from a dollar store, too.  I never, ever use gloves in the garden (talk about disconnecting from the earth), but the work in NZ might require a bit more hand protection.  These will definitely stay in NZ.
los pies

  • It took me five tries (no exaggeration) to find hiking boots that I love.  And damn do I love these boots. They're the Women's Renegade, with Goretex, by Lowa.  Many RTW-packing-advice-givers strongly suggest that you leave the boots at home with the jeans, since most people do not wear hiking boots regularly and only bring them for the occasional trek.  Once again, I'm not taking this advice.  I wear these boots at home all the time.  Yes, I'm that type of fashion unconscious person who wears hiking boots to the bars.  So what.
  • I can walk all day, and even hike, in Chacos sandals.  I sewed a few modifications to the heel strap to get my foot to sit in them correctly, but it was worth it.
  • I bought a pair of cheap, light-weight sneakers for this trip.  I think it's very likely that I'll want something with a closed toe that's lighter than my boots (for long bus rides, for that "ahhh" moment after taking off the hiking boots for the day, etc.).  I'm still on the fence about these, though, and I might leave them at home.
On to Part II...

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