When I was embarking on my first world adventure, one of the most difficult tasks for me was how to pack for the trip. I read many articles of other travelers, and most of them had the same basic message. Travel as light as you can. However, being an avid photographer, that’s a very difficult task to do. Just my camera and the two lenses I brought on my trip accounted for 7.25 lbs. (32 oz. for body, 32 oz. for 24-70 lens, and 52 oz. for 70-200 lens). Additionally, my trip involved both hemispheres, and I had extreme weather climates to contend with. I was in the tropics near the equator in SE Asia, and in the cold when walking on glaciers in Patagonia. My travel bag at the time consisted of the following:

Luggage

  • 1 65-Liter Gregory Backpack
  • 1 Eddie Bauer School Backpack

Toys

  • 1 MacBook Pro
  • 1 Nikon D800E
  • 1 Nikkor 24-70 lens
  • 1 Nikkor 70-200 lens
  • 1 Lumo Pro LP140 flash
  • 1 Kindle
  • 1 Nexus One (android phone)
  • 4-5 Various chargers/cables for toys
  • 1 Journal

Cloths

  • 4 Pairs underwear
  • 2 Jeans
  • 2 Shorts
  • 4 Shirts
  • 4 Socks
  • 1 Headlamp
  • 1 Under Armor pant
  • 1 Under Armor shirt
  • 1 Waterproof windbreaker
  • 1 Light jacket (Michigan jacket)
  • 1 Heavier jacket (North Face Denali)
  • 1 North Face hat
  • 1 Pair gloves
  • 2 Bottles for water
  • 1 Dress shirt
  • 1 Pair dress shoes
  • 1 Pair sandals
  • 1 Cacoon silk sheet
  • 3 Medium Ebags

Toiletries

  • 1 Soap dish + soap
  • 1 Shampoo
  • 1 Razor + shaving cream
  • 1 Laundry soap
  • 1 Cloths drying string
  • 1 Toothbrush + toothpaste

Lessons learned from my first trip.

I put to much emphasis on doing laundry in the hotel room sink, instead of just paying for a service to do my laundry, in particular in SE Asia. Because, i really only had 4 days worth of cloths, I was constantly wasting time doing laundry, instead of doing more productive things like planning for the next day/weeks.

In my original packing plan, I wanted to have everything fit into the 65-liter bag, including my small backpack and camera. This proved to be a huge pain in the ass. I gave up doing laundry after 2 weeks into my trip. I ultimately just carried both backpacks (big heavy one on back, small heavy one in the front). Both packs seemed to weigh the same, due to the more condensed weight of the electronics.

Offline maps were a necessity. I think it worked better than a map. However, I will say that the newer versions of Google Maps have more limitations on which countries you can save maps for. Specifically, I noticed in South America, there are a number of countries that do not have offline map capabilities. I’m assuming there is a licensing issue preventing them otherwise.

What I’m packing for my second trip

Electronics Cloths

Luggage

  • 1 65-Liter Gregory Backpack
  • 1 Eddie Bauer School Backpack

Toys

  • 1 MacBook pro
  • 1 Nikon D800E
  • 1 Nikkor 24-70 lens
  • 1 Go Pro 3+ Silver
  • 1 Go Pro monopod
  • 1 IPhone5
  • 1 USB Battery
  • 4-5 Various Charger/cables for toys
  • 1 Journal

Cloths

  • 7 Pairs underwear
  • 3 Jeans
  • 4 Shorts
  • 7 Shirts
  • 7 Socks
  • 1 Headlamp
  • 1 Under Armor pant
  • 1 Under Armor shirt
  • 1 Waterproof windbreaker
  • 1 Light jacket (Michigan jacket)
  • 1 Heavier jacket (North Face Denali)
  • 1 North Face hat
  • 1 Pair gloves
  • 1 Bottles for water
  • 2 Dress shirt
  • 1 Pair dress shoes
  • 1 Pair sandals
  • 1 Cacoon silk sheet
  • 4 Medium Ebags

Toiletries

  • 1 Soap dish + soap
  • 1 Shampoo
  • 1 Razor + shaving cream
  • 1 Laundry soap
  • 1 Cloths drying string
  • 1 Toothbrush + toothpaste

packed and ready to go

These are some notable differences. I dropped the heavy lens. This was a hard decision to make. I went back and forth, and I’m sure if I were thinking clearly in the morning before my flight, I would have added last minute. I just hope I don’t end up regretting that mistake, in particular if I end up at the Galapagos Islands. Because of weight concerns, I removed the portable flash. By dropping the flash, i could remove the batteries and the charger from the equation. Instead I added a go pro as an inexpensive camera that I don’t mind getting stolen and for action underwater photos and videos.

I’ve switched out my android phone for an IPhone. Unfortunately, Google Maps offline capabilities are limited in South America. Fortunately, apple maps does a good job with its caching capabilities. From the few articles I found on the subject, it appears the Apple maps supports vectored images, while the Google Maps IPhone app is still based on tiling. This isn’t a fault of Google’s but rather with WebKit not supporting vectored images.

More Clothes. This time around, I did not want to have to be doing laundry every 3-4 days, so I packed about twice the number of cloths this time around. What I didn’t keep in mind was to make sure to pack wrinkle free cloths. Also the types of cloths changed somewhat. Previously, I only brought synthetic cloths, as i wanted easy washing/drying solutions. However, on the previous trip, finding out that laundry is fairly affordable, opting to bring normal cloths was viable.

Christmas, Feria de Cali, New Years

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