With a gear strategy in place, it was time to go shopping. After a goodly bit of research and shopping here’s the clothes Anner took on the trip! (List first, then my thoughts on them after)
Shoes – 1 pair (replaced twice on the trip for a total of 3 pairs)
Sandals – 1 pair
Socks (regular) – 3 pairs
Compression socks – 1 pair
Pants, cropped -1 pair
Pants, regular length – 1 pair (added for Mongolia)
Skort – 1 pair (later ditched)
Shorts – 2 pairs (started with 1 but added a pair)
T-Shirts – 2
Tank Tops – 2 (would be fine with just one)
Blouse/button up shirt – 1 (switched from cotton to quick-dry in month four)
Long sleeve shirt – 2 (1 is a lightweight hoodies; 1 is a lightweight long john top)
Bras (3 but 2 would be enough)
Undies (6 but 3 or 4 would be plenty)
Long john bottoms – 1 pair
Raincoat/wind breaker – 1 packable (the type that you can’t live without in Seattle)
Puffy coat – 1 packable (a fleece replacement because fleece is too bulky for our bags)
Fleece jacket – 1 (purchased for Mongolia)
Cap, Hat, Mittens and Scarf – yes please
Swimsuit – 1
Want more info? Here’s a summary of what worked and what didn’t.
My favorite piece of gear was my pair of Oboz shoes! They were light-weight but tough enough for hiking. Recently, I read another gear post with another woman raving about the Oboz. They were pretty much perfect for the trip. I got a replacement pair at the six-month mark and again at the one-year mark. Shoes are super personal – whatever you do, get shoes you love.
…. a good ole pair of Tevas! I guess my feet like to rock it old school. Figures.
I took 3 pairs of socks + one pair of compression socks, though I replaced all the everyday socks after 12 months because they were used up.
I had not one, but two travel docs absolutely insist on compression socks for long flights. (And we have had such looong flights!) I found cute compression socks from SockWell. Gotta say – my legs feel great when we fly. I also wear them if I’m freezing and need long socks.
1 pair regular pants; 1 pair cropped pants; 2 pairs shorts; 1 skort that I ditched in month four.
There’s nothing I searched longer for than pants. I hated them all, however the LL Bean comfort trail line is pretty great. They have pants, cropped pants, shorts, and skorts in a large range of sizes, including women’s and petites. They have good pockets, including an easy access zipper pocket which is nice for fending off the pick-pockets. All of it is quick dry which is fantastic not just on laundry day but also on unexpected down-pour days. Plus there’s a little adjustable elastic band inside that allows me to take my pants in as needed! And you know it happens – You gain a few pounds in one city, lose a few in the next. This is genius! And no one can tell….except that I just told you so.
RE-DO: skip the skort; take more shorts
I took a skort so I’d have something “dressy/girly” (which all the other travel blogs talked about) and quickly discovered that we weren’t doing anything that required that kind of attire. Plus, the skort is too many layers of fabric on a hot day and a pain to wash and dry. I occasionally wished I had a skirt, but I never missed the skort.
I got two quick-dry men’s Bean Trail Tee shirts. I purposefully wanted over-sized t-shirts so I could wear them under or over long-johns. Layering is such a useful strategy!
RE-DO: take just 1 tank
I got two quick-dry tank tops from Eddie Bauer, but one would be plenty for me and it became my sleeping shirt. Most of the really warm places we have been were also Muslim and frowned upon too much skin, so then I would end up with a tank top and a blouse over it which defeats the point of trying to stay cool…so I pretty much gave up on the tank tops. If we were in different countries, say Australia, I think the tanks would be essential and two would be the minimum.
BLOUSE/BUTTON UP SHIRT
RE-DO: Skip cotton shirt; take only quick-dry
I started with a cute cotton button up blouse with 3/4 sleeves that I swiped from my mom when she wasn’t looking (who one day emailed and asked if that white blouse in the photos happened to have been hers… Good eye, mom, good eye!) I wore it over t-shirts and tanks for a little shade from the sun or warmth if it’s coolish. Pretty quickly realized that the white cotton was impossible to keep dry or clean and the 3/4 sleeves were too short to tie around my waist. Sent it home and replaced it with a men’s quick-dry shirt from The Bean…that Aaron and I shared.
I got one Marmot light-weigh hoodie. I can’t find it online, but feels like quick dry t-shirt material with a hood. It’s perfect on cool summer evenings. This is my favorite top, but I’m a sucker for a hoodie. So, like I say, take what you’re comfortable in!
LONG JOHNS – 1 top, 1 bottom (added another 1 top, 1 bottom in Mongolia)
Mid-weight long-johns. Not super-warm but warm enough for 3-seasons. The REI bottoms I use around the house/hostel all the time – kind of like sweat pants.
In South Africa I stocked up on an extra pair of long-johns for Mongolia.
BRA & PANTIES
Eh hem…The Unmentionables….okay, if one thing needs to be comfy it’s bras and panties! Bras were the only non-quick dry in my pack. Comfortable and good on regular days or on climb-every-mountain days. The undies were the quickest dry item in the pack. Love these! They are super easy to wash and always dry by morning if not much sooner.
The Bean’s primaloft packable jacket is a good looking fleece substitute. I like fleece more, but with only tiny backpacks there was simply no room for bulk. This jacket smooshes down small and I used it as a pillow occasionally.
You pretty much are not allowed to live in Seattle city limits unless you have one of these somewhere in your closet. Mine’s packable and has pit-zips, both things I’ve used a lot on this trip. We had nearly no rain but it’s been handy as a windbreaker. I didn’t use it much, but when I did I was very happy to have it.
In South Africa I purchased a fleece zip-up for Mongolia. It’s not very packable and I’ve learned to place it between my pack and the rain cover instead of putting it in my pack (it would never fit). Still, I’ve quite liked having it.
HAT, CAP, SCARF, MITTENS
Throughout the trip I acquired an alpaca scarf in Bolivia, a hand knitted hat in Ecuador, and mittens and a skull cap in South Africa for Mongolia. The hat and scarf have been indispensable and I’m so glad I got them. Also glad I got them on the road and not in a store before I left. I think of South America every time I grab my scarf.
The mittens were for Mongolia and I was glad to have them. Gave them to the handlers when I left. Wore them a couple of times.
Skull cap I got for Mongolia but I’ve used it since then. It seriously ups the warmness-factor when I wear it under my other hat or on its own.
I just got one from Macy’s that I liked and, it being Macy’s, it was on sale. It’s worked great for snorkeling and a day on a deserted island.
As I’m packing for our six week Tanzania trip this list is proving to be very helpful. Much of these sames items are all prepped and ready to be packed once more!
Next up is likely a back-logged gear post about some of the random things we brought along. Stay tuned.
What a great guide for packing for any trip that doesn’t require office or dressup clothes! Whenever I think about whether I should take extra stuff and check a bag, I remember the story told by a longtimeago boyfriend. As a new airline employee, he tagged bags going to Tama with the TPE tags. Later he learned that Tampa is TPA. He’d sent those bags to Taiwan. I carry on.
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