What good is a “gear” tab with no info? No good at all! So let’s get started. Yep, we’ve been a bit tardy on this one. Better late than never, right?
When we were researching for the trip we followed a zillion blogs and studied all their gear lists. We cross-checked the lists. We conducted statistical regressions on the lists. We read and re-read every review. We studied all the gear in the top backpacking magazines. Aaron was especially obsessed, but we were both like Labrador puppies with slobbery tennis balls – we just couldn’t get enough!
Every blog, book and website said that Americans in particular spend WAY too much time worrying about what to bring and we are living proof of that! Luckily all our research paid off and we have both been really happy with our gear. I think the most important take-away is – TAKE STUFF YOU LIKE!
OUR CLOTHING STRATEGY
* Travel Light: Carry-on Luggage Only
* Quick Dry Fabrics
* Plan for 3-Seasons
* Color Coordinated
TRAVEL LIGHT. Long-term travelers have to make some decisions right from the get-go: travel light or not worry about the weight. This was one decision we made quickly: Lighter = Better! Essentially we each have two complete changes of clothes. We decided to go with packs that meet the carry-on standards for airplanes so we really couldn’t carry more! Going only carry-on seriously informed the rest of our clothing and gear decisions.
QUICK DRY. We watch other travelers who are much more stylish than us in their jeans, sweatshirts, cute dresses and outfits. We envy them….oh those cool kids and their cotton shirts! We kinda hate them. Why? Because we went with almost 100% quick dry clothing, which meant no super soft cotton. Quick dry is awesome because even in cool climates we can easily hand wash and hang dry our clothes — which happened often on our trip. Unfortunately, it’s not always the most fashionable…
3-SEASONS. When we left home last time we had no idea where we were headed, so how to pack? It would’ve been so much easier if we were only going to the mountains or only going to the beach. Instead we had to cover the gamut. We decided to try and cover three seasons of temperatures using a lot of layers. As we looked ahead to our Mongolia horse trek (or other freezing cold places) we bought or rented a few more layers that we mostly ditched as soon as that part of the trip was over. So nice to only carry all that extra cold-weather gear when we needed it, not for the first 10 months of the trip. We’re definitely not bringing it on our upcoming Tanzania-only trip!
COLOR COORDINATED. Lastly, we decided that all our clothing had to be mix-and-match-able. With only two outfits, each shirt had to go with each pair of pants or shorts or skirt. I went with the always-in-style, Grey and Red Outfits; Aaron went with Brown and Green sets.
OUR EVERYTHING ELSE STRATEGY
For all our other gear, electronics, and cosmetics, we tried to keep everything light and in high-use. No point in dragging something around the world unless you’re going to use it every day (with the exception of Anner’s prescription snorkel mask…rules are meant to be broken.)
As noted in every blog we read: it’s entirely possible to bring a wide range of cosmetics, medicine, entertainment, and gear, it just all has to be stuff you really want or need. And it really, really, really needs to be compact. As we traveled we tossed stuff that wasn’t being used and replaced them with items we really needed. Just like at home, if it ain’t working, replace it with something that does!
And that outlines our plan for gearing up!
Next: Dressing Anner and Aaron