Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Compulsory Packing List Post

Every backpacker going on his or her big trip, and documenting it, too, has one: a packing list post. I get the purpose, of course. It’s to be able to list down what I brought and evaluate by the middle (or end) of the trip what item I needed/used the most and what item I should whack my head for lugging around. More importantly, and this I can fully get behind on, it could serve as a guide for others thinking, pondering, ever-so contemplating on going on their own backpacking adventure. So this is my way of paying it forward. Posts like this helped me a lot in preparing for the trip that I’m about to do.

First thing to consider is the climate of the places I’ll be traveling to. This one was a headache. To say that the climates of the regions I’ll go to is varied is an understatement. Luckily, I’ll be going home midway through the trip to take a Christmas break, if you will. So I won’t need to plan for the whole six-months. Still, it’s a lot. Basically, I’ll be traveling to humid tropical Singapore, to the dry climate of northern India, to the even drier desert of Rajasthan, to the heights and chills (emphasis on the chills) of the Himalayas, and back to the humidity of Vietnam.

Basically, I will be lugging around all sorts of clothes and accessories. But I'm fine with that. I included that in the backpacker resolutions I made last month. Anyway, below are the items I will be bringing for the first three months of my trip.


Dry Fit Shirts (3)They don’t wrinkle and they’re very comfortable.
Cotton Shirts (3)For those really dirty, on-the-grind days. I can easily replace them when they get ripped, or irreversibly dirty.
Polo Shirt (1)I could dress it up and I can dress it down. I may need that.
Tank Tops (4)I will use them as undershirts, beach/pool attire and for those really warm days. Five multipurpose points!


Khaki Shorts (2)Really comfortable for walking, sightseeing, and trekking.
Jeans (1)Yes! They look good and they’re warm and comfortable. And they look good!
Trek Pants (2)One is khaki, the other is made of water-resistant fabric.
Gym Shorts (2)I will use them as sleep wear and as layers during the trek.
Swim Shorts (1)Can serve as underwear, too!
Underwear (8)Eight enough? Too much?


ParkaServed me well in 0-degree weather in Beijing.
Fleece JacketFor those really cold days/nights (which will be plentiful in the Nepal trek).
Adidas SweaterLight sweater for that chilly breeze.
Thermal Socks (2)Again, for the trek.
Long SocksNot that warm and toasty, so just for layering.
GlovesReally thick ones.
BeanieAnd I found one that looks good on me! (Because headgear doesn’t generally suit me.)
Small ScarfI don’t really use it as a scarf. I use it to cover my face from the biting cold wind.

* For the trek, I will be buying or renting a few more items in this category: thermal shirts, pants, insulated shells, etc.


Everyday Socks (3)Fights off blisters from walking all day.
Big Light Scarf I’m bringing this one because it’s multipurpose. Am I right or am I right? It saved my *ss (or hid it?) when my pants ripped off while swimming in Coron, Palawan. Don't ask.
Corrective EyeglassesMy vision get astigmatic in low light, at night and when they're really tired.
SunglassesNecessity, right? Sure, it is!
Lanyard & KeysJust because I tend to forget which pocket I put my keys in.


Trek ShoesLast wore mine during a climb to Mount Pulag. I gotta say, really comfortable. No blisters for my already battered feet. I need to find a way to waterproof it though.
SneakersYour normal comfortable trusty ol' walking sneakers.
FlipflopsFor when my puppies need some air.


Cellphone + Charger
Netbook + Charger
External Hard Drive
iPod + Charger Cord
Nikon D90 Camera + 3 Batt Units + Charger Kit
18-200mm Lens + 35mm Lens
SD Cards 4GB + 4GB + 16GB
Universal Travel Adapter (For different kinds of sockets)
Headlamp + Batteries


PassportMy most precious belonging. Apart from my wallets, of course.
ID-size PhotosFor visas and other purposes.
Personal Documents & their PhotocopiesWhen the unthinkable happens, i.e., passport loss *shudder*, better to have copies of your documents to prove your identity. Store them online, too!
Tickets & ReservationsBetter to have them handy.
Laminated Colored PassportSo I won’t have to hand my passport to everyone who asks for them, e.g., hotel desks, etc. Also, I’ve read stories wherein official-looking individuals sometimes approach travelers, ask them for their passport, and keep them until the traveler “buys” it back. Quite a dirty scam. A way to combat that is presenting them your laminated passport copy. If they want the real passport, you can tell them to follow you back to the hostel so that you may collect your passport in your hostel locker (but really it’s just in your pocket). Scammers won’t go to such lengths for a few bucks and may leave you alone at this point.


Meds & First-Aid KitThis one is important. Fortunately, I have a friend who is a registered physician and who is used to dealing with common tourist ailments. I talk more about this here.
Toiletries for personal hygieneJust the basic stuff. Toothbrush, razor, etc. Think about the products you consider necessities. Then throw half of them away. Bring with you the other half.
TowelsMicrofiber, of course!
Notepad & PenJust to write general impressions and fleeing thoughts on things. I hate forgetting ideas and I won’t really be able to boot my netbook every single time.
Duct TapeThere is a saying: If duct tape doesn’t fix it, then you are not using enough.
Insect RepellantTo buy a small bottle when I get to India.
Earplug & Sleeping MaskWill prove useful as I will be sharing rooms in hostels, etc.
Waterproof BagCan fit my whole camera bag with the camera & accessories inside. Plus some room for the netbook, too. Just in case.
Water BottleBecause buying plastic water bottles is expensive and not environment-friendly. Shame on you!
UmbrellaJust in case.
Rain CoverFor both my packs.
Ziplock Bags for Used ClothesI don’t want my used smelly clothes infecting my fresh ones.
Trash BagsMight prove useful.
Padlock & KeysFor the backpack that will contain all the valuables. Better to be safe than sorry, I say.
Wallets (3)Two wallets (because it's always good to separate your money). And a security pouch to wear inside my clothes. Again, better to be safe than sorry.

On a final note, can I just say how packing cubes has revolutionized backpacking? I was hesitant at first to buy a huge backpack, because those things usually just have one big compartment inside—a nightmare for a type A organizer like me. But after discovering packing cubes, my packing problems are solved! There are really specialized ones usually sold at outdoor and travel stores, but they can be expensive. One medium-size cube can cost as much as 300 PHP. I got mine in a thrift store (read: Japanese surplus store) for around 60-80 PHP each. Nice!

Did I miss anything? Any item you think would be of use to me? What travel item do you consider a necessity in your travels?

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