Saturday, January 21, 2012

Packing List Redux (A Much Needed Evaluation)


I should consider myself extremely lucky that I am able to sit back and evaluate the list of things that I have on my backpack halfway through the trip where else but in the comforts of my own home. Yes, I have been back home since the day before Christmas Eve and I am still in the Philippines. However, I am leaving very soon to continue what I set out to do August last year

Thus, it is only appropriate that I revisit my packing list. I have to pack lighter and bring only what I learned I needed the most. I need to ask myself:
  • How many pieces of clothing did I really use? Which ones?
  • What item was most useful?
  • What item I should not have taken with me in the first place?

But before I can answer all that. I first have to consider one very important factor: weather. Weather in the countries I will be visiting on this leg of my journey. There's Central and Northern Vietnam, Southwest China and Peninsular Malaysia. And wouldn't you know it? Peninsular Malaysia is the only place above that doesn't get winter. Yes to heavy winter clothes in my backpack! Okay. I did choose this. I chose to travel in the northern hemisphere during the colder months. So let's just get this list over with, shall we? Below is the packing list I made a few months before. And what I think of each item now.

TOPS

Dry Fit Shirts (3) They don’t wrinkle and they’re very comfortable. Indeed. Useful in treks and even in warm days in the city. Then again, I won't have much of those kinds of days. Whatever! They're comfortable.
Cotton Shirts (3) (2) I got by with just two. Chucked one when I was in Delhi.
Polo Shirt (1) May have some use for this around March. Details in due time. ;)
Tank Tops (4) (3) As undershirts, beach/pool attire and for those really warm days. Though four was a bit excessive.

BOTTOMS

Khaki Shorts (2) Standard backpacker garb. What can I say?
Jeans (1) They look good and they’re warm and comfortable. And they look good!—Agreed.
Trek Pants (2) (1) Just the water-resistant pants I bought in Nepal will do. Might do a bit of trekking in Yunnan.
Gym Shorts (2) Sleep wear and layering. I know that now.
Swim Shorts (1) I might have one or two swimming days. Might.
Underwear (8) (5) I learned that 5 is a good number.

COLD WEATHER GEAR

Parka Water-resistant Jacket I am leaving my heavy parka and replacing it with the water-resistant jacket I bought in Nepal. While the jacket might not be enough to keep me warm and toasty, I can always use the...
Fleece Jacket I have to admit. I wasn't able to use this at all. For most days, the parka was enough. Plus, I rented a down jacket during the trek. But since I am leaving my heavy parka and no longer have my down jacket. I am still taking this with me.
Adidas Sweater Very versatile.
Thermal Socks (2) Useful in winter time.
Long Socks Not that warm and toasty, so just for layering.
Gloves Really thick ones.
Beanie Very useful. I will bring my Inca hat, too. For those really cold days.
Small Scarf No. Didn't use it that much.

OTHER CLOTHES

Everyday Socks (3) Didn't use it that much, no.
Big Light Scarf Useful at times. Keep my neck warm. Okay, I'll bring it.
Corrective Eyeglasses My vision get astigmatic in low light, at night and when they're really tired.
Sunglasses Necessity, right? Sure, it is. For when snow gets blindingly white!
Lanyard & Keys Just because I tend to forget which pocket I put my keys in.

FOOTWEAR

Trek Shoes I bought tougher and bulkier trek shoes in Nepal. They kept my feet really warm and that is very, very important.
Sneakers I chucked my heavy and bulky Adidas sneakers back in Delhi. It was too heavy and I wasn't using it that much. I bought a lighter one in Thailand. I'll bring it. Hope I won't need to chuck it.
Flipflops For when my puppies need some air. Very, very useful.

ELECTRONICS

Watch
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

DOCUMENTS

Passport My most precious belonging. Apart from my wallets, of course.
ID-size Photos For visas and other purposes.
Personal Documents & their Photocopies When the unthinkable happens, i.e., passport loss *shudder*, better to have copies of your documents to prove your identity. Store them online, too!
Tickets & Reservations Better to have them handy.
Laminated Colored Passport So I won’t have to hand my passport to everyone who asks for them, e.g., hotel desks, etc. Especially, too, since some scams involve tourists and their precious passports.

OTHERS

Meds & First-Aid Kit I don't get sick that much. But I have peace of mind when I have this with me. I talk more about this here.
Toiletries for personal hygiene Just the basic stuff. Toothbrush, razor, etc.
Towels Microfiber, of course!
Notepad & Pen I found this to be very very important. For everyday stuff (hostel addresses, bus schedules, etc.) and as an all-around journal.
Duct Tape There is a saying: If duct tape doesn't fix it, then you are not using enough.—Very true!
Insect Repellant Will buy one when I need one.
Earplug & Sleeping Mask A bit useful. A bit. I have gotten used to sleeping with the lights on and even when noisy. Comes with the trade.
Waterproof Bag For all my gadgets. Didn't need it though. Even during the trek. But I like knowing that I have it just in case.
Water Bottle Very useful and money-saver, too.
Umbrella Went through four umbrellas in the last three months. Four! Lost my first. Bought a second. Left that and used my friend's (third). Now I am on my fourth. I will hate myself if I lose this one.
Rain Cover For both my packs. Very, very, very useful.
Ziplock Bags for Used Clothes Trash bags worked just fine. Plus, I kept losing the ziplock bags.
Trash Bags It proved very useful. On so many occassions. Ten multipurpose points!
Padlock & Keys For the backpack that will contain all the valuables. And I like having it.
Wallets (3) Two wallets (because it's always good to separate your money). And a security pouch to wear inside my clothes. Plus, I've developed this sort of three-wallet money-keeping system in my brain. So yes, three wallets is good.
Packing Cubes Yes to packing cubes!
Books Yes. A total of three. Okay, four. So hate me! Lonely Planet Vietnam, two Michael Palin books (I love his books!) and Lonely Planet China (just the Yunnan and Sichuan chapters though because the book is huge!)


Tell me I got it right this time. Also, what item in your packing list do you consider most valuable?


 
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