The road is the best teacher. During my 7 months of travelling in South America, I have been packing/ unpacking what seems to be ten thousand times. I got a rid of a few things, lost a few others. In this post, I am sharing my “packing learnings and tips” for the active traveler, getting ready for 3 days or 12 months of active explorations. Discover the items I loved and what I should have never packed.
5 Items I love – and that I didn’t see on packing lists
Before this long trip, I spent lots of time researching what to bring and what to leave, going through many packing lists. None of the next items were part of any borrowed list, but I didn´t regret these picks a single time.
Espadrilles: if flip-flops are a must for every traveler, espadrillas are the perfect second pair of shoes if you are heading off to temperate climates. Ideal as a change after a long hiking day, they can be worn with or without socks, are pefect as slipers, works with trousers, shorts, jeans even dresses. They also look a bit more dress up than flip-flops, weight nothing and take no space. I bought mine for 4euros and they are still holding on!
Tuperware box: perfect for keeping your left overs in the hostel fridge, bringing a sandwich or salad for picnic or transporting fruits, jam, cafe or salt… When not in use I just fill it up with a reserve of snack bars or other small items. It takes no space!
Laundry powder in sheets: reduces the amount of liquids you carry, dissolves quickly and can also be used in a washing machine if you get the opportunity to use one!
Ziplock bags: lighter than any packing cubes/ bags. It´s easy to compress your clothes getting air out of the bags, or to see what´ s in them. If you are heading off for a long travel, buy good quality and plan to replace them every 3 months (on the down side, this is not always an easy task!).
“Platypus” type bottle: I use a normal 1L metal bottle for the hikes and an additionnal Platypus type bottle of 0,5L if needed. When emptied, it takes literally no space. Many outdoors distributors created their own version, meaning you don’t need to invest in the expensive original one.
My biggest packing mistake
Foldable day pack: in principle, a good idea. But the capacity of the foldable day packs as well as their comfort and accessorization (pockets etc.) is not really adapted to active travelers. In our case, we ended up shipping it after 2 months and buying a proper day pack when we realized we never folded it! Keep also in mind you will need your day pack to keep your valuables in planes, buses, taxis…
As many travelers, I also love
- Baby wipes and disinfectant gel for hygiene on the go
- Silk liner for rental sleeping bags and dodgy bed sheets
- Waterproof dry bag to protects electronics and valuables.
My final tip: long term travelers, you will loose stuff! Don´t take anything you can´t afford to loose.
What are your thoughts on the above packing tips? Anything you would like to try on your next trip?