When packing for a trip like this, we had several challenges.
First, we were going for 5 months. Second, we were going to tropical areas like Thailand as well as cold, rainy areas like New Zealand. We would be trekking in Nepal and then strolling through European cities. New Zealand and Nepal would be similar climates, but we didn’t want to look like beach bums in Europe.
From our backpacking experience, we know that you are always happier to pack lightly. You can do without way more than you realize. When you’re carrying it and packing/unpacking daily, it’s like I always say the mo’ money the mo’ problems. Even though we packed as light as possible back in Tennessee, we realized that we still had too much.
At first I felt we should bring our backpacking sleeping bags. After all, we needed them for the huts and trekking in Nepal. That just wasn’t going to happen. Our solution was to buy cheap discount sleeping bags in New Zealand, since it really wasn’t going to be that cold. Ahem, Mueller Hut. We later took them to the rescue mission. For Nepal, I would rent us some proper down bags for 1 dollar per day. Problems solved.
Next came shoes, Chacos, (the official footwear of Cookeville, TN) were always handy for walking, beaches, hot weather, etc. Proper hiking shoes would be needed as well. Then, I wanted to bring a pair of shoes for the streets to look less like a backpacking tourist. My Clark’s Desert Boots were perfect. However, after a few days in Thailand, I promptly mailed them home. Just not enough room and form had to lose out to function.
Ella only brought two from the beginning. Walden could not live without his new Nikes, and so he brought 3 pair. Alison brought a pair of black Mary Jane style Birkenstocks, in addition to the Chacos and hikers.
We all needed full rain gear–pants and jackets. We needed base layers of tops and bottoms. We each brought a fleece layer and then a puffy layer. We needed everything we brought several times–ie Mueller Hut and ice cold high altitude areas of Nepal. We all had small hat and gloves as well.
I have about 3 t-shirts and 1 pair of hiking pants and 1 pair of khakis. I have 1 pair of shorts to wear.
Alison brought one pair of pants, 3 dresses, 1 skirt and 1 pair of leggings and 2 t-shirts (but one of those got taken out in the motorbike accident).
One thing we have learned is that, at least in Asia, it is super easy to buy clothes on the go. Better to start with less and buy as you need it. We have also destroyed some clothes and needed to replace them.
I probably over researched what bags we would bring along. I settled on Osprey Farpoint 70 for me, 55 for Walden and 40 for Ella. Ella’s is probably the best bag, but mine will hold the most. They are showing some wear, but they are incredibly well built and well designed. They have a decent suspension system which has been fine for backpacking/trekking. This was a very good purchase. The Osprey brand is popular and we see our bags frequently. When we see someone with an Osprey bag, we flap our arms in an exaggerated fashion and yell out “KAA KAWWW!!”
I don’t think that is what an Osprey sounds like, but we like to show camaraderie with our fellow travelers.
Alison has an REI Grand Tour 80. She likes the women’s specific fit and the multitude of pockets for organization. She thinks it is too big however.
We also started off thinking everyone should have their own toiletries kit to keep up with themselves. This didn’t work for several reasons and we consolidated down to one or two to share.
We made the kids do a packing video while we were resting and this is their light-hearted effort. Ella did the editing and they worked on the concept together. Enjoy.