27 Sep
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (94 posts)
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

28 July 2011

The final pack

So this is what we shoved back into our rucksacks on the final morning as we prepared for our flight back to England. Well, in fact it’s a copy of the original list with amendments. Items we picked up are in italics, while things we got rid of or would not take again are struck through. Hope future travellers find it useful, although please note that we did no camping and so our conclusions won’t quite suit a couple planning on spending time under canvas!

Netbook (Toshiba NB200) Lovely compact netbook, survived beautifully
Netbook case (Zeroshock III in white) Compact yet protected brilliantly
DSLR camera (Nikon D50) Survived knocks, but probably due for an newer model
18-55mm VR Nikkor lens Too similar to compact to be worth taking again
70-300mm VR Nikkor telephoto zoom lens Vital for wildlife, especially the Vibration Reduction
1.4x teleconverter Sent home – too often screwed up the autofocus, and got better results just using the 300mm lens then cropping the image on the laptop
PL (polarising) filters for both lenses Never used on the 70-300, on the 18-55 made shots better than the super-compact – but a luxury I’d leave behind next time
Charger and spare battery for DSLR Used the spare several times
Air blower for DSLR Used to puff dust off the sensor
Super-compact camera (Panasonic Lumix ZX-1) Lens motor broke, probably due to cold, dust and rain
Belt case for compact camera Sent home – new camera tough and lives in pocket or backpack
Soft underwater camera case Sent home – no longer needed when ZX-1 broke
Super-compact camera (Panasonic Lumix FT-2) Waterproof, dustproof, knockproof – much better companion for the DSLR
Floating wrist-strap for camera Freebie, but seems sensible for snorkelling
2GB SD cards x 3 (for cameras) Only ever needed two, as downloaded every day
16GB SDHC cards x 2 (for backups) Ended up needing four
USB adapter for SD card Very useful for putting stuff on other computers (e.g. for printing)
Binoculars (Opticron x10) Vital for wildlife
Mobile phone x 2 (iPhone 3G) Only ever used one, and would have preferred just one basic little mobile
International SIM cards x 2 (GoSIM) Bad connections, time lags, pain in the neck
iPod x 2 Both used for long bus/plane/train and car
Mini speaker With iPod in hire cars – perfect
International plug adaptor Vital
Amazon Kindle Used in place of reading books right through, cracked by a couple of drops but still working fine
Packs and packing
Rucksacks x 2 (Osprey Atmos 45 and 55 litres) Perfect size for our purposes
Rucksack raincover x 2 Used a couple of times, but would be bad not to have them
Cable lock (PacSafe) Only used once, but we were lucky with accommodation and transport
Combination padlock x 2 Felt better leaving the rucksack locked
Satchel (Howies, canvas) Great around town – at my side/front, not on my back
Packing cubes (Eagle Creek, 2 cubes, 3 half-cubes) Vital. Might take one less half-cube next time
Waterproof dry bag Vital several times for keeping camera etc. dry in canoes
Ziplock bags Always had one or two for liquids at airports
Airtight plastic food box Used a handful of times (e.g. keeping spare portions of food)
Around-neck valuables pouch Never used
Mini pill case To keep a few useful pills (e.g. neurofen and immodium) in a day bag
Small rucksack Very useful day bag for hikes etc. when the satchel is too small
Bum bag Useful for short hikes or for organising little bits in bigger bags
Clothing – Maureen
The changes here mainly reflect how easily Maureen feels the cold
Lightweight waterproof jacket Useful against cold as well as rain
Sleeveless down jacket Very useful in colder climate
Long-sleeved down jacket Would never survive the Andes without it
Smart town jacket To be smart and warm in cities
Lightweight fleece pullover Vital warm top
Jeans Vital for comfort in cities and evening meals
Lightweight hiking trousers x 2 Could have stuck with one
Warm hiking trousers Picked up for Andes, and useful
Merino leggings (Icebreaker) For cold nights and cold days
Long-sleeve merino top Useful warm layer
Long-sleeve trek shirt Useful layer against sun or cold
Technical T-shirt x 2 Vital on hikes/wildlife trips
T-shirt Prettier than the technical ones
Vest top x 1 Ended up with 2, both prettier than the original technical one
Pretty long-sleeved top To look good for evening meals
Shorts For bumming around hotels
Swimsuit Got plenty of use
Silk nightwear (shirt + shorts) Used every night
Hiking socks x 4 Started and ended with 4
Bra x 3 (2 sports, 1 lightweight) About right
Underwear x 5 Ended up with 7, but 5 worked
Silk gloves Not warm enough on their own in the real cold
Gloves Vital for cold places
Lightweight tube scarf Really useful in the cold and hot
Walking shoes (Montrail, not waterproof) Perfect, and breathability much more useful than waterproof
Sandals (Teva) Used a fair bit, but could live without
Pretty flip-flops Only used a handful of times
Rubber flip-flops Used loads around hotels and on beaches
Sarong Much more useful than a towel
DVT socks (for the plane) Vital
Baseball cap Vital headgear
Clothing – Matthew
Lightweight waterproof jacket (Marmot) Used for cold as well as rain
Sleeveless down jacket Vital in cold places
Zip-up merino top (Icebreaker) Vital warm top
Linen blazer Looks smart in cities and evenings – might not be for everyone!
Jeans Vital for comfort in cities and evening meals
Lightweight hiking trousers Used for adventures everywhere
Merino leggings (Icebreaker) Used in freezing Nepal trek lodges, but sent home after unneeded
Long-sleeved trek shirt Good layer for hikes/wildlife trips etc.
Long-sleeved shirt Good for towns and evening meals
Long-sleeved merino top Good layer for the cold
Short-sleeved shirt Ended up with two
Technical T-shirt x 2 Very good for hikes/wildlife
T-shirt x 2 Various swaps but ended with 3 and a bit more trendy than the original 2
Swimming shorts Used for swimming and wearing as shorts
Hiking socks x 4 Seemed the right amount
Underwear x 4 Ended with 5 but 4 would do
Wallet Too obvious a target
Belt (canvas webbing) Also useful at times for securing things
Silk gloves Useful against chilly nights
Cotton scarf Useful on cold nights, but could do without
Walking shoes (Montrail, not waterproof) Perfect for everything
Flip-flops Replaced originals with an all-rubber pair, perfect for wet conditions and around hotels
Cobber Too inconvenient to use
Baseball cap Replaced with The Indy
Wide-brimmed hat (the Indy) Shades all the face and the neck – much better
Medicine and toiletries
Sterile first-aid kit Never used, but vital insurance I think
Blister plasters Used a couple of them
Washbag x 2 Proved ideal
Small scissors Used several times
Nail clippers Used regularly
Tweezers Used regularly
SheWee Sent home – couldn’t get the hang of it, and didn’t need much either
Hand sanitizer (small bottle) Very useful after touching icky stuff or before street snacking
Lipbalm with sunscreen Vital
Sunscreen Vital, mostly the 30 rated for exposed skin when snorkelling
Vaccination record books Never needed (luckily)
Insect repellant (DEET) Used a lot, found roll-on stick best
Plug-in mosquito killer + 30 tablets Used most but not all tablets
Mosquito bands (wrist and ankle) Too short-lived for a long trip
Motion sickness bands Never tried, and pills worked fine
Motion sickness pills Vital for Matthew in Galapagos and a couple of other boat trips
Wet wipes (small pack) Useful after long bus/plane/train journeys
Stretchy support bandage Not used, but good insurance against ankle twists
Leatherman multitool Used several times, esp knife and scissors
Universal sink plug Used several times for baths and clothes washing
Elastic twisty clothesline Vital for drying washed clothes
Compass Never used, but would still take for long hikes
Small scrub-brush Useful various times
Laundry soap block For clothes washing, used a lot
Spare shoelaces Good insurance, and used occasionally to tie stuff
Silk sleeping bag liner x 2 Only used for rented sleeping bags in Nepal
Umbrella (ultra-compact) Used a few times in town and city
Sewing kit (hotel freebie kind) Used several times
Duct tape (small roll) Used several times
Water filter bottle (TravelTap 600ml) Really useful and saved loads of plastic
Metal water bottle (1000ml) Better than reusing plastic bottles
Water bottle shoulder sling Very useful when not taking a rucksack around
Head torch x 2 (Petzl) Worked very well
Strong handheld torch (Ultrafire) Specifically for wildlife-spotting at night, very compact
Knife, fork and spoon set Used exactly twice, not necessary
Trek towel x 2 (M + XL) Sarongs are much more useful and all hotels have towels
Flannel Useful little addition for washing or for drying
Sunglasses x 2 Vital
Spare glasses x 2 Vital
Earplugs Only used once, but tiny anyway
Passports Vital
UK driving license Needed in some countries
International driving license Needed in some countries
Travel insurance details Vital
Credit cards x 3 Vital (two might be okay, one is too chancy)
Tickets Duh
Photocopies of the above Useful insurance
Guidebook (to current and/or next country) Vital
Travel journal Notebook in effect, vital for noting hotel details, directions, plans, lists, etc.
Pencils x 4 Plenty of use, and a biro too for airport forms

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