Planning & Preparation > Equipment


Designing an equipment list for an extended trip would best be done when the trip is completed. Then all answers to which equipment is needed has been answered.  However, in many instances this is not possible.  In creating the below list, discussion and decisions about several options was needed.   I will try to capture some of the discussions we had.

1.  Travelling light. From previous experience, I knew that we needed to travel as light as possible.  Being able to walk from bus stations to towns, for example, would be a cost savings. Also, getting on and off buses and trains becomes easier and walking around a new town for 2 hours looking for a guesthouse becomes doable instead of a tortured experience.

2.  The shoe debate.  What type and style of shoes to take is a very individual choice.  Each person in our family has a different set up based on activities, comfort and style. Do I carry hiking boots or not and what will my main shoe be. Some people like tennis shoes, other flip flops and other enjoy popular brands like Chacos or Keens, which combine durability and airflow at a price. For example, I desire a pair of light flip flops for showers and relaxing around the hotel and utilize my chacos for all other travel except for strenuous hiking, which I carry hiking boots.

3. The sleeping bag debate.  Another topic of discussion. Many people like to carry a sleeping bag. It can be utilized as a pad and is very desired in colder weather and when hiking. We decided on carrying a sleep sheet and if we needed we would each buy a blank to carry, or rent a sleeping bag for two of the treks.  Sleeping sheets are easily washed and provide great protection for questionable mattress in budget hotels.

4. The clothes debate. Clothes weight adds up fast and takes up lots of room in the pack.  The amount of clothes you take can be determined by how many days between doing laundry or where you are going (only tropics, Himalaya trekking). In the end, once again, it is personal preference. For myself, I really like the flexibility of two button up shirts and 2 t-shirts.  This gives me four days if worn separately and in the tropics I find button up shirts cooler.  In the evening, I can put on a T-shirt under my button down for warmth. The long sleeve shirt is for mosquito country. Also, carrying a fleece jacket and a fleece vest is overkill. We will let you know which we wore the most.

5. Activities.  This can be a big determinate in what goes in a pack.  One of our focus areas was trekking and wildlife watching. Therefore, hiking boots, binoculars, long pants and shirts and rain gear were included. Also, snorkeling gear because of our focus on the beach.

6. Packs.  Each person in our family carried a main pack designed for that person to carry a majority of supplies. In addition, Therese and I carried a day pack and the kids shared one day pack. These day packs were used during day trips to see the sights. When we were in long distance travel mode we packed these packs with supplies and carried them in front on our chest (tortoise style).  My daypack is big enough to carry our laptop, camera gear, flashlight and knife, while Therese's carries travel guides, food/water, language books and certain hygiene and health items.

Back Pack

  • Sandals
  • Flip Flops
  • Fleece jacket
  • 1 long-sleeve button shirts
  • 2 short-sleeve button shirt or skirt below knee/sarong
  • 2 lwt T-shirts
  • 1 lwt/1 reg. pant
  • Swimming shorts
  • 2 shorts
  • Light fleece vest
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • Travel towel
  • Sleep sheet
  • Very Light rain coat
  • Hat
  • Spare Glasses
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Flashlight w/batteries; one headlamp with dual LED/beam
  • Earplugs/sunblock
  • insect repellant
  • Water bottle
  • Reading novel
  • Light-weight hiking boot
  • Binoculars
  • Money Belt/Wallet
  • Day Pack (Used for day trips and carrying gear tortoise style on long transports)
  • Snorkel/mask
  • Whistle
  • Student ID
  • ATM/credit cards

  • Sink Plug
  • Detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Antibacterial jel
  • Wet Wipes
  • Tissue Packet
  • comb/brush
  • Razor blades
Other miscellaneous essentials

  • Guidebooks
  • Alarm clock
  • Swiss knife
  • Leatherman
  • Calculator
  • pencil/notepad
  • mosquito coils
  • Small sewing kit
  • Padlock
  • Rubber bands
  • ziplock bags
  • PacSafe
  • Clothesline
Educational materials

  • Phrase books
  • Culturegrams for each country
  • books recommended by teachers, plus leisure reading
  • Math CDs
  • summer bridge workbook for Paul