There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing
Your kit list can make or break your trip so let’s do it right. Here’s some tried and testing advise and suggestions.
The aim is to pack small, light and only items that you use often. Everything needs to have more than one purpose or use. That can’t be the case for everything, but, it needs to be at the forefront of your mind when packing.
Josh’s ‘Mr Specific’ Kit List
♦ Socks and boxer shorts (x5 of each). I use standard black business socks and fitting boxer shorts. These are what I’d usually wear everyday so why change. They are perfect for all activities. No need for those expensive hiking socks – A great way to prevent blisters when hiking is to wear two layers of thin socks. This way the outer sock rubs on the inner sock rather than your foot.
♦ Health and beauty items. This list needs to be short and sweet for you guys. They are expendable so they don’t really matter, make sure that they are compact though. Here’s what I pack: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Roll on deodorant, Sun cream, razor, shaving cream (smaller than shaving foam), wax and shower gel. Remember keep the list short and the items small.
♦ Shorts (x3). Again, I use my daily standard. I love wearing shorts so you may like to replace a pair of shorts with a pair of your preferred pants. Ensure they are your favourite, pick your go to shorts.
♦ Hiking pants (x1). These are magical! Get a pair that have few pockets, are water resistant and sport a subdued zip off option to convert them into shorts. The reason I love these is because they also double as my dress pants. They look similar to chinos and I can get away with wearing them as such. Throw on plain T-Shirt on and a pain of tidy sandals and your looking smart enough to go out to dinner, casual style. They are fantastic for hiking and with a pair of thermal pants underneath they quickly convert into your cosy wear. They pack down smaller than any other long pant you’ll find. These are an investment you will not regret.
♦ T-shirts (x4). Again, go with your standard options. I have one plain black, one plain white and two sports t-shirts. The key with this one is don’t go for cotton, it is cold when wet and takes an age to dry. . . Go for polyester, it’s moisture wicking, quick drying, light weight and doesn’t crease. Polyester is everything you want and need when it comes to backpacking cloths.
♦ Other wearables: I’d advise keeping the miscellaneous clothing list small. Mine consists of; Sunglasses, Baseball Cap, Beanie, a waterproof digital watch, a cheap waterproof jacket and a fleece.
Sophie’s ‘Mrs Specific’ Kit List
♦ Panties (x8) Socks (x6) Bras (x3) Bikinis (x2). So ladies, I like to have more undies on me than Josh because well – its necessary! His shorts double up as extras when times get tough and us ladies just don’t have that luxury. Underwear specifics – light, breathable and quick drying are the best all round.
I am usually in flip flops but its a good idea to have socks on you, I have five ankle socks and one pair of good hiking socks. Josh doesn’t think they are worth bringing, but I have never blistered and I give thanks to my socks for that!
I have two bikinis on me, one strapless and the other is a halter. Both are wireless which is great as the wires don’t get damaged when I cram them into my bag. Onto Bras, another item Josh finds unnecessary! I recommend bringing three, one black, one white and a strapless.
TOP TIP – Swap your wired bras for a sports bras, they scrunch up real small and are great for treks and running! And grab yourself a small Compression Bag, this slice of magic will fit all of the above inside and compress it.
♦ Health and beauty items. In my opinion this category is by far the hardest to keep short. But over the last year, I think I’ve got it down packed. So heres what I suggest; Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, Mini Shaving Gel, Razor, Nail Scissors, Tweezers, sun cream, Roll-on Deodorant, Mini Moisturiser, Chap Stick, Travel Floss, Toothpaste ,Tooth Brush, Small Hairbrush, a couple Hair Ties/ Grips, a few Cotton Buds, The Pill (0r lady-time bits) and a small Insect Repellant Stick.
Now on to Make-Up – I would recommend leaving it at home, it is a massive space killer and time waster when travelling. If you are going to a hot climate you will sweat it off or jump into the sea most days anyway. But if you need to bring something, make sure its small list – Eyebrows, lashes and lips.. the basics. You will have a golden glow in no time and your natural beauty will radiate!
TOP TIPS – Don’t waste space on ‘I might need it’ items here, they are super cheap and if you need it later it wont cost you an arm and a leg. And if your contemplating bringing straighteners or a blow dryer, to put it simply… Don’t. These items are space consumers and are entirely unnecessary. Youtube is a great way to learn some new hairstyles which will save you a heap of issues.
♦ Shorts (x3). I have a black pair, blue pair and some sporty ones for when we are doing anything active. Pick your favourites – light materials are great and scrunch up real small.
♦ Bottoms (x2). Firstly I have a pair of sports leggings, they are plain black so I can wear them on hikes or out and about with a t-shirt. They are small, breathable and quick drying – A definite winner over jeans. Secondly I have a pair of lightweight joggers which are great for camping out, you can layer up with these if the temperature drops.
♦ Tops (x5). I have three strap tops (black, blue and pink) and two black T-Shirts, one of which is a sports top which I only really wear when doing something active. Be sure to bring tops that you don’t mind throwing away as you will replace them along your way.
♦ Jewellery. I only have Jewellery that I never take off, a pair of earrings, a necklace and my engagement ring.
TOP TIP – Contemplate leaving anything of sentimental value at home. I alway panic over my ring and if I could go back I would have left it safely at home.
♦ Other wearables. I have a light cotton jumpsuit on me just incase we go out for dinner or to a bar. I also carry with me a beanie, cap, sun-glasses, a thin waterproof jacket and a zip up hoodie.
Kit List For Both The Mr & Mrs
♦ Small Backpack. We both carry a small backpack each for our money, drink bottles suncream etc for when we head out for the day.
♦ Footwear. Our backpacking footwear consists of two items. The first being a pair of sandals, a necessity for travelling during the summer. They are small, cheap and light weight.
The second, are our Soloman Speedcross 4 trail trainers… Yes, we both have the same pair of trainers, which we hope shows our love for their awesomeness! With these beauties we can go on multi-day hikes, climb mountains and walk through rivers. They are the perfect running, walking and hiking shoe combination as they are lightweight, breathable and are durable.
Boots don’t make the cut when it comes to footwear especially in warm climates. They’re too specialized, too hot, too heavy and big to have a spot on your kit list. Only take boots if your going on a hiking only trip.
♦ Compression Sacks. Treat yourself to a Compression Sack, these are cheap and will save you a lot of space. This is a bag with four compression straps on four adjacent sides. Jam all of your cloths in one, ratchet the straps down as tight as you can and there you have it, the same amount of cloths in half the space. We both use a medium sized one for all of our clothes and a small one for underwear/ socks.
♦ Towels. We both carry Kathmandu Microfibre Travel Towels. They compact down to nothing, are lightweight, and dry super quick.
♦Thermals. One top (short sleeve) and one bottom. Go for merino. These are your insurance policy when it comes to clothing. You won’t use them all that much, however, it’s better to be safe than sorry. They can be life savers. For their size, weight and all round goodness they earn a spot on your kit list.
♦ Sleeping gear. We use a Roman synthetic sleeping bag. It is rated down to +5 Degrees centigrade and it’s a good three seasons bag but it wouldn’t cut the mustard during the winter. Its the smallest we know of, when its crammed tight it’s about 15 Centimetres long.
A sleeping mat is also a must and we recommend something from ‘Mountain Designs’. We’re using an old version of their inflatable mats. Imagine an airbed that, when compressed is about the same size as a 1 litre bottle and weights a few hundred grams.
Lastly, we carry a two person tent from K-Mart. It’s a single waterproof layer version that cost us $17 NZD. Every time we sleep in this little baby we save about $25 on accommodation. It has no bells or whistles and that’s why we love it. It won’t be coming with us to Asia but, for Australia and New Zealand it’s worth carrying.
♦ Electronics. We’ve got the following items between us, a laptop, phone, a Go Pro, kindle, Ipod, head torches, hard drive, and a portable power bank. A phone is essential and it doubles up as a camera which is great! The laptop on the other hand would not be unnecessary if we didn’t need it for work, we’d recommend using a tablet/ smart phone if you have the choice.
Having a power bank on you is super handy for when you can’t access electricity. With this in your pack you can go 3 or so days off the grid and you’ll still have juice left over. We recommend the Zendure series, they are a little pricier than a bog standard portable charger but they are rugged and will last.
♦ Cookware. We use a MRS Micro Rocket portable stove alongside a bottle of butane to cook on. But the exciting part is our X-Pot, this is our favourite piece of kit by far because of its brilliance! Its a cooking pot which you can use to boil water, cook your meat and eat out of. And as if thats not enough, it folds to nothing and is seriously lightweight.
We have a little bag of herbs and spices to help make our food taste fantastic. We recommend…Garlic Salt, this is the king of all seasoning!
TOP TIP – A word of advice regarding cutlery, take metal, plastic will snap and annoy you… metal will fit perfectly in your compact X-Pot.
♦ Water Bottles. We have two each, both branded Camel Bak. One is a Camel Bak (2 Litres) and the other is a 1 Litre Camel Bak water bottle. They are both high quality products that we use on a regular basis.
♦ Survival Kit. We don’t expect to use it but, if we do fall into a bad situation we know that we can stitch and patch up cuts, get a fire going and have clean water. Its contents include; A fire starter, safety pins, needles, water purification tablets, matches, cotton wool, compass, whistle and a survival guide.
♦ TOP TIP. Be sure to only fill your pack to 70% of its capacity as you’ll acquire bits and bobs on your travels. Remember, in order to have a small pack and an enjoyable adventure you need to go minimalistic, small and light. Take only what you need and leave the rest at home, along with all of your worries.