The Gear

get link Our Bags:

go to link Kim’s Clothing:

click Clark’s Clothing:

Toiletries and Medical:



Cool, huh?  I wish it took only 8 seconds to pack these babies.  They weigh in at about 30 pounds each.  This is a little heavier than we hoped, but we can’t cut much.  After all, doesn’t a door stop always come in handy?

Backpack Selection

We were planning on taking the smaller REI Grand Tour backpacks, but we decided they were a little flimsy for our needs.  The detachable daypacks sound great in theory, but they throw the weight balance off.  Lastly, we found they became quite uncomfortable if worn for extended periods.  Instead, we have upgraded to REI Mars REI Ridgeline and Venus packs, respectively.  I think they will work out much better for us– however, they are a bit bulkier.  This means we will be chancing it by checking bags instead of carrying on.  Fingers crossed.

I ended up switching out the 80L Mars for the 65L Ridgeline.  It’s considerably smaller and more streamlined.  It has a “J” zipper rather than the full “U” of the Mars or Venus packs, but I’m not overly concerned.  I just don’t have enough stuff to fill up the massive Mars pack.

Money Belts

You may have noticed we don’t have money belts in this photo.  We thought about this awhile, and we just aren’t sure they make sense.  Yes, they protect you from pickpockets (somewhat), but it’s not practical to rely on them exclusively.  You need money and credit cards readily accessible.  Also, if you get robbed, don’t you think the bad guys will demand your money belt as well?  It’s certainly no secret that most Westerners carry these damn things.  Lastly, they are terribly uncomfortable.  Instead, we are opting for zippered pockets built right into our travel pants.  Nice, eh?  We think so.

REI and Amazon have been the biggest beneficiaries of this trip.  We have been very indecisive with our gear, so their generous return policies have been very helpful over the past year.  I made the decision to switch from my ECCO Yucatan (pictured above) sandals to the Teva Terra-Fi 3.  Jeremy Rees at Forks & Jets had the same ECCO’s, and they did not hold up very well.  Team Rees (and many others) highly recommends Chaco’s, but they just aren’t comfortable for me.  I believe these Teva’s will be a happy medium.

Credit Cards

My travel wallet just got a new Capital One No Hassle Miles Card.  Capital One is one of the few credit card companies to charge NO foreign exchange fee on top for purchases abroad.  American Express charges 3% on every purchase– that adds up in a hurry.

Medical and Personal Items

Nothing says fun like $1,200 in medication.  These should get us started at least (pictured left to right):

  • Claritan – mild allergy relief for Kim
  • Contact lens solution – for Kim
  • Zylet – anti-inflammatory eye drops for me.  I am always getting shit in my eyes (example: popcorn incident during Avatar).
  • Visine – for Kim
  • Air Optix contacts – for Kim
  • Prilosec – heartburn meds for Kim
  • Ibuprofen and pepto bismol – Mild pain and stomach relief
  • Vivotif Burna (8 pills) – Typhoid immunization, taken every other day for a week.  Starting the series tonight.
  • Doxycycline (324 pills) – Antimalarial, taken daily while in malaria zones (e.g. India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia) and 28 days after leaving.  Has some nasty side effects like esophageal damage (if taken before bed) and sun sensitivity.  Looks like extra sun block for me.
  • Melatonin (120 pills) – Effective sleep aid but can make you wicked groggy if you OD.

Not pictured:

  • Vicodin ES (12 pills) – serious pain medication
  • Imodium – you can figure this one out
  • Cipro – antibiotic for various uses
  • First Aid Kit – a couple of bandages
  • Immunizations (4 shots each): Polio, Hep B, Hep A, Tetanus.  We passed on Japanese Encephalitis due to the crazy cost ($500 per shot).

Pricey, but we would rather avoid minor inconveniences like malaria, typhoid, death, etc.

Kim’s Toiletries

Kim has some specific personal items (left to right):

Not pictured:

  • “Feminine products”
  • Toilet paper
  • Eye glasses

Yes, most serious travelers say to leave the hair dryer at home, but Kim insists on it.  Go ahead and judge us, whatever.

Our Toiletries

Not pictured:

31 Responses to “The Gear”

  1. From Bill:

    I see your underwear! I see your underwear!

    Posted on March 10, 2010 at 10:25 am #
  2. From Tova:

    Sooooooooo why a door stop? This is awesome though ~ how cool!!! 😀 I’m so happy and excited for you guys. :-)

    Posted on March 14, 2010 at 9:48 pm #
  3. From Kim:

    The door stop is for more security in hostels, hotels, sleeper cars on trains, etc. Just a little extra to help keep anyone who shouldn’t be in, out!

    Posted on March 14, 2010 at 9:51 pm #
  4. From Laura:

    AWESOME! And WHY are you not coming to New Zealand??!??!?!? :-)

    Posted on March 15, 2010 at 12:13 am #
  5. From Clark:

    Australia and New Zealand would be great, but we just don’t have enough time. We will have to hit them up next time.

    Posted on March 15, 2010 at 12:16 am #
  6. From Kim:

    But we will see…maybe we WILL visit New Zealand after all!

    Posted on March 20, 2010 at 1:55 am #
  7. From Laurie:

    You have really done your research and prep thats for sure! All that teacher training helped I am sure. I am soooo happy for you both. I can’t wait to live vicariously through you through your blogs! You will be missed Kim, but I totally get why you are going!

    Posted on March 21, 2010 at 8:51 am #
  8. From Naomi:

    I would pack the stuff you list that you did not pack and leave the makup at home, but then I never wear makeup and think you look great with or without it. Love you guys and home you guys have a great safe trip.

    Posted on March 30, 2010 at 8:53 am #
  9. From Julie:

    Just speaking from experience, I would take a small flashlight as well…..that’s one of the things I TRULY wish I had in OZ and NZ. Oh…and earplugs :)

    Posted on April 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm #
  10. From Adam:


    Your taking a shaver? Go the rugged back packer Haha

    Your taking a wicked amount of drugs with you, very prepared.

    Posted on April 16, 2010 at 1:27 am #
  11. From Clark:

    The doxycycline might be overkill, but we take the typhoid pills before we leave. We won’t be packing the small box or the short prescription bottle. Tempting to skip shaving, but I don’t want to look too scary for our photos.

    Posted on April 16, 2010 at 8:57 am #
  12. From John:

    Love the time lapse! Also, one additional downside to the money belt is that the contents typically end up getting very warm. I always thought that was awkward when I pulled out money or documents or what have you. Haha.

    Posted on April 21, 2010 at 12:29 am #
  13. From Clark:

    Yeah, you definitely don’t want to keep any chocolate or fresh fish in those things.

    Posted on April 21, 2010 at 12:44 am #
  14. From Kevin:

    Great call with the money belt, never saw the point in those things. I’m going with the zippered pocket thing, (exofficio waymark personally), but also cutting lil pockets into the inside of the waistbands to stash some cash. Not sure I agree with the larger bag decision, im worried less about the airlines than the busses, id much rather have the bag in sight than underneath or exposed to the elements on top. Also Vicodin? Why didn’t i think about that… Damn, oh well if i did get some it definitely wouldn’t last until i would actually need it.

    Posted on April 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm #
  15. From Kim:

    If we ever did have to store the backpacks under or above a bus or something, we’d have all of our electronics and important stuff with us in the day packs. We’d probably also use the duck back and duffel if we were worried about them otherwise. I like the hidden waistband pocket!

    Posted on April 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm #
  16. From Eva & Jeremy Rees:

    Love this :) We had/have a lot of the same gear as you, so I’ll give you a few tips which we aren’t going to put on our blog until we’re officially done (which is going to take months!)

    The sandals Jeremy had, the Yucatan, didn’t turn out quite as well as we hoped. The footbeds got caked with dirt and they’re nearly impossible to clean, plus the material is wicking, but it doesn’t have much of where to go, and they got super stinky, fast. The body of the shoe held up, but bring a shoe bag (we just took a cloth one from one of Eva’s leather boots) to keep them in. Eva’s Chacos were incredible: easy to clean repeatedly and nothing to break. Jeremy wishes he bought those instead.
    Doorstop was a waste of space; bowls, sporks and waterbottles aren’t really that useful unless you’re imagining you’ll be camping — but then you’re not packing sleeping bags or tents, right? Of course we carried takeaway chop sticks from time to time and bought water constantly, but I didn’t trust the places I might fill up my bottle over just buying a water for 15 cents. Just think about it.
    & Jeans? Okay if you really think you can’t live without them but… just weight them and see. And then wash them, by hand, and see how long it takes to the material to dry without a dryer (which you will never use until you return to America). We felt angry at our travel clothes many a time, and as much as I would have loved to change into jeans I am so glad we didn’t have any in our packs. But, if you must, you can always ship them home later. Jeans are always such a hot issue with packing!
    I also noticed that you had two of some things like the clothing line. You might not need it. We shared these things. It doesn’t cut down on a lot of bulk, but if you don’t absolutely need it don’t bring it. You can always buy things if you’re lacking.
    Consider adding a basic swiss army knife (with scissors) and maybe a good compact place to keep your documents/credit cards/itinerary/spare passport photos.

    I love how easy packing and unpacking was the cubes. I will never ever travel without them again. Packsafe = amazing. Also the moo cards — one of the best things we had!

    As far as what packing actually looked like while traveling: we kept the camera in it’s domke camera bag out and our laptop in the daypack. Since you have a HD, you might want to keep this in the daypack too. (or don’t bring it? I’d be NERVOUS about it!) You’ll likely never pack your laptop into your backpack. We kept our cube of electronics in the 70L pack between clothing cubes and it was always safe. We religiously kept our packs in the pack duffels when traveling. Once Jeremy thought he could get away with it, and they set his bag in a pool of diesel — that was a powerful lesson.

    Hope this helps, like I said we built a whole post about how our gear held up, but it’s not going to be on the blog for a while, so I though I’d share, especially the shoe experience.

    Posted on April 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm #
  17. From Clark:

    Thanks for all the tips! Yeah, jeans are a tough call. They are a bitch to dry, but they are durable and you get many wears between washings. We have had luck with finding dryers in Europe, but they might get pitched/shipped by the time we get to Asia.

    Good feedback on the Eccos. They are incredible sandals, but I don’t want them to fall apart on me. The clotheslines are a little short, so that’s why we have two. Agreed on the Swiss Army knife. Now that we plan to check our bags, we plan on carrying a multitool of some sort. The cubes really are great.

    We plan to avoid the separate daypack. The Flash 18 packs fit our SLR, tripod, etc. nicely. Plenty of room for the HD, Nikon pen, card reader, water bottle, guide book, etc. For flights or train/bus trips, we’ll put the electronics in the two Flash 18 packs so we can keep them close.

    I’ll be sure to check back at Forks & Jets for your final review of your gear. Thanks!

    Posted on April 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm #
  18. From Akila:

    Love the video! The Capital 1 No Hassle Miles card is awesome. You’ll love it. And, I think packing cubes are wonderful.

    Makeup: I basically ended up ditching it after our first leg because it was taking up space in my bag. I just have a tube of colored lip gloss which works well for me.

    Money belts: We are yet to use ours. So, I think you are perfectly fine without it.

    I definitely agree with Eva and Jeremy — get a bag or a sac or something to carry around extra paper in. We have paper-sized zipper bag that we call our “filing cabinet.” We got it for free when we bought our towel. We also like having a Swiss Army Knife though I don’t think it is essential.

    I would also highly recommend bringing a foldable lightweight bag. We like this one: We have found a bag like this to be really convenient for when you need to take laundry to a laundromat because you don’t have to take out all of your other stuff from your main backpack to give it to the launderer. (If you’re in SE Asia, you will be taking your laundry to the laundromat b/c we didn’t find any hostels with laundry facilities in them.) We also like to use this one when we go to the beach b/c then our backpacks don’t get filled with sand and we can just shake this one out and fold it back up. It also makes a very handy grocery bag if you go to the grocery store or market.

    Posted on May 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm #
  19. From JD Mesh:

    Hi guys, your trip sounds fantastic. I am considering a similar trip and debating between a convertible wheeled backpack vs. a traditional backpack (something like this: Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing your pre-trip thoughts on the that type of bag, and especially your thoughts during the trip (i.e. do you wish you had wheels?).

    Lots of luck!


    Posted on May 12, 2010 at 2:20 pm #
  20. From Clark:

    Thanks for checking out the blog! I would discourage you from any wheeled packs. They add a great deal of bulk, and you may need to lug around your gear all day sometimes. Do you want to be pulling that thing down stairs and through cathedrals? Probably not. I think backpacks are the way to go, and they are fairly comfortable if you get a quality pack and then load it correctly. That’s the big one. Go to your local travel/adventure sports shop, and they will fit you properly.

    Posted on May 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm #
  21. From Dina:

    You guys are very organized!
    I remember in the morning of our last day, we were not done closing down our apartment yet, many random items still piling up everywhere (to be stored or threw away). Backpacks? not packed yet!! I remember in panic, I tried to decide which shirts I was going to bring, couldn’t decide what to leave behind. The car that we used to bring the kept items to the storage unit, was breaking down. Plus.. Ryan still had to work in his office that day, what a mess, and I’m so impressed with your gears photo above!

    I’m jealous you guys have REI in the states. Ryan and I went to REI every time we went to the states during the last few months. That ExOfficio underwear are so great for washing in the sink :)

    Posted on October 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm #
  22. From Robert C:

    Well done I am impressed once again. I served in the Army for years to see folks with no formal military training be so organized takes my breath away it’s as if you guys were getting ready for battle this site is a great asset to travelers every where!

    Posted on April 6, 2011 at 12:46 am #
  23. From Angela:

    I LOVE your packing list! Super helpful ideas!! Just curious…what did you use the Moo MiniCards for?

    Posted on April 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm #
  24. From Kim:

    @Angela – We gave our Moo cards to anyone and everyone that we met. It was a great way to share info and keep in contact with people on the road. It was also a nice little way for people to remember our blog!

    Posted on April 23, 2011 at 10:18 pm #
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