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?
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.
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.
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.
- 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).
Kim has some specific personal items (left to right):
- Small blow dryer
- Mary Kay moisturizer, foundation, and compact
- St. Ives Facial Scrub
- Contact case
- Eye liner
- Miscellaneous hair clips
- Pink makeup bag
- “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.
- REI Deluxe Shower Kit
- 5 Flat, oval bottles (4 oz. each)
- 2 Toothbrushes with cases
- Razor (probably not this model)
- Nail Clippers (small)
- Small scissors
- Old Spice deodorant
- 3M UltraThon Insect Repellent
- Contents for the bottles
- Shaving cream