Packing: South America and Southeast Asia four-month edition

UPDATED January 29, as we head to Asia! Changes are listed in green.

So. We definitely did some stuff between The Maritimes and today. We drove back across the United States to Eugene, which was an experience in itself that mostly included: driving, driving, more driving, seeing way too many Romney yard signs and getting thumbs down-ed on the highway way too often (not ever really sure why, but possible reasons include: hate Obama, root against Oregon, don’t like hybrids, went to CMC), seeing good friends and eating food food, eating mediocre highway-side food, daydreaming about hotels with hot tubs, and listening to many, many hours of Game of Thrones. We got to Eugene, where we did things including: walking in the rain, going to the Oregon Coast for a few days, spending time with some of our best friends in the world, flying to Los Angeles to see lots of friends and to go to a gorgeous black tie wedding in Beverly Hills (we are very fancy people), running in the rain, riding the roller coaster otherwise known as college football, laying in bed and listened to the rain, and enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. It was all great.

But we never wrote about it and we didn’t really take many pictures, so … too bad for you, friends. You’ll just have to imagine it all. (Please imagine me a bit taller, with thicker hair and a new phone, while you’re at it.)

Tomorrow we leave for the next part of our trip – two months in South America and two months in Southeast Asia. We are beyond excited and hope to get some images and things up on this site on a more regular basis, but who knows – we might be having too much fun.

Much of the last couple of weeks has been focused on preparations for this trip, and we’d be shocked if the very helpful and lovely people at the Eugene REI didn’t miss us today since we didn’t stop by. (Can’t wait for that dividend this year …) We put a lot of effort into our packing list, as you are about to see. Because our road trip packing post was so popular and because we used other travel blogs’ packing lists heavily in planning our lists (and because our travel insurance requires evidence of our luggage contents if we need to file a claim) we’re going to share it all here in detail. Lucky you! You get to see every single thing we’ll have with us for the next four months.

And sorry for the poor quality of these photos – we were in a bit of a hurry to get to our celebratory dinner tonight. (Life is hard.)

Bowen’s clothes

  • Hiking shoes (not exactly that link, but close)
  • Keens hiking sandals (not exactly that link, but close)
  • Birkenstock sandals
  • Wool hat – not bringing to Asia
  • Four pairs socks (three pairs athletic, one pair wool hiking) – removing two pairs for Asia
  • Four bras (two sports bra, two yoga-type, one cheap underwire)
  • Knee brace
  • Swimsuit (top and bottom)
  • Gloves – not bringing to Asia
  • Seven pairs undies – two pairs stolen, replaced in Chile
  • Jeans – not bringing to Asia
  • Hiking pants
  • Athletic shorts
  • Brown khaki shorts
  • Black cropped yoga leggings
  • Black jersey skirt
  • Black dress
  • Two new dresses bought in South America – not bringing to Asia
  • Longsleeve baselayer shirt
  • Longsleeve light button-down denim shirt
  • Five v-neck cotton t-shirts – one ripped/stained and thrown away almost immediately after going to South America, and four more purchased between South America and Asia
  • Super touristy Peru t-shirt purchased because I had too few shirts – not bringing to Asia
  • Two solid and striped racerback tanks – only one coming to Asia, the other too stretched out and threadbare
  • Patterned tank – not bringing to Asia (too stretched out and threadbare)
  • Patterned camisole for layering
  • Athletic tank
  • Rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket – not bringing to Asia
  • Two patterned scarves – one purchased in Ecuador

Bowen’s other stuff

  • Half-dozen ziploc bags of various sizes and one kitchen-size garbage bag (for dirty laundry along the way)
  • Money belt with passport, immunization record, flash drive, and padlock key
  • Travel towel with pouch
  • Cheap watch
  • Baggie full of ginger candy (for motion-sickness and general nausea)
  • Baggie with half-dozen granola bars, half-dozen tea bags, half-dozen Emergen-C packets
  • Padlock
  • Suitcase lock (purchased between South America and Asia)
  • Pillowcase (will fill with clothes to use as a pillow)
  • Tide pen
  • Sharpie with duct tape rolled around it (so we don’t have to bring a big roll of it)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Glasses and case
  • Sunglasses
  • Sewing kit
  • Sleep sack
  • South America guidebook and Latin America Spanish phrasebook – not bringing to Asia
  • Southeast Asia guidebook
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle
  • Two books and one crossword puzzle book
  • Silverware set
  • Camelback reservoir
  • Preserve plastic food container
  • Additional tupperware container

Bowen’s toiletries

Note: many of these things have been refilled/replaced at least once

  • Makeup: mascara, eyeliner, powder
  • Astringent face wipes (put into ziplock baggie)
  • Q-tips
  • Pack of tissues
  • Tinted moisturizer with SPF
  • Big toothpaste, carry-on size toothpaste
  • Comb
  • Floss
  • Tweezers
  • Chapstick
  • Toothbrush with two extra bristle parts (I’ve been using this same toothbrush for 10 years now, literally, just changing the bristles every month)
  • Container with bobby pins, hair bands, pair of small hoop earrings
  • Hand santizer
  • Big contact solution, carry-on size contact solution
  • Five months’ supply contact lenses
  • Two contact cases
  • Small moisturizer
  • Small bottle tea tree face wash
  • Deodorant
  • Travel toilet paper
  • Scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Shampoo and conditioner (shared with Brett)
  • Small plastic bottle with Dr. Bronner’s
  • Small plastic bottle with shaving cream
  • Razor
  • Black headband
  • Four months’ supply of feminine products (not shown)
  • Small bottle aloe
  • Travel shampoo and conditioner for airports (fancy Asian airports with showers!)

Brett’s clothes

  • Nine(ish) pairs underwear
  • Five pairs socks
  • Baseball hat
  • Wool hat – not bringing to Asia
  • Hankerchief
  • Jeans – not bringing to Asia
  • Hiking pants
  • Khaki shorts
  • Athletic shorts
  • Swim trunks
  • Longsleeve t-shirt
  • Two longsleeve button-downs
  • Two shortsleeve t-shirts
  • Two shortsleeve button-downs
  • Rainjacket
  • Hoodie sweatshirt – not bringing to Asia
  • Fleece vest
  • Flip flops
  • Keens hiking sandals
  • Hiking shoes

Brett’s other stuff

  • Southeast Asia guidebook
  • Camelbak reservoir
  • Two books, one crossword puzzle book
  • Glasses and case
  • Sunglasses
  • Steel bottle for carrying … uh … water
  • Headlamp
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Headphone splitter (so we can listen to something at the same time)
  • Silverware set
  • Playing Cards
  • Swiss army knife
  • Padlock
  • Lighter
  • Travel towel and pouch
  • Earplugs
  • Chicobag
  • Waistband pouch with passport and immunization record
  • Pillowcase (will stuff with clothes to use as a pillow)
  • Sleep sack
  • Garbage bag for dirty laundry

Note: many of these things have been refilled/replaced at least once 

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Small plastic bottle of shaving cream
  • Razor
  • Two travel toilet paper (one’s almost empty from our last trip)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Eye drops
  • Floss
  • Other eye drops
  • Big contact solution, carry-on contact solution
  • Five months’ supply contacts
  • Two contact cases
  • Big toothpaste, carry-on toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Dr. Bronner’s bar soap
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturizer with SPF
  • Lip Balm

Electronics (shared)

  • MacBook Pro (mine – it’s a few years old and I’m planning to get a new one when we return anyway, so we mostly cleared this one and filled it with movies, podcasts, and music)
  • Laptop lock
  • Laptop charger and appropriate converters
  • Bowen’s iPhone (to use as iPod) and charger
  • Outlet converter and instructions – not bringing to Asia
  • Samsung phone (for buying SIM cards and using as a phone wherever we go – also has an amazing camera for taking videos)
  • DSLR (Canon Rebel T2i – not shown, was taking this photo) and charger
  • Tiny travel camera tripod (not shown, forgot to put in photo)
  • Point-and-shoot Canon camera and charger
  • … uh, travel alarm clock again (also in photo of Brett’s other stuff)

First aid stuff

  • Emergency blanket
  • Two travel bottles ibuprofen
  • Malaria and diarrhea prescription meds
  • Two Epi-pens for me
  • Ace bandage
  • Non-drowsy allergy meds
  • Jungle juice insect repellant
  • Iodine tablets for purifying water
  • Benadryl anti-itch stick
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Dramamine
  • Benadryl (the drowsy kind)
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Seasickness patches
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray


All together, that makes for:

I alternate between thinking it’s a ridiculously huge amount of stuff and that it’s really quite lean for four whole months of existing.

And yes, we’ll be carrying that on our backs for the next four months. We’re pretty excellent packers, if we do say so, and all of these things fit together in our bags pretty darn well, with room enough to spare for some good souvenirs.

Stay tuned for more, hopefully soon. In the meantime, be thinking of us Wednesday morning, 10:20 a.m. Buenos Aires time (8:20 Eastern, 5:20 Pacific) when we touch down!


3 responses to “Packing: South America and Southeast Asia four-month edition

  1. Pingback: Buenos Aires | A world of Gemütlichkeit

  2. Thanks for sharing this is very helpful. As someone looking at doing a similar but shorter trip later this year I was wondering if there was anything you wish you had brought, didn’t need and also what was the most useful thing you had with you?

  3. Hi There! So glad this was helpful. In terms of things I (Bowen) wish I had brought more shirts, particularly since one of my t-shirts had to be thrown away within the first week (ripped and stained). It was almost impossible to find attractive replacements in South America, so I ended up buying a tourist “Peru” t-shirt that I’ll probably never wear again. Similar thing with underwear – I lost a pair (long story) and it was really expensive and kind of difficult to replace. We also should have brought aloe, since sunburns happened fairly often and it was really expensive to buy there.

    We wish we hadn’t brought the voltage/outlet converter, since it turned out we didn’t need it (our chargers all convert automatically) and it’s really big and heavy. We ended up needing to buy plug converters in each country anyway, since they all had different plugs (super annoying). Neither of us used our sleep sacks, but that’s not something you want to be caught without if you need it, and it made a great pillow on buses and planes.

    I’m really glad I bought the packing cubes and that I used a lot of ziploc baggies to keep things organized. Having extra ziploc baggies was also really important. We also just bought a second tupperware for the Asia part of the trip, since we used the one we had a ton – it meant we could take leftovers from restaurants to save money, we could fill it with trail mix for hikes, etc. etc.

    I think those are my major thoughts – I’m actually going to go update this post right now for the Asia part of our trip!

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