T Minus One Month

by Andrew Stein

My departure date both beckons and looms.  I leave the San Francisco Bay Area in less than a month, and before then, there is a lot to wrap up including job, apartment, and trip plans.  Since there’s little exciting to say about putting my room into boxes, one area of my trip planning that I love to think about is figuring out how to pack for a trip that will last almost 5 months.

When I begin to count out the days, if I wanted to bring a clean pair of socks for each day that I would be traveling, that will require 150 pairs.  I then add a couple extra for those days that necessitate changing half way through.  I realize that I am going to need a huge suitcase for each type of clothing leaving me with a socks suitcase, a shirts suitcase, a pants suitcase, etc.  That’s a lot of extra airline fees.

In all seriousness, there are two items that I thought most important when figuring out what to take.  Good shoes and a good backpack.  I have already purchased hiking boots that I wear several times a week breaking them in.  There’s no reason to use my moleskin for blisters if I don’t need to.  For a backpack, seeing as this was going to be my one piece of luggage, I wanted something big enough to hold the essentials but not so big that it wouldn’t help me cut back on what I was taking.  Given the length and character of my trip, and given that I would be both moving from hostel to hostel as well as hiking to the Annapurna Base Camp, I chose an internal frame pack by Gregory with 75 liters of space.  75 liters is on the big side, but I’m hoping to bring 4 to 5 changes of clothes, a sleeping bag, layers of jackets and fleeces, and a camera or two.  The pack had sufficient pockets to help me keep things organized, but not so many that it would be hard to utilize all its internal space.

Deciding what to put in the backpack will be difficult, but I need to remind myself that I can both clean the clothes I bring as well as find new clothes as I travel.  That knowledge, however, did not preclude me from getting the underwear with the tagline, “17 countries… 6 weeks… One pair of underwear.  (Ok, maybe two.)” by Exofficio.