Thursday, February 02, 2006


One of the biggest challenges I have encountered so far with this journey is how I'm going to pack for a whole year and a half. At the suggestion of BUNAC, I am taking a backpack--and only a backpack. Now I guess I am real backpacker.

But having a backpack doesn't mean I actually know how to fit all my stuff in it. So I did what any good anal-retentive backpacker would do and put together a plan for packing. There's even a chart. Here is the general idea:

Step 1: Create a packing list, tracking which items I need to research and/or purchase
Step 2: Refine the packing list
Step 3: Research and/or purchase needed items
Step 4: Practice packing backpack
Step 5: Revise packing list, as needed
Step 6: Return backpack and buy a new one, if needed
Step 7: Practice packing again and try walking with backpack
Step 8: Revise packing list, as needed
Step 9: Pack for real

Currently I am on step 5. The good news is that the practice packing went really well. I was missing a few things, but for the most part everything fit. So that's a relief. The bad news is that my sleeping bag takes up literally half the backpack. Check it out:

That giant red ball is my sleeping bag.

If nothing else, practicing packing made me a lot less interested in moving around a lot.


Adrian said...

I am sure that you will collect enough things in the West to fill a couple of my backpacks.

Cousin Heather said...

Doesn't your pack have a place to strap the sleeping bag externally? Then there's a big ol' sack thingie that you can put the whole pack in for when it rides the airplane. (But you probably knew that already).

Happy trails-have fun! We're looking forward to some vicarious living as we read your blog. :)

jenshaines said...

Just put the stuff you actually need at places you can get it. Once the sleeping bag is out, packing is MUCH easier. Also, your bag will "stuff down smaller" as you get more experienced. Said by someone who's lived out of packs for 2 months here and 3 months there. Ooooooo, I'm so jealous, NZ is Dave's and my #1 spot in the world of places we want to see before we die! Have a safe flight tomorrow! What a cool adventure!