Packing For Three Months In Central America

Gregory Sage 45 - Will it hold all my treasured belongings for three months?

Gregory Sage 45 – Will it hold all my treasured belongings for three months?

This post is dedicated to Sarah, who was curious about what I am packing for three months of travel.While I did previously say that I haven’t done much planning for my trip, I have put in a considerable amount of thought into what I will have the privilege of having with me on this expedition.

The first thing I started with was a backpack.  After a lot of research and a couple long consultations at MEC, I got my very first multi-day backpack. I’m pretty pumped that I finally have one. Having one of these gives me the hope that after this trip, it will be filled again with exciting gear for a second backcountry camping expedition.

I dreaded the idea of hauling around a monster of a bag so I chose a Gregory Sage 45L pack.  It has a spot for my camera in the hip belt and a zipper on the back that will give me easy access to my gear. Now, the challenge is to use every millimetre of it wisely.

I’ve been setting precious articles of clothing and toiletries aside for a month now. I think I’m all set.  So, what do I have in my 25 pound bag?

How will this ever fit into my pack? The truth is some of it will have to get cut.

How will this ever fit into my pack? The truth is some of it will have to get cut.

  • The most important thing after my passport has got to be a camera. I have a terrible memory, so this device will ensure that my adventures are all safely stored. The truth is I haven’t actually received the camera in the mail yet, but I’m sure Olympus will come through as they promised.  It was time for me to get a new camera; I went for a heavy-duty one that can stand to get some water on it.  I can’t wait for it to arrive.
  • A journal…because you guys don’t want to hear about everything.

    This is probably be my best friend.

    This is probably be my best friend.

  • Lonely Planet Central America on a shoestring travel guide, an old-school map of Central America in case technology fails me and an Spanish-English dictionary.
  • A Kobo Mini with a mix of fun, inspirational and serious books — click here for my reading list — and an Ipod Nano with carefully crafted playlists.  I think I have been working on the latter for months now.
  • Because I want to meet as many awesome people as possible during this trip, I will be staying in hostels. For this, an eye mask, ear plugs and a Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp for walking to an outhouse in the middle of the night. Now, I don’t know if I will be in this situation, but I’d better be safe than sorry.  I have a sleeping bag liner and a pillow case in case the sheets aren’t as fresh as I would like.  These are all items that I need for camping when I get home.
  • For the beach, I have a travel towel, sun glasses, sunscreen. Oh, and three bathing suits.
  • Maha Sling - Where have you been my whole life?

    Maha Sling – Where have you been my whole life? You are both classy and comfy.

    As a person who likes shoes, this category presents a dilemma for me…I think the final decision is one that allows me to do the most activities while being light and compact.  If I could have everything, I would have hiking boots, runners, fancy-pants shoes, flip-flops, shoes for playing in the water…but alas, I’m going with flip-flops, Patagonia Maha Sling casual black shoes and old runners, which are taking up way too much space in my pack. Hopefully the runners can sub-in for hiking shoes as needed. And, being a super-tall woman in a continent filled with not-so-tall people, I think I will be thanked for not bring stilettos for nights out.

  • Two pairs of shorts, three pairs of pants.  The beloved Lululemon line is pervasive throughout my backpack.  This brand is a saviour because their pants are actually long enough for me. So, a shout-out to them for having a “tall” size. Thank you.
  • Six tops — tanks, t-shirts and a long-sleeve shirt. Again, most of it is Lulu.
  • Swiss Army Knife, is there anything you can't do?

    Swiss Army Knife, is there anything you can’t do?

    My jacket situation is a failure because I have yet to wrap my mind around layering. It is quite frankly intimidating. I spent way too much time with MEC’s wonderful staff in the jacket department and sadly left with nothing. First off, there are endless possibilities.  Mostly, I was worried about getting a layer that is too warm or too cold and ultimately losing my jacket. Layers are on my to-do list. I see them as an investment.  But, in the interim, I’m bringing a light sweater and a rain jacket that doesn’t have a hood and I know doesn’t breathe…but I already own it, and if I lose it, I won’t be sad.

  • Misc. items include a Swiss Army knife to peel my breakfast fruit and open my wine. A lock. Mini speakers for my music. Bug repellant to compliment my malaria pills. Biodegradable soap and clothing pins to dry my laundry. And a watch with an alarm for catching early-morning buses.
  • And, well for toiletries, click here to see what’s in my toiletries bag. My two cosmetic products of choice are Blinc waterproof mascara and MAC lipglass.

I’ve got a week to get last-minute items that I overlooked.  Please do tell me if you think I am making a terrible mistake by not bringing my favourite peanut butter or pillow.  Am I missing anything? Answer the poll below.

Doesn't look so bad once it's all organized.

Doesn’t look so bad once it’s all organized.

It all fit!!

It all fit!!

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2 thoughts on “Packing For Three Months In Central America

  1. A few things you might consider adding: a water bottle w built in filter (check mec), waterproof case for your smartphone (assuming your taking it for web and email/skype at wifi spots), zip lock bags to store your journal (in case your hitch hiking in the rain), a lock with short chain to secure your bag and belonging when stepping away for a bit, pepper spray or one of those audible alarm thingies just in case. 🙂

  2. Have you thought about medication should you get diarrhea? If you’re prone to nausea, take some Gravol along. I think bringing extra zip-lock bags of different sizes is a great idea. They are light, don’t take much room and can really come in handy. Did you add a few safety pins?

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