Friday, November 4, 2011

Need A Few Packing Tips? Check Out Our First Friday Wild Post From Married With Luggage...

Our next First Friday Wild Posters are Warren and Betsy Talbot of Married With Luggage fame! They ditched their careers, sold everything they own, and left to live their dream of traveling the world in October 2010. While they haven't made it to Africa just yet, they are looking forward to realising a life-long dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on their next round the world jaunt. It's sure to be awesome adventure (and we'll keep you posted=)), but until then feast your eyes on the pair's backpack tips, as this couple have fine tuned the art of travelling light!

I love to pack, which I admit makes me rather strange. So when we decided to go on a trip around the world for a few years I was in heaven. I would get the opportunity many times over to lay out all my possessions on the bed and pack my bag to optimize my space. 

One of the big challenges we faced before heading out on the road indefinitely was what would we take with us. We needed to balance between what we thought we needed, what would fit in our 65L packs, and what was simply nice to have. We have now been on the road for over a year and have a much better idea of those things that have served us well in our adventure.

Key things we brought:
  • High quality clothes - we spent a bit more on our clothes by buying items that are specifically made for travel. The result has been amazing. Each article that we brought with us remains in great shape, and still smells good (which is obviously very important) after a year on the road. This is so nice especially given the beating we have given then through the treks in Peru and constant laundering that must be done. The only time we have gotten rid of clothes is due to the fact we both lost over 25 pounds and they simply no longer fit. However, that is a problem we both are comfortable confronting.
  • Steripen - in most of South America we could not drink the water from the tap (a lesson we learned the hard way). As a result we used our Steripen constantly in order to give us clean drinking water. While bottled water is relatively cheap we simply did not feel comfortable adding even more plastic to the global landfills so the ability to sterilize our own was wonderful, and incredibly easy. 
  • Good quality camera - while I elected not to carry a DSLR, I did invest in a great quality bridge camera. My thought was that while I love the images from my old DSLR I simply did not want to carry around the extra weight. In addition, by carrying a smaller camera I bring it with me everywhere and have gotten some great pics as a result.  Also, be sure to bring extra batteries and cards. Inevitably in the key moments something is going to fail and it is so nice to have a backup available.
  • Rain gear - this is actually something we bought once we arrived in the UK. After walking through a few too many rain storms unprepared we decided to get ourselves some appropriate rain jackets. These are simply light outer shells that can roll up into a small bag and are easy to carry strapped to our packs. 
  • Electronic readers (Kindle) - we both love to read but carrying books was simply not an option due to the weight. In addition, many of the places you will travel will not offer any books in your language making the idea of buying along the way not viable. Instead we each have a Kindle which is light enough to carry yet can hold more books than we could even read in 5 years on the road. 
After a year on the road I've found that I still enjoy the act of packing for the next location. I lay out all the things I own in the world and then determine if I still need each item. Occasionally we'll decide we no longer need something or it is time to replace a worn out item. We'll donate the article to someone in the area and then pack what's left into the sack. Our 65L packs are lighter today than when we left even as our memories grow by the day.  

What have you found that you cannot live without on your trips?

You too can join the "Live the Good Life" movement at Married with Luggage and while you're  why not check out their guide, Dream Save Do, which provides a step-by-step blueprint for amassing the cash to go nomading for the long-haul! 


Noah said...

Do you recommend investing in packing cubes? I've heard raving reviews from those that have them, but not sure that they're important enough for the money. What are your thoughts?

Acacia Africa Adventure Holidays said...

might have to put that one to the vote on Twitter Noah - @acaciaafrica - thx for the comment =)

Warren Talbot said...

Hi Noah,
Betsy used a packing cube for the first few months of our trip but then found it useless and that it was actually taking up more space than without it. We ditched it in the UK and she is not missing it at all.

Acacia Africa Adventure Holidays said...

cheers for the feedback Warren - sounds like it's a miss =)