Creating the optimal packing list 

I’ve done so much research on packing lists, thinking they were all far too long before I sat to write my own – only now do I realise I might actually need all of that stuff.

I thought initially I’d go for a 60-70L bag, then decided it would be fine to go with 45, now I’m back to thinking I won’t fit it all in. Admittedly, our trip is unique in that we will probably be doing a variety of jobs whilst we go. Some will require scruffy clothes, others will require smart. There initially we have a problem – 4 tops and 3 vests won’t really fit the bill. What I’ve decided on is choosing some very scruffy clothes (or ones I don’t mind ending up that way) and some which I keep for “best”. Ones suitable to wear into a shop and ask about job vacancies without looking like I’ve just arrived from the bush.

Then, I need clothes for Italy in summer, and Canada in winter. Oh and we’ll need our camping stuff. Sigh…here lies my main challenge.

I found some really useful resources when I was researching – this list has largely shaped my own, and a few others helped me refine it. I then have to work with what I’ve got, what I can afford to get (or make), and then, can I choose a bag to fit.

So far, the list is as follows:

Essentials –

  • Passport
  • Scanned documents and passport photos
  • International bank account card
  • Insurance (to get)
  • Large bag
  • Raincover for bag
  • Packaway daysack

Tech –

  • Mobile phone
  • iPad mini and keyboard/Laptop
  • Chargers and USB leads
  • Universal adapter
  • Headphones
  • Camera (Stu)

Toiletries and medical (we can share the weight of this one) –

  • All-in-one natural washing liquid
  • Conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair clips
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Rubycup
  • Deodorant
  • Aloe Vera
  • Moisturising balm
  • Razor
  • Makeup
  • Motion sickness tablets (to get)
  • Anti itch cream
  • Painkillers
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Burn/blister plasters

Clothes –

  • 3 tshirts and 1 vest top (2 tshirts for Stu and 3 shirts)
  • 2 work shirts (or rough t-shirts)
  • 1 blouse
  • 4 bottoms (one trousers, one shorts, one skirt and one stretchy running trousers) (2 shorts, 2 trousers for Stu)  (to get)
  • 1 versatile dress (for day and night)
  • 1 light jumper
  • 1 waterproof coat
  • 1 swimming costume
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 bra + 2 sports bras
  • 1 trainers
  • 1 hiking shoes
  • 1 comfy sandals
  • 6 pairs underwear
  • 4 pairs socks

Camping (again we’ll share the weight) –

  • Tent
  • Groundsheet
  • Sleeping bags (and liners)
  • Stoves and mess tins
  • Torch
  • Trowel

Useful additions (mainly inspired by this list) –

  • Duct tape
  • Dental tape
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Towel
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Tissues/toilet roll

And “non-essentials”, but what we would like to have with us –

  • Notepad and pens
  • Paints, charcoals and paper
  • Needles, thread and cotton
  • Basic make-up

It seems enormous and I’m not including the Canadian winter part – I feel there is no point hiking through Europe with it so I’m going to see if I can have it sent out to me (please Mum – I’ll pay postage!) 😀


Note: Header Image by Tim Swaan


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