Seeing the world, one country at the time

The content on this page is all Lars' - and as such, it may take a while. Once it is up, it will contain a laundry list of what we brought and how frequently we used the different items.

Backpacks


Anna and I both put a lot of thought and money into our choice of backpacks. We went with "top-loaders" (backpacks where you close the top with a draw-cord and a lid) rather than a panel-loader (basically a suitcase on a backpack frame. With zippers on 3 sides of the pack, you can basically peel off the front of the pack and have access to all the content). We chose top-loaders as they are technically better backpacks. Our reasoning was that the benefits of a backpack that would ride well on your back would outweigh the benefits of better accessibility. In hindsight, that might not have been the wisest choice, but as we would discover again and again, hindsight is 20/20 ;- )

Clothes


Thinking we were going south (and we were), we grossly under-packed in the warm clothes department. Bolivia, Chile, Australia and New Zealand all chilled us to the bone and required long jones and jumpers. Not what we had in mind when we set out, but when you travel for this long, sooner or later, you will not be able to time it so that you always hit the warm season. Advice - leave space in your backpack (as hard as that may be) and buy (and in turn, give away) as needed along the route.

Footwear


Don't laugh, but we each packed:

Mountain boots - for Inca Trail and other hikes. Also when you backpack weights in at 40-80 lbs, you need every ounce of support you can get

Running shoes - we were erroneously thinking that we would be working out every day on the trail. It sounded good, and it IS important for so many reasons. Reality however, is that with ones environment and routines changing just about each and every day, a workout tends to take last priority. Anna is also a "Hasher" and had hoped to go running with fellow Hashers around the world.

Sandals - no comments necessary, but an obligatory item in your pack.

"Nice" shoes - good to have to hang with the high society friends we have around the world, but still, by far the least used footwear in our packs.

Photo, video and laptops


We pack approximately 55 lb. (25 kg) of high tech "stuff" in our packs. The wast majority of it is mine, but Anna packs about 5 lb. of it by virtue of her laptop and her camera. Has it been all worth it? I think the jury is still out on that one. It is rewarding when you get good photos and the video of your old and new friends is, as the Mastercard commercials go, "priceless". But you always have to keep an eagles eye on the tech backpack, lock it up when you go for long trips on busses and trains, and even chain it to a stationary object in hostel room. That said, this website would not be the same without all the stuff. And we would probably not be as diligent about taking pictures and notes if we didn't have the website. When you travel for this long, unless you have a perfect, almost photographic memory, you will experience so much and meet so many great people, that after a while, you start to confuse the names of places and people. By using the pen and the camera diligently, we can keep a record of it all - and create a slideshow that would take, literally, 41 hours to sit through (if each picture was shown for 5 seconds). The notion is that, at some point, we can create a multimedia experience with pictures, HD video and stories. It could be a great idea but time will tell if it happens when it is all said and done. But I digress. Bottom line is that we brought a lot of tech items with us. If you want the boring details about what we brought and how it fared, just shoot us an email and I will give you the scoop.

Of course, in case we are somewhere that does not have electricity, I got a 14W rollable! solar-panel. A bit over the top perhaps, and we haven't needed it yet, but when we do, boy oh boy will we be prepared ;- )

Other "stuff"


Carabiners - to hook plastic bags and what not to your bag (and to hook your bags together to make it harder for thieves to abscond with them)
TP - always, always, always have a roll available. Keep it in zip bag to keep it dry. It is the best and most appreciated investment you will ever make.
Headlamps (flashlights will also do) - your milage might vary on this one, but even if you just use it to read on the bus after dark, it is very much a worthwhile item to bring.
Leatherman - nuff said - just bring it. You can get the lighter, smaller Leatherman versions if you want to, but make sure you bring it.
Guidebooks - no matter how independent you want to travel, they are still nice to have. But buy them as you need them - do not carry 5 books with you when you only need one at the time.
Waterfilters/purifiers - we carried one all throughout South America, and never used it once.
First aid kit - if you don't bring it, you will definitely need it. Though we brought it, we still needed it, but (knock on wood), it was all minor incidents.
Notebooks - Anna has been using them for travel journals, but even if you don't keep a journal, you WILL need one place for writing down contact info to all the people you meet along the way.
Waterbottles - we brought some nice ones from REI, but since we ended up buying all our water in bottles, we didn't really need them and ended up sending them home again
Pillows - this has to be, by far, the most decadent item we brought along, but even with small high quality pillows, we tended to sleep much better than with the not so nice ones your rooms come with. Well worth the weight, but took a lot of space in our packs.
Cell phone - we managed 7-8 months without one, but purchased a basic one in Singapore. The key is to not give everyone and their mother the number and instead use it for emergencies or to make room or ticket reservations. Give the number to your parents (if you dare) and that is about it. Otherwise, you will become a slave to your phone as all your friends will call or Skype you - just as it was before you left to go travel.
Mosquito net - it obviously depends on where you travel. That said, our destinations dictate that we should have used them, yet we haven't. Hopefully a decision we won't regret. Of course, if we hit a truly rural area in Asia, we have it and we will use it.