January 12th, 2018
I absolutely ADORE packing! I still have just shy of two weeks before I leave and I've started already. It's a long process; first I must write a list, then I must gather the things and assess them for necessity. Then I pack, unpack, and pack again, at least once to make sure it all fits and is a good weight.
I've done packing many times over the years, for different trips, and while my watch words used to be 'take half the clothes and twice the money', these days they are 'take exactly what you need.' Experience has taught me what is generally required on a trip, and what is unnecessary bulk, (I shed A LOT along the way on my first trip!) but I still get surprised by what suddenly becomes 'essential'.
I hate shoes as a rule, and will take as few as possible- one solid pair and flip flops, so I was surprised to find I needed an extra pair on my last trip, an all purpose 'clean' pair for when my workhorse shoes were thick with mud. Socks also, I needed far more socks than usual as they went so orange.
I've never had one before, but was a bit dismayed by the number of bottles of water I ended up buying in Kenya. I got this one from Water-to-go after seeing them at Wilderness Festival and was finally tempted by their credentials and price point. I'm impressed with the bottle so far, doesn't leak and is comfortable to hold, and will review how the filter goes while I'm out there.
I'm even less interested in beauty stuff than I am in shoes so discovering Dr Bronner soap was a joy! It's biodegradable, great for off the track, can be used as wash and shampoo, and is super concentrated so it lasts forever. (Seriously, I've been using this bottle for 3 months now and it's barely a quarter down!)
I have a multitool, but a little pocket knife is really useful for all sorts of things. I lost my last one in a matatu, so this is my Christmas present replacement, and I made it a little strap so I can attach it to a belt and hopefully not lose it again!
A Kenyan essential. Wrap up against the sun, or the cold, or on the way to the shower, or at the beach, or laundry day... Endless uses.
An essential for me, at least a full birds one, but this small bugs one is perfect for travelling, and I'll take a tracks and signs one too if there is space. Make sure they're appropriate to the area you'll be in!
One for the ladies, such an easy way to reduce waste while away. I've used it for 10 years and it has never failed me. That said, it's not something to grab and go with as they do take a bit of getting used to, and you need to be prepared to deal with the cleaning. I have a small pot and disinfectant tablets which worked fine and takes up minimal space and weight.
Generally, if you don't use it in a week, you won't use it travelling is a good way to think about packing, but there are exceptions and really it comes down to personal choice. If you struggle, lay it all out and ask yourself do I REALLY need this? Then just take it all anyway, you'll soon find out!
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