We also began to get our gear together for the trip which was more difficult then we had thought. Bearing in mind how this was supposed to be an exercise in living on less and surviving on the essentials, it is amazing how many options there are of what to pack. Big pack or small pack, sandals or hiking boots, Jeans or cargo pants, the choices are endless!
The best thing I can suggest is look up packing lists online and try as much stuff on as you can!! Places like Go Outdoors and Blacks have lots of equipment to try out and see what feels good for you. The staff were also very helpful explaining what all the different tech is on the packs etc. I mean, even choosing a travel towel was a task in itself, what size, what colour, permanent anti bac or not...
We decided that instead of replacing things as we went we would rely on the main items that we would live in every day to be good quality, cooling and easy to wash/dry. Also the Back pack (which would essentially be our home for upto a year) had to be durable and protect our kit as much as possible.
After trying on practically every pack berghaus, Osprey, North Face and numerous other brands make, I decided on a 70 litre Berghaus top of the range C7-2 Pro waterproof pack as it felt very comfortable, not too much padding on the back (as this can cause you to overheat) and felt just the right size to me. Jayne on the other hand wanted to go light and decided on a 50 litre pack also finding Berghaus very comfortable.
For footware we chose to use good quality hiking sandals (North face el-rio’s) for everyday use and for the occasional run or hike in the forest we would go for Trail Trainers. Mine were Goretex Soloman GTX 3D and Jayne went again for a lighter equivalent trial shoe in a brand I currently forget.
Jeans were going to be too heavy and too hard to dry for the climate we were going to be in most of the time so Craghoper zip offs were the order of the day here. The ones we went for were quite expensive as they are an SPF of 50 and have permanent mossie repellent and resistant fabric, which sounds great (will have to wait and see if its worth the extra cash!).
We decided that most other things needn't be too technical. I guess if you want to spend £20 per pair on technical underpants then thats fine. Just bear in mind that if your caught short in a long drop toilet in vietnam without any method of cleaning yourself, your gonna cry when you have to sacrifice them!!
Some of the other stuff is obvious but a rough list of our final packing choices are below.
1 pair of Swim shorts
4 pairs of underwear
2 Technical quick drying T shirts
1 Long sleeve Craghopper Shirt
1 light micro fleece
1 permanent marker
small sewing kit
1 worldwide power adapter
1 pocket knife
1 half of a tennis ball (for blocking sinks to wash clothes in etc)
Frizbee (for fun and doubling up as a bowl)
Compact camera (with spare battery and memory card)
Travel Documents (Passport, driving license, medical insurance etc)
Medical kit (comprising of Bandages, motion sickness pills, anti Hystamines, Hydra Courtizone cream, Malaria Tablets, Chlorine Drops to purify water, Ibuprofen, small scissors, sports tape, Iodine, compeed, vasaline, tiger balm + perscription drugs ie inhalers.)
10 metres Nylon Chord (for washing line use, repairing rucksacks)
Super glue (for repairing anything you cant with the chord)
Duc Tape (for repairing anything you cant with the glue)
Samsung Netbook (now this was a tough one, do we take it or not.... decided on yes to make it easier to update blogs, upload photos on the move and also it only weighs 1.2 kgs)
Waterproof jacket (small 'mac in a pac' type for any downpours)