Saturday, June 9, 2007


Friends have asked me in the past what do I pack for my trips overseas.

The content of my backpack varies from trip to trip, depending obviously, on where I am going.

My personal rule of thumb is - the longer the trip the less you pack.

If you are heading up the north coast for example for, say 10 days, you really don’t want to be bothering with laundry. Especially if you are not moving around. So take enough clothes to last the trip.

If you are going for longer, and it also includes moving around a lot (as my trips often do) then take enough clothes for 6 - 7 days and do laundry as you go.

Below is a photograph of everything I will be taking for 7 weeks, including the clothes I will set out in.

I have deliberately chosen certain items to minimise luggage. Such as the sandalshoes mentioned earlier in this blog, and the hiking pants which have zip-off legs to convert them into shorts. They are also quick drying for those times when you have to wade through streams and rivers (as you do) or they get so unutterably filthy that people back away from you with their handbags over their faces, and they eventually have to be washed.

You may (or not) have noticed there is no towel. That’s because I don’t carry one. In fact I don’t even use towels at home. (I spin round in the bathroom very very fast and the water flies off.)

On my bicycle-Europe trip 20 years ago I learned to dry myself with a face washer so that each morning I didn’t have to pack a wet towel in my bike panniers and have it damp and smelly that evening when I arrived at my destination. After using this method all over Europe, by the time I came home it was second nature. So I have continued to this day.

Also this trip involves very differing climate zones - Iceland, although mid-summer, is still prone to cold blasts of wet and windy weather straight out of the Arctic which can make the summer maximum of 11.7 deg C very cold indeed! Mexico on the other hand can reach the mid thirties, and Guatemala - while a comfortable high of 24 can become very chilly up in the mountain regions.

So this trip has meant packing gear that will keep me both warm and dry, and also cool yet covered (because of malaria ridden mozzies) in Central America.

Not included in the photo is the 250 gr of ground coffee that I will be taking as Iceland is so expensive I don’t fancy paying the equivalent of the GDP of a small African nation for a double espresso. I will also take a couple of bags of Eucalyptus and Honey lollies as they are a good cure for feeling homesick.

The fake wallet is a nasty $2 job I bought which has some out of date YHA and student cards in it, as well as about 30c worth of Indian rupees and Vietnamese Dong that I’ve inadvertently brought home from previous trips. This wallet is kept in my back pocket in case I am mugged or held up. My real wallet is kept ‘elsewhere’.

No, I am NOT going to tell you where as then I would have to kill you.

What you see laid out in the photo is fairly much the equivalent of what I would take on most of my trips overseas, whether they have been for 6 weeks or one year.

(click for larger image)

Dontcha just love being able to nose around in other people’s stuff??!


mandy said...

why only the blue undies???

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Culver! It's Georgia and Caitlin here! We have found your blog very informative (particularly your lovely diagram, and your showering habits) and tres interessant to read. We will be stalking your blog during the course of your travels. Enjoy, Mr Terry Culver. :)

PS we thought your blog so depressingly commentless, that we will take the liberty of being the most generous commenters in your life.

Anonymous said...


This is Hayley, by the way. SO. You blog is very pretty. :)