Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Packing List. Korea and China.

Camels with a Howdah, by Émile Rouergue, 1855

I  may be going to the Silk Road but thankfully, I won't need a camel caravan to carry everything with me!

With trips to more countries than I can remember, I am now more than a seasoned traveler who knows how to pack a suitcase.   I have also done enough adventure travel to know how to pack really light.  At most, my suitcase now weighs in at no more than 13 kilos and that's if it's really, really, stuffed.  Typically, at the start of a trip, my faithful 22" Eagle Creek ORV Trunk suitcase tips the scale, fully packed, at under 12 kilos. 

Not bad as at that weight,  I can easily manage to hoist into the overhead compartment of the plane and I can easily carry it up and down stairs.  That suitcase has been with me since 2010 and despite all the beating and battering it has gone through, so far the only thing I've had to *repair* is a lost zipper pull.  A few more trips from now and I will likely have to replace the wheels.

But I digress.  Back to the packing for this trip.   With every trip I go on, I try to strip down what I need to bring with me and to bring as lightweight clothing as I possibly can.

Weather wise, we'll be really lucky on this trip as temperatures will be in the mid 70's during the day and in the colder areas, in the high 50's at night.  For the most part, I will pack short sleeve shirts with a few long ones to either wear alone or layer on top as needed.

One of my cousins also gifted me a set of packing cubes which I've never really used.  I'm going to try them out on this trip to see if they will help save clothes packing space and help me find things easier when I'm on the road.  It's not unusual for me to have to rummage around to find things once I've arrived at my destination.  I want to keep this to a minimum because every time I rummage, I just mess up all the neat packing I've done.

With previous trips, I've also brought along luxuries like my travel kettle, collapsible silicon bowls and cutlery.  I will leave all these behind as this will be what I would describe as a comfort class trip which means we're staying in much nicer hotels with more amenities as opposed to the small guesthouses, homestays and apartments that I typically do.

After having badly sprained my left ankle in Bangkok and then reinjuring it in Baku two months later, I've decided to bring along my ankle brace as well as my walking stick.  The brace is what the sports doctor ordered me to wear after I went to see him when I arrived back from the Caucasus trip.  To help me hobble around in Baku, I borrowed Pat's walking stick.  I loved it so much I decided to get one for myself.  I bought the walking stick for my trip to Michigan and I found it really useful to stabilize myself when we did our hikes.

I also splurged and bought a new Timbuk2 bag that I will use on my daily sightseeing trips.  It's big enough to hold my camera, water bottle and wallet and a few small items.  That's all I need and I can leave my utilitarian but not so  pretty looking backpack in the hotel room.

So hopefully,  my suitcase will be lighter weight on this trip than in recent trips.  On the flip side, my backpack will weigh more as, after 10 years of owning an entry level DSLR, I am upgrading to a full frame camera with a larger zoom lens which will add more weight.  I will definitely feel the weight difference on my back but I think it's worth it though!

On this trip, I'm equipping my Android smartphone with a larger SD card so I can offline maps, travel guides and movies to it. I also bought an MHL to HDMI adapter so I can watch the movies on the hotel room TV.  It'll be my first long distance road test of using my phone for more than just reading email, texting and posting updates on Facebook.  Here's the list.  With the exception of the electronic items, paperwork and wallet items, pretty much everything else will go in the suitcase which if I pack well will leave me with quite a bit of free space.

The List
  • Trip itinerary
  • Passport, airline vouchers, hotel voucher for China and Airbnb voucher for Korea, International Driving Permit.
  • $US cash, credit cards, debit card
  • Rain poncho
  • 4 short sleeve, light cotton shirts
  • 3 lightweight long sleeve shirts
  • 4 pair of hiking pants
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • Fleece jacket
  • 1 headscarf
  • Underwear and three pairs of socks
  • Sunhat and sunglasses
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 pair hiking sandals
  • 1 pair rubber slippers 
  • Ankle brace and walking stick
  • Toiletries and first aid kit (including Tylenol, Band Aids, Neosporin, lip balm, Immodium AD, Pepto Bismol, Zithromax, Cipro)
  • Sunblock and lotion
  • Toilet paper, handiwipes
  • Flashlight
  • Spare pair of reading glasses
  • Nikon DSLR camera, filters, spare batteries, chargers and outlet adapters, external battery, SD cards
  • iPad with SD card reader 
  • MHL to HDMI adapter and HDMI cable.
  • Pens
  • iPod
  • Key lock
  • Drain plug, laundry detergent, and plastic clothes pins for drying clothes 
  • Timbuk2 bag
And last but not least,..... my favorite collapsible tote to bring back all those things that I buy along the way.