Packing for two months turned out to be not that easy, especially since I will have to carry around all my stuff, as we’re not traveling by car.

In preparation for this excercise I looked at a couple of resources from more seasoned travellers, but not too much – I wanted to keep the balance between suffering my own experiences and coming up with my own solutions, and avoiding making the obvious, well known mistakes that others could advise on. So, here’s the breakdown of the things I’ll be hauling around for the next two months.

Backpacks

For carrying my stuff I use my good old Lowe Alpine 65+10 Backpack (yes, I think I brought too many things just because I have the space). My model is a bit outdated by now, but I love Lowe ALpine backpacks for one reason that is still present in the current models – it has a fully accessible front, so I can anytime easily reach all the content of the backkpack. I always hated it when I wanted to get something from the very bottom and had to dig through all my things.
As a day pack, I’m using a very old Deuter 20l pack. I would have liked to bring something with a bit better carrying system, but also didn’t feel like getting anything new. Since I probably won’t go mountaineering anyway, I should be fine with it.

Packing it for Southeast Asia - Backpacks

Packing aids

Aside from the backpacks, I have a couple of -hopefully- helpful packing aids. It is the first time I move away from using just plastic bags – maybe I am becoming a bit paranoid? I got three waterproof packsacks, two of which have a very low weight and volume. The most difficult part proved to be the camera bag. I did not want to bring a bag that screams “I contain some heavy and expensive equipment”, so I looked for an inlet that would fit my daypack. I fell in love with fstop’s ICUs, but unfortunately they were out of stock, and I didnt feel like risking them not being available. With the Kit cube from from Mountain Smith I found the perfect companion – fits three lenses plus body, opens to the top and sits snug in my daypack. We’ll see how it works out, so far I’m happy. I also bring a silk sleeping back, an inflatable pillow, a sturdy lock and a travel towel in king size.

Packing it for Southeast Asia - Packing aids

Clothes – so little for such a long time?

About one third of my stuff is clothes – I tried to stay as minimalist as possible. I packed two shorts, two skirts, one dress, one long trousers, two leggings, two tank tops, four longsleeves (one warm, one technical, two normal), seven socks, one bikini, one bra and one sports bra, 10 panties. In adition there is one warmer jacket, and my rain jacket. I’m very happy I found something with decently long arms, we’ll see how it plays out in practice. It is not in the picture as it took DHL more than two weeks to deliver a parcel. I fortunately was able to pick it up at the post office this morning – one hour before leaving. I had some trouble deciding on shoes, as I wanted something light but also sturdy enough to climb the occasional mountain, should I feel the urge (yes, Mount Fansipan in nothern Vietnam is a highly likely candidate). Luckily I found a pair of nice trekking sandals (that don’t scream “trekking” at you 😉 ) and a pair of comfortable hightop trekking shoes.

Packing it for Southeast Asia - Clothes

The small technical details

The technical stuff makes up most of the weight in my backpack. I had a hard time deciding on my photography equipment. I’m bringing the 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-70 2.8 L II as a standard zoom. I decided to leave the Canon 70-200 2.8 L II at home in exchange for the Canon 85 1.8 – that will have to do as a tele and portrait lens. For wideangle I brought the Nikon 14-24 2.8, and for fun I have the Walimex 8mm fisheye. After trying it from a friend and seeing hte beautiful landscapes at newfoundland.com, I just had to bring it. I’m really excited about this trip, and hope it will be great photography wise. Other technical gadgets are the GoPro Hero 2 with some mounts, my Samsung Galaxy S2, a headlamp, 1 TB portable harddrive from Seagate and a card reader for the CF cards. I’m also bringing a netbook, as I want to post and share as many pictures and stories as possible.

Packing it for Southeast Asia - Photography Equipment

The girls’ stuff – toiletries & medication

Lastly, toiletries and travel medication…yes, I hate to admit it, I’m taking way more than necessary… guess I still have to learn te art of real minimal bacpacking. But then, I also did not want to be completely without the comfort of looking good, even on the road. I’m sure though that after this trip I will be able to reduce these item. So, in addition to the usual suspects such as toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, and such I have hand sanitizer, mosquito spray, 50+ sunblocker (I’m slightly sunphobic), nailpolish and nailpolish remover, floss, mascara and a travel sized perfume container. That was ne of the best finds, I hate having to carry a big glass perfume container.

Packing it for Southeast Asia - Toiletries & Medication

 

Now all these things plus a few additional items I forgot or added later (such as my new travel diary :)) are tightly squeezed into my backpack, at time of writing sitting in the luggage rack of the Berlin-Warsaw-Express which takes me and Anne to our first destination, Warsaw, from which our flight to Bangkok will leave on Sunday morning.