Gearing Up

Gearing Up

What do I pack?  Am I bringing too much? Will it fit?

Anyone who has gone anywhere has surely asked themselves these same questions. After all, packing woes are just a part of travel. So, with less than 12 hours to go before I hit the road, I thought I’d share with you what I’m bringing and how I’m going about it.

Before we dive into the packing lists below, it’s worth noting that my road trip is not your average weekend getaway or  a week’s vacation. This in itself presents a few challenges that a suitcase won’t fix, but it also provides a little wiggle room that airlines don’t.

In an effort to keep my expenditures low, I am camping quite a bit along the way. But, this doesn’t mean I can just prepare for the woods. I’m also staying with friends and have a handful of hotel reservations along the way as well. This means that not only do I need a fair amount of gear that will keep me self-sufficient when I’m off the beaten path but that the clothing I bring has to be flexible and occasion appropriate for a variety of social situations.

The other consideration that I had to keep in mind when prepping is that the first leg of my trip will likely last at least three months and spread the gap from the peak heat of summer to the cool-down of mid-fall.  Additionally, I will experience varying geography, from the beaches of South Carolina to the mountains of Vermont. So as much as I’d love to just throw t-shirts, shorts, a swim suit and flip flops into a duffle bag, I can’t. But, I can afford to bring a small wardrobe of clothes for every occasion,  understanding that the longest I plan on going without the convenience of a washer or dryer is about seven days, plus or minus a few?

But before we get to what I’ll be wearing along the way (sorry fashionistas), let’s start with what I love most. Gear.

Camping Gear: While my car-born road trip will cause be to break from my preference of being an ultra-light minimalist, much of the gear I have acquired along the way will still come in handy. The following items will keep me going during the camping leg of my trip and help me get through even the most unexpected situations:

Gear, glorious gear

Gear, glorious gear

  • Kelty Redcloud 90 liter, internal frame backpack with detachable lid that doubles as a waist pack
  • Camelback 30-oz reservoir
  • Ascend ultra light 2-man tent
  • Mummy bag (Sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees – although that is questionable base on previous experience)
  • Travel pillow and lightweight flannel blanket
  • Ascend hiker tapered sleeping pad
  • Eno double nest hammock with suspension straps
  • Collapsible camp chair with
  • MSR MicroRocket backpacking stove
  • BioLight wood-burning CampStove with thermo-electric rechargeable battery
  • Primus Micron Lantern with replacement mantels
  • 5 canisters of Iso-butane fuel for stove and lantern
  • Head lamp and flashlight
  • Black Diamond Apollo LED lantern
  • Gerber hatchet and knife
  • Collapsible camp shovel
  • Oh Cool camp fan
  • FroggTogg’s Ultralight 2 rain suit
  • Flint and steel fire starter, Fatwood, dryer lint
  • Waterproof matches, lighter(s)
  • 1 liter Nalgene wide mouth water bottle with water purifying tablets

    The essentials

    The essentials

  • Compass
  • 5-piece mess kit, stainless steel cup, spork(s), can opener
  • Griddle
  • Portable grill
  • Cooler
  • Spatula, kitchen knife, sheet-style cutting board, heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Bungee cords
  • Emergency blanket
  • First aid: Tweezers, scissors, medical tape, gauze, non-stick pads, assorted band aids, moleskin, ace bandage, hot / cool pack(s), alcohol / cleansing wipes, antibiotic ointment
  • Medicine locker: ibuprofen, Benadryl, acetaminophen, sleep aid, Nyquil, Pseudoephedrine, Tums, vitamin C, Emergen-C, wet wipes
  • Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, travel-size body gel and shampoo, shaving cream, razor, Q-tips, lip balm, lotion
  • Arctic chill towel
Tools of my the trade

Tools of my trade. Camera not shown for obvious reasons.

Technology: These days, no packing list is complete without tech, and as a social media guy portable communication technology is the name of my game. Here are the essentials I’m bringing with me:

  • Acer Windows 8 touch screen laptop with 1TB of storage
  • Google Nexus 7 Android tablet
  • Microsoft Wedge Keyboard
  • Olympus TG-830 camera
  • External hard drive
  • Google Nexus 4 Android Smartphone with essential weather, maps and GPS apps
  • USB thumb drives
  • NOAA Emergency Radio

Clothes: Next to all the fun survival and tech stuff above, clothes are distant second. But for those of you who are curious, I included my wearable packing list below.

  • 6 pair of shorts
  • 3 pair of  jeans / pants
  • 3 polo shirts

    The clothes on your back

    The clothes on my back

  • 8 long-sleeve / short sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 Columbia PFG tactical nylon shirts
  • 3 dress shirts
  • 2 hoodies
  • Windbreaker
  • 8 pair of underwear
  • 14 pair of socks (why so many? Because clean, dry feet are key!)           
  • Hiking shoes, tennis shoes and flip flops – all with arch support
  • 3 baseball caps
  • Sunglasses
  • Belt
  • Towel (Technically, it’s a bath sheet if you wanted to split hairs?)
  • Aftershave bag with many of the toiletries mentioned in the camping list section, but nicer 😉 

So, there you have it. My next three months in a bag…literally. I’m sure there are a few, non-essential items that I’m leaving out, like a journal, pens important life documents, sunscreen and bugspray but you get the gist of it.

The question still remains, “What am I forgetting?” Leave a comment and let me know. Or, just wish me luck! I leave tomorrow around 8am EST and will update you from the road. First stop, Savannah, GA then through to Columbia, SC to see my Wanee Family.

P.S. – This just in: Thanks to two very loving and concerned parents, I now have a plethora of gift cards that will keep me happy, fed and fat along the way. Anything that keeps the expenditures down is key! Thanks Mom and Dad. I love you!!

Thanks Mom and Dad! I love you!

Thanks Mom and Dad! I love you!