Family Skate


This is actually the family of yesterday’s ice fisherman. While he kept busy at the hole, they had an entire lake as their playground.

Yesterday, I posted the basic itinerary for my three month South American journey. A lot of people have been asking me what I’m packing for such a long trip, and the answer has surprised a lot of people – not much. My original plan was to bring a carry-on size backpack (the MEC Cragosaurus – 36 L) as well as a shoulder bag, but in the end I’ve gone with something a little bigger for two reasons: 1) because I’m flying through the U.S. to get down there, I can no longer carry my backpack on the flight anyways, and 2) although my stuff fits perfectly in the small pack, there is no room, not even an inch, left for anything I might pick up along the way.

So instead of taking the pack mentioned above, I went for its bigger brother, the MEC Cragalot (around 50-55 L), which comfortably fits all my gear as well as leaving lots of room for knickknacks, food, a blanket for Bolivia, etc. Here’s a general idea of what my packing list looks like:

  • Clothing
    • waterproof rain coat and pants – absolutely essential for Patagonia
    • 2 pairs of hiking pants; 1 pair of shorts
    • 3-4 t-shirts/hiking shirts
    • 1 long sleeved collared shirt – for those dress-up nights
    • 1 fleece zip-up
    • 1 down vest – still on the fence about this, but as of now its coming
    • 5 pairs of socks
    • 1 set of cold weather underwear, 2 pairs of regular underwear
    • Gore-Tex leather hiking shoes
    • Tiva-style sandals
    • lightweight gloves
    • Buff – if you don’t know what this is, watch this video and prepare to be amazed
  • Misc. Items
    • silk sleeping bag liner (for those not so upscale accommodations)
    • waterproof pack liner
    • quick-dry travel towel
    • first-aid kit full of all the usual stuff
    • iPod Touch
    • Pocket Power Charger – this little device seems pretty great. Not only does it serve as a AA-battery charger, but it also has a USB port to charge my iPod through an AC outlet, or when I don’t have access to electricity, I can fully charge my iPod off the AA-batteries at least once, if not twice.
    • Travel Alarm Clock
    • Steripen – another great, compact tool. The Steripen is a compact UV light that can treat and sterilize 1 L of water in 1 minute, and will do up to 40 L of water on 4 rechargeable AA-batteries. It’s not limited by particle size like filters are, and it doesn’t change the taste of the water like tablets do.
    • Polarized Sunglasses
    • LED Headlamp
    • Socket Adapters
    • Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island
    • Lonely Planet Trekking in the Patagonian Andes
    • Pocket Spanish-English Dictionary – I may dump this before I get home, as I have a full bilingual dictionary on my iPod, but I don’t want to be whipping my iPod out everywhere either
    • Padlock
    • Compass
    • Pocket Knife
    • Water Bottle
    • Holster-Style Money Belt
    • Notebook (the paper kind)
  • and of course, last but not least, all my wonderful camera gear that makes this site possible including
    • DSLR Camera Body
    • Tokina 12-24 f4
    • Canon 50 f1.8
    • Canon 55-250 f4-5.6 IS
    • Tabletop Tripod and Cable Release – I thought briefly about bringing my full-size tripod, but I just can’t bring myself to lug it around for what I know will be a limited number of opportunities to use it. If the trip were purely for photographic purposes, then I might, but its about more than that.
    • Filters: Polarizer, Neutral Density, Gradient Neutral Density
    • 2 Spare Batteries
    • 24 GB of SDHC Memory
    • Two 500 GB portable hard drives

Of everything on this list, the one things that surprises people the fact that I’m only bringing two pairs of underwear. This is a bit of an experiment and if it doesn’t work, I’ll walk into a store and buy some more. But I discovered a brand of underwear that is heralded by almost every backpacker on the web, its called ExOfficio. Their slogan is 17 countries, 6 weeks, 1 pair of underwear. I figure since I’m going for 12 weeks, I’ll take two. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a pair of underwear in my life. The product is lightweight, breathable, odour resistant and fast drying – they wash in the sink and dry fully in about two hours. You can’t buy them online in Canada, they only ship to the States. To get them, you have to go to one of a very few authorized dealers in Canada – downtown Toronto, that is Europe Bound, and they only have a very small selection. I got lucky and found two pairs at the St. Lawrence Market location after striking out at the King West location.

So there you have it. Part of the reason for posting this today is that I’m going to post this list again at the end of the trip with a quick analysis of what worked, what didn’t, and what I wish I’d brought in retrospect. Hopefully this will help other people planning a similar trip decide how to pack.

One thought on “Family Skate

  1. It is amazing how much research you have done for this trip. I am getting so educated here. I particularly like the power pack charger. I may get one of those myself. Had a laugh about the underwear story. And now I know what a buff is!

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