Sunday, March 17, 2013

Packing tips for a hybrid backpacker research trip

I learned a lot from our trip to Belize and Mexico about packing. It was a two week trip and each of us brought one carry one bag and a small backpack plus one extra small backpack and that was it. Most people would've had much larger suitcases for that long of a trip but we wanted to be very mobile without having to worry about huge luggage on chicken buses and such. In those small suitcases we brought lots of art supplies, notebooks, a backpacker blowup mattress, clothes for rainforest hiking, beach wear, medicine, and camera gear. We both kinda panicked when we realized that half of the clothes we wanted to bring would have to be left behind in order to fit all of our art related gear. However, we realized at the end of our trip that we could've taken even less and been just as happy because we just had everything washed halfway through the trip and some of our clothes were never even used.

Things I brought:

*2 pair of hiking pants(next time I'm bringing 1 since they are the kind that resist smells and sweat and I only wore them hiking)
*2 long sleeved, light weight, button up shirts(having 2 was great because they also work as swim suit cover ups and when it's a bit chilly at night)
*4 tank tops (2-3 is really all that's needed)
*4 t-shirts (2 is just fine, don't bring white)
*1 knit dress (I want to take 2 on my next trip because they are so easy and you can feel a bit more dressed up at nigh without the effort. Think packable, and cotton only)
*3 pair of shorts (only need 2, no sweat short or light knits. Think chino and denim. I made the mistake of taking these cute, light, sweat shorts to the Virgin Island and they looked terrible by the end of a long, hot day)
*1 swimsuit coverup (cute but unnecessary with the other button ups)
*3 bikini's (that was fun to have since I swam every morning in Mexico plus all of the cenotes but 2 would be better. Also make sure to have one bikini top that does not have halter straps because it can be hard on the neck when you wear them everyday)
*2 jackets (1 light weight rain shell, 1 jacket for at night)
*1 pair of flip flops (super comfy ones. I like reef because they have a bit of support and soft straps plus they never break)
*1 pair of classic keens (I know they are not cute but they comfortable, they can go in the water, and they are good hikers. I needed them for a caving trip that involved hiking, climbing, swimming, and lots of wading through rivers and everyone was jealous of my keens)
*1 pair of cute, comfortable, low profile sandals (great to have, think packable when choosing)
*1 pair of hiking boots (something that supports the ankle, waterproof, and good for HOT weather. These were great but I will leave them behind and just take my keens when I go to the French Polynesia because I won't have to worry about snakes and scorpions)
*Sports bra (much more comfortable when hiking and covered in sweat)
*lots of socks and under garments
*1 headband (this is great for preventing sunburn on the scalp, wicking sweat, and keeping the hair back. I liked this one a lot because it is a cool max that resists bacteria smells)
*backpacker blowup mattress (This was great to have at the $30 a night hotels. The rooms were clean, the people were nice, the beds were horribly uncomfortable. The backpacking ones are great because they roll up to be super small and only weigh 25 oz)
*Packpacker blow up pillow (this is a great alternative to those cumbersome neck pillows that take up so much space plus they pack to be tiny and only weigh 2.5 oz)
*Imodium AD, Pepto-bismol (they can be life saver)
*Electrolyte tablets (These Nuun tablets are amazing for hot weather when you are sweating a lot and they take up almost no space. Plus they are great when you are sick and lost fluid)
*Rehydration salts (didn't need but can save a life)
*Benadryl (You never know what you can be allergic to in a rainforest)
*Iodine tablets (in case you're lost in the rainforest or can't buy bottled water for some reason)
*first aid kit with compass 
*Lots of 30% deet bug spray (you have to use it unless you like creepy weird bites, dengue fever, and malaria)
*Plus lots of art stuff

Things I wished that I brought:
*a crushable sun hat
*snorkel mask (the rentals are terrible plus the best cenotes don't have rentals available)
*an umbrella (not for the rain but for the sun because it felt like I was being roasted when I was drawing in the direct sun at Chichen Itza)
*Anti itch stuff for bug bites


*Don't bother with much make up 
*Bring gentle soap like Dr. Bronner's that can be used for hair, face, and body.
*Biodegradable sunscreen is broad spectrum SPF, stays on much longer, and is the only thing that doesn't damage coral.
*Tiger balm will take the edge off of a bug bite in a pinch 
*Take a good amount of cash because nobody really takes cards even when they claim that they do

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