How I Packed for Seven Months

Imagine packing a bag for seven months. Where do you start? What are the must have items and what goes in the maybe pile? Do you buy brand new gear or do you wear out things you already have and throw them away along the way?

All questions I asked myself as I started the dreaded (for me, at least) task of packing. Not only could my 60-liter pack could only hold so much, but I had to consider the fact that it would be attached to my back for half a year. Luckily, my month-long backpacking experience throughout Europe provided a strong foundation, but I was rusty and started reading tips from blogs. Some South America-specific, some for women travelers, some for long-term travelling. All were great resources, but still didn’t help my indecisiveness when it came to choosing between my black or gray socks. (Yes—that was a decision that took a solid five minutes.)

IMG_2470I started with what I knew I wanted to take that was already in my closet—a few tank tops, running tights, Toms, my favorite shirt, etc.—but had no idea how I was going to condense seven months of living. The piles started large, but as I brought my mom into the picture they started to dwindle and we went through almost three rounds of pretend packing and making cuts before finalizing the list. I’m set to encounter the entire gamete of weather conditions (hot and humid in Cartagena and crisp and cool in Patagonia), so I had to ensure I was set for all sorts of climates. This meant lots of layers. And because the spontaneity of the trip means I could go from working on a coffee farm in Colombia to teaching English in Peru, I needed enough variety to be comfortable in both dirty (comfortable) and clean (presentable) environments.

Here is the final list that came in at a whopping 29 pounds:

  • 3 dresses
  • 3 pants: 1 jeans, 1 Columbia hiking style, 1 running tights
  • 1 running capris
  • 2 shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 4 tank tops
  • 3 tshirts
  • 2 long sleeve: 1 sporty, 1 nice
  • 1 cardican
  • 1 pullover
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 Patagonia down jacket
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 bathing suits
  • + bras, sports bras, underwear and socksIMG_2468
  • All of which is stuffed into four Eagle Creek packing cubes: 2 large, 1 medium, 1 small (They’re great. Everything fits in a tight, compact bag so I can know where things are located instead of rummaging through my pack to find one specific item. And can be used as a pillow! Highly recommend.)
  • Hiking boots
  • Toms
  • Chacos
  • Sandals (will pitch soon)
  • 10-liter day pack
  • Large and small purse
  • Toiletry bag with individual squeeze containers for shower items
  • Microfiber towel
  • Headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Medicine and vitamins
  • Clif bars

I’m strangely excited to have a limited amount of wardrobe options and live a minimalistic life for a bit. I’ll come back to my final packing list as I get into the weeds of my travels to see how I did. I’m sure there are a few items I wish I ditched and a few I couldn’t have survived without. Only time will tell… For now, my bag is packed and I’m ready to go.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog! I found it after scrolling through workaway tags and I’m glad I found it! I am travelling next summer, for hopefully at least 7 months so this is so useful. I’ve narrowed down my list to something very similar, so I’m looking forward to reading your reports on what you are glad to have taken and the opposite! Safe travels, Sarah


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