4 feet 2 mouths

walking and eating our way around the world

The Joys of Packing (by Carmen)

We often get asked how we handle packing up our stuff so frequently and carting it around the world.  The answer has two parts – 1) Packing cubes!  These are essential to for quick organization and way easier than any rolling method. 2) Take as little as possible.  Easier said than done.  But the benefits of being able to pack in under 15 minutes and have less weight on your back are very rewarding.

In order to make do with less I like to plan ahead.  For the typical travel stuff I have a list I always turn to when I start packing.  As for clothing, I have given a lot of thought to what I will bring for the next 6 months.  I have to be ready for everything: hot and cold, tough hikes and long urban walks, casual bars and nice dinners out.  To cope I’ve created what I call The Ultimate Packing List. I’ve even illustrated parts of it (yes, Nathan teases me about this).  I enjoy making the list because it makes me feel more prepared and ready to take on the world.

So I’ve decided to share The List with you.  I consider the list to be pretty minimal despite the fact that it looks long. But after reading blogs on no baggage travelers, maybe not!  At first it seems like a lot but the quantities of each thing are small so it does pack down to less than 15 pounds each (excluding the trekking gear).  And the packing cubes are essential for keeping all the small things together.  During our Camino de Santiago trek, we will be carrying the bare minimum while leaving much of the list in storage.  Afterwards, we will send back the trekking gear relieving a fair bit of weight.   Without further ado, I present…

8 Months of gear (camping stuff to be mailed back)


  • Clothing
    • Carmen
      • Top
        • 2 tanks
        • 2 short sleeve
        • 3 long sleeve
        • 1 cardigan
      • Bottom
        • 2 pants (including one zip off pair)
        • 2 shorts (one of them for running/sleeping)
        • 1 skirt (turns into halter top)
      • Dresses
        • 1 simple black dress
      • Outer
        • 1 fleece
        • 1 rain jacket
      • Accessories/Other
        • 1 scarf
        • 1 thin belt
        • 2 bras
        • 7 pairs underwear
        • 5 pairs of socks
      • Shoes
        • flip flops
        • sandals
        • sneakers
        • hiking boots
    • Nathan
      • Top
        • 3 short sleeve shirts
        • 2 long sleeve
        • 1 tank
      • Bottom
        • 2 pants (both zip off into shorts)
        • 1 runningshorts
      • Outer
        • 1 rain jacket
      • Accessories/Other
        • 3 pairs underwear
        • 5 pairs socks
      • Shoes
        • flip flops
        • sandals
        • sneakers
        • hiking boots
  • Toiletries
    • Shower/Bathroom
      • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash & sponge
      • Face wash
      • Razor & shaving foam
      • Toothbrushes, floss & toothpaste
      • Toilet paper
    • In Room
      • Microfiber towels
      • Brush, comb, flat clips, headband & hair ties
      • Chap stick
      • Deodorant
      • Lotion
      • Sunscreen
      • Bug repellent
      • Contacts, liquid, extra contacts & case
      • Glasses
      • Band-aids & blister block
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Make-up & remover
      • Medicines & prescriptions
  • Electronics
    • Camera, charger, case, guerilla pod & extra battery
    • iPod, splitter, charger & ear buds
    • iPad & cover
    • Nook loaded with guidebooks
    • Flip video camera
    • Outlet expander
    • Adaptors
  • Travel gear
    • Passports
    • Eye patches & ear plugs
    • Inflatable neck pillow
    • Money belt
    • Waterbottles & steripen
    • Headlamps
    • Small notebook & pen
    • Cards
    • Locks (small, large)
    • First aid kit
    • Sewing kit
    • Ziplocks in a variety of sizes
    • Laundry soap, travel clothesline & sink stopper
  • Trekking gear (just for Camino de Santiago)
    • Tent (mailed home early after 10 days)
    • Sleeping bags (mailed home early after 10 days)
    • Sleeping pads (mailed home early after 10 days)
    • Trekking poles
    • Ponchos
    • Platypus 2L water bag
    • Knife
    • Dirt shovel
    • Matches
    • Hats

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7 thoughts on “The Joys of Packing (by Carmen)

  1. I would like to comment that Nathan’s 3 pairs of underwear takes up as much space as all of carmens clothes :)

  2. Great post!

  3. Great list! Excited to see the list in action in India soon!

  4. After 10 days of carrying the tent, we decided to send it home. Camping between grapevines and in the forests of Spain was wonderful, but carrying an extra 12lbs was not. With aching shoulders, throbbing feet and hips rubbed raw I had to admit that it was too much weight. The aubergue hostels are just too accessible and inexpensive to make carrying a tent fully worth it. Now we are zipping along.

  5. Pingback: Taking A Camino Break in Burgos – Part 3 (by Nathan) « 4 feet 2 mouths

  6. Pingback: Travel Tip #2: What to Pack (by Carmen) | 4 feet 2 mouths

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