Travel Gear

Bryan’s Gear

  • International Driving Permit
  • Shot Records
  • Passport
  • Guidebook
  • Extra passport photos for Visas
  • String for clothes line
  • Duct Tape
  • Universal Power Adapter
  • USB cable
  • Left-Right-Center Dice Game
  • Alarm Clock
  • Compass
  • Headlamp and mini flashlight
  • MP3 player
  • Combination Lock
  • Universal Sink Plug
  • X-bowl collapsible bowl
  • Titanium Spork
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Malaria pills, Antacid tablets, anti-diarrheal pills, water purification tablets, sinus meds
  • Repel Bug Spray
  • Ear-plugs
  • Grand Trunk Sleep Sack
  • Exped Inflatable Pillow
  • Nikon D90 with 18-200mm Lens; and charger w/ extra battery
  • Eight 8GB Memory Cards
  • 2 Flash-drives (64GB and 32GB)
  • 2 T-Shirts
  • 2 Micro-Fleeces
  • 2 Pair Convertible Pants with Custom Secret Pockets sewn in (Prana and North Face)
  • Micro-towel
  • 7 Pair socks
  • 3 Pair Exofficio Boxers
  • Swimming Trunks
  • 1 Long-sleeve Shirt
  • Flip-flops
  • One pair of shoes
  • Eee PC Netbook w/ mouse
  • Toiletry Bag
  • Western Digital 1TB hard drive (added for Leg #2)
  • I-phone (added for Leg #2)


Kristin’s Gear

It’s hard enough to pack for a week or even a weekend. But what do you pack for over 6 months traveling around South America where we will experience a variety of climates? Shockingly, all I have is a 12 pound backpack! And I’m not exactly a low-maintenance girl. Here is my packing list:
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 2 tank tops
  • 2 pairs of convertible pants
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 3 sports bras
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 1 dress
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of shoes
  • 2 fleece jackets
  • 1 bathing suit
  • Eagle Creek Travel Pouch
  • Combination Lock
  • Small quick dry towel
  • Grand Trunk Sleep Sack
  • Exped Inflatable Pillow
  • Poncho
  • Rain cover for backpack
  • Fold-up mini daypack
  • iPad
  • MP3 player
  • Canon Digital Elph Camera
  • Chargers/camera batteries
  • Malaria pills
  • Prescriptions (6 month supply)
  • Various Med’s (i.e. Allergy, Tylenol, antacids)
  • Toiletries & personal items
  • Important paperwork – passport, visa, scuba diving card, shot records, etc.
  • X-bowl Collapsible Bowl
  • Spork
  • 2 mini flashlights
  • Steripen Water Purifier (added for Leg #2)
And yes, I somehow fit all this stuff in my Kelty backpack with room to spare! Compression bags are very helpful. We will see if I can survive 6 months with only one carry-on size bag!

Our Packs Fully Loaded

Kelty Redwing 44 liter

After reading various blogs debating the pros and cons of various size backpacks, we both opted to carry a smaller backpack (not much larger than a typical school backpack, but sturdier and with several pockets). This meant that we would have to make due with much less clothing and other belongings, but the convenience of carrying around a smaller pack seemed worth it. We both decided we did not want to drag those huge hiking packs on trains, planes, taxis, rickshaws, elephants, or whatever other transportation we would be using. We’ve carried 65 liter packs on previous trips, and they can be a pain.

And just for comparison, here is Bryan’s pack beside another travelers 65 liter pack.  Many travelers are lugging around 75-80 liter packs on their backs…

(Which are 2-3 times the weight and size of ours)

Other Planning/Packing Info

Comments (22)
  • Crystal

    December 7th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Bryan, I’m glad you decided on one more pair of boxers…and Kristin, that’s awesome you brought a dress! Buy one too! Since you have room to spare! You won’t have to worry about anyone else having the same one! 🙂 XO!

  • KrIstin

    December 7th, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I brought our twin dress – the black, white, and blue one. I’m going to wear it tonight when we go out. Tomorrow is a holiday here so everyone’s ready to party. =) Love & miss y’all!

  • Brother Waugh

    December 8th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Never leave home without your titanium spork!

    • Bryan Waugh

      December 9th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      That’s right! We’ve yet to use them though.

  • MarkBoyd

    December 18th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Waugh – I’m glad one of your essential items was a drinking game. Classic!

    • Bryan Waugh

      December 20th, 2011 at 7:42 am

      I’ve yet to use it though! Have to break it out soon.

  • CubMaster cheryl

    December 26th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    hey i stumbled upon ur page here. i am very impressed. i do a lot of weekend camping with my scouts and they pack way too much. ill be definitely showing them this list. if u have time suggestions or ideas will be great. most of the guys have the taller pack in the picture but they still pack it too heavy.

    • Bryan Waugh

      December 30th, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      We’ve found that our clothes will last a week before needing washed. And so far we’ve done all of that by hand. We are lacking a sleeping bag which is probably a Cub/Boyscout essential. Our packs do allow us to strap one to the outside though. The titanium spork has come in quite handy a few times. Especially when restaurants give you flimsy plastic utensils. Kristin’s pack weighs 12-15 pounds. Mine is 25, but that’s only because I have a heavy camera, extra lense, etc for photos.

  • Ashley

    February 25th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I continue to be amazed at how small your bags are!

    • Bryan Waugh

      February 26th, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      We´re at Erratic Rock now. Hope to see you all in Salta or Bolivia. We should do the Salt Flats together at least.

  • Filipe A. Ramos

    July 7th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Nice to see more and more people choose to carry small frame backpacks. I also own a Kelty 44, just like yours; and a Kelty Map 3500. =)

    • Kristin W.

      April 19th, 2014 at 9:47 am

      It would be hard to beat our Kelty’s! Still love this back, especially the more I travel with it. 🙂

      Glad you are enjoying yours, too!

  • Heather

    August 5th, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Did you change gear at all for the 2nd part of your trip, or is it the same as South America?

    • Bryan Waugh

      August 5th, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Hello. Everything is pretty much the same. We did get a Steripen water purifier so we don’t have to buy bottled water anymore (you’d be surprised how much water costs add up in S.A.). But water has been safe to drink here so far. I also added an external hard drive to store photos as a backup. And we brought a smartphone (i-phone) with us. We have google voice setup on it for free, so we can now make calls when we’re within WIFI. But yeah, everything else is the same.

  • Lizzy

    October 14th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Would I be correct in assuming you kept your bags as carry-ons? If so, how did you manage to pack the swiss army knife?

    • Bryan Waugh

      October 15th, 2012 at 2:04 am

      Actually, all flights we have checked our bags, so that’s where the knife goes.

  • Tony

    March 29th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    So I stumbled across this site looking for a review on the Kelty redwing 44, and now couldn’t think of better people to ask. How are they holding up, and do you find yourself wanting for space at all? Safe travels.

    • Bryan Waugh

      March 30th, 2013 at 3:34 am

      They’re holding up great for us. Going on 16 months of travel. We pack lightly and are even trying to remove a few more things from our bags. We’ve never really been short on room with these bags. At least not with our everyday items. When we buy a bunch of souvenirs, that’s the only time we wish we had a larger bag.

  • Agness

    July 9th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Impressive! You guys are so well-organised with packing. I am hopeless at that. I either pack way too many things or way too little, can’t find the balance!

  • Kristin W.

    July 11th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Haha! I hear you! Actually, I was kind of a mess during our first 6 months in South America compared to how I traveled the rest of the time. All we had after China was a 44 liter Kelty backpack each and Bryan had a small backpack for camera stuff and I had a small purse-bag. 🙂 It was great though because we never had to check luggage and saved a ton of time and money! 🙂

  • August 15th, 2014 at 8:07 am

    We won’t mention what happened to the titanium spork in the airport in Dubai….mine is still with us though. 😉

  • Sophie Elizabeth

    July 5th, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    This is a very late comment, but I’d love to know which fold-up mini daypack you use, or if you can recommend a good one? Getting ready for my travels in South America and am looking for a daypack which will fold away and can be packed in my main backpack…

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