Gear for Nepal
Who likes to wait around for checked luggage? Not me.
For a long time now I’ve been traveling with only a carry-on, but I had to rethink my gear when I packed for my trip to Nepal.
While I wanted to avoid checking bags, my usual travel pack is a Kelty Redwing, which has a capacity of 50 liters. I haven’t had any problems taking it on in the years I’ve travelled with it, but I’ve never travelled internationally. When I poked around on Turkish Airlines’ site, I saw that my Redwing was well over the allotted space for cabin baggage.
I didn’t want to chance it, so I had to rethink my game plan. I considered buying a new pack – something in the 40 liter range – until I recalled that I had a 30ish liter JanSport Wasabi (essentially a school backpack) that my brother handed off to me when he was out for a visit some years ago. This bag works great as a day pack and I could save some money if I went with that, no doubt.
But would I be able to get all my gear into it?
I turned to ultralight and minimalist travel sites for help. Here’s what I came up with for a list of stuff to take:
Black poly pants (x2) – these look like dress pants, but they’re perfect for my needs. They’re a little stretchy and roomy enough to be comfortable on long flights and long walks. Also, they dry quickly.
Black poly boxer briefs (4 pair) – these are nice and stretchy and they dry really quickly. This is an asset when you plan on doing laundry in the room.
Black poly no-show socks (4 pair) – I opted for no-show to cut down on the amount of fabric I needed to carry along. Plus, I figured this would mean less drying time.
50/50 cotton/poly t-shirts (4) – I was worried about getting all poly shirts because of the smell issue, so these are a nice compromise.
Columbia fleece – for chilly days and nights. While the highs in the Kathmandu Valley in January are in the 60s, the lows drop down into the high 30s.
Columbia raincoat – mostly for layering and in case it rains, though January is the dry season.
Black poly base layer – in case the rooms we stay in are cold at night.
Beanie and gloves – again, for cold times.
Travel clothesline – I plan on doing some laundry in the room, so this will come in handy.
(From this list, I’m wearing a pair of pants, socks, boxer briefs, a t-shirt, and the fleece.)
Small travel towel – I’m bringing this in case the rooms we stay in don’t provide any towels. I reckon I can begin to dry clothes I wash by rolling them up in this as well.
Toothbrush – standard issue, with a little plastic travel top that covers the head.
Dr. Bronner’s soap – this will double as body wash and shampoo, plus I’ll use it for laundry. I’m carrying this in a 3oz GoToob.
Tom’s travel toothpaste – I would use the Dr. Bronner’s, but it’s soap.
Floss – EcoDent vegan floss yo. Only floss the ones you want to keep…
Razor – just the plastic kind.
Azithromycin – The travel doc prescribed this. I worried when I didn’t get Cipro, but it looks like bugs are getting used to Cipro, so this might be better.
steriPEN – this is a little uv light you dunk in water to render the creatures within unable to reproduce and cause you trouble. The thought of relying on bottled water was depressing for environmental reasons. Michelle got me this for xmas!
Nalgene bottle – from which to drink.
Eyeshade – for getting my z’s on the plane.
Earplugs – for getting my z’s on the plane and in case Kathmandu is super noisy.
Typhoid, hep A & B, and rabies vaccines – better safe than sorry. The doc recommended the first two (typhoid and hep A & B) and we decided rabies would be good too since I’ll be wandering among stray dogs in Kathmandu and among rhesus macaques at Swayambhunath. I’ve been getting these since late November. Typhoid was only one shot, but I had to get three each of Twinrix (for hep A & B) and the rabies vaccine. I’ll have to go back in a year for one final Twinrix shot.
iPhone 5 – I reckoned that if I wanted to travel light, I’d have to forego the MacBook Pro (it’s nearly 5lbs, not counting the power supply). Michelle offered me her Nexus 7, but I decided I’d just use the iPhone. It’ll serve primarily as a note taking/journaling tool and as a camera. I’ve got some books on iBooks and when WiFi is available, I’ll get online with it too. I won’t make calls, though. My plan is to go the whole time in airplane mode for fear of incurring T-Mobile’s $4.95/minute charges!
iPhone charger and Europe/Asia outlet adapter – because I gotta have juice.
Microfiber cloth – for cleaning the iPhone screen and my glasses and other stuff.
Headlight – Kathmandu evidently has rolling blackouts, so this will light my way in the dark.
Loney Planet Nepal – I’m lugging this along.
Ziplock bags (2) – in case it rains and I want to keep stuff in the pack dry. Also, for dirty clothes.
Passport and passport photos — I’ve emailed a photo of my passport to myself (along with a record of my vaccinations) in case I lose it. The photos are for my Nepal visa. For this trip I’ll need a 15 day visa, which costs US $25.
Hidden wallet – to stash my passport, visa card, and cash. I opted for the kind you hang from your belt with a loop. The neck and belt wallets seemed really uncomfortable.
REI ditty bags (6, in various sizes) – for organizing stuff.
Turkish Airlines has a weight limit of 8kg for cabin baggage. As I inderstand it, they take that pretty seriously.
Not only does all the stuff I listed fit in the bag with a little room to spare, but my pack weighs less than 10lbs (!) – well under Turkish Airlines’ 8kg limit.
I have to confess that I like the idea of making my way to the other side of the world with so little stuff!