Packing for a 17 stop, 25 day trip

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With the start of our 25-day tour of Autumn Gem underway, we’d like to talk a little bit about our packing strategy. First, some background information on how we used to approach packing.

Back in 1995, I was a junior at Stanford spending a quarter abroad in Paris, France. I brought way too much stuff with me on the trip: a garment bag, two suitcases, and a backpack (which held my PowerBook 180 and original Newton MessagePad). When I went back to Paris for a week during Winter Quarter, I just brought one bag with me. That was my first trip where I deliberately tried to minimize the amount of stuff I traveled with; I soon became a convert to minimal packing. It’s so much easier to travel when you don’t have to worry about schlepping too much stuff with you halfway across the world.

That's all we're taking on our 25-day tour

That's all we're taking on our 25-day tour

When Rae and I went to France and Spain in 2006, we brought two daypacks with us, an REI Traverse 2006 for Rae and the same REI backpack I had back in 1995. It helped that I didn’t lug around my DSLR with me; we brought two small Canon PowerShots with us on this trip. Traveling with a DSLR, even one that’s relatively small in the 5D Mark II, can get tiresome after awhile. If I were to go on a long vacation again, I’d buy a G11 and just use that.

For our Midwest and East Coast Tour, we both wanted to pack as light as possible. It was determined that Rae would carry all of the clothes and personal items for the trip. I would carry all of the tech equipment, such as two laptops and the camera. Finally, we brought with us my Pelican 1510 hard case to store all of the DVDs that we plan to sell on the trip. Three pieces of luggage, all of them that we can carry onto the airplanes.

The photo to the right shows us with all of our baggage. Not bad for a 25-day, 17 stop tour?

There’s cold weather in the forecast on this trip; we’re dealing with it by wearing multiple layers of clothing. We’ll also be washing our laundry regularly; this is how we’re getting away with bringing a reduced number of clothes. Synthetic fabrics are the key here; they dry quickly and are more durable and wrinkle-resistant than the cotton clothes we normally wear in the Bay Area.

We’re taking two computers (15-inch MacBook Pros) with us on the trip. In case one of the computers breaks down, we’ll still be able to screen the film with the other one. If both of them were to fail, we have the DVD to fall back on. I’m using my Verizon EVDO Wireless Router setup to provide us with mobile Internet across our iPhones and laptops. Because we’re gone for a month, I have to watch out that we don’t go over Verizon’s 5GB bandwidth limit.

After the conclusion of our trip, I’ll write up another report detailing what I would have done differently packing-wise.

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