Monday, March 9, 2015

The Packout

I tried for a while (ok, five minutes tops) to find a comprehensive packing list for backpacking Europe AND camping while staying lightweight. My efforts were (unsurprisingly) met with disappointment. So I made one up myself. Considering I've never really backpacked, and I carried entirely too much shit when I did search and rescue, this might turn out to be a disaster. I'm not afraid to experiment. I'll let you know if on my way I figure out that I should have left half that crap at home, or really shouldn't have left some things. So here's what I've got..

Honestly, probably too much crap. I'm too inept and lazy to put little numbers on all the items to tell you what they are, but here's what you're looking at.
My backpack is a small, Gregory Cairn 48L backpack. I chose it because it fits my body type best and I would rather downsize to next to nothing rather than pack too much crap and be miserable carrying around 60lbs. It has top and side access, and plenty of pockets. It's also got a little rain cover to boot. I'm quite certain I'll be needing that.
I've got a pair of jeans, a pair of cargo pants, running shorts, and a pair of thin Patagonia cargo type shorts. I've also got 4 shirts, one of which is a Khul collard shirt that shouldn't really wrinkle or smell too bad, even if I do wear it for a few days straight.. (I will probably stink, but the shirt should be ok). And then there's undies and a bathing suit. All of that is in those blue, red, and green packing cubes you see. I'll be wearing at least one of those outfits at all time (I presume), so the cubes should be significantly smaller. At least when I'm wearing the pants.. I also have a light weight rain jacket for those shitty days when I get stuck out in the middle of a tempest, because if it's going to happen to anyone, it's gonna happen to me. I'm only taking one pair of tennis shoes that should be on my feet pretty much the whole time. They're Nike frees and I love them. I've been told to take hiking shoes instead or in addition, but in all honesty, I know me. I wouldn't wear them. I'm too damn stubborn for that. They dry pretty quickly and the tread is at least half way decent since they're new. Fingers crossed that I won't regret this decision.
I managed to fit my climbing shoes, harness, ATC, carabiner, leather glove, and whatever that long piece of multipurpose webbing is called into my bag as well. I plan on figuring out some way to hook up with some folks who are climbing and swing on their ropes with them. Honestly, if I don't get the chance to climb something, I'll be pissed. Those take up a lot of room and add a lot of weight. Obviously, this isn't a set of items most people would carry.
I've also got a sleeping bag liner from Sea to Summit. My mother wanted me to take a set of sheets for hostels. Let me tell you something. A set of sheets is huge, and I'm not one to put sheets on a bed to stay for one or two nights anyway. When I went to Marion Military Institute, I slept on top of my covers with a contraband blanket so I didn't have to make my bed every morning. I'll also note that every time the Col. inspected the female barracks, my room was always used as the standard. If you ain't cheatin, you ain't tryin! Anyway. I got the thermolite reactor extreme as a compromise. It's supposed to add up to 25C to a sleeping bag, so it should be plenty warm in a hostel, and it should also work pretty well for when I wind up camping. I've also got a small "tarp" I usually use when camp in my hammock to sleep under or on for when it rains.. because that will happen to me.
In my "camping" gear I've got 50' of paracord, a headlamp, batteries, some s-biners, a spork with weird little tools on it, water purifiers, and a little water bottle that rolls up when you're not using it so it takes up very little room. It's also got it's own little clasp for when you are using it so you can hang it on your pack. I've also got one of those flint/phosphorous blocks and some pansy little fire starter sticks. Why? Because I'm lazy and in addition to being tiny, they're virtually weightless. So why not? Since I'm carrying my backpack on instead of checking it, I'll have to buy both a pocket knife/multitool and a lighter once I get there.
In a little dry bag, I have all my electronic cords and converters as well as some benadryl, ibuprofen, and Tylenol. And headphones for train/plane rides. There's also a small first aid kit that has gauze, antibiotic ointment, vet wrap, and super glue and yes, I have a tourniquet. I can make one with a stick and a bit of cloth, but again, I'm lazy. In fact, I'll probably prove to be too lazy to even use it on myself if I need it. Fingers crossed that I don't need any of it.
I have a Sea to Summit antimicrobial dry lite microtowel. I got the XL so I can use it as a bath towel and run from a shower to a room without showing off my assets. I doubt I'll wind up in that position, but oh well.
The Gregory Cairn 48 has a sleeve for a camelbak bladder, so I took mine out of the camelbak I usually use to go mountain biking and stuffed it in there.
The toiletry bag seems a little obvious if you ask me. I've got another Sea to Summit microlite antimicrobial towel in there to use as a washcloth. I got the XS and cut it in half. I got it instead of a regular washcloth because it will dry much faster and I don't have to worry about it souring in my bag and making everything stink. Let's be honest, I'll probably smell bad enough as it is. If you don't know what else belongs in a toiletry bag, you probably shouldn't be backpacking without adult supervision. Let your "parents" pack for you and make sure it's one of those backpacks with a leash on it. 
The last item you might be able to pick out is a runner's pouch. It's kinda like a fanny pack, only tiny and it fits under your shirt so you might not get made fun of as much. I've been told countless times about people getting pick pocketed in Europe, and I'm sure I'll want to keep my passport with me most of the time, so that's what that is for. I'll have my passport and some backup cash in there. There's also a "secret" compartment in the side of my backpack that would be secret if the manufacturer didn't advertise it amongst it's assets (thanks, Gregory!) where I'll probably keep my passport card (virtually useless in anywhere but Canada, Mexico, and the islands, but if you lose your real passport, you can at least show that to your embassy to get a replacement quicker) and some extra cash. 
In addition to all this crap, I have a little messenger bag (or a satchel if you're Indiana Jones or Alan from The Hangover) that I'll use when I've got my backpack stowed in a locker somewhere and just want to run around town. It zips AND clasps, so the chances of it getting pick pocketed are slim. It's big enough to hold my iPad mini, a little journal notebook I've got, some pens, and a charger. I'm also taking a Jockery backup battery with me in it too. To say that I'm addicted to my technology would be the understatement of the year. I like to use it to talk to a select few people and ignore the rest. It also provides an annoyingly finite number of hours of music, movies, and other entertainment. This jockery I got is supposed to charge an iPad or iPhone ten times before it runs out. That should do me. I'll go ahead and point out for anyone that doesn't already know, international plans are EXPENSIVE. I won't be getting one. I'm putting my phone on a reduced rate service plan so it's only $10/month. I'll be switching out my sim card with one that I buy over there with some calling, texting, and data capabilities, but for the most part I'm just going to be relying on wifi. Which means that when I bike across Portugal I may have to actually find a paper map..
I had initially intended to keep my backpack under 22 pounds because that's the cutoff for RyanAir's carry on weight. I don't know how much I'll be trying to use them, but if I decide to, I don't want to be stuck on the ground because my backpack was too heavy. All of this wound up weighing in at 21.2 pounds. Can anyone here say "success?!" But also, the Cairn 48 is slightly bigger in dimensions than they allow.. Hopefully if I try to fly with them, they aren't being sticklers about that, or they have room in the hull. I may wind up ditching an item or twelve before I leave. I may also add one or two. Probably not. We're gonna see how this all plays out. I'll let you know as I go along!