Before my trip to Peru (which is now slowly being blogged on this site), I posted this Peru Packing List. One person commented they were astonished all this would fit in one Rick Steves Convertible Carry-On. I have to admit I actually used two bags, but the second was a small Pack It Cube by Eagle Creek, but I must defend myself! This bag is perfect to pack all the items I need on board the flights to Peru. It can either be placed in with the carry on or carried separate. My wife Kim turned me on to this idea and it works great! The cube is the perfect size to fit magazines, a couple of books, noise canceling headphones, snacks and a few smaller items. With that in mind, I packed those few things in the Pack It Cube and the rest in the Rick Steves bag.
I thought it might help to go back through that packing list and point out some items that really helped, and some that would have been best left behind (or were disposed of during the trip). With that in mind, here’s what I found to work well and what didn’t.
- 1 pair jeans – I ended up not packing these and wish I had. I tried saving space but there were times I would have liked to have a pain of jeans when heading out for the night in Cusco.
- 1 swimsuit – I actually brought two and used them both! I had a soaking tub in one of my cabanas and these worked out well. Plus I had enough water activities that it was nice to have a dry pair.
- Flip flops – Really useful in the rainforest. I would have preferred to have my moccasins for the trek.
- First aid kit – Yeah, bring one. The one day I didn’t have it on me, I needed it most. Otherwise, I used it every other day for someone else and it was appreciated.
- Packtowel – These ultralight and quick drying towels are great!
- Collapsible cup – I never used this and it should have been left behind. I used water out of my water bottle directly instead.
- Hand towel – Made of same Packtowel material above, this smaller towel was great for scrubbing down after a day of trekking.
- Soap (cut into small single use pieces) – I didn’t need these after all. I stayed in hostels and hotels that had soap.
- 3 8GB CF Cards – I didn’t use these
- 9-volt light – A very handy light I won’t travel without. It’s spendy, but useful. I handed it to others half the time when they forgot their lights.
- Columbus V-900 Bluetooth GPS Voice Data Logger – This unit malfunctioned on me, probably due to my own misuse. It worked up to a point but then freaked out and kept beeping until the battery died. Which made me glad I had a….
- Amod AGL3080 GPS Data Logger – This unit worked great, although my battery charger didn’t charge the batteries enough, leading to lost track points for part of the trek.
- Spot Satellite Messenger with GPS Tracking – This unit seems to just keep on working. I kept it in tracking mode for the trek and it gave reliable information back to family at home, showing my location on the move. Otherwise I’d send out an OK message when I reached a location….much easier than finding an internet cafe or calling many people at once. I’d suggest getting this device if you have family back home who worry about you as you travel.
- SteriPEN Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier – I have already written up a quick review of this wonderful tool for purifying water on the go. That post can be found here. Get one and say goodbye to plastic water bottles.
- iPod Charger (for Columbus unit) – I think I fried the Columbus unit by using this charger. My bad.
- small travel inverter for plane – American Airline’s power ports didn’t work and Alaska Air didn’t have them. This was the largest waste of space in my pack and I lived without it.
- Dana Design day pack – This pack is heaven on the trail and I’m so glad I made space for it. It’s funny carrying one pack inside another but I wouldn’t want to trek without it.
- NUUN Active Hydration Tablets – These helped when the water taste was a bit off as well as adding back in needed electrolytes.
- Phrasebook – I purchased the Lonely Planet Phrasebooks Latin American Spanish book. It was handy and very easy to use. For a non-Spanish speaker, it was relevant and useful.
I could keep going on and on, but those are the highlights. Having snacks along was very helpful for keeping spirits and energy level up. I often shared snacks with others including some Turkey Jerky with our entire cadre of porters. The Sharkies were a big hit with all and I should have brought more.
All in all, I believed I packed well, if a bit heavy. The bag was comfortable enough while using the waist belt, but was a bear when only using the shoulder straps. Looking back, I’d leave behind a few things and not worry about them, as listed above. I’d bring the heavy camera again in a heartbeat even though it was probably 20% of my pack weight. I’m slowly posting more photos over at Hidden Creek Photography from the trip and am very happy with the results! Coming in the new year, look for gear reviews on The Carey Adventures from some items from the pack list, taken on both this trip and one to Nepal. Or better yet, subscribe to this blog and receive the gear reviews automatically!