Deuter Futura Pro 42 Liter ($92)
I love my backpack. It’s comfortable, durable, and looks nice. It features a built in rain cover, openings on the top and bottom, and a ventilation pocket that elevates the pack away from your back. Finally, it’s small enough to squeeze into most overhead racks in buses.
Polyester REI dri-fit ($26)
Moisture wicking and quick drying, this is a super versatile shirt. It’s the lightest weight top I own for when it’s scorching outside. It’s black and fairly trim fitting, so it’s also my best top for wearing out to a bar. And it’s advertised as a base layer, so it’s also handy to wear underneath other tops in colder weather.
Champion running shirt ($20)
My go-to shirt for anything athletic, and also used for regular wear. The bright yellow color is a nice accent to typically drab travel clothes.
Smartwool lightweight t-shirt ($60)
Pricey for a t-shirt. But when all my laundry is dirty, this is the shirt to wear. Wool doesn’t retain foul odors and it’s no problem to get three or four wears out of this without washing. You’d think the wool fibers would be itchy but they’re not.
REI Sahara travel shirt ($54)
Functional shirt designed for a traveler. Two velcro breast pockets and another on the the upper arm, perfect for making valuables inaccessible to leering pickpockets. Long sleeves and collar that can be flipped up offer sun protection. Made of leightweight polyester that breathes and dries well.
Mountain Hardware travel shirt ($54)
Basically the same shirt as above, with neater stitching on the front to conceal the breast pockets and look less like a travel shirt. But I still prefer the REI shirt because I don’t like the color (light grey) and fit as much on this one.
Colombia Omni-dry convertible pants ($45)
My two pairs of convertible pants are the best, most utilized articles of clothing in my bag. The legs can be zipped off to convert into shorts, and the ample pockets (3 velcro, 2 regular, 1 zippered, and 1 hidden pocket) allow me to carry all my gadgets, money, credit cards, passport, etc. easily and securely. The Colombia version is very lightweight, designed for the hottest weather.
North Face convertible pants ($65)
Same as above, but the North Face material is slightly thicker and more rainproof. And they’re black, so they look better for going out to bars and restaurants.
Nike athletic shorts ($20)
Would have been more useful with pockets. As it is now, I can only use these for running. I may consider pitching these at some point, since my bathing suit can serve the same purpose.
Bathing suit ($13)
Bought in Brazil. Small and lightweight, with no lining, so it takes up virtually no space in my bag. Can double as athletic shorts.
Medium weight fleece ($30)
The warmest thing I own. It’s really not that warm by itself, but with a small backpack it’s all about layering. This fleece takes up about 20% of my backpack space (ouch!).
Patagonia wind/rain shell ($90)
Hooded, very good at keeping me dry. Can be layered over the fleece to cut the wind in cold weather.
North Face thermal underwear ($32)
With no warm pants, I thought I needed something to layer under them. They don’t take up much space, but I haven’t had to use them much so maybe these were unnecessary.
4 Ex Officio boxer briefs ($24 each)
I had never heard of this brand, but it was recommended to us by about six different sources. Their slogan is “17 countries, 6 weeks, 1 pair of underwear.” They’re lightweight and dry within a couple hours, so they’re easy to handwash. And I think they’re treated with some sort of anti-bacterial coating, so they don’t stink easily.
Cotton boxers ($5)
Just your regular boxers. I felt guilty buying so many expenssive Ex Officio pairs.
2 pair Smartwool phd ankle socks ($16 each)
Socks are the one peice of clothing that can stink most easily, and wool socks are suppposed to just smell like wool even when dirty. They’re lightweight and designed for athletic wear.
Smartwool midweight hiking sock ($17)
These are a little thicker and a little warmer.
Thorlo Coolmax polyester sock ($14)
Moisture wicking and quick-drying, so they’re supposedly good for keeping your feet dry while hiking.
2 pair cotton ankle socks ($1 each)
There’s nothing particularly performant about these socks but I needed a few more pairs and had already spent (gasp!) $63 on the fancier ones.
Chaco Z/2 sandals ($77)
Our primary choice of footwear, used for city walking, hiking, wading in water, or lounging around the hostel. We read extensively on Chaco vs. Teva vs. Keen. The toe-covering and thick uppers on Keens seemed not breathable enough for hot climates. Tevas supposedly retained odors worse than Chacos and wore out / broke quicker.
Asics GT-2150 running shoes ($90)
As my only non-sandal footwear, I needed something versatile enough to be: 1) comfortable and breathable for walking around a city for hours on end; 2) durable and supportive enough for hiking; 3) aesthetically acceptable for wearing into restaurants and museums. There were many “light hiking” and cross-training shoes designed for 1 and 2 but definitely not 3. These all-black running shoes seemed to fit the bill, with the added benefit of being able to run in them, which we’ve done several times. My only concern is that the mesh uppers may get torn apart after several harsh hikes.
Travel towel ($15)
If you’ve never seen one of these, it’s sort of like a magic trick. Somehow this little piece of fabric can suck up vast amounts of water and then air-dry in a couple hours. Sometimes the hostels charge extra for towels so I’ve used it a fair amount, but it hasn’t been essential.
Walmart sportswatch ($12)
Cheap watch that I don’t mind getting broken or stolen.
Eagle Creek Moneybelt
Whenever there’s a decent risk that our bags could get stolen (mainly on travel days), we wear our moneybelts to carry our passports, cash reserve, and backup credit/atm cards.
Eagle Creek packing cube
I use one of these solely for storing dirty clothes. It keeps them separate from my clean clothes while also letting them breathe a little.
The most useful free item ever. Just a thin nylon bag with drawstring top. Can be worn like a backpack yet is small enough to sit on our laps on the bus. Used as our “daypack” for carrying food, extra layers of clothing, maps, sunscreen, etc.
A softcover book from my spanish classes in Buenos Aires.
Glasses, Sunglasses, case, cable with locks, moleskine journal, playing cards
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