What’s in the bag ?

Well the title is obvious isn’t ?

For the few weeks preceding the departure it has been an on-going headache, and the subject of endless discussions between us :

  • What the hell are we gonna take with us for the adventure ? 🤔
  • How the hell are we gonna fit all of that in two backpacks, and then carry it? 😱
  • Why the hell did we decide to travel to places with polar weather to tropical rain forest ? From 6000 m high to jungle deep. It would make our life a little easier if we  were just gonna spend six months on a beach in the Caribbeans sea. 😵

Well, in case you want to follow our steps, or grab a backpack of your own and travel the world this might help you a bit and save you some head banging choices.
We welcome every tip or remarks you could make about our packs, and if you stay tuned on Let’s Go To Quito, we will update later on this list with remarks and reviews on our stuff. With some experience, maybe we will regret taking or not taking some equipment, and take some other piece with no hesitation whatsoever for the next trip !

Fred  talks you through his clothes for 6 months on the roads of South America :

Fred's clothes

  • An Osprey Xenith 75L Backpack, I’ve already used it for backpacking and travelling, not for hiking yet but looking forward to it.
  • A hard shell jacket Millet K Pro GTX. I have used it for a couple of years now and it’s a great jacket. It was designed for mountaineering, but I use it for absolutely everything, from city walks to hikes in the forest and skiing. It is lightweight, super versatile and indestructible.
  • A down jacket Thermoball from The North Face, ultralight yet very warm and compressible to the size of a small pillow. We received it one a month ago, and I have wore it almost every time I went out! Fits nicely under the Millet hard shell, so it will provide an extra layer of warmth when needed.
  • A comfy/cosy wool Humle sweater from Bergans
  • A superlight and warm synthetics sweater from Haglöfs. I assume that will be the main technical warm layer. It dries very fast and is very comfortable under a heavy backpack.
  • A couple of hiking pants from Lundhags (Traverse Pants and Makke Pants). Love the pair of them, they are made out of a very strong fabric, but due to strech sections well adjusted, they are super comfy to wear.
  • Our “Woolpower” cold survival kit (have you read our article about it yet?). It includes:
    • A Zip Turtleneck 200, classical best seller from Woolpower. It is an awesome sweater, super warm.
    • A Tee Lite, T-shirt in merino wool, very warm, super fast drying. Fred used it for several hikes during weekends in Sweden already.
    • A Long John Lite, Merino wool there too, and the same warm and comfy Lite material from Woolpower.
  • Some additional t-shirts (long and short sleeves), mostly out of merino wool.
  • A lightweight shirt from Lundhags, in case we’re invited to a party at the ambassador. It also never wrinkles, so perfect to be rolled up, packed up in a backpack.
  • A second merino wool 3/4 long John.
  • Some hiking socks in wool, high and short heels.
  • Underwears, mix of Woolpower merinos and regular cotton
  • Gloves, beanie, scarf, belt, sunglasses
  • As for the shoes, I’ll take one pair of Salomon hiking boots that have been following me all around the world for several years now from NZ to India, to South Africa, to remote islands of the Pacific Ocean to Sweden. I also bring a second pair of Salomon shoes X Ultra GTX2, lighter, very comfortable they will be perfect for most of the trip. And I’ll also take a pair of flip-flops.

 

Merima describes her clothes for the next 6 months in South America :

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  • A Bergans Trollheta 75L Lady Backpack, already used for backpacking and travelling, last year in Sri-Lanka, but not for hiking yet.
  • A hard shell jacket Haglöfs Verte, lightweight, wind-and waterproof ski jacket which I use most of the year, and for any occasion, from skiing in the Alps to windy day on the bike in Sweden.
  • A down jacket Verto Prima from The North Face, ultralight yet very warm due to it’s goose feathers filling. It is also very compressible to the size of a small pillow. Almost not a day has gone since we received it and I took it to go to work.
  • Two comfy/cosy wool Symre sweater from Bergans and Covert Cardigan from Arc’teryx, my favourite under the Haglöfs jacket on a cold day.
  • A couple of hiking pants, one Fjällräven (Keb trousers) and one Haglöfs (Mid II Flex).
  • Our “Woolpower” cold survival kit (have you read our article about it yet?). It includes:
    • A Zip Turtleneck 200, classical best seller from Woolpower. It is a awesome sweater, super warm and yet somehow classy. It has become a part of me since we got it, I don’t even part from it to wash it…
    • A Tee Lite, T-shirt in merino wool, very warm, super fast drying. Perfect to keep warmth, even for daily commuting in Uppsala.
    • A Long John Lite, Merino wool there too, and the same warm and comfy Lite material from Woolpower.
  • Some additionals merino wool t-shirts (long and short sleeves)
  • A second merino wool long John
  • A shirt from Marmot and some black pants for the casual look
  • Bikini, shorts and tanks for the tropical warmth and beach (oh yes I’m spending some weeks lying  like a fatass on the sand!)
  • Some hiking socks in merino wool, high and short ones
  • Underwear, a few merino panties and two merino sports bra from icebreaker (so comfy!) and a few cotton panties.
  • Woolpower beanie and mittens, gloves, sunglasses
  • As for shoes, I will take my Haglöfs Vertigo HI 2GT hiking shoes (warm and stable for heavy carrying) and a pair of very light Salomon shoes X Ultra GTX2, same as Fred’s.

 

Here you are, with a long list of clothes, even though for both of us it feels like we will be very limited and won’t be able to do too much fashion. Everything in the kit must work as expected, be versatile, lightweight, comfortable and hopefully work properly with every other bits of clothes we have.

 

And the rest.

And once the clothes are picked up, well there is still a huge quantity of material we need for the adventure.

Here you can have a look at it :

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  • Fred’s hiking backpack, the Osprey Xenith 75
  • Merima’s hiking backpack, the Bergans Trollheta 75L Lady
  • Fred’s daily/photo backpack, the Fstop Ajna. It is a photography bag, but designed for outdoors. I’ve been using it for several months now in hikes in Sweden, and it is fantastic, very comfortable, and safe for the gear, but with lots of extra room and functionalities for hike-usage. Can’t wait to use it in the Andes to shoot great landscapes!
  • Merima’s daily backpack, the Osprey Tempest 40. This one is brand new and we’re looking forward to use it in real conditions.
  • Both of us will be using hydration pack from Osprey, the Hydraulics 2L that can fit in any of our backpack, big or small so we can always have them, hopefully full of water no matter the bag we take.
  • We also have rain covers for every single backpacks, and two big flight bags that will protect the big backpacks during air travel.
  • Our tent from Helsport, model Fjellheimen 3 (designed for three people, or two people with big backpacks )
  • Our air mattresses are the Exped SynMat Hyperlite. They are super light (345g and 445g for Fred’s that is bigger, and they compress into a size similar to a 50cl soda bottle). But yet provide a very good insulation from the floor and are very comfy ! We are also taking another very nice item from Exped, called the Schnozzel. Apart from the funny name it is a big and ultralight dry bag that will protect our gear from the rain that can also be use as an pump bag when filled with air. So we won’t have to blow in our mattresses, which can come handy to prevent from having humidity into them, and also on saving precious oxygen for ourselves when we will be high up in the mountains.
  • We will retake with us our old but good sleeping bags: Fred has a Quechua Ultralight Down from Decathlon that has travelled the globe already, and Merima is taking her Bergans Senja Snow. They are not the lightest or warmest out there, but they should do the job just right. Both of us are also taking a silk sheet to provide additional comfort and warmth.
  • We are taking two microfibers towels. Lightweight and super fast drying. One is from Decathlon, the other from Pack Towel
  • Two headlights ( Black Diamond Spot and Petzl Tikka Plus) and some extra batteries will be very much used for camping, hiking
  • An additional dry back from Haglöfs.
  • Some ultralight mesh bags from Haglöfs to organise and sort out smaller equipment such as charger, plug adaptor, cables and such.
  • Lifestraw, little device that we’re curious to see how often we will use. It is made to purify almost any natural water into something that is safe to drink. Might come handy while in remote part of the countryside or in the mountains. It was fist designed for people in developing countries who don’t have water piped in from municipal sources or other access to safe water and emergency settings following natural disasters when water is contaminated. A brilliant thing we believe !
  • We will use Eagle Creek Pack It Specter system to pack all our clothes. We’ve used some of these pouches before and absolutely loved them. There are super convenient to organise clothes and compress them into much smaller volumes which will come handy. They are also water resistant, and we’re taking enough of them to also use them to separate clean from dirty laundry.
  • And we also taking with us a little gem from Eagle Creek, a 230g, super compressible duffel bag, that once opened will help us store some of our not needed gear while we are out hiking, or eventually allow us to bring extra souvenirs from the Andes.
  • Fred will carry his MeFoto travel tripod in order to bring back nice landscapes pictures. Soon, he will put a photography dedicated article online.
  • And to guide us along the Andes and all the countries we will cross we will take our Lonely Planet – South America on a Shoestring guide.

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As usual, we will update the list while we travel, and get more and more familiar with our new gear. We will review it, and share our beloved piece of kit, and the one we will maybe not bring with us next time. Hopefully it will be of use for some of you in your adventures!!