Help me pack light

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leela
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Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:05 am

Ugh. I'm leaving on a trip in three weeks, but I have a small tear in my bicep, which is causing pain, and is going to make it very difficult to put on a heavy back pack. So I'm trying to pack lighter than usual this time. I should be able to, as there won't be any great differences in temperature or weather in Malawi at this time of year, and no need to look smart (though I'll pack one dress, as I got caught out one year when I got an unexpected invitation to an event where I needed to look decent).

So what are your tricks for keeping stuff to a minimum? I have a 55+15 backpack which I still need to take, as I'll be bringing back some (lightweight) goods from the projects I'm visiting. I just want my bag to be as light as possible, even if it can't be smaller.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by GLimpet » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:06 am

Image

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by mad hatter » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:07 am

post the goods. take a smaller bag?
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by DCComic » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:08 am

Publish your list so we can tell you what's unnecessary.
My smarter half tends to load up on footwear, books, toiletries and medicines.
Kindle made a huge difference.
I can get through a month with a pair of trainers and a pair of flip-flops. She can't.
Once you've accepted that there will be hand-washing you only need a couple of each item to wear. A light waterproof doubles as an evening warm layer.
Leaving the stuff from Boots. Pair it down.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by GLimpet » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:09 am

Image

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by mad hatter » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:13 am

GLimpet wrote:Image
nice tourist luggage
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:41 am

DCComic wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:08 am
Publish your list so we can tell you what's unnecessary.
Good idea. You'll have to bear with me while I make one though. My last packing list makes little sense for this trip.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Lincoln » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:45 am

GLimpet wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:06 am
Image
That made I chuckle :lol:

Toiletries often take up too much space...just take a small bar of soap and that's it...you can pick up what you want when you're there...ditto medical stuff,just take the absolute minimum and buy when your there.

I've never been good at packing light but like you Leela I am determined to do it one day.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by DCComic » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:48 am

Image

Though for whatever reason this luggage is called 'Tipu Tiger'.

Image
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:28 am

Ha. I'm enjoying the photo suggestions.

Anyway, I've pruned my last packing list to this:

Buying stuff once I'm at my primary destination isn't an option. I'm in a remote location, with no shops of any kind within a 60 - 90 minute walk. And they won't sell anything that I could leave off this list. Probably three hours drive to a pharmacy, if I could find someone to take me. Image
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Geoffers » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:57 pm

Your clothing is way over the top, you don’t need 7 tops, 3 max,1 trousers, ditch the sandals and think about ditching the trainers, locals only have flip flops so you can too, then you wouldn’t need socks either. You’ve got a fleece, you don’t need a cardigan too. You can ditch ALL of your on the plane shit, put up with what you get on the plane. This is just a start, really you need to reduce to 7 kg, a carryon bag only, it’s not that hard,

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by fishface » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:36 pm

Bloody hell, can i use that list? I need to pack better and that would nearly be my 'reduced' list.

Guidebook- is a pdf version available?

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by pezworld » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:43 pm

Agree with (most of) Geoffers' suggestions but I'd wear the trainers when moving. Fewer tops. Do you need the guidebook or can you get a Kindle version? Why a laundry bag? Can you use a local water bottle (and reuse it)? Do you need to bring detergent?
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by NorthAmerican » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:45 pm

I'd skip the razor; it's hard for me to believe that people would expect a woman in a remote location to shave.

You might also skip the deodorant; use the wipes. When I was in (the) hospital last month, one of the things they gave me in the kit of stuff for inpatients was a pack of 40 baby wipes, but in a large size I'd never seen before, about 7 by 8 inches.

I can't wear flip-flops, so eliminating them from my own list would be easy. I have a pair of Teva sandals that have an arch support built in; something like those and and a pair trainers could serve you well.

Underwear and nightwear? Couldn't you sleep in your underwear? I do.

Finally, a question: Will you cross paths with the man who made the coffee scoop we saw in another thread? If so, he might be pleased to know that a number of us liked it.

Edit: I laughed when I saw GLimpet's suggestion at the top of the thread. I laughed when rereading my own thread after posting it just now. To be perfectly clear, I DO NOT SLEEP IN LEELA'S UNDERWEAR!
Last edited by NorthAmerican on Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by GLimpet » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:48 pm

Don't forget your Yellow Fever certificate!

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by EMG » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:55 pm

What is a sleeping bag liner?

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:06 pm

Yep, the nightwear can go, as long as I have something to slip on to make my way 50-100 yds to the outside toilets.
trainers (actually trail runners) are essential. I'm going to be on the side of a mountain, and walking a distance uphill on rough ground to even get up to the dirt road. Last year I was slipping and falling a lot, especially coming back down.

I've got that number of tops because washing isn't easy, and I'm one of those people who doesn't cope with heat well. I often get through two tops a day in heat. You wouldn't want to be near me if I didn't change, some days. I'm small, and they're small though, So probably only take the space of three men's tees.

The liner's a silk one - super light and takes up hardly any room. I'll consider leaving it, but it's super comfy and a guard against nasty sheets in cheap African hotels.

Yep, I know the place really well, so I don't know why I left guidebook on there.

The fleece is too warm for a lot of situations. I'll leave the (very thin) cardigan on the maybe/maybe not list.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:08 pm

NA - yes, I will see the coffee scoop man. I'll pass the message on

GLimpet - heh. I don't need one this time. Though it would have been interesting to see if they recognised their own fake one, at the border.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:12 pm

Oh...and the laundry bag is a just a bit of net, to keep things separate.
The water bottle is one of those flat ones, but yes, good point.
Detergent - yes, just a tiny travel bottle of very concentrated stuff, because anything I get there will be powder in a big box.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:14 pm

The bag for liquid/gels is just a zip food bag that you need at security here, for your flight bag liquids.
And I've got lots of night flying and you don't get given inflatable pillows in economy
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:22 pm

I'm very much appreciating the input, btw. I've not done this before, and it's good to have fresh eyes look at that list.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by EMG » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:26 pm

Not knowing how remote it is, I'd leave anything I could buy there, or on the way there from the airport, and even if it's too much for personal needs (like detergent) I'd just leave the remainder with someone who can use it.

Being a guy and generally careless: I don't take any kind of first aid stuff, I'd probably scrap 2/3 of your toiletries list, all the miscellaneous stuff, and I don't know what the difference between sandals and flip flops is, I'd only take one.

And I always wear the heavier stuff on the way in. Like shoes and heavy clothes.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:37 pm

Thing is, it's not airport to destination to airport. It'll take me at least two days of travel to get there from Lilongwe, and the same back. So anything I buy at the airport/in Lilongwe I still have to carry somehow. So it's easier to bring a little travel bottle of detergent (we're talking 100ml) from home, than to heave a box of washing powder with me on local long distance buses.

And yeah, my small first aid kit is needed for 'remote location, no pharmacy in reach' reasons.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by DCComic » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:48 pm

Dress - yes
Fleece OR Cardigan, not both
Nightwear?
2 x trousers - OK
Tops - 3 should do
Scarf?
Shorts?
Underwear x 3
Socks x 3
2 of the 3 shoe types.

Power bank?
MiFi?
Wet wipes?
Tissues?

Electrical stuff and batteries are heavy.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by pezworld » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:09 pm

Doesn't a phone do the job of a MiFi?
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:12 pm

The place I'm going to has no electricity, DCC. Or at least there's a small amount of solar, but not enough to be reliable. The Mifi can stay here, as I'm not taking a tablet.

Most of the other stuff I've already explained I think. The nightwear is already crossed off. The scarf is a light sarong-y multi use thing. Also of non-negotiable sentimental value.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Stan In Maryland » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:17 pm

I agree, either a cardigan or a fleece, not both. If you need the trainers, just the trainers. Leave the sandals and flip flops at home. If you need to flip flops for showering, take those but skip the sandals. Three pair of footwear is more than you need. You should be able to cut the tops to no more than 5.

I am disturbed that NA would even think that we would think he meant he was sleeping in your underwear.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:24 pm

Stan In Maryland wrote:I agree, either a cardigan or a fleece, not both. If you need the trainers, just the trainers. Leave the sandals and flip flops at home. If you need to flip flops for showering, take those but skip the sandals. Three pair of footwear is more than you need. You should be able to cut the tops to no more than 5.

I am disturbed that NA would even think that we would think he meant he was sleeping in your underwear.
Stan! I'm a girl! I can't wear trainers all the time. They'd look ridiculous with my dress and my pretty trousers. Also it's hot there. My feet would swelter.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Stan In Maryland » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:19 pm

you asked how to pack lighter, some sacrifices have to be made. Which ones is obviously your decision. Can't you wear flip flops with the dress and for "cool" wear?
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by EMG » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:39 pm

A Real Traveler would just take one pair of clownpants, one Che tshirt, flip flops, and a sarong.

Just saying.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:51 pm

I'm going to cut it down to trainers +1, stan. But only taking trainers, as you suggested, just isn't doable.
I appreciate all the suggestions. Just explaining where they might not work for me/my specific circumstances. If I was staying in a 'normal' holiday place, the trainers of course, would be at home.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Andrea1 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:56 pm

I always travel with less than 11kg, take it as hand luggage. Your list looks fine, to me. I'd go against the majority, plenty of tops. Thin ones that are very light and don't take up much space. I also take about 7 pairs of undies/bikini bottoms. They don't take up much either. Trainers, sandals and flip flops.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Stan In Maryland » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:23 pm

Glad we could help. I agree, what is "important" is always and individual decision. I did 3 weeks in Namibia with one pair of shoes. At the end of the trip I took them off and didn't wear them for a couple of months just because I was so tired of wearing them. Someone said go without deodorant, I can tell you for me that would not happen. We all cut weight differently depending on our priorities.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:29 pm

Andrea1 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:56 pm
I always travel with less than 11kg, take it as hand luggage. Your list looks fine, to me. I'd go against the majority, plenty of tops. Thin ones that are very light and don't take up much space. I also take about 7 pairs of undies/bikini bottoms. They don't take up much either. Trainers, sandals and flip flops.
Yep, mine are all light, cotton, sleeveless. The weight and space they take up (like my little knickers) will be the least of the problem.

The problem with taking hand luggage size, is that I have to bring extra stuff home. So I'd need to have room to pack a reasonable sized nylon bag for that stuff.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:42 pm

I just checked my airline's cabin baggage restrictions, and the max weight is 7kg, Andrea. And on googling, I find (bizarrely) that they rigorously enforce it with some scales on the jetway as passengers approach the plane! The first report of that, I thought must be a one off, but apparently it isn't - it's a regular thing, and they even include one's handbag! (I was thinking I'd keep heavy stuff in my handbag).

So yep, I'll stick to plan A and just check in my normal bag.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by DCComic » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:57 pm

I regularly take 25kg of carry on. They spot oversize but never weigh.
I prefer long sleeved shirts.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Andrea1 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:07 pm

That sounds like a good plan, Leela. The reason I go hand luggage only is for the cheapness and convenience but sometimes it's a pain. One of the side benefits though is that it really does make you think about what you're packing, judging stuff on how much use, weight/bulk, washability, durability, etc., and that has worked out really well, especially as I've got older.

Along with the small back pack I also take a good quality, light day pack, moneybelt and a light handbag of some description. This means that you can move weighty items around for comfort while traveling wherever you end up. Also use pockets in clothing for same reason. And obviously to reduce hand luggage weight.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by GLimpet » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:13 pm

Completely by the by, but somebody was telling me yesterday that Rwanda is now "The Switzerland of Africa" and they have weekly Citizens Pick Up Rubbish days so the place is now sparkling with cleanliness.

My eyebrows may have betrayed me.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by DCComic » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:17 pm

The citizens picking the rubbish wear pink jumpsuits and macheted someone’s granny to death.

However, come the apocalyptic conflagration the winds will blow radiation over Rwanda rather later than most other places.

Wealthy preppers probably know this too.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:09 pm

DCComic wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:57 pm
I regularly take 25kg of carry on. They spot oversize but never weigh.
I've never seen weighing going on with any other airline. But I've seen several forums where it's discussed re: Ethiopian - including at Heathrow. So I'm not going to chance it. If it was put in the hold at the last minute, I'd have my handbag and nothing else on board. And if they lose my luggage, which seems common when connecting through Addis, I'd be stuffed.

Anyway, no problem. The idea of just having carry on was only fleeting, after seeing Andrea's post.
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Help me pack light

Post by 5waldos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:21 pm

A few too many tops but two pair of trousers seems ok- what do you wear when you spill your dinner on one?

Does the list include what you are wearing on the plane? Wear trainers and a pair of the trousers, a top and either fleece or cardigan as cabins get cold (unless they are hot)

I’d suggest putting all this together and see how much it is. It doesn’t seem like too much to me and I usually manage with a carryon.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by Andrea1 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:33 pm

Sarong. Where's your sarong?

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:36 pm

Yep, it includes what I'll wear. So the fleece is no issue on the flight. But again, it's not a flight to accommodation and back again. The fleece will have to fit in the bag while I'm travelling around the country.
Home airport to home airport is 14 days. But I'm only staying at my main destination (so can unpack) for a week. The rest is travel time and overnighting in places.

Andrea - my scarf is sarong size. It will keep me decent (ish) when I have to traipse through the grounds to the loo.
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Re: Help me pack light

Post by 5waldos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:47 pm

Tie the sleeves around a handle. I would think that there are people around who will carry things for you. My experience, although not in Malawi, is that trying to carry your own things is seen as almost an insult.

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:03 pm

Nah. carrying your bag for you isn't a thing, unless you're a tout or taxi driver trying make you come with them, in which case I get really annoyed and yell at them to GET OFF MY BAG. It really winds me up (ask ben_h...I went full on ranty at a crowd of taxi drivers who were trying to do that in Kazakhstan)

Anyway, I'm a bit independent, and don't really like people carrying my stuff, unless I know them and they're just doing the kind thing.
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Help me pack light

Post by 5waldos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:59 pm

Okay. Back to piling everything on a spare bed or table and see where you are. I usually do that a week or two before I go and add what I have forgotten but mostly remove things.

Seems to me when I was your age I had a great denim jumper ( an American jumper- a sleeveless dress that you wear over shirts). With a few tees i could travel forever. I could dress it up (sort of-at least enough), it never really got dirty, and switching tops made it always feel fresh. I may have to find another one- it did make packing easy.

Something like this https://www.vermontcountrystore.com/den ... gLhRvD_BwE

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by micvan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:35 am

Yes I really wondered about the razor too. Not that it's gonna weigh you down inordinately. I like to pack a lot of undies, but I'm just a "smalls" type of gal. I don't pack a lot of tops, but as has been pointed out preferences. I'm pretty ruthless tho, I wear the heavy stuff hiking shoes, longer pants, hoodie. But I never exceed 8-9 kgs carry on

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by micvan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:36 am

Let us know how it goes Leela

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by EMG » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:22 am

Pretty much every domestic budget airline in the Philippines (ie: the only thing I've flown in the last 6 years) checks carry on weight. 7kg limit here on most as well. They might let you by with 8.
More frequently checked on domestic flights (as in 100% of bags are weighed), but also internationally from time to time. I was weighed coming back from Korea, Kuala Lumpur, and on pretty much every domestic flight over the last few years.

So I'm always very careful with the weight. I don't have a bathroom scale, but when I used to, I'd weigh my bag by standing on the scale with and without it.

(Then again, if I'm ever forced to check a bag on a local budget airline it's like $15. I just don't like waiting for it later)

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Re: Help me pack light

Post by leela » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:18 am

micvan wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:35 am
Yes I really wondered about the razor too.
It's this tiny little thing. Made for travel. Not much longer than my thumb.

Image
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