Finished packing

This is the final result of carefully selecting what is most necessary to bring on a three month trip though Central America, that will include walking through at least one jungle (the Darién region of Panama, on the border to Colombia), in the rainy season.


It includes:

  • a backpack (it’s very simple, with only to compartments, and it weighs much less than my usual backpack.)
  • a Kindle charged with some hundred books and papers
  • cable for charging Kindle
  • lightweight pants of synthetic material. Good protection from bugs (and thus dengue, malaria, botfly larvae, etc), cold, rain, etc.
  • jacket of similar material
  • small < $100 camera
  • a piece of paper with current exchange rates written down (to avoid being ripped off when going from one country to another.)
  • $100 in small denominations
  • belt for hiding money. Charged with US$ in big denominations. I wish I’d had one of those in Africa.
  • earplugs. Improves sleep in noisy places!
  • one extra pair of underwear and one extra t-shirt (I’ll wash clothes often)
  • three waterproof bags (now is the rainy season down there)
  • passport
  • medicines: aspirin, paracetamol (acetaminophen), artemether (for malaria), some antibiotic, some for migraine. Most of it I put in a small plastic bottle, for protection against water and physical wear. (I’ve memorized which pill is which, of course)
  • tiny flask of water purifying tablets.
  • tube of antibiotic ointment (dunno if it works, though)
  • fever thermometer and some spare rubber bands
  • best possible insect repellent (20% picaridine), put into small bottles in order to go through customs (bottles originally for instant hand sanitizer)
  • cell phone
  • cable for charging cell phone from USB
  • compass
  • memory card reader
  • spare memory card
  • small flashlight
  • razor with improvised cover (no handle, in order to save weight)
  • toothpaste and toothbrush
  • solid soap
  • vaccination booklet, driver’s license, student card, mastercard, visacard. Dunno if anyone will care about the student card though.
  • lighter (not shown)
  • pair of socks (not shown)
  • DS-2019 (not shown)
  • onward ticket from Panama (they might not let me in otherwise) (not shown)
  • two 0.5 litre bottles (not shown)
  • machete (will buy once there). Might be tricky to get through customs!

On my body:

  • glasses
  • t-shirt
  • shorts
  • underwear
  • socks
  • sandals
  • no wallet, no jeans, no sweater

Notably absent:

  • towel (being wet after showering is nice and cooling when you are in a tropical country, and it’s often tricky to get the towel dry after using it anyway)
  • guidebook (they usually don’t contain any information you can’t ask the locals about!)
  • small gifts (poor people usually just want money anyway)
  • “real” shoes (I think they’re clumsy, heavy, smelly, give you sore feet, etc)
  • sleeping bag, hammock, etc. I’m counting on the locals…

Interestingly, the backpack is still half-empty, so I can fill it with lots of chocolate before going to places where there is no food!:


Total weight, about 2 kg, I guess. Only half as heavy as the stuff I took to Africa! I can even go swimming with this one on my back (after putting the water sensitive stuff in the waterproof bags, of course.)

Please leave a comment! Is there something more I should take? Am I taking anything that is unnecessary?


8 thoughts on “Finished packing

  1. Ali says:

    This is awesome…I would take a towel too. You can use it also as a pillow in the time of need. Goodluck!

    • Actually, in Africa I bought some sponges meant for washing, and used them as a pillow… Worked quite well! Maybe I’ll do that again.

  2. Lil sis says:

    Awesome packing. Wish you best of luck.

    Btw, maybe you could link to your Africa-blog somewhere on this blog in case people get curious about it.

  3. Ariel says:

    I am deeply sorry about what happened to Philip
    Didn’t anyone warn him about how dangerous his journey would be? I am so ashamed that he lost his life in my country in pursuit of lofty goals. What a waste of a good life. My sympathy to his family. And please stay away from Colombia. It is just not safe.

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