Packing Gear for a Year

"I just want to feel prepared," you say to yourself while looking at a mountain of stuff on your bed.

Which in regular human words, basically translates to "I'm just going to pack everything I own, so I won't regret it on my trip later".

Don't worry, you're not alone-- packing for any trip can be a daunting task!

We've decided to limit our gear to what we can fit into one larger pack and one hiking pack each. That's two backpacks each to bring all of the essential items we *think* we need to visit 3 different continents and survive comfortably in temperatures ranging from -5°C to +40°C throughout one year.

No problem...

At this point we're just over one month away from departure, so we wanted to do a quick check to:

  1. See if there's anything else we need to buy/replace

  2. Make sure what we want to bring actually fits into our packs

  3. Make sure we can physically carry it all without looking like awkward turtles

Do we look like awkward turtles yet?

Let’s shed some light on our different approaches to packing:

Krystal: I am 100% one of those people that finds comfort in packing items with a "just in case" mentality. It’s mainly because I don’t know what I want to wear or what I will need TOMORROW, let alone 6 months from now. Historically, I also have not done a great job of investing in myself, so I didn’t own good quality hiking gear or active wear even a year ago. It’s been challenging to essentially build a new wardrobe of things that balances being practical and still liking how it looks.

Greg: I’ve always had more of a minimalistic approach to things I own and buy. For the past 3 years I’ve never owned more than 1 pair of jeans or 2 pairs of shorts at a time, my mindset has always been “I can get by with what I have”. This too has its own issues, you can ask Krystal how quickly I’ve worn through certain articles of clothing because I wear them so often. So I’ve been trying to purchase just enough quality clothing and accessory items for our trip.

"The mindset, other than “I need to satisfy my secret Spice Girl needs” is that we value experiences more than possessions."

After months of research, shopping the sales to stay within our budget, and consulting with our amazing adventurous friends, here is the list of everything we’re currently planning to bring:

Our goal was to purchase good quality items that would last us beyond this year. We also don’t intend to purchase souvenirs while we're gone, as tempting as it can be, and if we buy clothing it will be to replace something we already have.

Krystal: Ahem! There is one exception... I do plan on buying a tank top with the Union Jack on it when we visit London, England (random, I know). I went there 6 years ago and contemplated buying one to fulfil my 8-year-old-Spice-Girl-loving past self, but I restrained, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

Greg: The mindset, other than “I need to satisfy my secret Spice Girl needs” is that we value experiences more than possessions. We’d rather spend money going out and exploring, rather than purchasing nick-knacks for our home... which, pretty soon, we will no longer have!

A snapshot of the types of things we're bringing

Some tips we've followed when purchasing our gear:

  • Buy items made of Merino wool. They're quick drying, light weight, odour resistant, don't need to be washed often and great for layering when it gets cold. We'd recommend the Icebreaker brand-- their socks also have a lifetime warranty!

  • Once you know where you're going, start buying what you need as early on as possible so that you have ample time to shop for sales

  • Look for items that are compact or have the ability to fold into something smaller. For example, our jackets are made with synthetic "down" so that they're featherweight and roll up into small bags (look in the top middle section of the above photo for the small purple bag for size reference. That's Krystal's winter jacket!)

*Disclaimer* this is our first time packing like this! There may be things on our lists that we don’t need or items that we’ve missed.

Please don't hesitate to send us a message if you have any words of wisdom that you’d like to share prior to our departure on September 13. Also, keep an eye out for a future, future blog post when we share what we’ll inevitably learn about packing as we embark on our adventure.

Wish us luck as we get ready for our last 34 days in Canada!


-Greg and Krystal

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