Cotton trousers or combats are great, as are plain T-shirts and shirts. Take a large, cotton scarf to cover your head, shoulders or any other cheeky bits should the necessity arise. A long skirt is essential: it’s modest, suitable for smart occasions, keeps you cool and is handy for loo-breaks. Let me explain: in a lot of countries, sit-down toilets are not the norm. If you have to squat over a hole in the ground, it’s much easier to stop a skirt from touching the less-than-lemony-fresh floor than it is to protect your trousers. Of course, there’s a dead simple solution to these fashion dilemmas. When you reach your destination, go to your nearest market, buy some fabric, take it to a tailor’s stall and get a local-style outfit made for you. In a matter of hours, you’ll have an unique, bespoke little number all of your own, and you’ll know it meets local standards.
You want a backpack that is big enough to hold just a bit more than the stuff you are bringing and not more than that. If a backpack fits everything you want, has a bit of extra room, and feels comfortable, then you have found the perfect backpack size. Manufacturers also have suggested torso and waist sizes for each model they produce, but I’ve found that the best way to know if a backpack feels right is to simply try it on. When you are at the store (and any good camping/outdoors store will do this), they should be able to stuff your backpack with the equivalent of 30 pounds (15 kilograms) so you can see how that much weight feels on your back.
While your pack does not need to be 100% waterproof (that is unless you are going on some long multi-day hike), make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get wet in a drizzle (most travel backpacks come with tarps you can put over them in case of a severe downpour). Moreover, make sure the material won’t stay wet long and thereby get musty. I look for material that is thick but lightweight. Treated nylon fiber is really good. You should be able to pour a cup of water over it without the insides getting wet. I’m not traveling a lot during torrential downpours or monsoons, but I have been caught in small rainstorms before, and because my backpack is made out of a good material, I’ve never opened my bag to find wet clothes.
Hiking gear : Layering Regardless of seasonal variations, climatic conditions often change rapidly between day and night, low altitude and high altitude. The ability to layer up and down as the sun rises and falls, or as you ascend over high passes or across shadowed valleys is key. Below we look at how you build up your clothing layers, starting at the inner most layer, underwear!
Backpacking Essentials : All Food EXCEPT my food for the current day – Food for the current day is packed in an easy to access side pocket so I don’t have to unpack my bag to access it. Bear Container Food Storage ( Optional ): Check the area you’re hiking in to determine if you’ll need this item! It’s a must have in bear country. I prefer the The Backpacker’s Cache which can hold approx. 8 days of food if you’re crafty! Stuff Sack for Food ( Optional ): You may need to hang food from a tree so a stuff sack is important. I use a mesh stuff sack that came with a sleeping bag for this. It also will hold the bear container when hanging it from a tree. Hiking shoes : These range from mid- to high-cut models and are intended for day hikes or short backpacking trips with light loads. They often flex easily and require little break-in time, but they lack the support and durability of stout backpacking boots. Materials impact a boot’s weight, breathability, durability and water resistance. Full-grain leather: Full-grain leather offers excellent durability and abrasion resistance and very good water resistance. It’s most commonly used in backpacking boots built for extended trips, heavy loads and rugged terrain. It is not as light or breathable as nylon/split-grain leather combinations. Ample break-in time is needed before starting an extended trip.
Minimize your jewelry. Instead of piling your wrists with watches and bracelets, keep your accessories to a minimum. Nine times out of ten you will be asked to remove everything before going through airport security.
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