Wherever you go, you’ve got to bring your stuff. And protect yourself from preventable illness and mishaps and whatnot. I tried to do both of these things before leaving for Suriname, and as usual, I brought a lot of stuff I didn’t need. Here’s where I catalogue it for you and remind myself when there is too much of a good thing. Next, I’ll talk about my health kit. Maybe this will help you, or maybe it will make you feel wildly superior because you never overpack. I envy you. It will also help me to think about packing in the future. I did a whole bunch of self-laundry, and found that hanging a garment on a hanger on a fan overnight pretty much guarantees its wearability by the next day. In Suriname it’s not uncommon to really need to change your clothes partway through the day. The locals do it, too, so plan for more than one clothing change per day, but consider that at least during the dry season, things dry pretty quickly with a fan or in the sun. Also consider that fashion is not partiucularly important to me, but comfort is.
What a girl needs (or think she does), Suriname Version. See here for what I packed for my NZ cycle trip. Tangentially related, and some items repeat.
1 Timbuk3 backpack, which is too heavy for what it is, but I like it that the straps hide away in a compartment, that it has heavy denier canvas, many pockets, etc. I wasn’t walking long distances or carrying a very heavy load, and it worked perfectly. It has a giant zipper so it opens like a suitcase. Also comfy for sitting on in the 4-hour line for the ferry to Tobago (more on this later)
1 small zippy duffel with backpack straps and a water cover (Bolsila 36, bought in Brazil several years ago), packed inside the bigger backpack. This allowed me to leave one bag behind when I went to the interior, so I only brought the bare minimum for 4 days.
1 cross-the body unstructured cloth purse (essential)
1 Timberland daypack, whose zipper failed, and which I had to sew shut with a purchased needle and thread. I am, apparently, very hard on zippers, having killed at least one Lowepro bag in my earlier life as well.
1 Crumpler camera insert bag called “the haven” (I am not sure which size I have, but I am a huge fan of this bag. You carry it in whatever bag you have lying around. No zippers, so nothing to break, little stretchy pockets good for a lens cloth, memory cards, etc. Not sand-proof, but otherwise perfect, perfect, perfect, Crumpler I love you, I have two of your bags, Amen.)
3 sea to summit extralight drybags, 4L and 8L size. Useful in case of a boat swamping, which I came very close to experiencing, but also keeps stuff dry in the rain/keeps stuff separate, organized, etc.
1 slim-fitting waist pack for quick draw minicam usage on the bike and airport passport handling.
one pair jean shorts (indispensable)
one pair thin 3/4 length pants (also great)
one pink and orange long skirt (don’t judge)
one flowery pink skirt that if you know me and have seen me during the summer any time in the past five years, you know well.
one pair horrible zip-offable pants that I hate (and never wore, and should maybe get rid of)
one pair yoga pants I packed by mistake but enjoyed wearing for 28.5 hours on my way home
one black exofficio tanktop (indispensable)
3 more tanktops, dark colors (good)
3 tshirts (seldom wore, except one on the plane on the way home)
1 light-colored tank top (never wore re: dirt)
1 sunscreeny Columbia button-down shirt (except it snaps) in white (awesome, if grungy, perfect for long afternoons on the boat, and bike).
2 other long-sleeved shirts (extra, though I wore one on the plane and froze anyway, see Copa= refrigeration).
1 pair black chaco sandals (worn every day, have z-tan to prove it)
1 pair running shoes (wore to hike once and then again on the plane, but I still think 2 pairs of shoes is not a bad idea)
1 cloth buff (good for shielding eyes on plane for sleeping)
1 marmot gore-tex raincoat (only worn on plane because it was freezing, I hate you Copa airlines and your tissue-paper blankets)
1 umbrella (great for sun and rain, double plus good)
1 bathing suit
1 dress (wore it once when I woke up cold, could easily have skipped)
1 thing for sleeping
1 penguin baseball cap (well-travelled, has been to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Trinidad, Suriname and all over Chile)
1 pair sunglasses
unmentionables (including a pair of ex-officios which I’m a big fan of. 3 would be plenty)
three pairs of socks (one would have been enough)
1 pareo (always a good idea)
1 towel (never used, towels were mostly provided, and in the interior I just used a clean tshirt)
2 extra lenses, probably overkill (macro and zoom), but I haven’t looked at the photos yet
1 voice recorder
1 kindle (so, so, so good)
1 iphone for internetting
1 extra camera battery
assorted cords/electrical adapter. Electricity in Suriname is two round prongs but 120 v.
Cosmetiquero (non drug related)
toothbrush and paste, floss (thanks Dan, for reminding us all the importance of flossing)
DEET bug repellent
face lotion (unnecessary in the extreme heat and humidity)
solid shampoo from LUSH
hydrocortisone cream (thank goodness, got a mystery wetsuit/ocean rash in Trinidad that followed me to Suriname, and this made life bearable)
laundry detergent/soap for washing clothes
As usual, I packed too many clothes. My bag weighed about 13 kilos, and the daypack packed with the tech weighed another 6 or 7. I didn’t bring any books because I had the kindle, and I don’t have a light for it, so I downloaded one audible book which I’m still listening to, and really like. It’s Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. One of the places I stayed had electricity for just a few hours at night, so rather than use the headlamp to read myself to sleep, I would just listen to the Kindle, though it’s hard to remember what page you’re on when you fall asleep midway through some British guy talking at you.
-None of these links are paid, nor has anyone sent me anything free (though wouldn’t it be lovely?). I have included links because I think these items meet and exceed my expectations and uncareful washing, wearing and using habits, and think you might like them, too.