One week. Seven days and I am off. Adventure waits, pouncing every night in my dreams and growing ever more pervasive as the remaining days fade one after another. But I am not without progress. With forex obtained and visas (except for you Sudan, yes you. I’m looking at you), the last major item that remained to be done was to double check that I have all the gear I need, and that all the gear I need will in fact fit. And that, once fitting, it can be carried without the assistance of a mule. Such was this evening’s project.

The law of increasingly-long-term-travel (which I just made up) states that there is some threshold point at around three or so weeks, after which the amount of stuff you would actually need to take remains pretty constant thereafter. Being gone for just a hair short of two months, this trip most definitely qualifies to hit that wall of gear-volume. How much gear is enough for traveling from Cape Town to Cairo, you ask? Well, it would be something like this:

So much gear, so little bag. Yet it fits.

So much gear, so little bag. Yet it fits.

All of the essentials are covered here. Footwear (one pair of worn in, tough boots and one pair of more easy-walking shoes), pants (quick dry, nylon, very light), first aid kit, sleeping bag, map and a range of other items. The astute among you will also notice Christmas Hat. Since Malaysia, I have tried to bring Christmas Hat (or its successors) along on my adventures. When you find yourself alone in a strange place on Christmas, nothing breaks the ice faster than a quality fluffed Christmas Hat. Which this is. For more serious head warming, its cousin (a red beanie) offers a less seasonal  option.

But this is not all. This undertaking is at least partly about capturing some amazing pictures and stories from the road. For which a separate daybag carries all the most precious toys – looking something like this:

All the high tech toys, living in the bag-that-must-not-be-harmed.

All the high tech toys, living in the bag-that-must-not-be-harmed.

As a quick run through, you are looking here at the camera (Pentax K200D with battery grip) and lenses (50mm/f1.7, 18-50mm/f4.5, 70-300mm/f4.5), video camera, dictaphone, netbook (Packard Bell Dot), external hard drive (Iomega eGo), polarising and UV lenses for the camera, assorted batteries and chargers, plus the bag that this will all go in. It is thanks to this bag that I will be able to send you some of the stories, places and people that I meet along the way in as creative a manner as possible. It is also the bag that will never be sleeping far from me.

I have updated the gear reference list for those who would like an item-by-item breakdown and will put together some thoughts as I go as to what was useful and what should really have been left behind. But for now, these are the two bags that will be coming with. Impressively, together they weigh significantly less than anything I took with to Southeast Asia or Mozambique previously. Mostly due to a lack of heavy materials (nylon pants and a microfibre towel) and opting for smaller gadgets where possible (netbook instead of a full-sized laptop).

Thusly packed, all that remains now is to pack up the last of my life here. My bed goes on Saturday, followed by torrents of other accrued household junk being sent into storage until, in seven more days, it will be time to go. The anticipation is deadly.

Categories: Africa, Cape to Cairo, Gear, Travel
  • These are some of my favorite posts – always interesting to see how people put together their packs/kits.

    Your tech gear looks slick. :) Netbooks have come a long way since I bought one in Hong Kong, Feb 08

  • I can’t believe how much less this trip’s goodie bag weighs than previous ones. Just removing my full laptop alone has probably taken 1-2kg off the bag. Carrying it around this time will be so much more pleasant.

  • Ty

    Looking lean and compact. Now dont forget mosquito repellent. For some strange reasons, these little buggers seem to smell fresh blood and will make a feast out of your skin.

  • butbut, how much does it all weigh? I’d love to know! Do you do the washing at night and just put your clothes back on afterwards? Details man.

    Tenterhooks continue. Can’t wait to hear what comes next!

    And my captcha had B’klyn in it. Hey! that’s where I’m from! Must be a good sign.

  • @Ty – I have a huge stick of mozzie-repellant coming with, so should be good until I get to the desert. The Lonely Planet guide suggested looking into flea powder for the low end hostels. which I only half-suspect was a joke though.

    @Eileen – I would weigh it, but alas I lack a scale. Even if I had one though, it would have gone into storage or have been sold by now, along with my bed and every non-backpacker item I own except my computer and assorted food. I have exactly enough non-travel clothes remaining that I should be good until Thursday, barring any unexpected dirtying – perhaps I should just stay indoors.

    My capcha gives me Connaught (which, according to Wikipedia is a province in Ireland). So let’s pretend it didn’t and go with your omens instead.

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