Starting Out

It’s better late than never, I suppose, and now that we’re a month and a half into travel it seems opportune to start posting. In the beginning – and I mean the beginning, the planning, the purchasing, the laying out of our trip – we had no idea what to bring, what to leave, or how much stuff we’d want. Now, 6 weeks in – I can say that we still have no idea. Observationally, Cat carries a lot of clothes and would probably buy every flannel shirt and cozy sweater she found. I know I wish I’d brought a couple more t-shirts. But mostly I wish I had less stuff – moving is painful. Our gear (camping, climbing, etc) takes most of a suitcase, and a backpack. And it’s **Heavy**! Electronics (laptop, camera, chargers, tablet, headset for work) take my smaller daypack. I’ve purchased a nice fleece jacket – I’m wearing it in a café right now! We sent back some clothes already, and I’ve thrown out a pair of ripped pants, plus 3 pairs of boxers. Even with that, it’s a struggle. The thought of a van to store things in is the light at the end of the tunnel, but I worry that that mentality – not being able to strip down further – will make van living difficult too. Onward to the more interesting part of the post: ![Stuffed Suitcase][1] At first – we were pretty disorganized. Even after a short list of stuff to bring, we didn’t get very good at packing. Now – when we moved to Kyoto, we did a decent job packing, but it still felt like far too much stuff. We use a lot of packing cubes - I think we may end up getting more. ![Silly in the airport][2] We also look pretty silly in the airport, I think. Still, we’re off, and onto… 22 hours of flying. Some quick notes about our flight experience: - We carried Cams, Biners, and some slings through both the US TSA (twice!) and through the Seoul terminal in korea. - Wearing boots, while nice because it let us bring boots, wasn’t terribly comfortable on the plane. Also, we have yet to use said boots – Cat sent hers home, and I’m gambling that maybe there will be snow in February that’s worth keeping them… I guess. - I wore a large, warm but stylish jacket – packing my puffy, and other layers. If I did it again I would bring ONLY utilitarian, mutli-purpose things. Landing in Tokyo was easy – floating through customs was pretty straight forward. And the train system is amazing! Our sleep deprived, unadjusted selves managed to get to our AirBnB – note, passmo doesn’t cover seats on the Narita Skyliner train, but you can buy them on the train from the conductor. For anyone that cares, here’s my packing list, with updates and thoughts: Clothes ------- - 1x Jeans – worth it to be able to blend in, very comfortable in the city - 3x Nylon pants (2 convertible, 1 not) – I threw away a ripped pair. I will probably replace them. Does anyone know how to get stains out of these? Other than that, perfect - 1x Adventure shorts (sort of like boardshorts) – so far, have not used – it’s cold in Japan right now! - 1x Lounge pants – 100% worth it for lounging in a hotel room, sleeping, etc. Was very nice when I got sick. - 2x Base layer pants (mid weight) – I don’t remember why I have two of the same weight. Given how cold it is, I’ve been wearing these almost daily, and having two is a life saver. - 1x long sleeve, light weight underlayer – I like layering for the cold, especially nice for climbing trips - 5x t-shirts – I sent one (a company logo one I did not intend to bring) back. I will likely purchase more as we travel, I spend a lot of time in the city, and T-shirts blend in well. - 1x long sleeve, collared shirt – I wear this mostly for work video calls. Bring something to dress nice in if you go travelling though – I need to pick up a jacket for a jazz club in February! - Lots of socks! (I will probably replace a couple older pairs with newer wool / adventure socks) - 9x boxers (apparently both Cat and I packed this! I’ve dropped 3 pairs and will drop another next packing round – then they’ll all be those nice non-cotton wicking kind from REI.) - 1x cotton sweater – sent this back. It was warm enough but took up too much room. No room for fashion! - 1x cotton blend hoodie – warm and thin, I wear this as a shirt on particularly cold days. It’s small enough that I’ll accept the space, for now. - 1x puffy - Rab - 1x aviator jacket – Remember the big, warm jacket I flew in? It’s this. Cat likes it so I’m keeping it for now, but I recommend not travelling with something so bulky - 1x Approach shoes – my every day shoes - 1x sandals – useful at crags, etc. A little cold for them here, but they don’t take much space - 1x Keen sandals – I didn’t know Cat had packed these, but I’m holding on to them now for water hikes in Europe - 1x boots – I wore these on the plane – they’re kind of nice to slip into on cold days. Probably wouldn’t carry the weight and space again, though. What I’ve bought: ---------- I bought two hats so far – one beanie, and one beanie-like hat. Warm hats are unquantifiably useful, particularly with long hair. Pack one! A pair of gloves – I got some tweed ones form Mont-Bell. They’re warm. A good fleece – I bought one from Mamut. It’s really good! Additional: ---------- - I brought 1x wallet – I’ve bought a new one. Other countries have bigger bills than the US, and having a larger wallet was necessary. - I bought a coin purse – other countries use coins a lot more than we do! - Bags: I brought my REI Pinnacle 35, a Patagonia Black Hole 25, and used a Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 120 for the gear. The 25L daypack has been a champ so far – particularly in keeping my laptop dry in light rain. Gear: -------- - 2x harnesses – Cat bought a new one since arrival, we sent the old one back - 1x chest harness – we are eyeing another one when convenient - 13 quick draws – made of Petzl Ange carabiners, and a mix of different Petzl dogbones. - 2-3x of all BD camalots between .3 and 2, 1x 3, 1x 4 - 1x set of 6 offset Metolius cams - A handful of ball nuts, stoppers, offset stoppers, micro stoppers, copper heards, etc - 2x nut tools (Check these! They look weapon-ish) - 15-20 slings in various sizes - And, in addition to a carabiner for each cam and sling, an additional 20 or so carabiners - We bought a 60m, middle marked 9mm Beal rope rated as single, double, or twin. So far it climbs beautifully! - 2x Guide ATCs, 1x Petzl Piranha, 1x Petzl GriGri 2 (Debating the Camp Matik or waiting for the GriGri 3 for a second assisted braking device) - 1x water filter (MSR Guardian – not that Japan needs it, but it removes Viruses in addition to other things, and self cleans, which is awesome!) - 1x stove – (MSR Reactor – the fuel is easy to find, so don’t try and travel with it! It works like a charm in the wind and has been our primary cook system for about a year now) - 1x Snow Peak titanium cookset – we primarily use this as bowls and plates, but we use it consistently enough that it’s worth having something lightweight to bring - 4x Titanium sporks (variety of brands) they’re cheap, lightweight, and virtually indestructible. We carry 1 long one for stirring pouches/hot pots - 2x double wall titanium mugs – I like the Snow Peak H300 for its elegant design, but there are models with handles too. It’s nice to keep hot things hot. - 1x REI Quarterdome 2 Tent – light, easy to set up. It’s been our main tent for about 8 months. - 2x inflatable pads – with straps to combine - 1x Big Agnes king Solomon double sleeping bag – very comfortable, but we continue to discuss switching to a full Down Blanket. Maybe in a van a Down blanket will be the most sensible choice? We’ll see. - 2x Rei Lite chairs – we got them for $10 at the Garage Sale, and they only added about a pound of weight. So far, we’ve used them to add seating in a group Airbnb, and it worked well. Haven’t really regretted them. - 1x 4L MSR Dromedary bladder – good for hauling water - 2x 3L Camelbak bladders – good for drinking water - 2x Hydroflask – good for beating zombies with. Seriously, they seem indestructible. In Japan, while there are vending machines everywhere, there’s next to no trash bins, so having reusable water bottles is great. - 2x ArmyTek Wizard Pro 2 headlamps – they charge easily and are bright as hell. The magnets make them easy to work on cars, etc with too. We’ve added: ---- - 1x Titanium Sake bottle with cups – I couldn’t resist. On the plus side, it is a very nice bottle. - 2x Titanium chopsticks – again – silly but I liked them. I will probably never backpack with them. I’ll edit this post later with Cat’s clothes list – shoot us a message if you have any questions. [1]: [2]: