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Dave Go Round

I am a world traveler. These are my stories.

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Latin America backpack: what made it through?


So the pack has changed a bit since I left home some months ago; mostly just gotten dirtier and heavier.  The packing list has changed a bit, too. Some things I thought I would need were never used, while some things that started as an afterthought were used almost every day. I’ll do my best to recap what changed and highlight the things that really came in handy. Take a look.

My Clothes:

This list changed the most, though ended similar to what it started out as. Items lost through attrition/churn are struckout. Items added or augmented are in blue.

  • 1 pair Tru-Spec khakis
  • 2 pairs aeropostale cargo shorts (tan and brown)
  • 1 set top & bottom Under Armour Cold Gear
  • 8 pairs of boxers
  • 1 pair havaiana sandals
  • 1 pair cheap sandals
  • 1 more pair cheap sandals
  • 1 pair havaianas in Argentine blue and white
  • 1 pair zinetics slippers
  • 1 pair Merrell Moab shoes
  • 2 pair short PHD smartwool socks
  • 2 pair long Nike dri-fit socks
  • 2 pair normal short cotton socks
  • 1 blue cotton t-shirt
  • 2 adidas running shirts
  • 1 EVS Tactical undershirt
  • 4 bandanas
  • 1 long sleeve Fox jersey
  • 1 Quicksilver rash guard
  • 1 pair ONeil board shorts
  • MSR XL Pack Towel
  • Kelty rain jacket
  • 3 white graphics tshirts
  • 1 sleeveless white tshirt
  • grey knit hat
  • wide brim grey hat
  • 2 bandanas

Things I would have or did change: bring extra socks, though nothing fancy. Bring more basic t-shirts, nothing technical. they last longer without smelling and are just as comfortable in high temps. Keep a closer eye on hats and headgear. On overnight buses I often realized I had walked away without the hat or bandana I was wearing the night before.


  • Leatherman
  • Tape (duct, scotch, electrical)
  • Zip Ties
  • Ziploc BigBag
  • Mini socket/allen/wrench set
  • Camerabag strap
  • 3 ten meter lengths of 550 paracord
  • 12 clothespins
  • draw string backpack
  • army surplus can opener
  • mosquito net
  • 30% DEET spray
  • Lemon Eucalyptus bug repellent
  • 2 cans 35% DEET repellent
  • army suprlus spoon/knife/fork/corkscrew
  • all purpose rubber drain plug
  • key ring light
  • key ring compass
  • PrincetonTec Quad headlamp
  • LED Pocket flashlight
  • 1 spare pair of eyeglasses
  • Pocket Umbrella
  • immersion heater
  • cable lock
  • 2 TSA approved luggage locks
  • 1 TSA approved luggage lock
  • 4 assorted key locks
  • Ziploc sandwich baggies
  • 1 pocketknife/flashlight
  • Jumpstretch workout bands

Loved: Earplugs! I used them every day. get several pairs as they are cheap and will often fall on dirty floors. Ziploc sandwich bags; i bought some in Belize and was always using them for random uses. My little compass payed off big time when needing to orient in a new city. Towards the 3 month mark I noticed I was getting fat. Jumpstretch makes some exercise bands pictured above that are a pretty good way to get into exercising while traveling aside from jogging/situps/etc.

Used: Flashlights I used quite often. the headlamp saw a good deal of use, and so did the little pocketknife flashlight combo i bought in colombia. Sadly, I lost the pocketknife a couple weeks before I left Argentina. It cost me roughly $5 and was worth every penny. The army surplus can openers were lifesavers; cheap, tiny, and serviceable. The corkscrew broke off of my army surplus tool, so I bought a separate one at the grocery store in Mendoza, Argentina. You can’t go through Argentina without a corkscrew. I used both bottles of repellent I took with me and purchased two more while traveling. The Lemon Eucalyptus repellent seemed to work as well as the DEET and was much more pleasant to wear, though had to be applied more often.

Abused: I think 3 pairs of eyeglasses is excessive. I mailed one pair home at some point. I lost one TSA lock somewhere. I never used my immersion heater. I gave away my keyring flashlight to my host in Quito so she could see to put her key in the door at night after hearing a great story about how she climbed the garden wall once.


  • Canon Rebel XT w/ extra memory card and battery
  • HD Flip with waterproof case
  • Sealife Reefmaster Mini dive camera
  • Blackberry (unlocked for global use)
  • extension cord
  • port multiplier
  • light socket voltage tap
  • autosensing transformer
  • 2 sets of global outlet adapters
  • 2 USB/AC adapters
  • USB cables (extension, standard, mini)
  • rechargeable AA and AAA batteries with charger
  • Cat5 cable
  • several SD memory cards
  • 4 gig USB stick
  • Logitech USB Skype headset
  • iPod Classic
  • Etymotic ER-6i headphones
  • iLuv blue earbuds

This was the area where I lost the most items whether through negligence on my part, or theft. By the end of the trip I had gone through about 5 pairs of headphones, had no telephone, most of my camera equipment had been stolen, it was pretty bad. I have replaced almost all the stolen parts already, so we’ll see if my travel insurance will replace it.

Health and Medical:

  • Doxycyclene
  • Steripen Journey
  • 2 quickclot bangades
  • suture and wound closure kit
  • 2 courses of penicilin
  • self adhesive 4″ leg wrap
  • gauze pads
  • Ciproflaxin
  • Azithromycin
  • Tamiflu
  • compact hand mirror
  • Sunblock
  • 1 roll TP with cardboard tube removed
  • 1 package baby wipes
  • hand sanitizer

I never used my steripen, but I will continue to carry it with me as I think it is invaluable when needed. I used a good amount of sunscreen and my handheld mirror often. A collapsed roll of TP is absolutely essential. always have it in your pack.

I hope all this information is useful at some point while you guys are planning a trip like this. If you have any questions about the packing list or where to get any of this stuff, feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an email. Thanks for reading!


2 comments to “Latin America backpack: what made it through?”

  1. Jo Says:

    Bhahahahahaha, I’m howling over the increase in undies. Especially since you started off so low. Ok, all teasing aside, I love the list! I really like how it’s detailed and explained so well ;)I was going to ask you for a redo list. This will help when I pack for Italy! You’re awesome!!!! Ciao!

  2. Kira Says:

    Super useful list, thanks for the tips 🙂

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