What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?

May 3, 2017 Sterling Laudon 4 comments

Sarah and I are spending four months in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, and the Yukon.

With help from a world weather guide: Weather to Travel, we have loosely planned our itinerary around weather.

April to June should be sunny and dry in southern Africa. June to August should be warm with lots of daylight in North America. Good weather means less bulky clothes to pack—and less back pain for me.

Our goal was to bring only carry-on bags (and hope Delta doesn’t get fussy about one carry-on bag and one personal item).

As a general packing rule, we have found that less is almost always better. Although we try to live this principle, we inevitably pack stuff that goes unused. This trip, I think I overpacked underwear. The TSA agent, after seeing Sarah’s medicine bag, said “they have pharmacies in Africa, you know.”

What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?

Sterling’s packing list:

Luggage

– 1 four-wheel rolling bag (carrying a heavy backpack around the world is overrated)
– 1 daypack (same one I have been using since high school)

Clothes

– 1 zip-off pants (pants and shorts!)
– 1 elastic belt
– 1 gym shorts (doubles as swim suit)
– 3 t-shirts (planning to buy more as souvenirs)
– 2 sweaters
– 1 plastic poncho
– 1 baseball cap (with my name on it)

What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?The iPhone 4 is pretty bad for selfies

– 11 underwear
– 1 wool hat (too American/self-conscious to say toque)
– 1 gloves (super thin kind)
– 7 pairs socks (including two pairs light hiking socks)
– 1 light hiking shoes
– 1 sunglasses
– 1 bottle of Permethrin (soaked into our clothes but felt important to mention)

Medicine kit:

– 1 toiletry bag
– 1 bottle ibuprofen
– 1 bottle mixed with antihistamines, decongestants, and antacids
– 1 bottle malaria pills
– 1 bottle Cipro (antibiotic for travel diarrhea)
– 1 nasal spray (I hate pollen)
– 1 box bandages
– 1 antiseptic cream
– 1 toothbrush
– 1 toothpaste
– 2 packages floss
– 1 razor
– 1 jar Vaseline
– 1 lip balm
– 1 deodorant
– 1 mouth guard and case
– 1 nail clippers

Miscellaneous

– 1 towel (small quick-drying travel towel)
– 1 Lonely Planet guide to Southern Africa (a 2007 version we found in a Little Free Library)
– 1 Bradt guide to Madagascar (typically we like Lonely Planet, but this had great reviews).

What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?

– 1 wedding ring (silicone ring that is super comfortable)
– 1 mesh bag (for dirty clothes)

Documents

– 1 wallet
– 2 passports (USA + Canada)
– 1 copy of Sarah’s passport (we exchanged copies in case either of our bags is stolen)
– 1 driver’s license
– 1 international driver’s license (no idea if I’ll need this)
– 4 credit cards (collect all the air miles!)
– 2 debit cards (USA + Canada)
– 7 business cards (for meeting friends on the road)
– 1 copy of flight/hotel/rental car information
– $180 cash (for emergency)

Electronics

– 1 Surface Pro 4 and charger
– 1 iPhone 4 and charger (temporarily giving up my Motorola Razr)
– 1 GoPro and charger
– 1 headphones
– 1 international outlet adapter

Camping gear

– 1 tent (lightweight two-person tent)

What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?Surprisingly cold in the mountains at night

– 1 sleeping bag
– 1 large stuff sack
– 1 compression stuff sack (didn’t love spending $25 on a sack, but needed the space)
– 1 headlamp
– 1 pillow (reversible neck pillow)

Sarah’s packing list:

Luggage

– 1 hiking pack

Clothes

– 1 zip-off pants
– 2 yoga pants (one is three-quarter length)
– 3 t-shirts (one I reserve as my “always clean shirt,” used only for sleeping).
– 4 tank tops
– 1 light wool long sleeve (fabulous for hiking, protecting from sun, and providing warmth)
– 1 light jacket
– 1 plastic poncho
– 1 baseball cap
– 1 wool hat
– 1 gloves
– 15 pair underwear
– 5 bras (mix of bralettes, “regular,” and sport. Bralettes and sport bras condense down well for packing)
– 8 pairs socks (includes one pair of fuzzy socks which I use strictly for lounging inside)
– 1 pair tennis shoes
– 1 pair river/hiking sandals
– 1 swim suit
– 1 sundress
– 1 sunglasses

Medicine kit:

– 1 mesh toiletry bag
– 1 bottle ibuprofen (liquid gels work best for migraines)
– 1 bottle mixed with antihistamines, Tylenol, and antacids
– 2 bottles prescription meds
– 1 bottle malaria pills
– 1 bottle Cipro
– 3 bottles of contact solution
– 4 pairs of extra contacts
– 1 contact case
– 2 pairs ear plugs
– 1 roll medical tape
– 1 package Dayquil/Nyquil
– 1 bottle StingEze for bug bites
– 1/2 roll Moleskin (for blisters)
– 1 toothbrush
– 1 package Fresh Care cloths
– 1 lip balm
– 1 deodorant
– 2 travel bottles insect repellent with DEET
– 1 travel hand sanitizer
– 1 Neti Pot and 30 rinse packets
– 5 packets Alka-Seltzer
– 1 sunscreen separated into 3 small bottles

Beauty

– 1 carrying case
– 1 exfoliator
– 4 hair ties
– 1 shampoo
– 1 conditioner
– 15 bobbi pins
– 1 razor
– 1 nail file
– 1 nail clippers
– 1 tweezers (I’m putting these under beauty, but tweezers have many uses, such as prying leeches from under Sterling’s blisters during a back-county canoe trip in Manitoba)

What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?

Sterling and Sarah after the Manitoba leech incident

– 1 tiny scissors
– 1 lip gloss
– 1 foundation
– 50 Q-tips + travel container
– 1 necklace
– 3 pairs earrings
– 1 bracelet

Miscellaneous

– 1 eye glasses + case
– 1 mechanical pencil + 1 pen
– 1 travel calendar
– 1 travel towel
– 1 small purse (easily hides inside coat)
– 3 small charms (they live on or inside my backpack pouch to remind me of my family)
– 1 wedding ring

 Documents

– 1 passport (USA)
– 1 copy of Sterling’s passport
– 1 driver’s license
– 3 credit cards
– 1 debit card
– 1 Priority Pass (for airport lounge access through the Chase Reserve credit card)

Electronics

– 1 Surface Pro 4 and charger
– 1 iPhone 5 and charger
– 1 headphones
– 1 set of CamKix lenses (telephoto, macro, wide angle, and fish eye lenses for iPhone 5s)

What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?Testing out the iPhone telephoto lens at St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland

Camping gear

– 1 head lamp
– 1 sleeping bag
– 1 large stuff sack
– 1 compression stuff sack

We hope this satisfies some curiosity and may help you plan your own adventure!


Note that this guide contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something through the links, you are supporting us in the costs of running Two Fish Traveling. All the products that we discuss are ones that we use and love—like bug proofing our clothes with Permethrin. We earn a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to the purchaser. We will never link to products that we do not wholeheartedly recommend to our readers and have found useful ourselves.


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I am Sterling, one of the Two Fish Traveling. I grew up in Montana, worked in DC, and left to see the whole world.

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4 Comments on "What did we pack for 10 weeks in Africa followed by 6 weeks in Canada?"

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Mica Prazak
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Underwear addicts! I have 7 pairs for 4 months in Europe and a year in Cairo. ☺ I want to hear more about the Manitoba leech incident. How are you guys traveling around? I can imagine the terrain being a bit tough for a wheeling suitcase. But then again, I have never used a four wheeled one. Sterling, why don’t you have a beauty category? Not trying to be pretty for Sarah on the honeymoon? Also “a jar of Vaseline?” Are you sure you don’t mean… a tub of Vaseline? Because that is what I associate you with. Looking forward… Read more »
Kathy Weaver
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Loved the overview and pics, especially the comment about the pharmacy! What a wonderful journey you are on. Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures in person. Love to you both!!

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