Through almost two years of planning, the most debated part of our drive to Argentina was gear. Everything had to fit in a relatively small space. It needed to be durable, repairable, easily packable, and not break the bank!
This category details what we brought and why. Also, it will also include updates of what is lasting, what we bought on the road and what we’ve traded in for new.
We’ve been getting a lot of emails from soon-to-be digital nomads planning to drive down the PanAm. Not that I’m complaining about emails. I love them. It makes me feel famous.
However, I have answered the same “what gear do you most recommend?” question at least three times this month and that leads me to believe there’s some people out there that would really appreciate if I’d put all our really awesome digital nomad gear, particularly for overlanders, in one neat little list. I do understand that reading through our entire Central American Packing List is not a fun experience.
Below is a huge list of all the gear for our 15 month drive from Seattle to Argentina. Please note that this article is being published in the middle of the trip, and we will continue to update as we travel and buy, sell, or break equipment.
We have also published more detailed breakdowns of what we packed. These sections include photos and sometimes more detailed information. Links are by section in the below list.
We three each have the pleasure of living out of one 35 liter bin and a small backpack for the next fifteen months. All of our personal effects; clothes, electronics, toiletries, and shoes must fit in that space. This includes cold weather, rain, and hiking gear. It's a lot of stuff to cram in a small space. We've done backpacking trips in the past so this is familiar territory, but that doesn't seem to make it much easier.
Our limit was 5-6 days worth of clothes, we will be able to do laundry in that time, or deal with being dirty. If we're missing something, we can pick it up on the road. If we never use something, we'll give it away.
Updated April 20, 2012 to reflect gear that has been excellent and gear that has failed so far on the trip.
In our article Blue Gets a Bit More Junk in the Trunk we covered the modifications we made to the rear storage area of our Toyota 4Runner. After a dozen test packs and three trial runs we've finally (with one week to spare) figured out how to make the most of that space.
The whole point in adding a two-tiered storage system in the back of Blue was to fit all of our odd-shaped camping gear. Most of this stuff isn't stackable, so it has to go somewhere out of the way. If there's one thing we hate, it's having 16 things fall out of the back of our truck every time we stop at a campground.
How do you pack fishing gear for a trip spanning 15 months and 14 countries? According to Jessica, you don't. According to me, you cram as much stuff into the biggest bag you can convince Jessica to let you bring.
I may have overdone it, but it fits (mostly) and it should provide Kobus and I with plenty of fishing stories to tell once we get home. Most of the fly fishing gear we bought for this trip was ordered from Orvis. The travel spinning rods, terminal tackle and lures were purchased from FishUSA.com.
Updated April 2012. New notes on gear that we bought new and what we've tossed out.
We have a lot of random small gear. Some of it goes into a bin that we've named the "Extras Bin", formerly the "Spares Bin", formerly-formerly the "Books Bin". Some of it lives in random places in the vehicle; behind a seat, in the glove box or center console. Most of it is either electronic accessories or guide books and maps.
Our main goal with packing and storage is to be as flexible as possible while still making sure everything has a place and is easy to get to. It's a constant balancing act. We'll learn after the first month or two if we've done a decent job of that. Until then, here's how we have our extra gear stored.
Continuing our series of gear list articles for our upcoming road trip to South America, I give you our toiletries bin and first aid kit. Exciting stuff. As our packing strategy has evolved over the past few months, this box has become a place for everything that doesn't fit anywhere else. All of this gear is communal, we each keep our personal toiletries in separate bags. At least that's the plan for now...we'll see how it goes.
Our first aid kit was purchased at REI and expanded with over-the-counter drugs and lots of extra necessities we've accumulated over the years.
Part one of our series of packing list articles covering all things food related. From camp kitchen gear to food storage and cleanup. Below are lists and links to the products that we'll be schlepping across 13 countries for the next fifteen months.
For the most part we'll be living out of seven plastic bins so space is obviously a problem. Justifying, researching and buying each piece of gear has taken us a very long time. The first amazon.com order was placed seven months ago, and we're currently on a first name basis with our delivery guy.
One lesson that our trip to Africa taught us is that we can get by with a lot fewer tools and spares. The stuff we brought definitely saved a lot of hassle a few times, but we would have survived with out it. That said, small useful things are still coming with, especially an assortment of bolts, in the event a wheel falls off our car... again.
Pictured to the right is the side storage compartment in our 4Runner. It is small, but it fits a surprising amount of stuff.