It’s my bag, baby. What Kat’s bringing

So, we leave tomorrow and our heads are exploding. We both woke up before 7am without alarms and have one final day to take care of odds and ends before departure tomorrow morning.
Before we get carried away (LITERALLY!) I wanted to do a run down of what I am bringing.  Dave and I both were really into packing lists. As a control freak, what I bring is really the only thing I can control. And as someone who used to wear high heels every day (and hope to when I get back! Never forget!) I wanted to look cute. I wanted to look like ME, not an REI version of me.  I am not that kind of girl, though I tried to be for a while. I’m a failed REI shopping. It’s ok. That’s why I brought $48 moisturizer on the trip. I will indubitably learn a valuable lesson about that one later.

Needless to say, we obsessively read packing lists. Especially like, in February, when this trip was just a twinkle on my visa card. Ones that I found most helpful for me (DK may have a different story) were from Legal Nomads, Answering Oliver, Traveling 9 to 5, and GQ Trippin‘.
So, what am I schlepping around for the next 3/6/9/? months?

1 pair of North Face Manzanita Sandals (i.e. the anti-Chaco)

1 pair of running shoes

1 pair of Toms

1 pair of flip flops. I bought these at Nordstrom. Havianas cost what a daily budget in Laos can be. #priorities

1 maxi dress

1 midi dress

1 pair running shorts

1 pair chambray shorts

1 pair of purple chinos because, god damnit, I grew up on the Main Line and needed to take SOME preppy with me (note: I am not preppy).

1 knee length pencil skirt for going out mostly. It was less than $7. If I wear it 3x and then toss it that’s ok. Thank you Forever 21. Skirt — you are on your way back to your ancestral homeland.

1 pair god-awful wide leg yoga capri pants which I will wear incessantly once I give up on being fashionable somewhere after Laos when I realize I haven’t worn lipstick in three months, high heels for four, and have been freed from American (read: my own) standards of attractiveness.

1 pair hippie super light pants. yes that is a wee bit of a dropped crotch. Oppa Bieber Style

1 pair leggings

1 spaghetti strap tank

4 wider strap tanks because I have an editing problem. For real. Who needs four tank tops in a 50 L bag? I do.

3 t shirts

2 elbow covering shirts. i.e. my India shirts

1 fleece. Most likely for bus rides as air con will be the coldest temp we’ll feel

1 lightweight rain jacket

2 bathing suits. You will never see pictures of me in them, so don’t worry. Unclench your jaw. Release those shoulders.

Along similar lines: not pictured are 7 pairs of underoos, 2 bras, and 3 pairs of socks.

1 resistance band

1 jump rope

(everyone train with Anthony in DC! Email me for his contact info — awesome trainer!)

Traveling Pharmacy. I am carrying our medical supplies and DK is carrying cords/laptop.

SPF 50 & 30 sunscreen

eczema medicine for me 😦

advair for me and my asthma 😦

aloe vera for DK’s inevitable sunburn 😦


Opposite of Imodium….

Melatonin & Ambien

100% DEET bugspray

Metric shit ton of advil




Band aids

Here’s where i begin to become an idiot

travel journal


alarm clock

tiny playing cards


prescription glasses


Our mascot for the trip: tiny gay purple bear (thanks HRC friends!) we’ve affectionately named JT.

worlds’ greatest showing of accessory restraint

Toiletries in varying level of needs.

amazing makeup restraint IMHO

vaguely named “lady supplies” and make up packed up.


6 packets of tissues

1 packet baby wipes


inflatable travel pillow

travel blanket

silk sleep sheet

water bottle

This is how I’m packing it all

16L compression sack for bulky items

1 small packing cube: holds all my shirts

1 medium packing cube holds: shorts, pants, dresses

black purse for the dolla dolla billz. also for when i need to feel like a lady and carry a purse instead of a backpack.

black case with my unmentionables

This is it. everything going in my large pack.

These are odds and ends for my carry on.

this is it. Probs weighs like, 30 pounds all but I am hoping to shed things as we go. I’m sure by the time I’ve done enough yoga to be more zen about material possessions I’m sure I’ll be ok not carrying around 4 ounces of argan oil like an idiot.
So, lessons from packing this all up?

  • Packing cubes are like tiny zippered gifts from the baby Jesus
  • I am irrationally hoarding toiletries
  • I am irrationally hoarding tissues as part of my coping mechanism when dealing with Asian toilets
  • I tried to keep my capsule wardrobe all in the same family. I went with mostly black and white but pops of color (a lot of purple. it’s an issue). Everything I am bringing can more or less be worn with everything else.
  • I went nuts with gear research and am bringing like none of it. I think it’s fine. I’d rather look cute than be dry. It’s going to be 9,000 degrees with 400% humidity so why not at least look cool.
  • I’m sure I’m going to shed some of this on the road. I’d better. I’m ridiculous.
  • Also, sunscreen is heavy.




12 responses to “It’s my bag, baby. What Kat’s bringing

  1. You leave tomorrow.. yay! Props on the makeup restraints. You’ll be happy about that decision. I hardly wore anything other than moisturizer with SPF on my face most days. 🙂 Enjoy the final hours! Eeeek!

  2. I, for one, think this is very impressive! Don’t forget your camera! And that journal is AWESOME. xoxoxo

  3. The Toms are a good idea… we picked up some flats in Madrid that we wear now when we don’t want tennis shoes or sandals.

    Also – the packets of tissues are key – I carry them everywhere with me and they come in handy for so many situations!

  4. Thorough packing list! Would love to interview for Travel Fashion Girl 🙂

  5. Even I would have packed that many tissues! And clearly the purple highlights in the wardrobe are to match the bear. Well done.

    Amazing packing – I salute you! Safe travels, can’t wait to follow the adventure.

  6. Alex — I hardly count as fashionable without my fave heels but I am in! I’ll email you when we land. Currently hyperventilating in my parents living room…

  7. Very impressive! Can’t wait to see the post when you get back of what came home in the backpack!

  8. That IS makeup restraint!

  9. Yay for sunscreen!

  10. This was fascinating (and hilarious)!

  11. You are too hysterical. Reading this, it feels like I have a little bit of KSpriss in my life, which happens too infrequently IMO.

    Have an amazing trip!!

  12. The accessory restraint is impressive, too! There something extra adventurous about adventures that don’t leave room for accessories;)

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