How We Pack for an Adventure Trip

√  Training hikes completed
√  All reservations made and confirmed
√  Mail and newspaper stopped
√  Arrangements made for the neighbor kid to mow the lawn
√  Plants watered sufficiently
√  Oh yeah, and the dishwasher has been repaired after it stopped working just 3 days before the big adventure. The timing couldn’t have been better!
One last detail remains . . . packing.  Ugh, just the thought of it can be overwhelming.
Spare bedroom

Spare bedroom in its "normal" state

It all starts innocently enough. During the couple of months before we leave on a trip, we place items purchased for the trip in our spare bedroom.

adventure trip packing

Spare bedroom filling up with purchases for our adventure trip

Then over the next several months as we think of things that we may want to take on vacation, we place them in the spare bedroom as well.

packing for an adventure trip

Okay, it's getting pretty messy in the spare bedroom as more and more "necessities" for the trip are placed in here

Before you know it, we have a full-blown disaster going in that bedroom.  It’s a good thing no unexpected guests have shown up at our door looking for a place to stay.

packing for an adventure trip

Full blown disaster in the spare bedroom

This method works for us; as random thoughts come to us about what we’ll need, we place them in the bedroom so as not to forget them. Then, shortly before departure, we go through the bedroom and pack what we’ve decided to take and leave the rest behind.

I’ve found that it’s better to take less on these trips than more. If you can’t pick up your own bag and carry it some distance, you’ve packed too much. No matter what kind of trip you’re taking, there will be times when you have to carry your own bag – don’t make it a miserable, exhausting experience! When in doubt, take more tops than bottoms because they get smellier faster. Pack tops and bottoms that can easily be mixed and matched. Dark colors are better than light because they won’t show the dirt as much. Quick drying material is best if you’ll have to wash some clothes while on the road. To save room for purchases you’ll make along the way, take clothes that you really need to get rid of (like old underwear that are frayed or have holes in them). You can wear them on the trip and then throw them out.

A couple of must haves for our trip to Kamchatka:

1.  Hiking Poles. On a trip to Borneo several years ago, we made the mistake of not packing hiking poles because we did not want to crate them around the entire island. Big mistake – the climb, and especially the descent, of Mount Kinabalu was a lot steeper than we had anticipated and left us with sore legs for days. Hiking poles would have helped a lot. We aren’t going to make that mistake again since one of our volcano climbs in Kamchatka might be 6,000 feet in elevation gain.

2. Mosquito repellant. We are hoping that the mosquito population will have abated significantly by the time we arrive in Kamchatka since it will be heading into fall, but we must be prepared anyway. Our guide emailed us a couple of weeks ago and told us the mosquitos are bad this year with “mosquitos like elephants!”  We laughed at the visual but aren’t too thrilled at the prospect of giant mosquitos invading our vacation.

3. Steripen. When in towns and cities, you can’t trust the tap water even to brush your teeth. Out in the backcountry, the water looks clear and good, but bacteria may be lurking. A quick stir with the Steripen and problem solved (hopefully).

4. Chargers for all the various electronic gadgetry. In some ways, travel has grown more complicated. In days past, cameras only needed batteries, which generally lasted quite a long time. Now everything from DSLRs, video cameras, e-readers, music players, cell phones and GPS to laptops, must be recharged from time to time and every recharger is different. That also requires that you have the appropriate converters when traveling internationally. Okay, I know I’m showing my age here.

Well, by some miracle, the big mess in the bedroom has been packed into a couple of duffles and two carry-ons. We’re ready for our early morning departure to the wilds of Kamchatka. Hope we brought enough stuff!

all packed up for adventure

All packed and ready to go on the great adventure!


About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company ( After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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