Sunday, February 28, 2010


How do you pack for Peace Corps? Start three months in advance. Read blogs, the Peace Corps Wiki, advice from the Peace Corps themselves. Contact volunteers in the field. Get opinions from friends. Revise your packing list every week. Purchase items you need. Three weeks before you leave, start a pile of things in your room. Then, three days before you leave, spread your pile across the floor and get out everything else on your list. Add some things. Take some things away. Throw away your list. Run to the store and buy a few more things. Decide not to take them. Pack it all up, weigh the bags, then unpack them because you don't really know what's inside. Write down what you find:

waterproof pants
baseball cap (W&M logo!)
fleece hat which covers ears
wool sweater (for the mountains, you know)

jeans (1)
khaki (2)
dress pants-dark (1)
camping pants (lightweight, quick-drying, bug resistant, zipoff - 1)
underwear (13)
swim trunks
light rayon/polyester golf shorts (1)
quick-dry boating shorts (1)
black leather belt
boy scout belt
long underwear (only because my sleeping bag might be too light for mountains - 1)
athletic shorts

t-shirts (3)
polo shirts (3)
dressy button down shirts (2 long-sleeve, 1 short sleeve)
Colombia Titanium awesome button-down long-sleeve shirts (bug and sun and boredom-repellent - 2)
white undershirt
red necktie

dress shoes
running shoes
oboz really good hiking boots (new)
chaco sandals
dress socks (2)
super quick dry etc. Teco ankle socks
wool socks (3)
cotton ankle socks (7)

Toys and Entertainment:
regulation frisbee
2 diatonic C harmonicas, book of harmonica songs
photo album
keychain electronic photo album
Grundig S350DL shortwave radio w/ power supply
1 pack cards
folding frisbee-like toy
1 set wooden chess pieces

2 camping towels--one small, one medium
laundry bag
10m duct tape
6 zip ties
5 keychain rings
combination padlock
knife sharpener
money belt
binoculars (for birds. CR has twice as many species as North America)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1
battery, charger, computer cable, brush, battery holder, canon powershot case
microfiber cloth (for cleaning lenses, screens)
headset (mic and headphones for skype)
headphones, folding
laptop and charger (IBM ThinkPad T42, 1.7GHz, 1.5GB Ram. 5 years old but works great).
laptop lock
phone cable (for modem--hopefully I'll have a LAN, but you never know!)
quad-band cell phone and charger (unlocked Motorola V190)
4x 2gb usb jump drives
usb cable
batteries - rechargeable NiCd: 14 AA, 4 AAA; non-rechargeable 5 AAA
digital watch - Timex Expedition
extra watch band
battery-powered alarm clock
6 outlet surge protector

2 pepsi-can stoves (
2 knives/pliers/multi-tools
one generic, one "Leatherman Wave" w/ extra wrench, screwdriver attachments
2 headlamps - 1 el cheapo, 1 Petzl Tikka Plus 2
Grand Trunk Ultralight Travel Hammock
1 book matches
2 nalgene bottles (600 and 750ml)
MSR Miniworks EX ceramic water filter
2 bungie cords, short
2 person tent - REI half-dome (light enough for backpacking--barely)
Thermarest self-inflating air mattress (for camping)
50 degree sleeping bag (wimpy but lightweight)
carabiners - 4 (one has compass)
lensatic compass
swiss army knife classic x2 (keychain size)
2 extra toothpicks, 1 extra tweezers
6 led keychain flashlights
lightweight fork and knife
pan w/ folding handle
20m rope (polyester?)

mirror (mounts to helmet)
reflective vest (for biking on roads)
3 tire wrenches
rear light
front light - hand crank
crescent wrench
CruzTools OutbackR M14 (screwdrivers and allen wrenches)
patch kit

Office Supplies:
2 accordian files
7 folders
1 pad post-it notes
paper, envelopes
about $14.72 in US postage
address book
2 small notebooks - 1 graph, one college ruled
2 highlighters
1.5 wooden pencils
mechanical pencils - 15 - staples 0.5mm
about 30 extra leads
pens - 13 black, 2 red
micro sharpie - 3
eraser 4x
2 small sketchooks
pocket notebook
HP 12C Platinum financial calculator
tiny stapler, about 700 staples
solar calculator w/ notepad (freebie from the Department of Commerce from a job fair a few years ago)
rubber band

map of us, world
4x6" acrylic painting of potted plant by Devin Mawdsley (
1ft sq silk snow-leopard-avalanche print by Anna Wagner (
2x3' (approx) "Bone Folder" print by Anna Wagner
2x3' poster "Boats Leaving Harbor" by Monet (a bit abused)
4x6" postcard of "Luncheon of the Boating Party"

half-empty can shaving cream
2 sticks deoderant (old spice, both partially used)
2 soap-on-a rope containers, w/ soap
2 pairs eyeglasses
5 extra eyeglasses screws, 4 nose pads
1 clip-on sunglasses
1/2 oz hydrocortisone (anti-itch)
6 toothbrushes
6 oz toothpaste (equals about 1.5 large tubes)
16 disposable razors
about 100m dental floss, mostly unwaxed
1 albuterol inhaler (for asthma)
6g ibuprofin (in 200mg tablets)

TJ's 21 seasoning salute
1 oz? rosemary in ziplock bag
.5 oz italian spices
.6 oz bruschetta seasoning
.35 oz oregano
3 servings antioxidant cranberry-pomegranate water flavoring
8 oz very dark chocolate

Money, etc.:
10 blank checks
debit card
credit card
driver's license
spare/decoy wallet
photocopies of passport and other documents
forms for Peace Corps

beat-up LL Bean "Turbo Transit" (2700 cubic inches, but school backpack style)
1 tsa-approved padlock
timbuk2 messenger bag

Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair, 2nd ed
Micro-Economics Demystified (a self-teaching guide)
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - paperback, used
The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Harold McGee)
Donde No Hay Doctor ("Where there is no Doctor") - David Werner
a few poems by Thomas Dickens

WEIGHT: about 115 pounds

I leave in 12 hours. I'd prefer to travel light, but free baggage weight is hard to pass up.

1 comment:

  1. The Rubik's cube from the pic didn't make the cut?

    Good luck and safe traveling tomorrow!