I like to think that I’m fairly organised and I do enough prep before an event. In this case, it was finding what to pack for my cross-country trek across America.
Why this was vital:
- My first solo trip, ever.
- It was a 30 day trip.
- 80% of the trek was camping.
- 20 kg limit – provided by tour group.
Trek Details: Southern Sun from Los Angeles – New York with additional days either side.
As my trip was going to vary in seasons, from city to deserts, to national parks, and back to cities again – I had to factor all that into my travel list.
Before I even started packing….
- Research, research, research.
God bless the internet for all the information you can find these days. I google’d almost everything from ‘what to pack when going on trek’, ‘efficient packing for camping trips’ and all in between. It pulled through hundreds of links on other adventurers, trekkers and regular holiday goers with pre-defined lists of what to pack. I also found a couple of blogs specifically writing up about Trek America tours. These became my go to as with TA, there would some camping essentials already provided for us, i.e. tents.
- Trek America Site
Go straight to the source. The website had an itinerary. So I knew day-to-day roughly what activities we would be doing so I could pack appropriate clothes. It also highlighted where particular facilities (laundry) would be available. Knowing this, I got to figure out how long I’d have my clean clothes for!
- Weather Check
The weather will influence a lot of what you pack. I checked online for average weather conditions as I’d be moving cross country. Travelling dates were September 10th – October 13th 2015. Avg. temperatures showed up to high 20’s in and around Western America, as I’d be heading East getting close to October – it flagged temperature drops of 10 degrees with chances of rain highly likely. Given the seasonal change, I couldn’t get away with just a summer wardrobe and I’d need to pack some warmer pieces too.
You’ll understand how easily I got carried away, well being a girl and all.
- Sleeping bag – Season 4
- Travel Pillow
- Self-inflating mattress – most valued item!
My sleeping bag and travel pillow got attached to my backpack during the flight – nobody questioned or stopped me having the sleeping bag as a separate item. So don’t be afraid to take extra’s on board as long as they don’t appear to be much larger than the dimensions started for flying.
- T Shirts x 7
- Sweatshirts x 2
- Hoodie x 1
- Gym Leggings x 2 (capri/full length)
- Shorts x 3
- Waterproof x 1
- Jeans x 1
- Casual Dress x 2
- Evening Tops x 2
- Evening Dress x 1
- Trainers x 2
- Flip Flops x 1
- Birkenstock’s x 1
My t-shirts and gym attire became my staples for the first 2/3 of the trip.
Reminder: my route was camping with the odd hotel in the cities (Vegas, New Orleans and New York). Most camp sites were adequate but we didn’t have the luxury space, a wardrobe to hang all our clothes daily. I packed this way to be the most efficient whilst still giving me some options to dress-up.
No heels? Yep, I contemplated this one several times thinking will I, wont I? But I went with a guided tour. I wasn’t out travelling in LA / Vegas with a group of friends where we would be partying every night. I wore my flats out both nights in Vegas, and you know what – they were more than enough!
- 1 x Backpack – (doubled up as hand luggage).
- Travel Hand Gel
- Face Cleanser
- Tabitha James Kraan Organic Dry Shampoo
- Leave In Conditioner
- Microfiber Towels x 2 (1 small, 1 large)*
- Travel Adapter x 1
- USB Adapter* x 1
- Small cross-body bag.
I won’t advise on make-up as each girl is different. But taking these products were enough for me.
- bareMinerals Complexion Rescue– a great tinted moisturiser, which was super hydrating. It gave life and an overall glow to my face when I would wake up with very little sleep.
- Urban Decay – big fatty mascara. I only wore mascara on dinners out / nights out / when I got to NY and realised how put together people were. So I wanted to make sure it was a dramatic one. This one coats my lashes and extends really well. A couple of brushes opens up my eyes.
- Lip balm with SPF – continent/seasonal changes affect my skin so having a good sun protection really helped my lips.
- Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder – again, for evenings out. A few brushes of this across the face really helps even out skin tone and give a perfect finish.
- Digital Camera / Camera Charger
- iPhone 6 / Charger
- USB Cordless Charger*
*These items can be purchased once out there, but unsure of how long it would be until our first Walmart visit – I wanted to cover base.
Luckily enough, I managed to squeeze all the above into my rolling duffle. I opted for this as opposed to a proper travelling back-pack because I knew we wouldn’t be carrying these day-to-day. I had my backpack for that.
During the trip, I managed fine with all the clothes I took. Actually I ended up wearing the same 5-6 pieces like previous blogs had mentioned. Some things were so far down in my duffel I forgot about their existence until I reached my hotel in New York and had floor space to empty everything out! Remember with the trek, 80% was camping in tents. Meaning all 2 person tents would have 2 backpacks/cases inside with them. A tight squeeze was usually an understatement. But as time we went on, we adapted just fine.
Until the next one!