Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DIY: How to Live Out of a Backpack for a Month

So, today was officially finished term one of the new year! If you've read this blog before - you know what that means. If not, let me tell you: IT MEANS ADVENTURE TIME.

The last time I went meandering around the African continent, I headed north to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. This time, I'm going to be going west instead, to Botswana and Namibia.

I'm leaving tomorrow morning, bright and early at six o'clock to catch a bus to Johannesburg from Swaziland, and then hopefully it will all unfold from there! I don't have much to say about a trip in advance, other than how to pack, and so I figured that's what this post can be about. So...


First, you need a tent. I'm borrowing a backpacking/cycling tent from a maths teacher here at Waterford (because that's just how we operate at Waterford). I mean, you could try and not bring a tent, but it's much harder to find places to stay if you don't have a tent. If you're absolutely loaded with cash, skip the tent. But, let's just say that I'm planning on relying heavily on the house of cloth.

Then, depending on where you're going, you need a sleeping bag. I'm going to be in the desert for lots of this time, where it will get crazy cold, so this is definitely a "yes" for me. I'm borrowing one from my tutor here at school (that's kind of a boarding school thing - your tutor is like your parent, but not really). I didn't know what it was going to look like, but I just went and picked it up, and it's perfect for backpacking (small and such), so it's all great!

Then, you need water. I never carry less than two liters, and for this trip, considering the fact that it's the desert, I'm planning to bring three liters. I used a canteen last time, but it was somewhat annoying, as it didn't fit in the pack, so this time I'm just bringing five or six 500 ml bottles.

Speaking of packs, you need a decent pack. Some people go on about weight distribution and frames and blah, blah blah. That's silly. Get a small pack that's big enough for what you need, and not big enough for anything else. That way, you won't bring too much and hurt your back. Just make sure it's comfortable and sturdy, and you're good to go.

Other than that, just make sure you're wearing decent shoes that dry easily (don't pack any extras - that's silly), enough toiletries and meds, and that's about it! Extra clothing, while usually on the top of a packing list, is on the bottom of this. I bring one extra t-shirt, a jacket, and a flannel shirt. That's it. I mean, if you're living out of a backpack, expect to look like you're living out of a backpack.

And then own it, because backpacking is awesome, and even though you are going to look like a homeless tramp, enjoy it.

Yeah, so that's about it! I'm leaving tomorrow, and I'll be back to the Kingdom of Swaziland near the end of May! 

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