What not to pack: things we’ve dumped on the road so far

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Before we left London, I practised walking with my backpack on for 20 minutes. I just about managed it but it was HEAVY. Add in the searing heat, drenching humidity and uneven terrain of the road, and 20 minutes feels near impossible. Thus, we’ve found ourselves frequently dumping stuff we had deemed necessary mere weeks before. Here’s a list of the offending items in case you’re tempted to make the same mistakes.


Sports bra: I thought I’d need this for trekking and hiking but a normal bra has sufficed. Perhaps I’ll buy one in South America before attempting Macchu Picchu but it’s likely that a normal one will do just fine.

Bandeau bra: I took this along for my strapless dresses but hadn’t used it in the first month so dumped it.

Second flask: Peter and I took a flask each but found we were only taking one on day trips, meaning we were lugging around the second for no reason.

Second camping mug: Peter insisted on bringing this along but when five weeks went by without a single use, I convinced him to let me dump it.

Third pair of socks: We’re in the Pacific! We barely need socks! In South America, I can wear one, wash one.

Big bottle of shampoo: Normally, I’d decant into a travel bottle but decided not to as we were going for a year (hence would need it all). I’ve since decanted some and thrown away the rest. Every little helps.

Iron tablets x 4 packs: As a vegetarian, I find it difficult to get enough iron so I packed a year’s supply of Floradix. I found myself skipping days so figured I’d only need half of what I packed.

Inflatable neck pillow: Not as comfortable as I’d hoped so dumped it.

Salicylic cleanser: This cleanser from Paula’s Choice leaves my skin looking clear and refreshed – much needed in my dirty, dusty hometown of London. In the Pacific, however, the sun (and sweat!) has done wonders for my skin, so I don’t need this.


Two bars of soap: I mean, seriously? Did he really need to pack three bars of soap?

Boxer shorts: He wasn’t running low as fast as he had expected so got rid of a pair.

Lots of extra clothes (third T-shirt, second shirt, second vest, second pair of trousers): Peter realised he had packed too many clothes so has gradually dumped some of the extra stuff. I suspect he’ll continue until he’s down to the bare minimum.

Two of five pairs of socks: As Peter plans to do lots of climbing and trekking in South America, he went slightly overboard with the socks.

Plastic cutlery: The campsites we’ve stayed at have had pretty well-stocked kitchens meaning this extra weight was unnecessary.

Second iPhone cable: Peter’s ruined his phone taking it underwater in a so-called waterproof case, so we dumped what was already extra baggage.

Playing cards: We hadn’t played these once.

Waterproof camera case: Didn’t work!

Things we’ve fought for

Mosquito net: Peter insists that this will come in handy even though we haven’t had to use it yet. I argued that most places we’ve come across provided one where needed and, worse comes to worst, we can just buy another one in South America. We had a mini-argument over it, which he won (And by ‘win’, I mean he’s now carrying it instead of me ; )

Travel hairdryer: This always crops up on ‘what not to pack’ lists but it is so useful, especially in the Pacific where I’m swimming, snorkeling and kayaking on a regular basis (usually shortly followed by dinner). It allows me to have a quick shower then blast my hair dry, tie it up and out of the way and dash out again, It is so convenient and I’m super glad I packed it.

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