Monday, August 26, 2013

Slowly fine-tuning our packing

We keep adding things to our packing list but we also know some of these things will come off the list when we start to actually pack our bags. Our initial plan was to use the High Sierra bags we bought for our month long exploratory trip.


The High Sierra AT3 rolling backpacks will be our carry-on and the High Sierra AT3 32" Rolling Duffle will be our first checked bag. We planned on two more checked bags each for the rest of our clothes and kitchen/bath items. We almost forgot Stu's bag with all his scuba gear so we will be over by one bag. Our tickets are Business Class on American Airlines so we get three free checked bags each, up to 70#.

We originally planned to use Sterilite Footlockers and purchased four of them from Wal-Mart. Then we discovered that they are over by .5" - we also learned that Delta and American are clamping down on oversize/overweight bags. The last thing we want to happen is to have to pay $200 each for four bags or worst than that, be at the airport and have to buy very expensive smaller bags to repack.

So I did more research and found these great bags from Wal-Mart, Protege Expandable Rolling 32" Duffle. Only $14 each, they are wheeled and sturdy. An added bonus is they fold back down into a compact size when not in use so we can stuff them into our bags whenever we return to the US and then use them to carry back new things.

They are a little smaller but since it turned out I had bought one earlier as a spare bag, I tried repacking one of the trucks and found almost everything fit. We'll use the luggage straps and TSA approved locks we bought for the trunks on these bags. Oh, and since I ordered four, shipping was free! The footlockers won't go to waste, we'll use them for storage here in our shed.

Our basic list to bring hasn't changed a lot but one recent addition was measuring cups and spoons. Why? Because all my recipes are in cups, ounces and table/tea spoon measurements, not metric. I also have bought a couple of items for dressier wear, things that pack well and will do double duty on our cruises.

That is one thing we have to take into account when we pack - we start off with a 7 day cruise to the Western Carribean. We have two or three 20" Protege Expandable Duffles, in fact Stu is using one right now for his trip to Maryland, and I think we can each fit what we need in one of those. Then we just need to leave enough room in one of the larger duffles to put the clothes and folded duffle. Since these are no longer available online, check your local store - they're only $10 and are great to have on hand.

We bought a bunch of Space Bags as well as some from Zip-Loc and we'll be using those for for all our clothes, towels and other linens. That should help the bulk. Due to the size of the duffles, I'm not really worried about being over 70#, they weigh very little themselves and I can heft the one that is currently packed. I could barely pick up the 49# bags on our trip last spring!

But Ecuador preparation will now take a backseat to prepping for our Route 66 motorcycle trip. Watch for updates on our main blog, Our Prime Years.
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