A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about my attempt to pack very light. This was for my trip that included several days on a boat sailing around the Galapagos Islands with a group of 40 friends, sandwiched between two days in Quito, Ecuador that included sightseeing. This was followed by five days in the Amazon rainforest, at the Sacho Lodge, an eco-friendly adventure that featured a lot of walking and sweating, in equal parts. And then another day in Quito before heading home. You can find that post here: Packing For the Amazon.
My goal was to keep everything for my 10-day trip into one carry-on suitcase, plus my small backpack. I knew we would be moving between airports, hotels, airports, boats, airports, and then on a canoe boat for about two hours downriver. And another airport. Who wants to lug suitcases all that way? Here’s how things worked out:
The quick-dry cargo pants with the zip-off legs worked very well. My legs were protected during hikes through underbrush and the rainforest, they were comfortable, and they had pockets that held my smaller camera, my sunglasses, a small micro fiber towel. The ones I bought did not have a good place for a water bottle, which would have been handy.
The quick-dry ventilated long-sleeved shirts were great in Quito, which is at high altitude, but frankly were too hot for me elsewhere. I don’t think I sweat any more in them than I did in my cotton t-shirts, but I also felt a bit wrapped in plastic. I had bought brands recommended by outdoor enthusiasts, who warned that cotton wouldn’t dry quickly and would be heavy. I was more comfortable in my tees, but they didn’t dry well once we got to the
The quick-wash underwear worked great in the Galapagos, but took a bit longer to dry in the Amazon, which had 110% humidity the entire trip. However they were mostly dry in one day, just not overnight.
My shoes consisted of the flats I wore on the plane as well as when walking around Quito. My Tevas and Keen shoes worked great for everything else. For some of the trips in the Amazon, we needed galoshes instead of Tevas, since the mud often covered roots, leaves, rocks, etc., that could have caused some foot injuries. I noticed another group brought rubber boots with them. If I were going there again, I’d considered getting some of my own so they’d fit better. If you know your plans include hiking during the rainy season, you might consider taking a pair, especially if you don’t know if they are supplied by the place you are going (Sacha Lodge supplied these for us.)
Since it can be cool in Quito, I took a light jacket, but a long-sleeved shirt worked just as well for me. Unless you are cold-natured, I think you would be fine without one.
Several of my friends that snorkel took their own gear, others used the equipment supplied by the boat. I think that’s a strictly personal choice, but I noticed it did take up a bit of room.
In my little first aid kit, the Pedialyte came in handy for a shipmate who got a little bit of intestinal bug and needed to stay hydrated, and I used a few of the bandages on some scrapes I got while getting in and out of the dingys that took us to and from the islands. Fortunately, I didn’t need anything else.
I also took plenty of sunscreen, and bug repellent. Strange thing about that: although the first island we visited in Galapagos has spiders everywhere, I did not see any mosquitoes at the Amazon lodge. I described that here.
In retrospect: I would have taken a couple more t-shirts, and one less of the long-sleeved outdoor shirts. Everything else, I felt like I did well. I used everything I brought, usually several times, and didn’t end up with stuff I didn’t need. My footwear worked well.
I may not have always looked ‘cute’ in my cargo pants, but I was comfortable, didn’t have to wear dirty clothes, and found everything useful.