Spending five weeks abroad can take a considerable amount of time to properly prepare for before the trip even begins. Good choices about what travel gear to pack shouldn’t be overlooked.
Even though I had never been to the Philippines before, or anywhere else in Asia for that matter, I felt comfortable putting my pack together since I had lived in Hawaii for two years and am familiar with typical conditions on a tropical island. I mostly had it right, although the heat and humidity in the Philippines turned out to be much, much more intense than anything I had experienced in two years in Hawaii.
At first I thought that not having someone else to coordinate with would streamline the preparation process. I would be able to quickly make decisions and only pack what I wanted for myself.
Not so easy, Colby!! Having never traveled alone before I was surprised by the extra time it took to get ready. But taking the time to predict what I would use, and what I could get while there, helped me better consider what I was getting into. I knew that I would be spending more time on beaches than in cities, so luckily I was able to avoid the care and space needed for fancy dress wear. Swim trunks, t-shirts and flip-flops was the uniform. I would definitely recommend wearing a rash guard or light-weight long-sleeve shirt when snorkeling and swimming as that Filipino sun can burn quickly!!
All of the cameras and my Apple MacBook Pro were carried in a Patagonia 26 liter backpack. While it was heavy, the Patagonia backpack was also my carry-on bag for airplanes so it allowed me to keep my most expensive equipment close to me for security reasons. The rest – including a small tripod, other GoPro accessories and all my clothing – was carried in an Osprey 70 liter backpack that I occasionally placed inside a 80 liter REI duffel. The duffel bag was strapped to the outside of the Osprey when not in use. I also carried a 25 liter dry bag that I employed anytime I took my camera equipment on any watercraft.
In the end, I was more than happy I had brought all the camera equipment. Having the images and video clips will always be fun to look back upon. The one thing I didn’t end up using, surprisingly, was my rain gear. A poncho and a lightweight waterproof pullover were unnecessary thanks to unusual drought conditions. But I would pack them again because not getting any rain in a tropical country is unusual and not having it would be even worse.
So after substantial time scrutinizing the options, the following travel gear is what I ended up bringing.
TRAVEL GEAR CHECKLIST:
Lightweight Polyester Rain Resistant Pullover
One pair boat/reef shoes
One pair flip-flops
Three Tank Tops
One Long Sleeve Anti-bug Swamp Shirt
One Button Down Short Sleeve Shirt
Three Pairs Surfing Boardshorts
One Pair Pants
One Pair Jungle/Trekking Pants
One pair travel sneakers
Camera, Digital Storage, & Computer Equipment
13″ MacBook Pro
Nikon d300s DSLR
Ricoh Theta S
GoPro Hero 3+
Two 16 GB Thumbdrives
Two 64 GB SD Cards
Lyft Portable Device Charger
Snorkel and Mask
Micro Fiber Towel
Light Weight Sleeping Bag Liner
Aquamira Water Treatment System
Wall Socket Converter
70 Liter Osprey Backpack (Primary)
26 Liter Patagonia Laptop Backpack (Carry-On)
35 Liter Mesh Bag
96 Liter REI Duffel Bag
20 Liter Dry Sack
48 Ounce Water Bottle