Packing For Success

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” –Susan Heller

What am I taking for ten weeks in Ecuador? While I don’t know that I’ve quite followed Ms. Heller’s formula for packing excellence, I feel prepped and ready. Everything(including bulky items like a sleeping bag, towel and rain boots) fits in my pack and carry on backpack.

My packing for this summer and this fall will vary in size, scope, and type of clothing. Because I’ll be working outside most days in the Amazonian climate this summer, I’m bringing outdoor gear and simple athletic clothing. Not trying to win any fashion awards for apparel!

If you’re planning a trip this summer to Latin America, this can be rough packing guide for you as well. For shorter trips, take less!  This is my list, including what I will be wearing on the plane.

Carry on bag: 

    • 2 changes of clothing (1 cotton dress, 1 sports bra, underwear, 1 pr. socks, tank top, athletic capris)  in a ziplock sealed bag
    • electronics:camera (+ charger, + cord)
      recorder (for research purposes,+cord)
      phone (+charger)
      computer (+charger, +headphones)
      headlamp and flashlight
    • travel guidebook
    • journal + planner + notepad + pens
    • daily medication
    • 2 reading books (I am taking The Essential Rumi & Cien Anos de Soledad)
    • pouch with passport, credit card, cash, important info (divide up your money, cards, and information in at least 3 places. These different stashes should include: passport copies, credit/debit  card numbers with international numbers to call in case they go missing, number of the US embassy, flight confirmation number)
    • sleeping mask/earplugs for flight
    • bandanna + headband


    • 1 rain jacket
    • 1 warm pullover (wearing on plane)
    • 2 long sleeve button up shirts
    • 2 T shirts
    • 3 athletic shorts
    • 2 pairs of jeans
    • 2 cotton dresses
    • 10 pairs of underwear
    • 10 pairs of socks (long and ankle length)
    • 3 sports bras
    • 2 regular bras
    • medicine kit
      band-aids + neosporin
    • tylenol/ibuprofen
      anti-itch cream
      cold medicine
      gauze pads
      alcohol wipes
      extra contacts
      extra contacts
      any daily supplements
    • 1 swimsuit
    • 10 pairs of underwear
    • shoes:
      rain boots
      chacos + thin sandals
      water shoes
      tennis shoes
    • mosquito net
    • eno hammock+ straps
    • sleeping bag + bag liner
    • toiletries
    • sunscreen + bug repellant
    • 2 water bottles  (+ iodine water sanitizing tablets)
    • towel

We’ll see in the weeks to come if this is perfect (as I hope!) or if I wish I had brought anything extra. I use Ziplock gallon bags to vacuum seal my clothing and reduce space. I’ve used the same bags for the last five trips now and they still work like a charm–I simply fold/roll my clothing, put them in the bag, and use my knees to push out any additional air while I seal them. Any additional recommendations for those who have spent a few months in Ecuador/Latin America?

After all, I need room in my bag to bring this back . . . it is a cat called a Margay that lives in Parque Sangay where I'll be doing research!

After all, I need room in my bag to bring this back . . . it is a cat called a Margay that lives in Parque Sangay where I’ll be doing research!

*Update: just weighed my bag, and it is just at thirty pounds!

Related reads:

Pack Light or Pack it All? How to Prepare for Adventure (

My (maybe kinda sorta) Packing List (

This entry was published on May 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Packing For Success

  1. Thanks for posting this! I’m headed to Ecuador this fall, so it’s nice to get an idea of what I will need there.

  2. Awesome, I look forward to reading about your experiences! 🙂

  3. Dont forget a hat or two the sun is brutal, also nothing black and a roll of toilet paper. Also a change purse is nice since you will mostly be dealing with coins.

  4. Hi Michaela, thanks for introducing yourself by following our site. These packing tips are great! We wish you the best of luck with your volunteer work–Ecuador is a fabulous country! We’ve done a lot of work there. (You might have read some of Evan Barrientos’ pieces–he’s currently in Barrio Nuevo, near Pichincha, doing ornithological research on shade grown coffee plantations, among other research…) If you’re on facebook please visit the RAXA Collective page- we’re posting related pieces on it. See you there!

  5. Pingback: Montañita+Packing List Revisited | michaela wanders

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