Ecuador Planning Part 4; Packing!!

The bag’s too small :0;

Pack light he says, but listen….it’s three weeks people!
Three weeks vacation and this is the size bag he gives me!! 

I mean, does he know about my shoes, let alone my hair products?!?
Add in the fact that we are going to be traveling through 3 different climates, at high elevations and also in the heat…..that calls for sweaters, t-shirts, frocks, shorts, jeans, jackets, boots, sandals, sneakers etc etc.
I mean seriously, how’s a girl supposed to fit everything she needs in a bag this size 🙁
Technically, there are two bags this size but apparently he needs one all to himself and we can’t share!
Huh, we’ll see how that works out!!

To catch up and know whats happening to this point, please read Part 1 Part 2  and Part 3 😉

Just so you can get an idea of my packing dilemma, this is what I have out so far!
This is just mine.
Granted, I have a little leeway as we will be spending the first two days in Quito as we acclimatize to the elevation and then we have three days at the end in Galápagos, so some of this gear is intended to stay stored with the nice folks at Freedom Bike Rental as we zip off around the country exploring. BUT, thats a very small portion of what is on this bed!

For quite a few months now, we have been gathering our gear together, making lists, purchasing stuff (& more stuff) and have been just throwing it all on the bed in the spare room. Last week, in between catching babies, I wandered in to the room to add more items to the growing pile and really felt quite daunted by all that was there. Then I went into major planning/packing mode ~ this is the point that Iain vacates rapidly and leaves me to it as quite the frenzy occurs!

First of all, you have to understand, I’m not your average biker chic. I’m not cool wearing grungy stuff and heavy bike boots BUT I do understand the need for safety and it is essential to be protected as we ride. Protected means full on gear and that takes a lot of packing space! At some point, I really had to accept the fact that I needed to get practical. I read other travel blogs and used their tips and advice to pare down some of the pile and start to condense practical necessities. One of my fave blogs was Practical Wanderlust

Let’s start with the important things, shoes; shoes are my passion. Of course, I need/want to take all of these; pretty sandals for the evenings, comfy hiking boots, flip flops for just hanging out in, sneakers for the cooler climates and water shoes for wading in the waterfalls. Do you think himself was going to let that happen?!?!
Here’s what I have compromised with;
1 pair of sandals ~ I chose a pair of black Teva ‘Capri’ sandals.They are actually pretty cute, and also incredibly comfortable. They will look good if I want to ‘dress up’ in the city or on an evening while touring. They can be worn dressed down with jeans or shorts and are comfy enough to wear hiking. Lia reports wearing to walk for 12+ hours and still being happy!
1 pair of comfy warmer shoes ~ I went with a pair of Taos ‘Star’ sneakers. I tested them out first on that lovely daughter of mine. As my guinea pig, she tripped around Ireland in them this summer and reported back that they were “brilliant”.  Hurrah! I jumped straight on to Zappos and ordered my very own pair!

Now let’s talk about underwear, or “your smalls” as my Nanna used to refer to them! Yes mum, I’m going to discuss my underwear on the internet!!
Now, to me, 18 days away, would equate to 18 pairs of knickers and 18 pairs of boxers.
Ladies, you feel me right? Iain apparently, not so much! So again, after some research, I came up with these options for us both; boxers for him and briefs for me. Advertised as; “17 countries. 6 weeks. One pair of award-winning underwear”, by the guys at ExOfficio, apparently you “just toss your Give-N-Go’s in the laundry or wash them in a sink. Within hours you will have a fresh, dry pair of underwear. Breathable, lightweight, odor resistant and long-wearing.”
Hmmm, I really couldn’t wrap my head around ONE pair of undies for 18 days, just didn’t vibe with me ~ we have three pairs each now, but mentally I’m struggling, we’ll see how I cope! Bras are more difficult. These traveling, lightweight deals are no good for me. I am somewhat blessed (!) in the boob department and need my support. I’ve compromised with one black ‘all rounder’ and a white sports bra.
Whoever knew that my ‘smalls’ would be such a challenge to me Nanna!

On review of the climates and elevations, we decided that we should be planning to have clothing items we could layer up and down as necessary. I looked in to some of the best fabrics that would be lightweight, comfortable, odor resistant and also pack down well. They would need to be able to be rinsed out and dried overnight easily. Also, they needed to be nice enough that I didn’t feel like a complete flump when exploring/eating out in the towns during the evenings! I have invested in a selection of T-shirts, tanks and long sleeved tops (3 of each) from the “Calia by Carrie Underwood” range at Dicks Sporting Goods. They are good quality, comfortable and a flattering style for ladies with a fuller figure 😉 
Ordinarily, Iain has his ‘bike shirts’ that he wears on our trips. But they are all heavy cotton and would not really work well for washing and drying quickly ~ plus he would stink from sweating in them! So for him, we went with a few tops from Under Armour.
So all in all, we are going to travel around in varying temperatures and all the time we’ll be smelling as fresh as daisies!

For bottoms, we didn’t really get too technical. Just needed something that was going to be versatile; not too hot to wear under the bike pants and comfortable enough to hike in or walk around towns when we had stops. I simply went with my exercise pants. For colder regions, I plan to pop a pair of jeans over them and of course, the bike pants on top. Iain has gone with zip off pants. They will be warm enough under his bike pants and of course can zip down to shorts if it’s hotter or if he wants to waft some air around when we stop!

Next dilemma; how do I cope with helmet hair every night? How do I take enough shampoo and conditioner to enable a good wash every night? Not to mention styling products so I look gorge as we head out to supper 😉
I run down to Lush, that’s how! I have been reliably informed, that the Lush solid shampoo bars and conditioners are just the ticket when it comes to traveling. Easy to use, give a good wash/condition and last for weeks as well as being easy and light to pack/carry.

We’ll see…..I will get back to you on that with my review!
For styling, I just got travel size versions of my usual things and Iain’s just going to have to suck it up. A girl can only compromise so much. I mean, c’mon, if I can only take 3 pairs of ‘smalls’, my hair has to look good 🙂

So now the big question is; how do we transport all of this stuff through the airport and on down to Ecuador? Bear in mind, that although we’ve really pared the clothes and shoes down, we have big heavy bike jackets, bike pants and boots as well as our helmets. Along with this there is various camera and communication equipment  to haul along as well :/
Here’s what we have worked out. We have the GS pannier liners that we use here with Iain’s BMW R1200, we checked and they should fit in the panniers that will be provided with the bike rental.
So, as discussed above, we have one pannier each, plus a top pannier for all the other ‘necessities’. We are flying Delta and have one checked bag each. The three packed pannier liners will go in one case and our bike jackets, pants and boots will go in the other. We will take our helmets on the plane as carry on as we don’t trust that they won’t get knocked around dropped etc :/
The guys at Freedom Bike Rental store baggage while you are out on the tours so that solves the issue of additional clothing for our trip to Galápagos after and the airport has baggage storage which is where we will store our bike paraphernalia while in Galápagos ~ ta da!
…..& thats how you pack light and travel with a bunch of ‘stuff’!!

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