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I just made it back to Huaraz after five days of camping in the foothills of Mt. Huandoy. The days were sunny and hot and the nights were freezing. Thankfully I had a rental down sleeping bag that kept me toasty. The views were absolutely breathtaking. In the mornings I woke up to clear views of the Callejón de Huaylas and Cordillera Negra on one end of my tent and Mts. Huascarán and Huandoy on the other side. I hiked every day and met a few U.S. doctors (by coincidence), a group of british student-volunteers, and a Polish couple from Canada, all who made great company. At night you could see what seemed like every star in the universe, including the milky way and occasional shooting stars. Nights were also incredibly quiet except for the occasional rumble of avalanches in the distant mountains

As promised, here is a packing list plus a few tips for packing everything you need for summer travels and research into a carry on bag.

1. Backpack – 40 to 50 L. Make sure you try it before you buy it.

2. Clothes – Think layers, versatility, and pack as little as possible. I could have left a few items at home. All was stuffed into a 15 L stuff sack:
– 3 t shirts
– 3 pairs of pants (jeans, hiking, office)
– 1 long sleeve hiking shirt
– 2 button-up shirts for office and going out
– 1 business casual sweater
– 1 tie
– 1 windbreaker/waterproof jacket
– 1 fleece
– 2 shorts, workout and beach
– 1 pair of scrubs + white coat
– travel underwear (these pack small and dry quickly after washing)
– 6 pairs of cotton socks

3. Shoes – hiking shoes/boots, street shoes (suitable for exercise and daily use), and sandals

4. Toiletries – you can find nearly everything cheaper abroad, so pack just the basics, e.g. toothbrush, travel size toothpaste for first few days, disposable razors, pack towel, travel size shaving foam, nail clippers, and solid deodorant.

5. Med kit (optional but recommended) – alcohol swabs, gauze pads, surgical tape, tweezers, pair of gloves, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, imodium, cipro or levo (with Rx), high DEET bug spray, antibiotic ointment, and anti-itch cream.

6. Electronics – camera, iPad or iPod (or similar device to check email), and headlamp

7. Misc – notebook, 15L day pack, 3L water pouch, small ziplock bags, money belt (for passport and documents) and belt with inner zipper to stash large bills.

If you plan on taking lots of cheap local buses, I would also recommend picking up a potato sack from a local market to disguise/protect your stuff.

Until next time,