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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Travel Checklist for Winter Backpacking Trips

Last year, I had written a travel checklist for long backpacking trips. Today, as the winter fast approaches us, I am putting together this travel checklist for winter backpacking trips where the temperatures range from 15 to –15 degree Celsius. Such trips may include short to long winter treks. While most of the gear from normal backpacking trips feature on this list too, this list finds some additions to combat the low temperatures, wind chill factor and of course cold rain or snow.

Travel checklist for winter backpacking trips
Tip:
Excluding camera and laptop/tablet, try and keep the pack below 10 kilograms.

Note 1: The below list is for a MALE in the early 30s with medium tenacity to cold.

Note 2: Some of the items below are marked optional. Use your discretion.

Important
1) Passport with at least 6 months validity, though more is advised
2) Yellow fever card if you are coming from an infected country – Optional
3) Travel Insurance document for the length of your journey to take care of contingencies and medical emergencies – Optional, though heavily recommended
4) Credit Card – 2 (one for regular use and one for backup) – Optional
5) Debit Card – 2 (one for regular use and one for backup)
6) Forex, as required. Though, you can withdraw from the country using your international debit/ATM card – Optional
7) Flight/Train/Bus Tickets
8) 16 Passport size photographs (for visas and other documentation)
9) Accommodation vouchers, if you have booked in advance – Optional
10) Soft copies of all important travel documents in hard disk, phone and/or on the cloud (web)

Baggage and Important Accessories
1) Backpack (40 –65 L) with rain cover – don’t put stuff into this that you don’t want to check in or leave at your hotel/hostel/guest house
2) Day pack/Camera pack/Waist pack/Lumbar pack with rain cover – put all valuable stuff in it and keep it with you at all times
3) Copy of all important documents in daypack and backpack. Copies include (bills of all camera gear so that you don’t get questioned at customs, passport, visa, travel insurance) 
4) Featherweight Poncho – to protect yourself and valuables from rain or snow
5) 800 Down Sleeping Bag (upto –15 degrees Celsius), preferably small in size and of less weight – is not required if you plan to stay in heated accommodation
6) Collapsible Thermal Pillow – optional

Electronics (Alert: Batteries run out faster in cold weather) 
1) Camera and necessary accessories (charger, memory cards, micro fiber cloth, etc.)
2) Cellphone, its charger and Headphones/Earphones
3) Laptop/Tablet and related accessories (External Hard disk, Charger, etc.) – Optional
4) e-Reader – Optional
5) Universal Travel Adaptor

Important Tools/Gear
1) Swiss Army Knife – Optional, but good to have
2) Headlamp or Hand Torch and Batteries (1 set in headlamp and one in spare)
3) Sunglasses – 1 pair
4) Ballpoint pen - 1
5) Pocket book –1 (to take notes) – Optional 

Footwear
1) Hiking Boots (preferably waterproof) – 1 pair
2) Bathroom slippers – 1 pair (Optional)

Clothes
Regular Wear
1) Half sleeve or full sleeve shirt or T Shirts – 4 (Personally, I prefer half sleeves)
2) Thin or Thick Cotton Pants – 2 (Personally, I prefer thin cottons in spite of cold)
3) Night Cotton Shorts – 1
4) Swimming Trunks – 1 (for those crazy enough to get into water during winter)
5) Vests – 6 pairs (Can also double up as sleeping trunks for the night)
6) Bandana – 6 – Optional (I love bandanas and hence this features in my list)
7) Thin Bathing Towel – 1
8) Cotton Socks – 3 pairs
9) Light weight Belt – 1 (Optional, but recommended to hold your pants even while you lose those inches while traveling)

Thermal Wear
1) Sleeveless Down Jacket – 1 (for 0 to -15 degree Celsius)
2) Day-to-Day use thin fleece jacket – 1 (for 0 to 15 degree Celsius)
3) Upper Thermal Wear - 1
4) Lower Thermal Wear – 1 (Optional)
5) Woolen Mittens – 1 pair (for below zero degree Celsius and wind chill)
6) Hunting or Photography Gloves (Mittens) – 1 pair (for 0 to 10 degree Celsius)
7) Cold Weather Socks – 2 pairs
8) Neck Scarf (Woolen) – 1 (Optional)
9) Ski Cap - 1
10) Fleece Balaclava – 1 (Optional)

Toiletries (Small sizes only)
1) Soap bar and Soap box or Liquid Soap
2) Shaving Kit
3) Roll On Deodorant
4) Toothbrush
5) Toothpaste
6) Moisturizer and/or Cold Cream
7) Lip Chap stick
8) Sunscreen – Optional
9) Perfume – Optional 

Miscellaneous
1) Poly Bags (Trash Bags or Plastic Bags) – to carry dirty laundry and/or for protecting clothes and gear from the elements
2) Zip Loc Bags (for storing  papers, money, important documents, wallet, etc.)

First Aid Kit
For a detailed first aid travel kit, look up here.



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