It is hard to believe, but it is T-minus 6 weeks until we depart Las Vegas and begin our round-the-world adventure. Since last we posted, I have to admit we have been in a bit of a holding pattern in terms of preparations. We have continued to sell our belongings and research travel equipment and destinations, but there has not been a lot of day-to-day change around the house. We found a lot of our preparations were going to have to be fairly last minute (i.e. now), particularly in terms of preparing the house for rental and moving into a storage unit.
As of this moment, we have secured a property manager to handle renting our home in our absence and will be moving the remainder of our belongings into storage over the Labor Day weekend. Every week we seem to set more and more aside to take to Goodwill, thus (happily) less and less to move and store. We are roughly on the fourth review of our household belongings and it is funny to compare what made the ‘for-storage’ cut 5 months ago which is now getting axed. This weekend alone saw a full truckload of our former belongings donated to Goodwill. Once the house it empty, it will be painted in preparation for an incoming renter with carpet repairs or replacement as needed. Our goal is to leave Las Vegas for the east coast around September 10th or 11th to spend time with both of our families before heading to South America.
We continue to tweak our packing list to minimize the amount of weight carried and are hoping to have less than 20 pounds each on our backs, though this may be a bit ambitious. We have both chosen our primary backpacks and have gone on several loaded down test hikes to ensure they carry well. Choosing a backpack was one of the hardest decisions to make. Luckily, there is a lot of advice out there from travelers with regards to bag size and bag type though this can ultimately make the decision more confusing. In the end, I chose a top-loading pack by Deuter, the ACT Lite 60+10 SL, with a sizable bottom section accessible by a separate zipper. I tested a number of other bags and though several had some very nice features (front loading packs especially), the Deuter pack was the most comfortable and did the best job of weight distribution for my frame. The bottom compartment is large enough so it acts very similar in function to the front-loading bags which was a nice feature. Kenny is carrying a front (and top) loading pack by Gregory, the Z65. Finding a pack which fit his long torso and small waist proved more challenging than expected but ultimately, the Gregory does a nice job and carries well.
In order to hit our target weight goal, we will not be carrying more than what would fit easily into a 30 liter pack. However, as we are planning multiple backpacking trips along the way, we decided our packs would need some extra space to expand and carry additional gear when necessary. As a result, Kenny and I are carrying 65 and 60 liter packs, respectively. With all our day-to-day gear loaded, the bags should still function as an airplane carry-on when cinched down. If we can pull this off, we will save considerable funds in baggage fees and avoid the stresses of baggage claim. We plan to post our finalized and complete packing list prior to departure for full disclosure. We’ll then keep you all posted on how it works out; what we like and don’t like as well as how we modify our belongings along the way.