Packing for a year

Putting your whole life into a few suitcases is odd. Especially when you try to plan for almost all seasons. Then on top of that, climbing requires a whole bag full of metal… Well, we made it all fit, but it’s definitely not light.

Here’s a view of all our bags:

We each have one suitcase of clothes which includes some shirts (long and short), shorts, hiking/climbing pants (including my favorite cold weather fleece-lined ones), a few cute dresses for me and some nice shirts for John. We used packing bags that suck out all the air to reduce volume, but actually found upon arriving in Europe that clothes pack better without those bags due to the irregular shape they make.

Besides clothes, the large suitcase is filled with more bags. A bag of bags, essentially. We wanted to take our hiking backpacks in case we were to take a short trip by plane without our rolling suitcases. We also brought hiking poles, camelbacks, and a whole plethora of random outdoors items. Finally, all our shoes fit in that large suitcase too.

Then there’s the technology bags. We have one laptop bag that carries both our laptops, cables, chargers, and small electronics. I have my own camera and drone bags, and another small backpack that carried all of our climbing guide books on the plane (those are so heavy!). We took a travel pillow and John’s trusty adventure hat. That’s what we call it.

And also the climbing gear (the bag full of metal):

We took 16 quickdraws, 12 alpine draws, 4 double slings, a double rack of cams, nuts, offset cams and nuts, some tri-cams (why??), several pre-made anchors, a bunch of locking carabineers, Giga Juls plus backup ATCs, belay and crack gloves, walkie talkies, two pairs of climbing shoes each, helmets, approach shoes, harnesses with PAS attached, a rope knife, a nut tool, and a chalk bag. Sorry for the jargon for all you non-climbers. We decided to buy ropes once in Europe to save a bit of space that way.

I was actually pleasantly surprised that we were able to fit everything rather seamlessly into these bags. I didn’t need to reduce items due to weight or volume, so it was a huge success! Of course, if we’re missing anything then at least Europe has Decathlon (cheap REI) and Primark (cheap cute clothes)!

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