Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Carry-On Gear For Three Weeks in South America

Note: This post has been updated July 22, 2013, to reflect what I did not use or need.

I had a couple people ask me what I was taking on my trip since I will be both in the mountains for days and then in much warmer weather later in my trip, so I figured I'd just blog about it to share with anyone else who might be interested. (If you are just tuning in, I am going to Cusco/Machu Picchu, Peru for ten days, Lima for three more, then Easter Island for a week.) I will be carrying my things in Patagonia's MLC Carry-On bag and REI Purse (not this one but similar).


2 Columbia sleeveless shirts - this shirt is very similar to what I own
1 Patagonia Capilene 1 stretchy long-sleeve shirt
2 Patagonia Capilene 1 stretchy t-shirts
Columbia Back Beauty pants
Columbia Back Beauty capris
Patagonia Houdini jacket
North Face Venture rain jacket
North Face Venture rain pants
SmartWool NTS Mid 250 zip-neck sweater
SmartWool NTS Micro 150 bottoms
Columbia Global Adventure dress - (Update: ended up wearing this once, so I could do laundry)
Board shorts - bought in HI
4 pairs Patagonia Capilene Underwear
Columbia hiking shoes - no longer in stock, but they're Omni-Tech hiking shoes
Teva sandals - no longer in stock, but they are water sandals
Swim suit
3 bras
Patagonia Better Sweater hat
iTap gloves
Cameras & Electronics

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera - Not seen, taking these pictures ;o)
4 rolls of 120 film
14 rolls of 35mm film (Update: did not use all of it because my LCA+ wrist strap broke.)

Frank is a necessity!! I look forward to updating her photo stream and map!

Lots and lots of sunblock :o) (Update: did not end up liking this sunblock much.)
Extra quart-size bag
Water bottle
Insect repellant (Update: do Peruvian bugs not realize what bug dope is? This stuff didn't work.)
Cellphone charger
Passport and holder (Update: passport holders are cute, but I didn't use it.)

Trip papers (copy of passport, copies of trip info, etc)

Lady time stuff
Coconut oil
Headphones (Update: did not end up using these at all.)
Dr. Bronner's liquid soap

I'm also bringing two pairs of work gloves, protective eyewear, and knee pads for the Machu Picchu part of the trip. (The ranger ladies at SERNANP ended up being SO thankful to have the gear donations from those of us who didn't need to keep our things. It made me feel good that they were appreciated.)


Note on the snacks: I didn't end up eating a lot of this stuff because we had so much food on the trip anyway, so maybe less snacks would be good.

Chocolate chips
Dried apples (Update: I wish I'd had more of these! When hiking Waynapicchu these were PERFECT.)
Packets of almond and peanut butter
Almonds, both raw and wasabi-seasoned


My bag weighs exactly 17lbs, which is the amount I can take as carry-on on LAN Airlines. I know it will be a bit lighter on the way back because I will have eaten all the snacks and will leave the stuff I used at Machu Picchu for someone else to use, as I have no use for it at home.

There you go! Everything I am bringing with me for three weeks in South America!

Update: So how do you think I did? I think I did pretty good as to figuring out what I would use or not. There were only a few items I didn't use at all. What would you have done differently?

There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through them and place an order I will get a very small commission, which goes toward my Antarctica trip in January!


  1. I marvel at how light you pack. I'm going to the freakin' beach in Florida for 4 days and I'll have 1800 lbs of gear, not including stuff for my kids.

    Also, Frank rules.

    1. Ha ha ha!! Frank is the CAT!!


  2. OOh! Will you post a review of your packing list when you get back? Like, what you wish you had left, or what you had to buy there?

    1. Sure! It probably won't be much because I am extremely limited due to LAN's carry-on baggage restriction. Reviews online say that they are strict and some say they aren't, but I'll hedge on the side of caution. So 17lbs of stuff it is! Also, I'm going a bit by REI's suggested things to pack for their portion of the trip, so I'm basically packing what I'd need for that and then including a little extra to be on the beach in. ;o)

  3. oh man you travel light! As I totally should. This is an inspiration to me for a 3 day trip I am taking tomorrow. Maybe I can handle packing lighter too. And totally envious of your trip!

    1. Three days is easy! Two shirts, one pair of pants, socks & undies as you feel necessary. ;o) My parents and uncle are pilots, so I traveled a lot through my life and it always needs to be fast and carry-on!