Hi, are any of the following actually needed or recommended for a few months away? I'll be backpacking for 7 months to central & south america, so am trying to take as little as possible, but am wondering if any of the following are essentials:
- Cable lock to tie my travel bag to my bed (if needed)
- Duct tape
- Swiss army knife
- Journal / Diary
- Mosquito net
Personally I wouldn't go anywhere without my journal and swiss army knife. The rest I have taken but never used and so now left off my packing list. I have to confess that the swiss army is only used to open bottles!
After over ten years of travelling experience around most of Europe and the Middle East I always take duct tape with me.
Not a big roll, but a small one that easily fits into my palm. It can be a real lifesafer in a pinch. Similarily I also carry a small roll of string, usually around 30 meters to make a clothes line or tie something up.
I don't have a swiss army knife, but a small opinel knife. I use it for cutting bread and making sandwiches and for opening stuff. Wouldn't really want to leave home on a longer trip without it either.
Journal: That is personal choice. I never bothered, but if you have the discipline to do it and want to remember the details of your trip in 20 years or more go for it.
Cable lock: Go for it, the number of times I sat overnight in airports, bus stations, etc and could not take nap because I had to watch my bag are too many to count.
Not speaking from experience but on my trip I will be taking all of the above apart from the mosquito net.
Cable Lock - Same reason t_maia said so that I dont have to worry quite so much!
Duct Tape - Cause I know how useful this can be! If anything breaks or rips, you can just tape it up!!
Swiss Army Knife - My sister advised me to take one, whenever she felt like she was in a difficult situation she made sure she had it at hand, this mainly happened while on tuk tuks in thailand and they were being awkward! Also I think my mum would be happier with me just having one...Also I love cheese sandwiches and it would be perfect for slicing cheese
Journal - Even if I don't write my daily activities, it is something to do when bored, I always have a diary on me and often find me and my boyfriend playing hangman or dots when bored!!
...Swiss Army Knife - My sister advised me to take one, whenever she felt like she was in a difficult situation she made sure she had it at hand, this mainly happened while on tuk tuks in thailand and they were being awkward! Also I think my mum would be happier with me just having one...
If you 'stabbed' a taxi driver, or threatened anyone with a knife for being 'awkward', you'll be in deep, deep shit.
Learn a bit of self-defense if you're that worried. Safer for you.
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Aug-2009, at 13:37 by fabyomama ]
for what its worth
- Cable lock, these can be cut, have never used one, often hostels, airports, train stations provide lockers
- Duct, has legions of fans, have never had the need
- Swiss army, ours was stolen in transit Delhi-KTM, what can you do?
- Journal, or keep a blog
- Mosquito net, are often provided in mosquito prone areas by your accommodation
take less, not more
have you thought of using a Pacsafe instead of a cable? Pacsafe are kind of heavy, but harder to cut then a cable, and are a good theft deterant.
And as someone else already mentioned, most places that would require a mosquito net probably already have some there you can use.
a cloth line would be extremely helpful.
We also loved our traveler size knife,spoon and fork kit.
Duct tape is always useful. Used it for shoe issues as well as on luggage. To reduce the size to almost nothing, you can roll a couple of yards of it around itself instead of taking the entire amount. It will still remain as adhesive, and you'll never know it's there until you need it.
Travel without duct tape or electrical tape? Never! I went through three rolls backpacking this summer. And my multitool/Swiss Army knife was my best friend.
Throw in a couple of Ace wraps/bandages, and I'm set for anything.