Kit list for South America (every last thing)

Always the tension between thinking you need and needing, between the grudging acceptance of discomforts and the abstract knowledge that carrying less makes a difference, between not caring that you seem like a disgusting lunatic dirtbag and wanting to be able to at least occasionally cultivate civilized company.


Copper River Fleece softshell hat
Merino Buff
Seirus extreme softshell waterproof gloves
Gore cycle wear packlight rain jacket
Panasonic GF1 camera w/ 14-45 lens + polarized filter
Wet wipes
Current map
Passport photocopy


15 degree Sierra Designs sleeping bag
Thermarest 3/4 mat
Pot lid, at end of stuff sack
Tarptent Moment tent


Mini cable lock
Princeton tec LED Headlamp
Space pen
Gerber Portlander pocket knife


Endura Stealth Extreme waterproof tights
Gore-Tex booties
NZo Dobies shorts
Smartwool underwear
Rapha padded briefs
Gore-Tex shorts
Cotton t-shirt
Ibex LS merino zip shirt
Prana pants
Ibex merino polo shirt
Smartwool socks
Medium pac towel
4 packets of chemical foot/handwarmers
Silk sleep sack
Glasses in rigid case
Mesh bag with meds/first-aid
ibuprofen, azithromycin, malarone, zolamide, benadryl allergy, immodium, dayquil sinus, caffeine tabs, pepto bismol tabs, steri strips, transparent dressing, antiseptic wipes, bandaids, latex gloves


loose 4,5,6,8 Allen keys, torx wrench, tire irons, chain tool, chainring bolt tool, spoke wrench, stein hypercracker cassette tool, bottom bracket tool, 2 cone wrenches, presta -to-schrader adapter, zip-ties, Park MT-1 (backup)
1 tube, 4 spokes, shifter cable, brake cable, 4 brake pads, quick link
Patch kit
MSR multifuel stove + screen + pump (fuel bottle on bike)
Aluminum pot
Titanium cup
MSR coffee strainer
Water purification tabs
Second camera battery
Camera battery charger
3 spare memory cards
Memory card USB reader
Blackburn Flea USB light charger
Dual earbud adapter
Spare Steripen batteries
iPhone charger/usb cable
iPhone AA battery charger + 4 AA batteries
Tent stakes
Shop rag
Toiletries in mesh bag
Toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, razor holder with cut shaft, 2 razor cartridges, deodorant flakes, tweezers, nail clippers, q-tips, earplugs, travel soap, travel shampoo, small bottle conditioner, contact lens case, spare contact contact lenses, tiny bottle saline solution, hair tie, hair band


Airline ticket
Medical insurance paperwork
Cash stash
Patagonia puff pullover
Credit cards
Immunization record
4 passport photos
Few small sheets of blank paper
H2O bladder
Backpack rain cover
Camp food + extra water, if any


Endura knickers
Rapha padded briefs
Ibex merino t-shirt
Smartwool socks
Lowa hiking shoes


Money for immediate use

10 thoughts on “Kit list for South America (every last thing)

  1. Joe, no bike computer? Just wondering if you’d go for a Cateye type where the battery lasts forever, or a high tech Garmin Edge type that needs daily recharging?

    • Ken—Nope, no bike computer. I’ve traveled with a cheapo Cateye wireless and a fair bit with a Garmin 705. They both worked adequately; maybe the simple Cateye was better because I didn’t think about it in terms of charging or battery life or anything. I used the Garmin in Europe so it gave detailed map guidance. That was certainly nice but unnecessary.

      These days? No computer, as I’ve stopped caring about the numbers. I don’t say that to try to cop some kind of cooler than cool attitude. It’s just that mileage doesn’t matter that much to me as such. If there’s a place I need to get, I’ll get there. If there’s a place I *absolutely* need to get that day, I’ll ride until I’m there.

      Yeah, computers can be useful for route finding, but I just meet that need in other ways now.

      All best,

      • Probably a good thing I didn’t see your post until after I bought my Edge 800 ;o) Anyway, I figured I’ll always want a bike computer, because I’ve got the habit of looking down and I like seeing some numbers. I figure the Edge 800 because I need it for training (the Edge 500 would also have been fine), and I could possibly use the maps for navigation if I have capacity to recharge. If not, I’ll hook up an old wired Cateye.

      • Oh, just to be clear, I use my Garmin at home almost all the time. We visit new rides—usually by downloading cue sheets and mapping them using—by loading them up and getting turn by turn directions. You’ll not be disappointed by the unit, I bet.


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