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Author Topic: Packing  (Read 3014 times)


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« on: November 20, 2013, 10:32:21 AM »
I am already thinking about packing.  Do you really think you can put everything you need into two suitcases and a backpack?  Or, is the idea that you can buy some stuff while you are there? 

Anyone have any recommendations on suitcases?  Someone told me that I was wasting my time with a rolling suitcase that I should just bring big duffel bags.

Offline jlmanzak

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Re: Packing
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2013, 11:10:52 AM »
I've heard from a lot of sources that in Western Africa at least you can buy most of the clothing that you need there, so that's what I'm planning to do!

As far as packing goes, I'm planning on using a "rolling duffel". It has a shoulder strap like a duffel bag and is light weight, but also has wheels for anytime I'm somewhere with a smooth floor (airports!) This is what I'm getting: http://proshop.eaglecreek.com/bags_luggage/duffels/No-Matter-What-Flashpoint-Rolling-Duffel-L-20421/

Eagle Creek has a great deal for PCVs (50% off) and they have a great, durable line of products. I know several people who use Eagle Creek bags as gear bags for hauling construction tools/gear, and they hold up very well. Go to proshop.eaglecreek.com  and email them, let them know you are a PCV, and they'll email you back a code to get the discount.

Offline shawn

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Re: Packing
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2013, 01:11:47 PM »
The trick to packing for the peace corps is to not try to pack for 2 years; that's not possible.

I packed the same way I would pack for a 2-3 week trip. Regardless of where you'll be, people do live there, and I'd be willing to be they wear clothes. Bring the things you legit cannot live without (and really think about that) and then whatever else fits. No, 7 pairs of shoes probably don't qualify as necessary.

Rolling suitcases are by no means a bad idea, but I would be sure to bring a bag to use in country. Preferably one that doesn't have wheels.
PCVL - Rwanda 2010-2013
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Offline Amelia.Plant

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Re: Packing
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 12:00:12 AM »
Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution to packing and choosing suitcases.  My first year in country I always traveled with backpacks, even though my village has some paved roads and even the unpaved are just dirt--not really sandy.  And I was really hurting my back.  Then I realized I had a carry-on size rolling bag and I started using that for trips into the capital, to other peoples' villages, etc.  In our buses, they have places to store bags underneath so it was easy to do that with my bag.  I agree with Shawn--very important to have at least one backpack so you can carry things easily.  But having an option of using rolling bags is also not a bad idea.  You are definitely NOT wasting your time with rolling bags.  But again, it is all country and site-specific.  I know friends who lived in the Kalahari desert who stepped in 6 inches of sand on their way from the bus stop to their house.  So a rolling bag wouldn't have worked for them.

Good luck!
RPCV, Botswana 2011-2013

Offline koji

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Re: Packing
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 11:16:06 AM »
A few people from my group only brought a carry on and one large suitcase. We were all envious of them in the airport and when we had to travel to site. I had a large rolling suitcase (I bought used and I was happy because at the end of the two years it was severely scuffed and I ended up getting rid of it) a lightweight backpack, and a small roller as a carry on. I would definitely not bring 3 roller bags simply because you don't have 3 hands :) but one is nice to have.