Packing Light?

The travel guide specifically says 33 pound or 15 kilograms total baggage weight.

The travel guide specifically limits each traveler to 33 pounds (15 kilograms) total baggage weight.

I know 33 pounds sounds like a lot, especially to someone who carries a 25-pound camera for a living. But when you’re cramming everything you need (and think you need) for a two-week trip in a country you’ve never visited the weight limit seems like a real challenge.

I understand the reason for the weight limit, I really do. Near the end of our African adventure, our plans call for us to board a small plane for a flight back to Arusha. The small plane, if overloaded, could come crashing down in the middle of the savanna, giving the hyenas a tasty snack of seared me. So I’m taking the 33 pound rule seriously.

The Africa Adventure Company sent us packing lists with our guide books and said following their guidance should keep you within the weight limit. I packed the recommended six sets of underwear, five pairs of socks, a wide-brimmed hat and swim trunks and took the rest of the list under advisement.  If you’re wondering how you take a two-week trip with six sets of underwear the answer is laundry services.

The list said you should pack three pair of shorts, three pants, three short sleeve shirts, and three long sleeve shirts, but I decided to rebel and throw caution to the wind by packing only three pair of pants. I’ll be wearing one (you’re welcome, fellow travelers), leaving me four pair in total, and five long-sleeve shirts.

Honestly, if you compared what I packed to what was recommended, I’m pretty sure I’d come in under the limit. The real weight comes in the non-clothes category; remember the 33 pounds was total for my luggage. No matter how many bags the total would have to be 33 pounds or less. It’s like one of the word problems you got in school:

If Zeke packed two bags and bag A was 15lbs, and he had a second bag B, and the total weight was 33lbs, how much weight was bag B?

Well, I’ll let you take some time to figure that out and continue. I’m a photographer and I’m about to travel to one of the most spectacular scenic places on the planet, the Serengeti. How do I resist taking every piece of camera equipment I own? Well, I almost don’t.

I have two digital SLRs, four lenses (one I don’t even own, it’s a rental 500mm), the charging equipment, the lens hoods, a spare battery, Flip camera, microphone, inverter charger, flash and binoculars.  I’m leaving the tripod at home; I find them too cumbersome for a trip on the move.  I also packed my Kindle, moleskine journal and sketch book. I have more gear but just had to leave it in the closet.  I’m pretty good at making do.

So class, have you figured out the answer to our word problem?

If you figured out the answer is 18lbs that’s a gold star for you.  I can’t wait to share all of our experiences in Africa with you. See you soon.

Ten days worth of clothes still doesn't weigh as much as my camera gear.

Ten days worth of clothes still doesn’t weigh as much as my camera gear.


About No Kids, Will Travel

In the eyes of their friends and family, Amanda and Zeke are a young jet setting couple without any real responsibility. In real life, the stress of work and raising a kitten push them to flee reality at every opportunity. The "lack of obligation" gives them the chance to explore the world.

6 comments on “Packing Light?

  1. Have you read the onebag.com website for more travel light ideas?

    I’d say the Africa Adventure Company has you overpacking. You only need 2 pairs of pants, 2 long sleeve shirts (with roll up sleeves) and a couple of T shirts. 3 pairs of undies and 3 pairs of socks are enough. Bring a flex-o-line clothesline, wash your stuff when you shower, roll the clothes up in a towel to get rid of the excess water. It is usually dry by morning. I also use zip locs instead of packing cubes to save weight.

    That should give you enough room for one more lens, at least!

    BTW, they left off a fleece jacket and a waterproof shell. Early morning safari is nippy.

  2. Im thinking I need to start rolling my clothes when packing them. I can not fit anymore into my backpack, but I came across someone in my hostel room with the identical bag but clearly had way more stuff fitted into it.

  3. […] ago to solve the problem of tech gear and travel. As you may remember from my previous post about packing for Africa, my camera equipment took up all the space in my carry-on bag and left me little room for anything […]

  4. […] we surveyed our packing list, both Zeke and I found that we needed a few items to round out our safari wear. Zeke spent about […]

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