Packing Suggestions (Part 1)

Packing for Peace Corps Service, for some, may be one of the most challenging tasks before departure. I remember sitting at home, researching other volunteers packing lists from a variety of countries trying to pinpoint my exact needs for packing. Unfortunately, this worked to an extent, but the trick to packing for Peace Corps is packing items that are light and can be used for a variety of different things.

Here, I will share the things that I brought to Guyana that were most useful, and share some items that I think would be beneficial to bring. That said, packing for service in Guyana will be tough, because there are two different types of placements (Hinterland/Town) and the needs for each of these could drastically vary, and you wont know where you are placed until the end of PST. Anyways, here’s a few packing suggestions I have for y’all!

My initial packing list can be found here: Jeremy’s PC Packing List. I have also included the full list below with suggestions in a quote box below the list.

And Lindsey, another Guy26 has been so kind to write a blog with her packing suggestions for the ladies and that can be found: HERE!

Luggage

  • Osprey Aether 70L Backpack
  • REI 34″ Rolling Duffel
    (Check REI or the REI Outlet for Clearance items)
  • Swiss Laptop Backpack (Carry-On)

I brought my Osprey Aether 70L backpack and purchased a REI 34″ Rolling Duffel during the end of year clearance at REI and both turned out to work perfectly. If you purchase a pack between 55-70L, you should be good. This will allow you to take a backpack on any trips you take during service, it’s easy to carry, and you won’t stick out as much in town rolling a suitcase down the roads that aren’t necessarily flat.

Electronics

  • Acer Aspire V5 11.3″ Laptop
  • Samsung External DVD+RW Drive
  • 1 extra Laptop battery and charge cable
  • Microsoft Travel size USB Mouse
  • 2x USB Flash Drives
  • 4x SD Cards
  • 2TB Western Digital MyPassport External Hard Drive (My Passport drives are USB Powered)
  • Panasonic Lumix LX-7 Camera w/ Extra Batteries
  • Panasonic DMC-TS5 Waterproof Camera
  • 10x Amazon Rechargeable AA Batteries
  • Amazon Paperwhite Kindle
  • Targus Surge Protector with USB Ports
  • iHome Rechargeable Portable Speakers
  • Blackberry 9780 Unlocked with Extra battery
  • GoPro Black Edition Camera w/ Extra battery, LCD Viewscreen

Prior to coming, a lot of volunteers mentioned that the humidity destroys electronics here, I honestly felt like volunteers were exaggerating just a little. After being here for nearly 2 years, I can confirm what they were saying… Electronics come here and they do die, it’s sad. So try to bring an older laptop and older electronics here that you wouldn’t mind to part with if they stop working here. That said, I purchased 2 thick SealLine Dry Bags (Amazon Link) and they have helped a lot with keeping all of my electronics protected… I purchased a 10L and a 20L, they are extremely thick and I highly recommend at least one dry bag, especially since some of you will be taking boats in and out of your sites.

Other things to bring… a point and shoot camera with a case, a few SD cards, several USB drives, a external hard drive for TV shows, movies, books, etc., as many volunteers have plenty of media they can share with you. I also purchased some rechargeable AA batteries from Amazon to bring and they have worked out amazing. The battery quality here is terrible, so spending $10 before you come on a few rechargeable batteries will save you the headache later on. Make sure you bring a surge protector and a small rechargeable portable speaker, just incase your computer speakers die.

Clothing

  • 2 Champion Lightweight Golf Pants (Black and Khaki)
  • Chaco Belt
  • 14 Underwear
  • 13 Socks (7 athletic socks, 6 cotton)
  • 1 Jeans
  • 3 Cargo shorts
  • 1 Swim trunks
  • 4 Running short sleeve shirts
  • 2 Cotton T-shirts
  • 3 Tank tops
  • 2 Short sleeve button ups
  • 2 Golf Polos (UnderArmour)
  • 1 Tie
  • 1 Button Down
  • 1 Sweatshirt
  • 1 Light Jacket
  • 2 Mizuno Running shoes
  • 2 Sperry’s (for work shoes)
  • 1 Chaco Sandals
  • 1 Chaco Hiking Sandals
  • 1 Flip Flops

The clothing that has worked best for me, is all of my active gear. For my work days, I wear Golf Pants and Polos that are quick dry and breathable, you only need maybe 2 pairs of paints and a couple shirts, and Target has Champion Pants/Polos and they are fairly cheap… Check the clearance rack first though.

I brought 2 weeks worth of socks and underwear, a Chaco belt, several running shirts (again, breathable, comfortable, quick dry), a couple tanktops, a few pairs of cargo shorts, swim drunks, 2 pairs of running shoes, 1 running jacket, chacos, 2 button downs, 1 pair of flip flops.

All of the items I listed above I have used, except the Chaco’s, which I took home in September when I visited. Flip Flops can also be purchased here for a cheap price, so bring a pair of two, and if they break, you can get a pair here.

Toiletries

  • 8 Toothbrushes
  • 4 Tubes of toothpaste
  • 1 WAHL Travel Size electric shaver
  • 2 Tweezers
  • 1 Toe-nail clippers
  • 1 Travel size Q-Tips
  • 4 bars of soap
  • 4 sticks of Deoderant
  • Travel Toothbrush/Soap holder
  • 1 Hand sanitizer

Most of what you need is readily available here in Guyana… Some of the items though, won’t have the same quality as they have in the United States. Bring plenty of toothbrushes and toothpaste, these are two things that aren’t the best quality here. If you care about good hair products, bring one big bottle of shampoo and some deodorant… Other then that, everything is fairly cheap to purchase here.

Outdoor Items

  • ENO Single Nest Travel Hammock
  • ENO Bug Net
  • ENO Atlas Hammock Straps
  • Cool Max Sleep Sack
  • Leatherman pocket knife
  • Black Diamond LED Solar Powered Headlamp
  • Solar powered flash-light
  • Solar Charger 14W USB
  • Sea to Summit Dry Lite Large Quick Dry Towel
  • 10L Seal Line Dry Bag
  • 20L Seal Line Dry Bag
  • 2 Nalgene Water bottles

I definitely recommend bringing some sort of travel hammock. The ENO hammocks are a favorite among volunteers because they are light, compact, and go up in less then 5 minutes; make sure to grab the straps and the mosquito net when you purchase your hammock as well. Do bring a Leatherman, or some sort of multi-tool pocket knife, you never know when these will come in handy. A headlamp is also a good investment as we do have blackouts occasionally, and some people in the hinterland/rural sites don’t have electricity. As mentioned before, the Dry Bags are important for electronics, a quick dry towel is nice for traveling, and a couple 1L water bottles because you will be thirsty, often. Most volunteers go with the Nalgenes because of the quality, but bring whatever you can.

Kitchen Items

  • 4-in-1 Can Opener
  • High quality ceramic cutting knives with potato peeler
  • Small Tupperware set

I highly recommend bringing ALL of these. The knives here in Guyana aren’t the best of quality, neither are the Tupperware. Also, if you don’t bring a knife set, a potato peeler was really nice… I eat potatoes a couple times a week, and it just makes preparing my food that much quicker.

Misc Items

  • 1 Full size Sheet Set
  • 1 Pillow (to fill space in my bag)
  • 2 Moleskine Journals
  • Small body Guitar with Case
  • 3 sets of Guitar strings
  • 1 Guitar tuner
  • Hanging closet (cubbie) organizer for storage
  • 2 pairs of Sunglasses
  • Ironman Watch
  • Resistance bands set
  • 1 Jump Rope
  • Duct Tape
  • 5 Bandanas
  • 1 “Wind-Resistance” High quality Umbrella
  • Several Textbooks
    – Nutrition through Lifecycle
    – Basic Nutrition
    – Lesson Plans
    – Guitar Theory
  • Travel Guides
    – Lonely Planet South America
    – Brandt Guyana Travel Guide

Bring at least 1 set of full size sheets, the quality of sheets here is NOT good and they are expensive.  Pillows can be found here, but it can be expensive to get a nice good quality pillow. Last minute, I decided to not bring my guitar and I purchased one here in Guyana… That was a mistake, as the Guitars here aren’t good quality at all, that said, if you have a really nice guitar, do bear in mind the humidity here, some have mentioned that their necks have warped due to the climate and what not… The most important item I brought from this list is the Hanging Closet Organizer, and I use this as my dresser because I was placed in a house that didn’t have anything in it… This saved me money right off the bat, also, can be used for storing dishes or tupperware or anything… Definitely bring one of these. Make sure to bring an umbrella, and any textbooks that you want as reference materials. I crossed them out because I have a bunch of those as digital files now and they are pretty heavy to lug around.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Again, these are all suggestions, not requirements and each person will have a few different things that they would like to add as each one of us was placed in a different situation (housing wise), some of us needed everything from purchasing flooring, to not needing anything at all. So the trick is bringing items that can be used for a variety of things, and if you don’t use something that you bring, there’s probably a volunteer who could use it… A lot of items do get passed around between volunteers, so don’t stress about a lot of these things.

Good luck and happy packing!!!!

 

 

 

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