Packing List from G Adventures

Below is the packing list we’ve received from G Adventures for our Peru Through the Lens trip.

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit with you in buses or on trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones. If your trip involves overnights in homestays, villages or camping then you usually have the opportunity to rent sleeping bags if need be instead of bringing.

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

• Passport (with photocopies)
• Travel insurance (with photocopies)
• Airline tickets (with photocopies)
• USD cash
• Credit or debit card

• G Adventures vouchers and dossier
• Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
• Camera
• Reading / writing material
• Binoculars
• Cover for backpacks
• Fleece top
• Windproof / waterproof jacket
• Small towel & swim wear
• Shirts / t-shirts
• Sun hat
• Shorts & long trousers
• Hiking pants / track pants
• Hiking boots / sturdy walking shoes
• Sport sandals
• Sunblock
• Sunglasses
• Toiletries (biodegradable)
• Watch or alarm clock
• Refillable water bottle
• Flashlight
• Money belt
• First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

You will be bringing all of your bags with you every time you change hotels, so please keep that in mind when you are packing. When you are on a city tour, Machu Picchu, etc. you won’t have your bags with you (left at the hotel or in the private van or at the homestay room – it will depend based on your activities) but other than that expect to be moving your bags between hotel and van/van and hotel etc.

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Packing List – Clothing and Toiletries

For all of you Peru Through the Lens adventurers, here’s a packing list to get you started! We’ll get an official packing list from G Adventures shortly as well, but in the mean time, here’s my list that I am working on.

Clothing
Swimsuit – you’ll want it for the hot springs! I’m taking two because I’ll also be in the Galapagos Islands for five days.
Socks – ones without holes! This will protect your feet better from blisters. I’m taking 10 pairs to cover 21 days. There just simply isn’t room for 21 pairs of socks.
Sports bras – I plan to be comfy, not sexy while I’m traveling!
Underwear – Also not enough room to take 21 pairs of underwear, so yes folks, there will be a few repeats! Grossed out? We’re not doing 5 star resorts here you know! 🙂
7 t-shirts
1 tank top
2 pairs of shorts
2 pairs of yoga pants
1 pair of capris
1 pair of yoga pants that are light, but look more like dress pants. I decided this was more practical than taking a sun dress.
1 warm sweater (hoodie)
1 thin sweater (active wear thin sweater)
1 pair pjs
1 long sleeve cotton shirt
rain jacket
2 cheapie ponchos w/ hood
Young & Fearless ball cap

Footwear
Hiking shoes – I’m taking Merrells – well broken in!
lightweight sneakers – I’m packing an extra pair of sneakers just in case my feet get blistered.
Hiking sandals – Merrells – These will be all around use. They are replacing my water shoes, flip flops and my dress sandals. They are a neutral greyish color, they have good straps around the back of your foot so they won’t fall off and they are acceptable to wear with shorts or pants.

Miscellaneous
Travel Pillow
Small beach towel
Money belt
Passport and holder
Sun glasses
Journal / pens
Plane tickets / documents
Water bottle – I’ll be taking a collapsible one by Vapur – sold at Chapters.
Heavy duty Ziplock bags – to keep things dry, or to keep wet things from getting on your dry things!
Small combination lock(s)
Day pack – lightweight small backpack to take with you whenever we are able to leave our backpacks in the hotel. It will be to carry things like your water, snacks, money, extra socks/shoes, sun screen, sanitizer etc. Whatever you may need for a day away from the hotel.

Pills / Medications
Any pills you take on a daily basis – make sure they are in proper bottles with your name and prescription. This is very important for traveling to other countries.
Pepto bismal
Gravol
Immodium
Water purification tablets
Probiotics
Cold FX
Diamox – Altitude sickness

Shots / Meds to consider for our trip and/or extra add ons to the Amazon: Dukoral (to prevent traveler’s diarrhea), Twinrix (to prevent Hepatitus), Tetnus, Typhoid, Measles/Mumps, Chicken Pox, Influenza, Yellow fever, Malaria. More Information.

Toiletries
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Shampoo / conditioner
deodarant
Body wash
Dental floss
Make up
Nail clippers
Tweezers
Small hair dryer – found a really nice petite one that the handle folds up on. Very compact.
hand Sanitizer / sanitizing wipes
Sun screen – spf 45 or higher. Don’t forget that you’ll burn more easily because of the altitude. You don’t want to ruin your trip with a blistery sore sunburn!
Aloe – in case your sunscreen doesn’t do the trick
Advil / Aleve / Midol / Tylenol
Feminine products
roll on band aid to prevent blisters
band aids
Toilet paper – lots and lots of toilet paper or kleenex! It should be available in our hotel rooms, but most public washrooms and the homestays aren’t likely to have any.
Insect repellant
Hair elastics
Bobby pins
Razor
Tide – to wash clothes in sink if necessary

Camera Gear for Peru trip

I’ve done a lot of thinking and some hands-on research into what equipment is best for me to take on our Peru Through the Lens adventure … I thought I’d share my thought process with you! Don’t just take along what I’m taking, look through the reasons why and maybe you have a different need than I do, so you’ll choose something different. This just gives you some things to think about and tips that I’ve found along the way.

I plan to take both of my Canon 5D MK II bodies with me. I will use one regularly and pack the second one carefully with a lot of bubble wrap to have with me in case of technical problems.

I shoot in RAW format so my files are very large. I will need a lot of CF memory cards for this trip. I have a variety of Sandisk and Lexar brands. 1 32GB, 2 16GB, 2 8GB, several 4GB and 2GB cards. I’ve also added a 16GB Transend card to my arsenal. So far, it’s working well! In total, over 100GBs of memory. I’ll be away for about 21 days, so this should allow me to take in the vacinity of 2500 photos.

I will also be taking along my new Panasonic Lumix TS3 underwater camera. I haven’t taken it out to play with it yet, but it has GPS embedded into the photos. How cool is that?! This is mainly for my pre-Peru trip to The Galapagos Islands, but will also be great for quick shots here and there with the GPS information to pin point exactly where I was at the time!

You’ll need to have a good camera bag. I have several wonderful ones already in my arsenal, but unfortunately none of them quite made the list for a backpacking adventure. I have a fantastic roller case by Think tank, a super Lowepro backpack that I love and an older Lowepro cross shoulder bag, but it is far too small for me now. The terrain we will be traveling on simply doesn’t lend itself to having a roller suitcase / camera bag. I can’t imagine trying to ‘roll’ my gear across man-made reed islands on Lake Titicaca, or up the side of a mountain in Ccaccaccollo!

Since we are carrying backpacks with all of our stuff a lot of the time, I decided that a backpack camera bag wouldn’t do the trick for me either. So, I started looking at sling bags. There were some really great ones out there by Lowepro and Thinktank. Thankfully though, Marco at Henry’s took time to help me and try a few of them on. In the end, the sling style bags sit on your back as well, not at your side. Somehow I didn’t realize this! This meant that it wouldn’t work when I was also carrying the back pack. So, in the end, I purchased a Nikon messenger bag ($100 on sale) to carry my Canon gear in! HA HA … yes it is kind of ironic and funny, but it looks like it’ll do the trick. Now just to see if it’ll fit my laptop in it or not. So, the Nikon bag may change depending on if I can fit everything in!

UPDATE: My laptop wouldn’t fit in the Nikon bag. I purchased another bag at Future Shop – a Manfrotto Camcorder bag. I thought it would do the trick, but have since returned it as well because it just simply wouldn’t hold everything I needed. In the end (leaving in 32 hours), I’ve settled on taking my original Lowepro backpack. It is well padded, has it’s own built in rain cover, has extra space for snacks / clothes if needed and, above all, it is super comfortable for whenever I am able to only take my camera bag with me. The downfall is that when I have to carry all of my belongings, I’ll have two backpacks. My clothing one on my back and my camera back pack in hand. That part will suck but I will survive!

For lenses, the biggest thing I can tell you is to travel as light as possible, but cover as much focal length as you can. That means take a wide angle and a zoom. If you are lucky, they will cover everything in between (or close). For me, I will be traveling with my favourite lens, the Canon L series 70-200 F2.8, along with my L Series 24-70 F2.8. I think I’ll also throw in my cheapie ($150) 50mm F1.8 lens. It is small and light. I never have taken a liking to it, so maybe now is the time to dig it out and really give it a fair chance!

I also have filters on each of my lenses. I think they are all HOYA brand. Please consider investing in these before you go. Having a filter on the end of the lens protects your lens from dirt, scratches, smears and fingerprints. And I have even had a lens in a bag slip off my shoulder, hit the ground and only the filter broke, not the glass of the actual lens! Filters run $60-$100 each, but can save you from replacing a $700 – $3000 lens. Just something to think about …

If I have room, I’ll also be taking along 1 Canon 580EX II flashes ($500). Most of our photography will be done during the day time of landscapes, people, architecture etc. However, sometimes there are some really cool shots that can be done with an off camera flash, so I’ll also pack in my ST-E2 transmitter. Flash will also be good for shots in the hotels, restaurants and homestay locations where lighting may be dim. Overall, I don’t intend to use my flash much, but I also don’t want to leave it behind.

Because I am shooting with the 5D MK II, I have an added benefit of being able to take really great quality, low light images. My highest iso is 6400 and I’ve taken lots of photos in the iso 2000 range and have been happy with them. For me, this means I can take some cool natural light shots without needing a flash, including night time photos. Unfortunately most of the entry level cameras don’t work as well in low light.

I really struggled with what to do about a tripod, especially because I want to do some night photography while we’re on this trip. For my business, I have a hefty manfrotto tripod that weighs about 10lbs. Not really the type of tripod that I want to be carrying around for 12 days on my back! I looked at cheap tripods at Best Buy and Walmart and found some for $15-$20. I thought this would be great until I realized that they aren’t rated to hold the weight of my particular camera … especially with the heavy 70-200mm lens. So, (thanks Marco) in the end, I bought a gorillapod ($70 on sale) that is rated strong enough for my camera. It is small, lightweight and it’s legs wrap around poles and benches, or it can be used as a regular tripod, on the ground … at smurf height. So, in the end, you might see me lying on the ground in Lima in order to use my tripod to get an awesome night shot, but I won’t be stuck lugging around my Manfrotto just for the few shots I might want a tripod for!

On top of what now looks like a pretty hefty list of gear, I will also be packing three batteries for my camera bodies, my battery chargers, a lens cloth (maybe two), lens cleaner and tissues, silica gel packs to absorb excess moisture, a disposable rain sleeve to cover my camera in mist or rain (Thanks to Henry’s for donating these for all of the Peru Through the Lens Traveler’s!) and a poncho for myself.

Phew! As if that’s not enough, I will also be taking my MacBook Pro and a 1 TB Western Digital Elements portable hard drive so that I can store all of my images in two places to ensure nothing gets lost.

If you have questions about the gear you are planning to take, please feel free to ask and I will try my best to answer!

Packing List – Electronics / Camera Gear

As a group of photo enthusiasts, obviously packing camera gear is a huge part of the Peru Through the Lens trip. Here is a list of suggested Camera gear and electronics to take, in brackets are specifics of what I will be taking. If you want more details on why I’ve chosen to take this gear, please read Camera Gear for Peru trip.

Please remember that your camera gear should be one of your carry on items. Check with your specific airlines to find out size and weight specifications for carry on luggage.

Camera Gear / Electronics
Cameras – (Two 5D MK II bodies)
Lenses – (24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 50mm 1.8)
Flash – (580 EX II)
Small light tripod – Gorillapod
point and shoot camera – (Panasonic TS3 Underwater)
Memory Cards (100GB in total, Lexar and SanDisk)
Rechargeable Batteries (for 5D, Lumix and flash)
Chargers (cameras, flash)
Multi card reader (reads CF, SD and XD)
Rain sleeve for camera to use if shooting in mist / rain
Cover for camera bag to protect from rain

Lens cloth
Lens cleaner & tissues

Electrical Converter
Cell Phone with Roaming package or World Sim Card
Phone charger
Laptop or Netbook & power cord – (MacBook Pro)
Back up / storage – (Portable hard drive 500GB or 1T – I haven’t decided yet)

Bubble wrap
Silica gel packs to absorb moisture

FAQ – Peru Through the Lens

For the participants of Peru Through the Lens in February 2012, this is an area where I will post many of the questions you have submitted to me by email, as well as the answers received so that everyone is up to date. Feel free to email me with questions and I will do my best to answer what I can, or find out for you!

Q: Should we bring items to give away when we are in communities?

A: (from G Adventures) We really recommend NOT giving away little trinkets/toiletries. Making a donation to an organization that does good work in Peru would be a far better use of your dollars than buying little trinkets to give away. It tends to perpetuate the idea that tourists are walking ATMs and there have been major problems with kids in developing countries being given candies/sweets by travellers (as many of them don’t even get proper meals). G for example, has their own not-for-profit Planeterra, so maybe start there if you are looking for suggestions for a worthy charity. Or check out this website: http://www.stuffyourrucksack.com/. (Also, usually it is Spanish work books/colouring books and supplies for travelling to South America).

HOWEVER, you could still bring a gift for the homestay families, which is far different. We will be staying with two different homestays each. One in Lake Titicaca and one at Ccaccaccollo. We have requested suggestions one what would be good gifts to show our appreciation. I will update when we have further details.

Q: Will we need good hiking shoes or will regular comfortable sneakers do the trick?

A: Although we are not hiking the Inca trail we will be on our feet A LOT. There will be lots of opportunities to walk around cities and communities while we are there. We will also have a bit of a hike the day we do Machu Picchu. Although we will be taking the train most of the way, there is still a climb to get to the top of the site, then thousands of stairs and somewhat rough terrain. Also take into consideration that it could be misty or rainy at any time. I would highly suggest a pair of hiking shoes for the grip and durability that they offer.

Personally, I will be wearing my Merrell (http://www.merrell.com/CA/en) hiking shoes for most of the trip, although I may take a second pair of sneakers if I can find room in my backpack, just in case my main pair get wet or give me blisters even though they are well broken in.

Q: Will we be backpacking all of our clothes or will regular wheeled suitcases be fine to use?

A: Yes, you will need a sturdy backpack for this trip. Personally, I’ve chosen to borrow one from a friend rather than purchase one. Wheeled suitcases will not be appropriate for the terrain in places such as Lake Titicaca and the Women’s Weaving Community where we do our homestays. We will be changing accommodations every day to every couple of days, so you will need to be able to carry everything with you.

The Adventure Travel Company highly encourages you to talk to your local outdoors store about backpacks! MEC, TAO, Trail Shop etc. They have experts who will help fit a backpack to you.

Q: Will we have secure facilities to leave our bags in during the day while we’re out shooting?

A: As with travel to any country, it is necessary to take our own precautions to keep our personal items safe. Hotels will not be five star resorts. Some of the hotels that we stay at may have safes but they may not, or they may be able to keep our personal items secure in a room while we are out for the day. I would not count on this though … not just in Peru, in any unknown country that I travel to.

My biggest suggestion for everyone is to leave anything of value at home. Other than your camera gear of course!!! Any valuables you take with you, should be with you at all times … camera gear, jewelry that you can’t leave home, passports etc. That way, if there is a mishap, it will only be clothes and toiletries lost.

I don’t want to scare anyone. We will be safe and not traveling to volatile areas. I’m just advising to take precautions in advance to leave valuables at home.

I also suggest packing a couple of small combination locks for your back pack and camera gear for any time when we are in crowded places where pick-pocketing might take place. This will also keep pockets and zippers closed in case you trip or set your bag down and it tips over.

Q: Will the group be doing any formal dinners in restaurants or will it be strictly casual attire?

A: There will not be any formal dinners where dressing up is required. Group dinners will be casual attire. Women may wish to bring a casual, comfortable skirt or sun dress. Men may wish to have khaki pants or shorts and a casual shirt. Your main concern should be comfort, not fashion. We will not be anywhere with a dress code. I plan on packing one pair of sandals that will work for casual dinners and to give my feet a break from the hiking shoes.

Q: Cost of food – what would you recommend we budget for in terms of cash for food / incidentals?

A: Rose from The Adventure Travel Company in Halifax was in Peru last year. She has suggested that about $200 for food and incidentals should bemore than enough. For meals that aren’t pre-planned, you will have the option to eat fancy or cheap. Sometimes we will eat in a group, other times we’ll be off exploring different areas and eat based on what’s available. Often meals will cost $5-$7, so very cheap in comparison to what we are used to. Items that you purchase at the market are also very inexpensive. You can do a lot of shopping for $50, provided you have room in your backpack (or buy an extra one) to bring it all back.