You can also read about my packing list plan, pre-trip.
Personal item: Arc’teryx Mantis 26L
This bag held up well between airport and car rental commutes, as a daybag in the town, and as a hiking bag along short hikes. Below is the bag with what it held on the way back home, after some rearranging with my carry-on item to accommodate some souvenirs.
From top-left to bottom-right. Italicized stuff was acquired during the trip.
- 1 transparent detachable bag with liquids
- from the Osprey Ultralight Zipper Organizer
- 1 tube toothpaste, 1 bottle aloe vera gel, 1 bottle facial sunscreen, 1 tube body lotion, 1 bottle argan oil, 1 tube Abreva cold sore medication, 1 bottle Chi hair moisturizing gel
- I kept as many liquids together as I could
- in case they exploded in the air (this has never happened to me before, though)
- in case TSA wanted me to take them out; I am part of TSA Pre-check so I normally don’t, but on occasion an airport will not practice Pre-check so then I do
- essentially all the liquids are toiletry-related anyway
- 1 1oz hand sanitizer bottle
- couldn’t fit in the transparent bag, but whatever (TSA Precheck)
- 1 10″ tablet with case
- 1 power brick
- 1 soft brace for ankle support
- 1 small purse
- 1 pen (in purse)
- A set of brochures and misc. paper
- 1 thin booklet
- 1 small notebook
- 1 rain cover for backpack
- 1 sunglasses case
- 1 point-and-shoot camera
- 1 1oz container sunscreen
- couldn’t fit in the transparent bag, but whatever (TSA Precheck)
- 1 small wallet
- 1 thin detachable bag with 4-5 small charger cables, extra camera battery, extra SD card and camera clip
- 1 Vuori thin, quick-drying, comfy jacket
- 1 rolled change of clothes for comfort during commute home
- t-shirt, merino socks, underwear
- 1 Ziploc bag of emergency kit items, a few bug repellant wipes, 4 mosquito repelling bracelets
- 1 poncho
- 1 Ziploc bag of sanitizing wipes
- Noise-cancelling headphones in Trakline belt bag
- Bag was much lighter and thinner than the official headphone case
- 1 bag of granola
- (not pictured) 1 toothbrush case with electric toothbrush and 2 heads (1 for husband, 1 for me)
- (underneath emergency kit bag) 1 house key
- (not pictured, would be clipped to bag) 1 travel pillow
- (not pictured) 2 water bottles
Carry-on item: Samsonite Ziplite 4.0 16″ Underseater
I’m really happy with this bag. I got it at a good discount and it turned out to be plenty of room for me. Below is, again, the bag with contents rearranged post-trip for souvenirs.
Again, italicized items were acquired during the trip.
- 1 pair sandals
- Dirty clothes in sandals: 1 pair merino socks, 1 pair quick-drying underwear, 1 pair feet cushion things
- 2 bags of salt
- 1 quick-drying towel
- 1 misc. set of paper
- 1 booklet
- Dirty clothes below sandals: 1 bra, 1 shirt, 1 pair shorts
- 1 transparent drawstring bag (underneath sandals and dirty clothes)
- 2 small misc. souvenirs (wrapped in white and news paper)
- 3 quick-drying shirts (in packing cube)
- 1 regular shirt
- 1 pair shorts (in packing cube)
- 2 kukui nut leis (in packing cube)
- 1 misc. souvenir (wrapped in red paper)
- 1 mini umbrella
- 1 skirt/convertible dress (in packing cube)
- 1 scarf (in packing cube)
- 1 foldable fan (in packing cube)
- 1 sports bra (in packing cube)
- 3 pairs quick-drying underwear (in packing cube)
- 1 pair merino socks (in packing cube)
- 1 compression sock (in packing cube)
- 1 extra set insoles (in luggage bag)
- 1 set foldable trekking pokes (in luggage bag)
- 1 tripod (in luggage bag)
Wearing (not pictured)
- 1 pair quick-drying climbing/hiking pants
- 1 pair quick-drying underwear
- 1 pair merino socks
- 1 bra
- 1 regular shirt
- 1 pair hiking boots
In husband’s bag
- 1 drybag
- 2 waterproof phone cases
Disclaimer: there were minimal other souvenirs that we put into my husband’s eBag backpack, but he still had room to spare.
I’m satisfied with the two main bags I brought. The combo of small roller and regular-sized backpack worked very well for me from the continental U.S. to Hawaii and back. Most places were indeed smooth, especially where we ended up dawdling in the airports for food and souvenir shopping. I was concerned about my husband’s pain dawdling around there since he just had a big backpack, but he seemed to tolerate it well. I know from past experience I would’ve struggled.
I’m largely satisfied with the clothes I brought. I didn’t bring too many and had room to acquire 3 new shirts and a new pair of underwear (it’s extra soft). However, I wish I brought 1 more sports bra. I hiked and swam a lot, both activities ideal for my sports bra. I could’ve done more laundry washing (we ended up washing twice in our 9 night-trip) to avoid wearing my dirty sports bra 2-3 times more than I would’ve liked, but I also wanted to be environmentally conscientious with washing. I guess I also could’ve hand-washed the bra, though, but I’m also lazy.
Especially useful things/decisions
A small umbrella. As predicted, Hawaii’s weather is really unpredictable (!) and not as bad as the forecast turned out to be in terms of rain. It rained maybe 10% of the time, and like Peru, in small bursts. The umbrella was good for those times as well as shielding ourselves from especially hot midday sun. I’m so glad we didn’t bring our rain jackets: it would’ve been even more uncomfortably hot wearing them.
Downgrading to a good point-and-shoot camera. It is just so much more compact and easy to use, but still good quality.
Sanitizing wipes. It felt good to be able to easily wipe down the airplane seat area with these things. It was also useful for wiping down my backpack after hiking.
Light jacket. It was nice to have this on the airplanes when it would get too cold, and also when we went on a helicopter tour with the doors off.
Water bottles. Believe it or not, I only started carrying a water bottle with me on my travels on the trip before this one (Vancouver/Seattle). It was my husband’s first time on this trip. These seem like a no-brainer for most people, but yeah, having them was great in the airports to refill and force us to chug before security (more hydration!), as well as while adventuring to various places.
Priority Pass. (I have the mobile card.) We got free coffee and fruit during our first flight out of Baltimore and free fresh burgers and fries during our quick layover in San Francisco. I’ll do a bigger post on Priority Pass and the Chase Sapphire Reserve sometime later.
Things I didn’t end up needing
An extra pair of insoles. I used this trick in Spain when I wanted to avoid bringing an extra pair of shoes, and that worked well. But while I was quite active in Hawaii, I didn’t walk as much there as in Spain because Hawaii is generally much less walkable (hence rental car).
A full 1oz bottle of aloe vera gel. I knew I didn’t need this much in the beginning, but I didn’t want to buy yet another a smaller bottle or container. But maybe sometime I’ll find another small thing lying around I can reuse.
My tablet. It was nice to use it in the plane, but honestly I had some videos and games downloaded on my phone as well and was just as satisfied watching and playing on that, too.
A second umbrella (in my husband’s bag). Because it rained so little, we just shared my little umbrella whenever we needed it. When we did forget to bring an umbrella and it rained, again it was just so short and felt refreshing since we were hot and humid anyway. But I suppose this sort of thing is hard to predict whether you should or shouldn’t bring it, so I think I’d still have both of us bring an umbrella again next time, depending on the season.
A travel towel. Our accommodations always provided us with extra towels. Now that I think about it, the only time I would need this, really, is if I were hiking a long distance and needed to pack light and wouldn’t be able to access a towel for awhile for bathing or sitting down. But I’m not sure if I’ll chop this off the list for the future. It still seems good to have…
Waterproof phone cases. I got them for us to use while snorkeling with sharks, but 1) my husband got sick and didn’t go, and 2) I wasn’t allowed to use mine because I needed a pole/stick to separate my limbs from the camera device (my phone). The snorkeling instructors said this is because sharks are attracted to electromagnetic signals and may want to interact with the source by chomping on it. 😀
Noise-cancelling headphones (maybe). It was pretty amazing cancelling out the airplane humming, but… my husband and I like to lean against each other… and the headphones would always get in the way. I am used to just using cheap earphones, which don’t get in the way of cuddling, obviously. 😀 Maybe I’ll try to find some semi-noise-cancelling earphones instead. Obviously these have the added benefit of being much more compact, too.
Things I’d like to upgrade
Transparent drawstring bag. The one I got for free from a half-marathon race has been good to have for security-sensitive events and places, as well as a dirty shoe/clothes bag. But it’s become quite unruly to actually carry around because the strings/ropes have become too dangly somehow…
Things I should’ve brought
My Costco Visa credit card!!! It gets me 4% back on gas, and god damn it, there was actually a Costco gas station near our place in Kauai. Ugh!
To come: a post about our activities and what I recommend doing (and not doing).