What should I pack for a three-country tour?
I will be a tour guide this summer/fall in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The tours involve camping, sightseeing, nightlife, hiking, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting. My pack must not exceed 50 pounds. What items do you recommend for such a diverse itinerary? Shauna Danos Austin, Texas
Keep a beautiful dress at the top of your pack, slip it on after a shower and a hard day of camping, hiking, mountain biking, or rafting, and I guarantee it will make you feel like a million bucks. I recommend Patagonia’s Morning Glory ($65; patagonia.com), a soft 86-percent nylon, 14-percent spandex blend with a halter neck, a flattering empire waist, and a just-below-the-knee length. The dress comes in five colors–including the ever-versatile black–and can be worn 14 days in a row without showing a wrinkle.
Assuming that you’ll be plugged in on your multisport adventure, I’d also pack a solar charger than can rejuice your gadgets. My favorite is Brunton’s Restore Portable Power Device ($124; brunton.com), a 7.2-ounce, rubberized, water-resistant charger that can re-energize your smart phone, iPhone, iPod, or digital camera within hours after setting it in the sun. It’s power capture efficiency rating is 90 percent, which means that the Polycrystalline cells used in the Restore can convert 9/10th of available light to energy. One hour of sun equals about six hours of iPod music. When the sun goes down, you can also plug it into your car battery.
For me, the hardest choice when it comes to packing light is picking the most appropriate shoes. In fact, on my latest camping adventure I brought everything from UGG boots (for the cold) to Crocs (for the fungi-infested showers). In the summer, when space is limited, I always bring my Z/1 Pro Chacos ($105; chacousa.com), a classic pair of sport sandals with thick and comfortable Vibram soles you can wear on the beach, with a dress, as a hiking shoe backup, and in a dirty shower stall to save your feet from picking up icky fungus.