Packing Essentials

I'm one of those really rare people who gets a kick out of packing.
I've already packed and unpacked about 10 times over the last couple of months. 

Learning from experience doing Interrail last summer I have definitely packed more efficiently this time round (that all could change in my last panic-pack though!)
I don't have a different outfit for each day, not carrying huge information books on the whole of one continent and have planned clothes according to location and activties rather than just what looks nice together (well kind-of ... I want to look nice ok!!)

Obviously this trip is going to be a lot different to Interrail so I have had to do a fair bit of research on what would be good to take with me travelling across the States and these are some of the essential and maybe not so obvious things i've come across that I think are going to be a massive life saver (not just on this road trip but in any future trip too!)

Packing Cubes

These were soooooo handy last summer! The thought of having all my clothes folded and loose in my massive rucksack gave me nightmares so these were a life saver!
You can organise all your clothes and shoes into different cubes so you know exactly where everything is. 
I found a pack of 5 really cheap on eBay and they came in all different sizes. 
Because I'm using a big duffle bag this year I don't have a great deal of room for 5 packing cubes, and tbh it seems like a waste of space putting everything in different cubes when all my clothes fit in the biggest one so I'm just taking 3, 1 for clothes, 1 for underwear and 1 empty one for washing.
 But this way they are nice and neat and separate from the rest of my stuff. 

Solar Power External Battery

Because this trip is primarily camping I am worried about not being able to charge my phone, camera every day so I found this great external battery - not only can you charge it up through the mains, it can charge via solar power which I thought would be so useful for days when I'm out hiking in Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon where there might not be as many charging facilities. 
It comes with a clip which I can just attach to my day rucksack and not worry that my phone or camera are going to die and miss out on some incredible photo opportunities! 
The battery I bought was the 'Poweradd 10,000Ah' and has 2 USB ports and a smaller one which can fit Kindle cables. 

Head Torch

Not on the top of my shopping list when I first started buying things for the trip tbh. 
But the more I've read the more this item keeps cropping up, especially on camping trips. 
Imagine coming back to the tent at night (potentially drunk / more than likely drunk
and instead of scrambling around in the dark trying to find a hand torch and then only having one hand free to find pjs etc it seems much more convenient to just buy a head torch so I can use both hands, because lets face it, putting pjs on one-handed (drunk) will be a task and I'm pretty sure Emily won't want to wake up next to a bare bum ;) 

Microfibre Travel Towers

First tip when buying these type of towels: CHECK THE DIMENSIONS! 
I didn't
I wanted some of the microfibre ones as they dry quickly and can pack away really small to save on space. I bought a small hand towel size and a larger body one. 
Never actually opened them when they came to check how big they were. 
It was only when Emily came round I showed her them and opened to find that the body towel didn't actually cover my body, I mean I know I've not small but come on, could barely fit a child! 
So we laughed about that and I ended up buying a 3rd towel, this time just your standard thin beach towel - takes up a bit more room and won't dry as quickly but id rather use that as my main towel and keep the microfibre ones to put in my day bag if going somewhere where I'm likely to get wet. 
I bought the 'Andes Camping Anti Bacterial Microfibre Travel Towels' 

Sleeping Bag Liner

I already had one of these from Interail but was really handy so thought i'd mention it.
We didn't actually use or take a sleeping bag round Europe, but was nice to get into on long train rides to keep warm and when staying in not-so-nice hostels was a much nicer option to sleep inside the liner than under the dodgy sheets. 
For this trip though I will be using a sleeping bag so wanted to take the liner again. 
We're going in July so its going to be hot hot hot in most of the places so I may end up just sleeping in the thin liner, but can get really cold in the national parks at night so that extra layer may come in handy! 
Plus if I fancy a nap on the bus on a long travelling day I can easily 
pop my legs in and doze off (or try to)*

*Note to self: Learn to sleep in moving vehicles! 
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