Tag Archives: Packing List

Top ten best gear items Lisa brought for Peace Corps Namibia

Josh recently blogged about his top 10 gear items he brought to Peace Corps service. If I had to pick a top 10, mine would be very close to the same, so I’ve decided to number my items 11-20. This way you have a top 20 list of the gear we brought. These aren’t in any particular order – if I had to, I could eliminate items of course (except #20). Part of PC life is learning to live without! We’ve lived without a lot of things these last 2 years, but the following have been particularly useful on a daily/weekly/vacation basis.

11. Earplugs and eye mask – These have been essential for a good night’s sleep here. They say Africa is quiet – but that has not been my experience! These two items have often helped me to get a great night’s sleep.

12. Protective case for my iPhone – I am a klutz and drop things often. Namibia is dusty. The Lifeproof case has kept my phone from impact damage as well as environment damage. It’s also waterproof which was great for places like Victoria Falls where it’s impossible not to get soaked. Carrying it around town people don’t know it’s an iPhone because the case conceals the logo. Lifeproof even sent me a new case when my old one got damaged. Now that’s great customer service!

13. Yoga mat- I brought my nice Manduka ProLite yoga mat from America and I’m glad I did because I use it just about everyday for exercising.  You can buy yoga mats in the capital here but they are not great quality.

I thought about taking it on our end of service trip, but it would be cumbersome to lug it around. My friend Julia told me about these awesome travel yoga mats and so I’m planning to get one (thanks to Julia’s sister) and use that for our big trip.

14. iPod and X-mini speakerGreat for listening to podcasts and creating your own stereo system. I’ve used these for teaching aids in class (think schoolhouse rock songs). It’s also nice to use the speaker when you watch a movie. Thanks to our cousin Joey Mink for tipping us off about the speaker. I listen to my iPod when cleaning the flat or running, and for entertaining myself on the very long combi rides we must take here.

15. Chacos – These were a staple in my life in Denver and here I wear them every day. They are strong, durable and have held up very well. And one of the best parts – Chaco offers a 40% discount on their shoes for PCVs.

16. Prana pants- These Jasmine Knicker pants are lightweight, they dry fast and they’ve held up well traveling. I love them because they keep you cooler than jeans in hot weather, and they look nice. I found them on Amazon for half price. I own two pairs – the gray and the green.

NamJuly-Sept 230

Sporting my Prana Jasmine Knickers and my chacos at the top of a Sossusvlei sand dune in Namibia.

17. Bag for teaching – My large backpack is great for traveling far, but for teaching I needed a shoulder bag/backpack to take my teaching preparations, pens, chalk, etc. in.

18. Toiletry case, beauty products and Dr. Bronner’s Soap – Having a toiletry case that hangs up is sooo convenient for travel! You hang it up on the back of a door and can easily access what you need. This one was only $13 on amazon and it makes showering on the road a cinch.

At home I was not a person who was very into beauty products. But here I have been! I’m really glad I brought some nice American beauty products (lotions, face wash, scrubs, etc.) They are a way to feel comfort far while from home. After a long day it’s nice to smell something familiar and feel good.

Dr. Bronner’s is a great “catch-all” soap. On trips as well as at home we use it as soap and shampoo, to wash our clothes, and even to clean pots and pans. It’s awesome!

19. External hard drive – For storing books, movies and TV shows. Some days you just want to escape and get lost in a movie or show. The danger is the food cravings that will follow after watching an American show.

20. A sense of humor – One of the most essential tools for living overseas. Don’t leave home without it! 🙂

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Top ten best gear items Josh brought for Peace Corps Namibia

I’m hoping this post can be helpful to people trying to figure out what to pack for Peace Corps Namibia or other countries in Southern Africa. Every site is different so these items may not be the same for everyone.

Unlocked iPhone 4s – Used everyday for SMS, voice calls, email, photos, etc. The drawback is that it could be a target for thieves, but I try not to have it out frequently in public. I haven’t had any issues in 21 months.

Laptop – A nine year old Dell running Ubuntu OS. I carry this clunker to work everyday. Very heavy and hard to do photo editing since the screen resolution is poor, but I just need to get two years out of it (at this point, three more months). I will leave it with a colleague or a local business owner at the end of my service. I use my computer everyday at work, but I would not recommend bringing an expensive laptop to Namibia. Colleagues have had their computers stolen or break here,  and the heat and dust are hard on electronics.

Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone backpack – This pack has seen all 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail, multiple Colorado and other Rocky Mountain backpacking trips, and now a trip to Africa. Going strong for ten years now!

  
REI Quarter Dome T3 tent – The camping options are great in Sourhern Africa and many lodges offer inexpensive camping at around $10USD a night per person. Right now we are camping in Livingstone, Zambia at Livingstone Backpackers. You can use the pool and other facilities at the lodges and most also have braai facilities so you can grill dinner. We also usually bring  our campstove or alcohol stove for making meals while camping.

Sea to Summit mummy liner – This is great on it’s own for camping in warm temperatures as it is basically like a lightweight sheet. Also nice in hostels and guesthouses if you question whether they changed the sheets from the last guest.

Crocs shoes – Lightweight and seems to keep out sand somehow. Easy to clean and fast drying. Very comfortable for work and for walking around town as well. The update to this style does not fit as well as my first pair but still great.

Canon EOS Rebel T3 SLR Camera – Entry level digital SLR camera for taking photos of Peace Corps projects and also for documenting the amazing scenery of Namibia. A telephoto lens is key for birding. I bought my first lens for $100 used and just had another replacement for a similar price brought over by friends.   

Kitchen knife – We use this everyday, and it is cheaper to bring a higher quality one than to buy a nice kitchen knife here. I like ours so much, I might take it back home!  

Big Agnes ground pad – Amazing comfort for camping. The seam on my first one failed, but I sent it back to them when returned to the US in May. They quickly mailed a new one to my parent’s address. The replacement was a nicer model than the one that failed, and my parents brought it to Namibia when they visited in December.

Sea to Summit pack towel – Small size, quick drying and useful even when Peace Corps puts you up in a guesthouse because there always seems to be a towel shortage.

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