The Things We Carry – Packing for Adventure in Chile

Alzar School | 14.11.18

As anyone who has traveled for an extended period of time knows, packing can be a headache. You have to take into consideration the weather, time of year, the activities you plan on doing, travel time, cultural norms, baggage constraints, and so much more. The packing process becomes even more complex when traveling internationally with 30 students, all of whom need expeditionary kayak and backpacking gear on top of academic accessories.

Students pack for Chile.

Before leaving for Chile, students spent a week’s worth of free time and activity time planning, preparing, and packing. Throughout this process, they filled their backpacks, their dry bags, and their opportunities bags with assorted necessities. Below is a sampling of the gear that you might find if you unpacked an Alzar School student’s travel bags. 

  • Kayaking Gear: After being issued their outdoor gear kit at the start of the semester, each student is responsible for bringing their own helmet, lifejacket, splashtop, whitewater booties, spray skirt, and personal dressing room (PDR) to make Chilean whitewater a possibility. While the recommendation is to keep all of these things in checked-bags, many students use their PDRs as blankets on the plane, exhibiting high levels of resourcefulness and fashion sense.
  • Backpacking Gear: In the bottom of each backpack you will find a sleeping bag, packed up and ready to keep students warm on cold Patagonian nights. You might also find fleece and down layers, ready and able to keep students toasty throughout their stay.
  • Essential School Items: Along with academic iPads that are issued at the start of the semester, many students packed essential books and journals in order to keep up with their studies abroad. Most importantly, these goodies live in their carry-ons so that they can read, write, and learn on the long plane ride to and from the US.
  • Group Gear: Back in Idaho, each student volunteered to take on the responsibility of carrying some sort of group item–such as tents, fuel canisters, stoves, etc. with them in order to make our Chilean Expeditions go off without a hitch. The packing destination of each of these items was well documented as to avoid any lost group gear.
  • Socks and Underwear: To keep everyone happy and healthy, students are bringing enough undergarments to be comfortable and keep their toes warm whether it be studying outside a Cabana or cresting the summit of a Patagonian peak.  

Alzar School staff coach students both before and during their time in Chile on what items are essential for their success on expedition and in the classroom. Luckily we have developed systems to make this process go smoothly. Having the right equipment for the right moment is a crucial element for Alzar School students to fully benefit from their experiences in Chile.