Since becoming pregnant I have been having to travel back and forth to Anchorage quite a bit for appointments. During this time, I have pretty much mastered the art of packing light for the purposes of bush travel. I will say, packing light for bush travel does have some big differences from packing light for a quick weekend trip other places. Winter gear is probably one of the biggest (literally and figuratively) differences. Because we fly on small airplanes we are required to wear heavy winter gear – snow pants, winter boots, heavy coat, gloves, hat, scarf – in case we were to go down and need to survive outside until someone could rescue us.
Other than the winter gear, which I wear on the plane, my bag is pretty standard for the trip to Anchorage. For a three-day trip I usually bring:
- 2 shirts
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 pair of shoes
- 2 pairs of Darn Tough socks (I like these because they are warm and don’t get stinky easily!)
- 3 pairs of underwear
- Tiny make-up bag
- Shower/toiletry essentials
- Phone + charger
- Extra cloth bag with zipper for grocery shopping (essential because if I end up buying anything extra I need to be able to transport it on the airplane easily)
You might notice that this list is fairly small and my bag (pictured above) is very large. There is, however, a good reason for this. You see, we don’t have access to amenities in our home village, so going to Anchorage is like a holiday for our shopping needs. The bush airline that we fly with allows each passenger to have 50lbs of freight for free when they travel. I purposely bring this extra large suitcase and pack very light so that I can stuff it full of groceries and other necessities when I travel back to the village. I have pretty much mastered the art of guessing what 50lbs feels like, and this time was no different. When the airline placed my bag on the scale it read 50.6lbs. I was very proud of my precise packing skills!
I also had two large boxes of groceries shipped out to help replenish our food stock, but we usually have to wait a few days for those, so I packed all of the fresh stuff and anything I thought we might want right way into my suitcase. Cody is always surprised by how heavy my suitcase is when I return, and I do manage to pack everything in there tightly, but it is 100% worth it to not have to pay the $3.10/lb for those 50lbs of groceries. While I am a fan of packing light no matter where you are traveling, packing light for bush travel is especially important for the purpose of transporting things back to the village.