Something different: 2 month, budget (más o menos) one-bagging in the archives of Guatemala, Mexico, and Cuba

August 9, 2017 - Comment

The One Bag Traveler recommends Gear, Destinations and Adventures. I am a graduate student in colonial Latin American history, and I just got back from a two month research trip to national and local archives in Guatemala, Mexico, and Cuba. I was doing some pre-dissertation research on slavery in the Spanish Empire, which I’m sure

The One Bag Traveler recommends Gear, Destinations and Adventures.

I am a graduate student in colonial Latin American history, and I just got back from a two month research trip to national and local archives in Guatemala, Mexico, and Cuba. I was doing some pre-dissertation research on slavery in the Spanish Empire, which I’m sure most people would find very boring. My trip took me to major cities in oppressively hot and steamy climates, highland monsoon climates, alpine climates, and semi-arid summer climates. On weekends, I usually visited nearby towns and the usual tourist attractions. I had temperatures ranging from 96F (in Yucatán) to 25F (climbing a volcano in Guatemala). I stayed in hostels, private rooms, and Airbnbs. I used a combination of clothes that I already had (dress clothes, backpacking gear, and golf clothes) with some new things I purchased upon recommendations on this subreddit. I consider this a budget trip because I already had almost everything, but if one were to buy all this stuff new, it wouldn’t be budget at all! While unpacking, I took pictures of my gear that I brought on my trip, and I thought some people on the subreddit might find it useful or interesting. I also included a few of my favorite pictures from my trip in the album. Feel free to ask me my opinions, offer gear suggestions, or constructively criticize my selections as you see fit.

imgur.com/a/WrSrn

Bags:

  • Kelty Redwing 44
  • Cheap, collapsible laptop briefcase/bag I bought at Target for $10

Post-trip reflection:

I use my Redwing for short wilderness backpacking trips but I have also been using it for longer one-bagging trips. I picked it up on sale on Amazon for $75 a couple of years ago. It’s just barely too big, but I’ve flown with it and never had to check it. I find it to be a jack-of-all-trades bag, which also means that it doesn’t do anything particularly well, but it is comfortable for me. It sort of opens partially clam-shell, although I find this feature to be a bit awkward only modestly better than a top-loader. One drawback is that its zippers don’t lock. There are little string ties on the zippers, which I usually just tie together. I figure if someone wanted to target this bag, they would be able to get into it one way or another no matter what. I also brought along a laptop bag that I bought at Target, which I can take the stuff out of and cram it into my backpack. Worked fine and I wouldn’t have been sad if it had been lost or stolen.

Clothes:

  • 1 Columbia fleece that I’ve had for years
  • 1 cashmere/merino cardigan
  • 1 Patagonia raincoat
  • 3 cotton dress shirts
  • 1 cotton polo
  • 1 Patagonia merino wool daily tee polo
  • 1 Patagonia merino wool lightweight long-sleeve base layer
  • 1 Patagonia merino wool daily tee
  • 1 bamboo t-shirt
  • 2 Bluffworks originals
  • 1 jeans
  • 1 swim trunks
  • 1 athletic shorts
  • 1 Sierra Designs dricanvas backpacking shorts
  • 6 merino wool socks (assortment of Smartwool and Darntough)
  • 7 cotton boxers
  • 1 pair of Timberland Men’s Carter Notch Oxford shoes
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 straw hat I picked up in El Petén, Guatemala
  • 1 plastic sunglasses
  • 1 L.L. Bean chino smugglers belt
  • 1 cheap watch

Post-trip reflection:

A key component of archival work/research trips is networking with other grad students, professors from the US and abroad, and archivists, both in the archive and after the archive closes. As a grad student of limited means, I saved money where I could, but I also needed to dress business casual during the week. For this reason, I brought more clothes than usually recommended on this subreddit. I wanted to have a different shirt to wear for every day of the week. For sightseeing during my free time, I wore a merino wool or bamboo t-shirt or polo and Bluffworks pants. The Patagonia merino wool shirts are mixed merino and other materials. I found that the they would start to smell after about 4 wears; the bamboo shirt started to smell for me in about the same timeframe. I did laundry in the sink once or twice a week. I splurged on the Bluffwork pants, but more for the anti-pickpocket features than any other reason. Many of the archives are in bad neighborhoods in various Latin American cities, and I was worried that I would get robbed/pickpocketed and lose all the work I had done. Before leaving the archive, I would make copies of various documents onto an SD card and a flash drive and then hide these in my bag/clothes/shoes. I also sewed pockets into the inside of my pants because I often had to bring my passport to the archives to register. I never had a problem with crime though. I brought jeans for their versatility in after-hours social settings and because, in my experience, the vast majority of people in the cities I was in wear jeans exclusively. I am glad I brought them. I wore them frequently, and found them to be worth the weight and the hassle of waiting for them to dry when I got caught in summer rainstorms. The cotton shirts and underwear that I brought were made of very thin and light cloth. All of these items dried overnight if I…

http://bit.ly/ODgufN

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