We love looking at “What’s in my bag” posts from designers we admire. It’s an average albeit creepy pass time but it sheds light into the inner workings of their minds. So we thought we would share what’s in our bags when we prance about town, or in this case out of town. For our first edition we thought we would write about what we carry to our Himalayan projects.
We’ve been pretty lucky to design projects in Mussoorie and Sangti. Two opposite spectrums of the Himalayan range. The trips are long, windy and rugged and we usually carry a sturdy backpack. This one is Kamini’s trusty Indiana Jones-eque leather backpack from Hidesign that has lasted years and the roughest terrain. It has a sleeve for a laptop or tablet and a smaller pocket with a zipper for little things you don't want to lose.
Shawl/jacket/sweater/beanie - Always layer! We did a lot of steep climbing both in Sangti and Landour. So we ended up taking our overcoats off and rolling up our sleeves but the weather would change quickly and you’d regret not bringing things to bundle up in.
Sunglasses - To avoid a lot of squinting and to keep things fresh.
Thermos -This was unexpectedly useful! Instead of a water bottle, we brought hardy thermos’. Hot (boiled for safety) water is so much more palatable than freezing mountain water. You can find a similar one here.
Snacks - So so important. Our two sites are very remote and the 20 minute hike back to civilisation means that you need to always have some energy bars on you. These huda bars give you a four hour kick of energy.
Power bank/charger - To save you from long journeys and remote areas with severe power cuts.
Pen drive - Always comes in handy for last minute printing or transferring PDF’s, especially when there isn't good connectivity. This one from SanDisk is 32 GB, can be attached to your keychain and is dual usb/micro usb.
Fuji Film Instax - A non essential but definitely a fun way to keep memories. Can always add this with a postcard to send home!
Headphones - We stocked our phone library with tons of super nerdy podcasts so that we have something to listen to offline. Or alternatively, ditch the headphones, let nature be your music and carry a good book instead. These headphones were gifted to us by one of our lovely clients.
Deo/perfume/gum - You will be smelly and dirty so best to be prepared!
Hair tie - Lifesaver as always but also very versatile. We’ve used it to tie curtains back, keep rickety bathroom doors closed and in place of rubber band on rolls of paper. Anokhi has 80's esque giant scrunchies in silk block print (similar here) but regular telephone wire ones that never tangle do this trick.
Lipbalm/Lipstick - Carmex is a medicated lip balm to protect yourself from the cold. It's expensive but that little pot has lasted 3 years. Lipstick in case there’s a special occasion (one bold and one chilled out should cover most occasions).
Sun block - Up in the mountains it's even more important to use! We're not bothered about the brand as long as its SPF 50 but this is what is photographed.
Hand cream - You’ll be using your hands a lot and if you’re not used to the cold, the one pictured is from Crabtree & Evelyn and is aptly named Himalayan Blue but you can find a similar one here that will keep your hands nice and soft.
Sanitiser / mask- I mean… Do we even need to discuss this now? We carry this all the time because our work in construction requires us to but now it’s a necessity. Wish there was a zero waste version of this. Leads anyone?
Toilet paper - Always carry this with you on out of town trips. We’ve been exposed to some nightmare-ish toilet conditions and so this is a winner!
Medicine - Again, you’re not in control of your diet when you’re traveling. Kamini got very sick on her way to Sangti so now she makes sure she carries tummy medicine, paracetamol and heat spray for sore muscles. With all the climbing up and down, it’s a good idea to carry something for your ankles if you are prone to injury.
Tape measure - This is now a permanent tool by our side. So bloody handy. We've lost many, broken twice as many but Freemans is as sturdy as you can get,
Notebook/pen - Those of you who know Kamini, know she can’t live without her planner. Every year the colour changes so you’ll usually find her running around yelling for someone to find her “red book”. She used Moleskin all these years but decided to go for the homegrown Rubberband planner this year which is as good (if not better) with grid pages, pocket in the back and free engraving!
Bottle opener - The office keys have one of these on the chain. We always willing to crack open a bottle of beer so this always comes in handy. In Sangti, the local beer is very popular but everyone can open it with their mouth!
Wallet - Filled with cash because ATM’s are rare and UPI is not easy with the low connectivity. You don’t end up spending too much money but it’s always good to be safe.
Folder - To keep all your notes and documents from getting crushed.