Just back from a trip exploring the Pyrenees, Matador managing editor Julie Schwietert Collazo recommends the following items when packing for a similar trip.

It wasn’t easy to pack for the Catalonian Pyrenees; the hosts of the #inPyrenees blog trip wanted to keep the invited bloggers in suspense about the full itinerary, so I packed for nearly every type of scenario.

If I head back—and I sure hope to—these are the essentials I’d carry with me.

Osprey Shuttle 22″/40L Bag

I didn’t actually take this bag to the Pyrenees (it arrived the day after I returned from the trip), but I wish I had.

I’m an Osprey loyalist and love all of their packs that I own, but the Shuttle is a wheeled bag, which makes my back a lot happier on a long-haul trip.

Like all Osprey bags, the Shuttle always seems to have just a little bit more room exactly when and where I need it, and the 22”/40L is still small enough to pass muster as a carry-on, foiling airline agents who’d love to charge me the checked bag fee.

Layers

Look at the average daily temperature for the Catalonian Pyrenees during off-season and you’ll see something like this:

The Pyrenees - Photography by Julie Schwietert

That’s quite a spread, and you’re likely to experience both the low and high end of this temperature scale during a single day, so pack clothes that are easy to layer.

Tank tops and long sleeve pullovers paired with cargo pants were my standard fare.

Geographically, this region is as diverse as its weather, so pack clothes that are both appropriate for the chillier mountains and for the warmer Mediterranean coast.

Innate Portal Deluxe Travel Envelopes

Innate sent me a set of their water-resistant envelopes to field test before the trip; though initially skeptical about their utility, I’ve grown to love them.

The envelopes make travel easier and faster, especially at the airport where I drop the 11.75” X 7.25” envelope, plumped up with my passport, wallet, and iPhone, into the bin for security screening.

Having all these items in a single bag foils sticky fingers that might want to snatch up the phone, and it makes collecting my stuff quicker.

I use the 12.25” X 8.25” envelope for chargers, converters, USB cables, and other small electronics. Both envelopes pop into the top of my backpack and make sorting and finding things simple.

Dry Bag


This is another item I didn’t have in the Pyrenees but wished I had, and upon returning home, I promptly went out and bought one.

Though the canyoning and kayaking outfitters I went out with had dry bags they were happy to share, I’d rather be responsible for protecting my own gear, including an expensive Canon 5D camera.

A dry bag is a must if you plan on hauling some small electronics and/or camera gear on solo expeditions in this region. My pick was a bright yellow Seal Line brand, 30L dry bag. It folds up tightly and I strap it to my Lowepro Vertex camera bag.

Universal Adapter

An obvious item for some travelers, but since most of my travel is in places that use the same kinds of plugs as the US, I’ve traveled for 17 years without needing an adapter.

Rather than purchase a converter that would work in Spain, I opted to buy the Dynex international travel adapter.

i.Sound PowerMax 16,000 mAh Backup Battery

With just one converter, it was tough to keep my camera, iPhone, and laptop charged, so once I got home I invested in the I.Sound, a five-port charger the size of an external hard drive.

Though it’s a bit heavy at 14.6 ounces and a bit expensive, the charger has come in handy in multiple situations: airport terminals without a free outlet, hotel rooms with a single outlet, and long-haul flights when my MacBook’s battery runs low.

Once it’s charged up, the i.Sound can charge up to five devices simultaneously without needing to be plugged in.

Global Entry Card

Because I travel frequently for Matador and my freelance work, I decided to bite the bullet and invest $100 US in a Global Entry card, an identification “fast pass” granted by US Customs and Border Patrol that allows American citizens who have been screened and approved for the service to avoid long Immigration and Customs lines upon returning home.

On my return from the Pyrenees, I was through Immigration and Customs in under two minutes. For more information about the Global Entry program, read my review of the card and my advice for best utilizing it. 

View 1 comment