Packing for dissertation fieldwork / by youjinbchung

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While packing light is key, knowing what you definitely need/don't need, and what you can/cannot live without is also important! Packing for 12 months in less than 50kg:

Clothing & Shoes:

  • Lightweight, breathable summer clothes + long-sleeves for chilly mornings and evenings, and for preventing mosquito bites
  • Light scarves and kangas (they serve multiple purposes!)
  • One or two nicer outfits for professional meetings (just in case)
  • Light rain jacket
  • Comfy walking shoes (slip-ons, trainers, and sandals)
  • Waterproof flipflops
  • Wellies for the rainy season

Electronic Equipment:

  • Nikon D90 DSLR camera, 50mm and 18-200mm lenses, strobe light, and multiple battery packs
  • Vivitar point-and-shoot cameras and plenty of AAA batteries for photovoice
  • SD card reader
  • Apple Lightning to USB cable
  • USB hub
  • Audio Recorder (I use this one from TASCAM) and mini tripod (I use this one from JOBY)
  • Good over-ear noise-canceling headphones for interview transcriptions (...and for blocking out noise coming from dogs, bars, and mosques)
  • Portable bluetooth speaker
  • External hard drive
  • Various chargers, universal adapters, and extra cables
  • Internet modem/router (*it turns out that the Vodacom dongle I bought back in 2012 is no longer compatible with OS X Yosemite, so I purchased a new one yesterday -- the Wifi router (below) is actually pretty neat as I can connect up to 10 devices wirelessly, TZS 70,000; US$33)

Vodacom Wifi Router

Basic and Emergency Medication & Personal Care:

  • Probiotics
  • Multivitamins
  • Acetophenone (Tylenol)
  • Expectorant and cough suppressants (Mucinex DM)
  • Antihistamines (Benadryl and non-drowsy kind, like loradine)
  • Nasal spray for year-round allergies (Flonase)
  • Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone)
  • Contraceptive pills (primarily for lightening/skipping periods while in the field)
  • Antidiarrheals (Imodium; it's never really worked for me, but just in case)
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Ciprofloxacin for travelers' diarrhea
  • Band-Aid
  • Neosporin
  • Hydrocortisone 1% ointment
  • Anti-itch bug bite roll-ons
  • Insect Repellent, 30% Deet (I like this product by Sawyer)
  • Contact lenses (biweekly ones and spare daily ones)
  • Contact lens solution (also sold in pharmacies in big cities like Dar, usually for TZS 25,000 or US$12).
  • Eyedrops for dry eyes (I got some sodium hyaluronate drops prescribed by my ophthalmologist; it's supposed to be much better/healthier for the eyes than over-the-counter products)
  • Other prescription ointments for inflammatory skin conditions
  • Sunscreen SPF 50+ (for sensitive skin, buy products that have Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as active ingredients!)
  • Nail clippers, nail file, cuticle oil

Other things:

  • Lots and lots of passport-sized photos (you need multiple copies for various permits)
  • Granola and protein bars (essential for long days out in the field!)
  • Electronic mosquito trap (thank you, mum!)
  • Duct tape (for fixing everything!)
  • Safety pins (also for fixing everything, esp. big holes in mosquito nets!)
  • Microfiber cloth (for all that dust... but this can be easily bought in local supermarkets in Dar)
  • Baby wipes (a cheaper alternative to wet wipes! pretty cheap in TZ, too)
  • Hand sanitizers (also can be bought locally)
  • Feminine hygiene products (they are still so much more expensive in TZ!)
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Outdoor sun hat
  • Water bottle
  • Exercise band
  • Travel yoga mat (this one I use is SUPER lightweight)
  • iPad with lots and lots of e-books, music, and movies
  • Guitar