Geared up for the Galápagos

This item appears on page 52 of the May 2010 issue.

I thought ITN readers would be interested in my assessment of clothing and equipment used on my April ’09 trip to the Galápagos with GAP Adventures (Toronto, Ont.; 800/708-7761). Some items were old faithfuls and some were purchased for this trip.

Two absolutely essential items are a wide-brim hat and walking shoes with good tread.

I found Mephisto trekking sandals to be ideal. They have good tread for climbing lava rocks, and the Velcro® brand hook-and-loop straps on the instep and heel allow for adjustment and easy on/off at airport security.

I was not pleased with the Columbia-brand “mud and sail” sandals. The tread was not sufficient for wet decks on board the boat.

Inexpensive water shoes from Land’s End (800/963-4816) were good for wet landings.

Columbia-brand shirts with UVA protection and Neutrogena 85 sunblock gave good sun protection. The long-sleeved shirts were loose, cool and comfortable and, unlike others in the group, I did not get burned.

I did not get a chance to test the insect-repelling properties of the Ariat-brand T-shirt, as there were no bugs to speak of. The shirt, although loosely woven, was hot and I would not recommend it.

A Bilabong rash guard shirt with elbow-length sleeves was all I needed while snorkeling. It dried quickly and gave sun protection.

A small microfiber towel from my local dive shop and a small microfiber facecloth from the Magellan’s catalog (800/962-4943) were very helpful, as these were not available on board.

My collapsible walking stick from Magellan’s, stored in the outside pocket of my carry-on, caused no problem at security.

I brought my own mask and snorkel, although the tour advertised that these were available on board. Unfortunately, they did not have fins to fit me (I’m a size 7), so I suggest taking your own if you have them.

No wetsuit is necessary for snorkeling.

I continue to have praise for the Eagle Creek 22-inch rolling duffel bag. It is stable when standing on end, rolls easily, carries enough for one week, is sized to be a carry-on and folds down for easy storage in the cabin of a small boat.


New Bern, NC