Joey: (walking up carrying a brown paper bag) Hey!
Monica: Oh, hey! Oh good, you brought food!
Joey: No, it’s just my luggage.
yeah well this particular packing list is sort of like that…but with a Trader Joe’s reusable bag.
They are the perfect size, sturdy, cool looking and are wonderful even if you can’t really sling them over your shoulder (but really, if I was THAT concerned with it, I wouldn’t be using Joey Luggage.)
For a last minute “Hey! let’s jump in the car after work run off down the coast this weekend!*” like in college. (yes you are allowed to stock up on munchies at Trader Joe’s on the way out.)
Trader Joe’s grocery bag
Trader Joe’s citrus sampler kit
polar fleece sweatshirt
*We’ll assume you don’t have prior commitments, your cell phone is charged and you don’t have pets that will starve without you there.
I will probably be hyperventilating being away from Bunny for more than 12 hours, Tex will be with her, but I keep going back to the point that it is several days of the rest of her life that I am missing out on…Maybe I should add Prozac to the fucking list.
So, I used to be able to pack 2 weeks before a trip and just grab my bag and go! Everything was great! I had pants! (and under pants!) but now, not so much.
For some reason I seem to get a little distracted by the right shirt (or 4) and I lose sight of the whole “what to wear over my butt” issue.
Sure, I have what I wear on the plane, but when I go with a purple/black theme on the plane and end up packing a whole khaki/red/orange theme in the suitcase, it looks a little like clown college in a bag.
My new approach is to casually sneak up on the packing and then pounce right before I leave so it doesn’t know what hit it.
I wear my clothes as the weeks pass and then when I wash them and think “Oh this shirt is my BFF!” I fold it and toss it in the suitcase for the pre-leaving sanity check.
This time my packing list deviated from my previous list (and I’ll make a new one if you care), but essentially, I looked at the weather and decided zip off shorts and the new cute jammies as pants would be a good weight. I did put the plaid ones that go with my Monterey sweatshirt in there, but I also lost my tiny little mind over some travel jammies from Nick and Nora at Target last weekend that with just a slight shift in t-shirt color will work with most everything else.
I figure with the weather as it is, I’ll probably end up in shorts the whole time anyway. (cross your fingers nothing crazy happens to the weather, I am leaving my down jacket at home this time).
New Texas packing list:
-black zip off pants/shorts
-orange long sleeve shirt
-purple long sleeve shirt
-white long sleeve shirt
-purple/grey patterned sweater (the artist formerly known as “new sweater”)
–black vneck merino wool sweater
-*grey short sleeve shirt with silkscreened fishie
-*grey hoodie sweater
–Nick&Nora “ports of call” jammies
-plaid pink/orange jammies
-*10 year old (but still the best damn jacket I own) Eddie Bauer parka**
–black flip flops, possibly the red ones, too. orange flip flops
-2G Firefly with Portable Apps/external drive
-fold up cooler
*plane wear ** the word parka intimates that it is super warm. It isn’t even insulated. But it is long (comes to mid-thigh on me), I can scotch guard it and walk around in Paris drizzle and stay dry, it has a waist cinch, a hood, sleeve snaps to keep the wind from going up your arms and the best pockets ever. I’ve worn this in weather as low as 20 degrees F and in rain and after it gets really ooky, I wash it, scotch guard it again and wear it for several more trips.
***I wasn’t going to bring this, but then I got into a book and realized I didn’t want to leave it til I got back.
This trip includes a plane trip to Texas (need accompanying amusement), a trip to my dad’s, mini road trip to my grandmother’s, actual road trip across the state to my other grandmother’s (if you do the travel math its easier and cheaper to drive) where I meet up with mom being her own airline and then return trip home.
So there are some things I am taking that I wouldn’t necessarily need for something like the Green Bay excursion or a Kailua-Kona foray.
*The REI duffle is what I used to pack my backpack in on the plane ride out for the AT and it is checkable. The EBags weekender I would prefer not to check so if I bring extra stuff home, as I always end up doing when I visit family, I can just put everything into the big REI one and check it without having to worry about it being scuffed or manhandled.
They are pretty militant about 2 carry-on things now and I know myself about having to carry and manoevre things on the plane… I get too crabby to deal with it.
*remember you have to carry this comfortably even when you have your full pack on, so a daypack that doesn’t attach can be a tedious chore and I tend to hand things that I have to work to carry to the nearest busker as a tip.
Khaki Cargo pants
Really good walking shoes (I use Keen’s or my Merrell boots-I’ll leave it to you to decide yours, just remember that you need good foot/ankle support as you are carrying all your stuff (perhaps 20 pounds) on you for long distances on hard surfaces.)
sleep shirt or light sweatshirt (you can always buy clothes when you are there… I actually prefer this… especially on beaches, the roadside vendors always have the coolest clothes.)
2 scarves (I use the pashminas-useful as a blanket or a scarf)
Jammies/hotel wear (I tend to go with yoga pants as mine are quick drying and can double as another pair of pants.)
swimsuit – for the beach and less-than-private shower facilities
crocs/ flipflops / shower shoes – I like Crocs because I can walk in them for long distances, but they can be a bit bulky (though for the ladies, the Mary Janes are much more manageable). However, they are waterproof and if you are staying in hostels (or skeevy hotels 😉 ) you want to wear these in the shower. Really.
Camera+charger and spare cards
A book (and just trade someone for a different one when you are done. Works on the AT, works in the rest of the world.)
A thumbdrive(and portableapps configured***) for internet cafes -card adapter for your camera** card + place on the web to upload them (flickr or XDrive, etc)
Silk Sleep sack (good for both hostels or when the harsh chemicals that they wash sheets in hotels in burn your skin as they do mine. This is also good for adding another +10 degree rating to your sleeping bag without adding a ton of weight or having to buy a new one.)
**or, instead of chargers, bring along your USB cables (bonus if multiple things you have charge off of mini USB) and bring a Solio [My review | Amazon] and its wall charger. You can tie to the top of your backpack and let it charge in the Cezanne-esque light of the valleys in Central France or plug it into the wall where you are staying.)
***just install portable apps to a directory on your WIN machine and start using it. After about 2 weeks of regular use you will have all your bookmarks and setup about like you like it (actually, I recommend you do this anyway as a backup). Then just copy it to your thumbdrive and go play! Another sneaky trick is to double up on the adapter and put a memory card in it to hold your portable apps instead of buying a thumbdrive (and portable apps sits quite happily on a 512M card, so you can use old cards that aren’t big enough to hold your larger pixel depth images from your camera.)
….or you can just put a bunch of clean underwear in a backpack and go! (As a matter of fact, my cousin put two skirts, two shirts and clean undies in a carry-on bag and did just this.)
So, Paris is a bit of a dressier city…even for me, the REI poster child.
I’m not going to go bananas and wear heels (the world would end thankyouverymuch) or dresses, but I do tend to spiff just a bit when I am there.
eBags Purple Weekender
Black shirt (that can double for a nice dinner out or daywear)
Several black t’s and white t’s (for under sweaters, other shirts etc.)
Patterned shirt (x2)
scarf (patterned, black-when you walk around in the cold with the same coat on, I tend to want to vary the accoutrements)
Shopping bag (something that folds up in your day pack for trips to the supermarché)
notebook/pen/travel watercolors (wanna know how to get the French to talk to you even if you are a feeelthy American? Start sketching or painting in a cafe. They love it and are adorable about it, too. I really do adore the French, but you have to accept that they are a completely alien culture from the U.S. They clearly have other priorities, flaws yes, but we have our own as well.)
eBook (+waterproof cover)
Pocket wallet (for metro tickets, immediate cash needs, 1 credit card-should fit in a pants pocket that isn’t your back pocket)
My primary criteria for travel packing isn’t how long I will be gone, but whether I am going for business or personal travel. (Business travel requires dressing up and that involves lots more clothes for me than personal travel.)
For a 20 day trip for personal travel
In this bag: eBags Weekender Convertible Clothes
-Black pants does double duty as dress up or day stuff
-Khaki pants good generic color
-Skirt (black or grey) (or a kilt for the boys)
-3 short sleeve black tshirts for layering or for warmer temperatures -1 long sleeve black T
-2 white tshirts
-Black V neck sweater
-Red button down shirt or light cardigan
-Undies (ex officio magic undies)
-2 scarves (I use the pashminas-useful as a blanket or a scarf)
–Barn Jacket – lightweight and ScotchGuarded for water resistance
-Crocs (for the plane)
–Keen shoes (for walking)
-Shampoo (travel sized x2 as my hair is very long)
-Other miscellaneous goops
-Lotion SPF 30
–Computer/power supply/bluetooth keyboard/bluetooth headset
–Silk Sleep sack (good for both hostels or when the harsh chemicals that they wash sheets in hotels in burn your skin as they do mine. This is also good for adding another +10 degree rating to your sleeping bag without adding a ton of weight or having to buy a new one.)
Pack:JanSport Juno 73 Pack – yes, its a big pack. They asked us to bring a larger one and really it fit pretty well and carried all my stuff (much to the guide’s chagrin since I abhor a vacuum and must fill empty spaces…) I was probably at 32 pounds with all my and the group gear. Funny story at REI, when we went to go get mom’s pack, we told them of the requirements and he really tried to steer us to a 3000 cu in pack since the 4500 one is really huge. I was hesitant to go smaller, while I did agree with him, 4500 is huge, I didn’t know what kind of bulky group gear our guides would be giving us and I didn’t want to be flouting their requests already. We ended up saying thanks but no thanks to the guy and eventually coming back to find her pack on our own. Its starting to be an issue with REI folks actually. They are very nice and very smart, but they don’t seem to get that some of us have weird requirements (like me and my men’s hiking boot things and our listing for a large pack for this trip) and that sort of bothers me.
Pack Rain Cover: Osprey Raincover XL at MRO, this weighs about 8 oz and squishes down nicely into its carrying case (moreover you can get it BACK into its own case which is downright amazing.) Also, serves double duty as a rain seat that you tighten around yourself while you sit on the ground with the upper part curved around your shoulders. handy when you are under a tarp but still sitting on the ground.
Clothes: (all my clothes lived in a Sea to Summit waterproof bag (8L) to prevent them from getting wet and also served as my pillow at night.) –>2 shirts (cool max Champion brand from Target on clearance last year) *Necessary* since I sweat and it was warm on the uphills, but cool after you took off your pack. When it was rainy, getting things to dry was a bitch and a half (and the quick dry only made it a bitch to dry off in the sleeping bag with me) –>Rain Pants that also zipped off to shorts, but walking in these shorts was a clammy affair. I primarily used these over long johns or over my other shorts to keep warm/dry (and the fact that my legs were cold indicated that it was *cold* as I frequently run around in shorts and a wool sweater all year round here in Nor Cali.) –>Shorts (cool max) I got these at Target and these were FANTASTIC. I need to get a couple more pair since these suckers ROCK. –>Socks I took 3 pairs of SmartWool (or the REI brand, buy 3 and get 10% off) and swapped socks every day. Some people advocate changing sock mid-day, but I found that if I took of my shoes mid-day that my feet hurt on the afternoon trek. Your mileage may vary. I slept in one pair and alternated the other two. The happyhappyjoyjoy thing about SmartWool is that it does NOT get stinky or gross. Hooray for natural materials! –>Undies:Ex Officio magic undies-quick dry and anti stinky. –>Long Undies: I did a combo of SmartWool (top) and Polarmax Tech Pants long undies and while they were both ok, I really should have gotten SmartWool on both ends, the SmartWool was much more comfy. I slept in my long undies at night, both for warmth (though my sleeping bag was double plus good! especially for having been on sale for $69, but I’ll discuss it later…) I was a squicky about my skin on skin since I was pretty gross. It helped me to sleep (mom said this as well after one night that she didn’t sleep in hers.) –>Rain Jacket: A Marmot shell that I zipped the fleece out of –>Boots:Merrell men’s Mesa ventilators (because I have yet to find a pair of women’s hiking boots that are wide enough for me… jeebus, girls, how do you walk around on those little popsicle sticks without falling over?) though the one’s I linked to aren’t exactly it, they are ventilators which probably also helped with my feet not getting hot in combo with the SmartWool socks. I can say that I had exactly ZERO problems with my feet (and frankly I thought I would have problems with them since my feet are sort of diva-high-maintenance-Bitchy-McSnipe-esque as far as feet go. Needless to say, I was very happy- the cold I had, well, that’s quite another matter.) –>Gaiters: I got the ones made of the same material that my Mistral pants are made from… good stuff, but I am actually pondering some Outdoor Research ones. –>Camp Shoes:MRO had Nothinz on sale for half off… I was going to go the cheap flip flop route, but I yielded to peer pressure, and it wasn’t a bad decision. Croc knockoffs would have been just as good… plus mom bought them so even better. 😉 –>Hat: mine looked like a regular baseball cap, but is actually a winter runner’s cap with little earflaps that can fold down for the cold… and I used ’em, too. Brrr. –>Knee brace
Tent: this was group gear and they brought it for us… It was an REI Half Dome tent ca. 2004. Very good tent, we were rained on pretty heavily and we stayed dry. Roughly 6 pounds and made of heavier material than the new UL ones they have now.
Boffo! A good one…
Sleeping Bag:Sierra Designs Rosa, on sale as previously mentioned, kept me nicely warm. It has a little feet liner at the bottom that I haven’t seen before that was really nifty as well as the dual zipper that let me stick my feet out even when the rest of the bag was zipped up. As for the ‘narrower through the torso nonsense’, well, I ain’t, to put it very bluntly. I also sleep on my side, so I’m pondering the Big Agnes bag that is built for us side sleepers, though I like the fact that the Rosa is lighter and synthetic (goosedown loses warmth if it gets wet and takes forever to dry). Still making my decision on this one. I would like a smaller bag so that it doesn’t take up a crapload of space in my bag so I can use my UL 45 pack in the future.
Sleeping Pad:Thermarest Z Lite. I have a Thermarest that I used for years and its heavy and a pain to deal with (inflate, un-inflate, etc.). I like the fold up design of this and I can bunch up parts of it to work as a pillow or under my knees when I lie flat (as I can’t really sleep on my side with my current sleeping bag). It also is nice and light, easy to manoeuvre (putting down, picking up). I did beat it up on trees when I walked though since I put it up on the top of my pack (having removed the pack lid with the pocket previously.)
Eat-y things: –>Spork:I had a red one (which I left at home… duh) so I bought a blue one at MRO. Not bad, but I think I like mom’s Foon. –>Cup and Bowl: I liked the bowl (its easy to open it up and lick it clean), but the cup wasn’t as fun. I didn’t bring a plate. I might consider bringing this cup or more likely this one that I use all the time anyway even though it weighs a bit more. –>Camelbak:2L…worth it.
Personal Patch Kit: Its an Outdoor Research ultralight organizer with little things like nail nippers (for fighting off bears), Tylenol (lots), Sudafed (even more), skin goop, toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes (for every other day wipe down) and other little snickety things that would get lost in the wilds of my pack.
I think they tried to talk me out of it, but it was one of the things that I held firm on (instead of using ziploc bags for everything).
Misc Items: –>Gorilla Tape –>Bandannas (x2) –>Trekking Poles: I wasn’t certain how I’d work with these and mom definitely was skeptical. But they saved my butt all week. I balanced myself with them, pushed myself up mountains, took the weight off of my knees (which I will discuss later) and pretty much earned their keep (and I bought cheap-y ones in case the airlines destroyed them in my duffel I checked, so I’m guessing even lighter weight ones would be even better.) Also, if I decide on the other tent I thought was cool, it would use the poles instead of tent poles for double duty. –>Treo in waterproof case that also had my ID and insurance card (in case of bears… they are deathly afraid of HMO’s, you know) and earphones. I probably could have lived without my Treo on this trip because I was so sick, but otherwise, I think I would have still wanted it with me. –>Garmin eTrex Vista for fun and to see our altitude, to mark waypoints where we stayed etc. because I am a big geek. I would take this again in a heartbeat. –>Journal small spiral binder (4×5) for notes + pen –>Camera: My old Sony waterproof 2megapixel one so I wouldn’t worry about killing my good one on the trail. –>More ziploc bags for trash, daily snacks, messy things, stuff that went in the bear bag at night, etc. –>LED headlamp: A Energizer one which I didn’t use much as I observed the hiker midnight rule (a.k.a. going to bed when the sun went down… about 8 pm or 9 pm. Giggling from other tents went on long after… it really was one big slumber party. 😉
Now, I don’t know that I can fairly assess my food situation for this week. I caught a cold and was stuffed up and MISERABLE (not to mention other issues that some of us girlies have to deal with directly) so I really didn’t eat much this whole week. (Nor did I want to…)
In fact, everyone was going out of their way to make sure I actually put food in my mouth and ate it. To be perfectly honest, I could go for a while and not worry about missing a meal. They should have worried if I didn’t drink water (which I managed to clear out my Camelbak just about every day even though it was nice a cool out side, no problem with water at all.)
It hurt to eat stuff since my throat was raw, my taste buds were not functioning (well, no nose, no taste) and the one or two times I even remotely felt hungry was when we were walking and it went away after about 3 minutes. It wasn’t a big deal.
Here’s what I actually took (more than other folks because of my persnickety stomach)
package of dried mushrooms
1 big package cheese mashed potato mix
10 string cheeses
Cheese mix from a macaroni and cheese box
GORP (with a liberal amount of peanut M&M’s, because really, who are we kidding?)
15 Cherry Pie Larabars (my favorites)
Mild Slim Jims
Contrast that list with what I actually ate that week:
1 piece of jerky
4 string cheeses
1/4 packet dried mushrooms (these were amazingly good in the potato ‘soup’ listed below)
1/2 of the mashed potato mix (I ended up putting a couple of spoonfuls into a 1/2 c of hot water and ended up with potato soup… also very good. I looked forward to that as much as I did the…
Group food: chicken soup/chicken boullion/miso soup mix ~ 1/2 c each night as an appetizer as soon as we got off the trail and had water heated.
1/2 of a mild Slim Jim; it nauseated me
1 Larabar over 3 days (the nuts hurt my throat)
7 peanut M&M’s (I remember counting them)
Group food: Some noodles with the cheese mix on it
Group food: black beans and rice, but I remember having to choke them down (not because they were bad, mind you, but because I couldn’t swallow very well because of my cold.) and keeping them down was a chore as well. Not a pleasant meal. The cups of soup were the highlight of the trip.
1 cup of Earl Grey tea one morning
No breakfast, but then again I never eat breakfast (though I didn’t even want coffee… weird. Most likely I just wanted to stay in my sleeping bag a little longer rather than get up to get hot water…) The rest of the trip was lots of water, but I didn’t notice not eating much at all. I think everyone else was more concerned about the food situation than I was.
Frankly, it was just another chore.
What I didn’t take (that I would need to take on a solo trip):
JetBoil: We used a group feedbag situation that involved the guides having the stoves. That sometimes meant that I had to eat earlier than I wanted and didn’t have hot water when it would have been nice to have (later at night before I went to bed to warm up a bit.) I have an insulate-y sleeve that I should have brought for my Nalgene bottle so I could have kept some water at temperature.
In the boonies? Need a bit of extra juice on the plane? Use this solar charger/spare battery to charge almost anything with a USB charger or use any of the custom tips that they have available for cell phones etc. This is good for not having to haul around 20 different AC adapters.
Not only does this recharge in the sunlight it can also be a charge though-device for anything it can charge normally. Its built in battery will hold extra charge for when you aren’t in the sun or near an outlet.
I tested this out with a video iPod and I got an extra 3.5 hours of play on the iPod.
knitting (soon to be a scarf) and some knitting catalogs (porn)
hats, earwarmers (180’s), gloves, jacket
polarfleece remnants (larger than scarves, smaller than a blanket.)
*You wouldn’t think that this is big enough for a weekend in the cold, but since it is so very devoid of weird pockets, rigid walls and things that take up space where you should be able to put clothes, it does actually hold quite a lot.
The actual suitcase that I will be checking has swag in it.
I’ll probably end up dropping this into the suitcase and rolling it on board on the way back…unless I buy lots of stuff there…. like 70 pounds of cheese curds.