The joy of packing

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I have always packed “early”. It is a source of wifely banter before every trip, family or solo. “You’re packing already?” I like to have everything packed and boats racked a full day before I leave, typically pre-dawn.

But I have a long group trip coming up, and it’s been a while since I really detailed the group gear. The group first aid kit was a mess, despite my best intentions of restocking every time. Some of the meds were expired and other stuff was running low.

The batteries in the spares & repairs kit were either dead or missing, the repair putty had hardened into a useless slab and various small parts and pieces were missing from past repair use.

Going through the laminated index of stuff in those two kits made it easy to see what was missing or in low supply, but it took the better part of an afternoon.

Time well spent.
 
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Dec 7, 2011
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I do the same thing, Mike. I have a 2 day kayak event this weekend and I put stuff together yesterday. I stage gear in one place, pack it up after replacing batteries, etc, and am ready to go Friday AM. Being that organized can drive other people (spouses!!) nuts but it works for me. No last minute surprises or finding you don't have it when you need it in the field.
Dave
 
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Leave Saturday for two weeks of canoeing. The packing is just about all done. If I leave everything till the last moment, even with a spreadsheet, something gets left behind. And I really don't want to have to shop enroute.
 
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Started about a week ago, one month out. Tote in house for food, bag in freezer, and making the wife mad with the dehydrator going all the time, and maybe not always getting the vacuum sealer put away. Updating the spread sheet and going through the maps again. To me it is all part of the fun.
But it seems on the trip north, I always pull over just to check….Did I pack this or that.

Going north to the BWCA.com Wing Campout this weekend and then back over to Midwest Mountaineering Expo on Saturday. A whole weekend of talking canoeing and camping. Guess it will be my dry run for May 18th.
 
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I'm heading north to Maine Saturday, put my wall tent up last night just to check it out for the 1000 time it seems. I sealed my old Campmore tarp, couldn't find the seam sealer so went with Thompson's Water Seal this time.
I need to change fishing line and pick up some extra batteries for those little head lamps I use, the kind that clip to the bill on your cap.
It must be a "spouse" thing, the way they mention the time it takes to pack and prepare, and then the unpacking and storing gear always brings another comment on time that could have been spent cleaning the bathroom yaddy yada:rolleyes:
 
G

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Guest
I'm the same way. I have to be packed up the night before, with the packs, paddles, PFDs, etc in the car and the canoe atop the car and ready to go first thing so that the only thing I need to worry about is breakfast and getting to the put-in.



And I don't resent packing one bit. It just contributes to the anticipation. Knowing it was all taken care of the day before and that I've double-checked my checklist leaves me more relaxed and better able to enjoy the drive to the put-in and those first few paddle strokes on the water without lingering worries that I forgot to pack something. A mad gear scramble and pack-cramming on the same day I'm hitting the water leaves me a little anxious.

Hope this helps,
- Martin
 
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No spouse trouble here. Maybe he is properly trained.

The real anxiety hereabouts isn’t the missus, it’s the coon cat. She is as smart as a dog and trained to a variety of voice and motion commands, and she understands when I am packing for a trip.

The coon cat loves being around people, even strangers, but I am her number one human and she doesn’t like it when I start staging gear.
 
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My dog is antzy. She sometimes gets left with a dog sitter. When she sees the blue barrel and canoe packs, she is not happy(only the vacuum cleaner makes her more unhappy). I expect that when we start loading the truck today for a Sat departure she will park her butt in the back seat and not move. This time she need not worry but she does not know that.
 
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Someone mentioned a permanent trip list. I’ll try that this year, as my memory is like a sieve. Every list I make seems different, but I never seem to miss anything when I’m out there. Except the damned duct tape. It plays hide and seek, and so gets left behind. So far I’ve been lucky, and have never needed it. Every time I return the gear to the basement shelves, there it is, sitting proudly on the nearest shelf, just laughing at me. This year I’ll wrap some around my medicinal 1L Jamieson’s, that never gets left behind.
I might try making a list with this :
http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Books...als/Journals/PRD~5003-625/adventure-paper.jsp

The only thing worse than leaving something behind at home, is leaving something behind on a trip. A couple summers ago my wife and I must have been following Santa, we collected everything from beach towels to flashlights. I don’t find it so funny anymore, as last year I lost my Father’s Day pocket knife. I hope the finder takes better care of it than I did. I don’t stress out about things left at home, just so long as they’re not sitting at home next to the damned duct tape.
 
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The reason for the spreadsheet.

One trip I brought the fuel. Not the stove. Another trip, the stove. Not the fuel.

I made a spreadsheet.

Its not infallible. The second time I used it I forgot the TP and it was there on the spreadsheet.

Added glasses to the spreadsheet.
 
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Aberdeen, MD
The only thing worse than leaving something behind at home, is leaving something behind on a trip. A couple summers ago my wife and I must have been following Santa, we collected everything from beach towels to flashlights. I don’t find it so funny anymore, as last year I lost my Father’s Day pocket knife. I hope the finder takes better care of it than I did. I don’t stress out about things left at home, just so long as they’re not sitting at home next to the damned duct tape.

I left a pair of shoes and a good pair of wool socks on the shore of Lake Lila one year, near the old camp's foundations. And another time I left 30' of reflective cord wrapped around a tree on Low's (had been using it as a beacon to find my way back from visiting another campsite for dinner and evening fire... didn't want to go past my own in the dark. I left it behind when I moved out the next morning.)
 
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I seriously just added reading glasses to my list, as I hate squinting at maps. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that before. Sometimes I think I must have a bulb burnt out in my “attic”. Our first trip is 4 weeks away, and I’m still making a list.
Aside from my knife, I’m fairly sure I’ve not left anything behind. I’ve never been a boy scout, but I do the scout thing by taking one last walk around the campsite before departing. But that’s no guarantee. Why don’t people leave behind something really useful, like duct tape? Or glasses.
 
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Sep 19, 2011
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SE MI
The second time I used it I forgot the TP and it was there on the spreadsheet.

Added glasses to the spreadsheet.

Backup TP is always under the drivers seat in the car. I would not make it to far without glasses, although the retaining cord is another story and needs to make it to my list. It seems like I have 10 of them but never where I need them.

I always pack at least two days in advance. Even sometimes let it sit in the car for day. Spreadsheets are almost a must. Maybe even a spreadsheet for the spreadsheet. Or at least check boxes.

Kaine
 
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I did find a pair of reading glasses once... Site 20?(ish), on Low's Lake. Left them where I found them (hanging on a tree), in case the owner remembered and came back for them.
 
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Seeker,
Reflective cord wrapped around a tree as a "get home " beacon! GENIUS!!!! BRILLIANT!!! A simple application that I wouldn't have thought of.
I use a master list for canoe trips and another master list for kayak trips. I then modify the list to suit the circumstances(place, duration, climate, temperature, etc) for each trip I take. Before I used gear lists I once forgot my tent on a 3 day trip! Thankfully I had packed a tarp.
 
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Packing lists

Packing lists

I have three different packing lists for different outings. One for hunting trips, one for day paddling trips, and one that covers everything from extended wilderness tripping to weekend family car camping.

All of those lists are revised as new gear is added (spray covers, paddle float, sails and sail parts, hammock) or gear is no longer needed (taking diapers off the list years ago was a relief).

The comprehensive list has over 100 entries, some of them covering multiple items; “clothing” is a single entry, groover/seat/spade/TP/wag bags is a single line, and also has some odd items that are rarely used (snow mobile suit, spotting scope & tripod, hip waders & clam rake).

The big list covers everything that I (or family we) might need on any trip, any season, any venue. It is easier to simply cross off the odd items for a particular trip when I get that that line than to try to remember to pack it for the rare trip where I want it. Plus crossing those things off give me a feeling of rapid accomplishment when working my way down the packing list.

Without a list I would have no confidence that I had remembered everything. When everything has been crossed off, including my penned notes in the margins (buy wet wipes, print tidal info, check 1[SUP]st[/SUP] aid kit) I am comfortable that I haven’t forgotten anything, and I’m not trying to think back a day or week ago, trying to remember if I did in fact pack toilet paper.
 
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Jul 25, 2012
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Yeah, I too enjoy packing up all the bits and pieces; organizing and eliminating, trying to decide where something ought to go to be most handy. In a way I have to laugh at myself: I have such a wealth of great gear to pick from and I contrast that with what were the probable possessions of someone who was here five hundred years ago. I can imagine how he'd laugh behind his hand at all my stuff, that I consider necessary.

One of the hardest things about being retired I find, is the lack of purpose. When I was a daddy and husband I went to work knowing there were good reasons to what I did. Didn't care much for the job but it provided for those I love, so it was worth it. Now, it doesn't much matter what I do day to day. Maybe that's one of the reasons I enjoy camping so much; it provides a reason to get engaged and plan or be prepared to suffer a little bit.

Had an interesting accident the other day; was getting down some camping gear from a high shelf, as I've done many times before, when the step stool I was using flipped. As I fell, I grabbed the shelf (it's very sturdy) to slow my fall, got my chin/cheek caught on a 16p nail that I'd placed there to hang something on. Unzipped me pretty good. I suppose that's the end of my Hollywood career. All those pesky women throwing themselves at me; it'll be a relief.
Anyway: the only reason I bring it up is that I'm now re-considering those day to day tasks I do all the time and just seeing if I can find a flaw in how I do them and what would be a safer way. Probably you're way too smart to do something as foolish.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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