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How to Pack for an Adventure

Posted on July 08 2013

OK packers, I’ve done this a few times. Every summer I travel East to the deep forest of Vermont, USA. There, I practice the art of bargaining, tree hugging, and selective hitch-hiking. And every once in a while I get the same question: How do you pack?

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1. First things first, no matter where you are going, no matter how long you are going for, you are going to come back with more stuff. So consider that. When packing, try to separate your expectations from reality (like in 500 Days of Summer). As nice of an image your clothes make in your mind for your upcoming trip, the reality is that you will find more clothes, and you won’t miss the rest. For a trip longer than a week, and if you have access to a washer and a dryer, there is no reason to take more than two pairs of shorts and four shirts. Just think about all the room you’ll be making for more stuff!

2. The next argument we must settle is the obvious… Roll, stuff, or fold? Roll. The answer is always roll. Roll your necklaces inside your shirts, your shirts inside your shoes, and your shoes inside your bag. Not only will this save you room, but if you do it right it will also help with wrinkles.

3. Pack things in layers. Put big rolls of clothes down first (like sweaters), then fill in the holes with smaller items and put another layer of rolls on top. Keep doing this until the top of your bag, and save your outside pockets for things you might need to grab often, or dirty laundry on the trip.
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4. Pack like your house is burning down. I mean, in the event that your house is burning down I can only assume you wouldn’t be grabbing for your Toms shoes or cowboy hat, but let’s say your house is VERY SLOWLY burning down… And you have time to consider a few things. Pack the clothes that will be most versatile and easy to layer for different weather and activities (the One Teaspoon reversible tank is perfect for that, from Coda) . Also, leave your textbooks. And anything else that you might think you will have time to do on your trip, because you won’t. Trust me, if you aren’t making time for them here, you won’t be making time for them in your tropical paradise.

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5. You can buy more shampoo on your trip. And even if you can’t, you definitely don’t need 750mL of it. Reduce that shit.

6. Take a bag that is easy to fold, like a sports bag, and put it into or around your suitcase. That way, if you bring back too much stuff, you can pay for an additional bag instead of buying another suitcase! Or, you can use it to split up your stuff because of a weight limit. It happens.

7. Wrap. Your. Liquids. As much as you think it won’t happen to you, it happens. Stuff explodes, there isn’t anything we can do about it. And really, the extra time will save you a lot of stress.

8. Photocopy your passport and health card and email them to yourself in case you lose them.

9. Leave a note on the very top of everything in your bag that has your address, contact information, and a friendly note that will persuade others to get in touch with you if they accidentally come across it.

10. Take a spare set of clothes and all your electronic chargers in your carry-on bag. I swear on my life that if I have to wear another one-size-fits-all T-shirt given to me by the airline that forgot my bag in Who Knows Where, I will have a cow. Seriously, why should I suffer?

And there we are! Have a safe and happy trip!

Maple

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