Packing List

I would say I have a problem with over-packing. An early example that stands out in my mind is Scout camp. Camp Oljato, located in the California Sierra Nevadas east of Fresno, lies on the far side of picturesque Huntington Lake. To get to the Camp Oljato, you load boats, make a one mile trip across the lake, and arrive at the camp’s dock. All this initial travel is not too tough. We have our backpacking packs and one or two other bags. These bags are transported by car up to the mountains and then handed off into the boat. Once we get to the other side, everything you have you need to be able to carry to our day’s final destination – one of the camp’s campsite. The trail was dusty and steep. My pack weighed a ton and bore down on my shoulders. The extra bag or two that I had was dangling from my hand’s sweaty grip. Sweat forming on my head, dripping into my eyes. Stinging. Eventually I made it.

I never really learned my lesson. This tendency to over-pack continued and continued. College – too much stuff. Heading off to war – way too much stuff. The plus side is that I never had to want for much. But the downside… if you can’t carry your bags without assistance, then you have too much! I know this, but seldom practice it. With my last assignment before I retired from the Army, I traveled quite a bit. Instead of slimming down my packing list, I got two large, hard-sided roller suitcases. I could wheel both these bags everywhere. Which seemed to have given me the Green Light to over pack. I would take my large laptop with me (in addition to my work laptop). When I went to Hawaii, I had three laptops. I brought my ham radio laptop to log contacts (as well as a duffel bag full of my Buddipole antenna). There was no real forcing function for me to lighten my bags because traveling with the military meant my bags could usually exceed the weight restriction without having to pay any additional cost.

With the travel trailer, I definitely have a weight restriction. I need to think seriously about each item I am taking as to if I truly need it. The plan will be to list out and prioritize items. However, I know I will be challenged when faced with bringing some of our favorite board games (Gobblet, Backgammon, Cathedral) and books. I have obtained the habit of buying used hardback books from Amazon. They are great because they end up costing about $4 each and have the sturdy feel of a book when read. Those hardbacks add up in weight. I don’t need to be a quasi-Bookmobile. Kitchen (or galley) equipment is another area that adds up quickly to the wight total. Coffee maker, frying pan, pot. Do I bring a Dutch Oven? Heavy stuff. Plastic plates or go with paper? Just one set of silverware or go with four titanium camping sporks? One or two folding tables?

Taking one or two short camping trips before the “Big Trip” will help sort things out. I would even like to have a camping trip where we don’t plug into shore power and need to only use battery power while practicing recharging using the solar panel.