Thursday, June 25, 2009

Packing for camping

Packing for a trip is always a challenge. The more activities we do, the more challenging it is to pack for the trip! At the end of this week I am leaving for a trip that begins with a conference (suit), a few days in some mid-size city (shorts/t-shirt), followed by various outdoor activities (what Hubby and I call "technical gear").

Technical gear varies according to the sport. When we hike, we wear zip-off pants that become shorts. Biking is padded chamois shorts and a biking top with those fancy pockets on the back. Kayaking and rafting requires a swim suit and something lightweight to cover it up. Cave tours tend to be cold, but the zip-off pants and a long-sleeve tee usually works fine.

Really, the only thing this classification of clothing has in common with each other is that it's mostly synthetic (some of it's wool) and it all has to be washed in cold water with powdered detergent and hung to dry.

Given all the varied activities, this trip is a bit of a packing nightmare. Normally, I would pack clothes that multitask, i.e. wear a hiking shirt for biking. However, this week has been stinking hot, 102-106 heat index, which is a scorcher in the Midwest. So, I need enough clothes for each day; I don't plan on doing any laundry.

In order to make my list, I first make a note of the different types of activities. Sometimes, I know what activities I'm doing on what days. This trip is a bit looser, so it's harder to pack. It's also not separate; we might tour a city, take a bike ride, then go to another attraction. I'm not a fan of showing up at a museum in my bike clothes, so maybe I'll bring a skirt to pop on...

City touring
Cave/Dam tours
We're gone 8 days, 3 of those will be open for activities. The others will be mostly in the car or touring cities. So I'll pack 3 days of technical gear plus 1 extra outfit. I anticipate a half-day hikes, a half-day ride, and several shorter mini-hikes or short rides. One outfit for the full day and another for the partial days, 2 hiking, 2 biking. The rest will be shorts and tees.

Then, I list all the essentials:
Grooming kit: I keep this packed, so I just refill my shampoo, etc. and don't think too much about what's in there.
Make-up bag: I am a make-up minimalist. Mascara, eyeliner, shadow, suncreen, lip gloss.
Jewelry: not much for camping, though I'll wear some at the confrerence and then pop in a pair of earrings for the rest of the week.

Lastly, I make a specific list of the clothing I intend to bring.
2 bike shorts
2 hiking zip-off pants/shorts
3 technical tees, 1 bike top
1 long sleeve technical tee
Mid weight fleece
2 sport bras
4 wool socks (extra for cool evenings)
4 bike socks (only the thin bike socks fit in my bike shoes, and we might do some short rides)
Skirt for over bike shorts
Capri's for over swimwear
Swim suit
2 towels
8 days of undies
2 regular bras
4 sport socks
Light hikers
Flip flops
Keens (their famous "shandel", half shoe, half sandal, is a great multipurpose travel shoe!)
2 pair shorts (wear one)
4 "presentable" tees
4 tank tops
Work shoes (pumps)
Work pants
Work shirt
PJ's (shorts & yoga pants; wear the first-day t-shirt)
2 long sleeve tee
Button down long-sleeve camp shirt

I have a master camping list that I check this against, to make sure I don't forget anything. And this is just my clothes…I still have to pack food and camping gear!

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