05 May 2016

Your Packing Persona

As I write this, I'm in the car about to begin a 10-day ski trip into the Canadian backcountry. It'll be my first time in a helicopter, my first time backcountry skiing in Canada, and the first time without cell phone coverage for more than a day in who-knows-how-long. I've been looking forward to this trip for months, but am still in this mental state of 'overworked disbelief' that the time has finally arrived to head out.

It's no secret that I am 'pro-vacation', and that I'm a planner who loves spreadsheets. I'm the type of person who needs something on the calendar - anything really - to look forward to. But I don't anticipate a trip in the way you might imagine. Having plans make me feel calm. It checks something off of my "mental list" if you will. But once that box is checked I just don't really think about it anymore, not until the departure date is looking me in the face screaming, "hey lady, you should probably start thinking about getting your poop in a group looming."

Trip preparation for everyone is different. In general, you'll fall into one of six categories:

This looks like chaos, but it's sort of mostly kinda organized. 

  1. The Extreme Over-Prepper: Your trip may be two months off, but you are already making lists and laying your clothes out in neat piles. Who cares if you'll want to wear those pants between now and your departure? You need them for your trip and so they sit ready to go at a moment's notice. You have a daily itinerary and don't like it when someone throws out a new suggestion because it means you need to rethink your packing strategy, and that is just. not. acceptable.
  2. The Packer. Repacker. Repacker Packer: Similar to the Extreme Over-Prepper, the Packer Repacker, Repacker-Packer puts a lot of thought into what comes along, but does so in an overthinking way. Where the Over-Prepper is assured in his decisions, the PRRP struggles, constantly changing her mind. Pulling things out, putting things in, and going back to square one. She runs the risk of both bringing too much and not enough, and being late for the meet up time, because the self-doubt will plague her long after the trip is over.
  3. The Ounce Counting Guy: You have a spreadsheet with each piece of gear and how much each piece weighs. This allows you to calculate your pack weight to the ounce. You spend hours debating between this puffy or that one, mulling over their weight to warmth ratio. You'll never make the right choice, and it won't matter because you'll throw a titanium flask of whiskey in there at the last minute anyway.
  4. The Overpacker: Opposite of Ounce Counting Guy, the Overpaker brings all of the things you could ever possibly need. She can protect you in case of a Zombie Apocalypse, feed you during a famine, has enough layers to clothe everyone in your party+, and has everything to basically perform surgery in the field. She will carry too much and complain about the weight, but refuse to take one thing out. You never know when you might need a portable DVD player with tape-deck for an emergency!
  5. The Last Minute, I'll Pack at the Trailhead Man: What's that? You're supposed to be at the park and ride in an hour and you haven't even started packing? No worries! Throw what you think you'll need in a bag or six and head out, weaving through traffic and swearing at the guy sitting in the left lane going only 4 miles an hour over the speed limit because you are late and now it's his fault! If you forgot something your friends can just stop on the way - you aren't in a hurry afterall - and everyone will want to repack at the trailhead anyway.
  6. The Expert: Your gear closet is immaculate. Everything has a place and is in it's place. With the calm confidence only gained through experience, you approach your gear closet, grab what you need, place it in a neat pile, take one of those coveted pre-trip gear photos, and pack your bag neatly and succinctly. You don't take more than you need. You use everything you take. And you never forget anything at home. The rest of us hate you.
The good news: Regardless of your packing profile, we all make it to the trailhead eventually!

Personally, I fall into a few categories: On the one hand I've done this a lot and my gear closet is pretty darn organized. I keep a running list of things I'll need in my head and using Evernote so I at least have a good idea of what I might want to take. But I tend to wait until the last minute before I get motivated enough to throw everything into a pile before shoving it in a bag and running out the door. In my universe, there's always time to repack at the trialhead. 

The one thing I ALWAYS do though is clean my place before I leave. No one likes coming home to a disaster area!

What's your packing story?


Ashley @ ladyacray.blogspot.com said...

Just found your blog and have been sifting through all of your posts - I love it!

Kristina said...

Thanks Ashley! Really appreciate you reading!

Nik Jensen said...

I'm a number 6 that packs everything the night before, sometimes even the morning of, sort of like a number 5! I'm usually early, though. I can go forever on very little sleep. I still drive like a number 5, though! Maybe that's why I'm usually early, LOL!

Joe Sambataro said...

I'm a last minute packer for the most part, but gotta do it the night before for alpine starts - my brain doesn't function that early in the morning. For big trips/expeditions, I dork out and put together a google spreadsheet. All in all: 40% #6, 30% #5, and 30% #1.

el_Reido said...

The Ounce counting over packer... Why not bring an extra puffy if it only weighs 6oz but you saved 16 with aluminum, titanium and carbon things..