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View Full Version : Packing mistakes (or when light is too light)



pretzelb
08-18-2008, 08:02 AM
I just got back from my usual trip to New England and I made two mistakes that had me saying out loud "this is going to haunt me on this trip". I wanted to share with others as a sort of public service announcement.

Both issues were caused by heavy rain in Maine. I did not pack a rain coat and I didn't take a pair of water proof or resistant day hikers with me for my walking shoes. I expect rain on these summer trips but with the idea of packing light firmly in my head, and the goal of no check on bags for the first time being my goal, I cut corners and decided against the rain coat because it rarely gets used. Never again.

The problem with a rain coat is even though you may never use it, when you need it, you really really need it. A light rain is something I can stand no problem but a heavy rain just kills the fun without a coat. A heavy rain isn't what I'd call fun no matter what but a simple walk becomes a pain without a coat.

The shoes were a problem for the same reason. I wanted to buy new ones but never found something I liked so I took a risk and went with a sandal / moccasin cross instead. Well that was dumb too because once the rain clears you still need to walk and wet feet are not fun.

I ended up buying a poncho at a gift store for $5, which of course caused the rain to end about 30 minutes later. I then bought some shoes and had them shipped home so next time I should be good. But I learned my lesson and will at least pack that dang raincoat now no matter what.

BJ Nemeth
08-18-2008, 10:14 AM
In most of my travels, rain isn't much of a factor -- most of my time is spent working indoors. If I'm outside in the rain, it's usually while I'm jogging, and I wouldn't wear a raincoat anyway.

However, I do keep a spare raincoat in my car for emergencies, but it is an extremely light and durable model that folds up into a very small pouch. (In a pinch, it also serves as a windbreaker for a little extra warmth.)

Mine is a high-quality hiking model (not sure where I got it), but there seem to be several similar options at Amazon.com. The first link is cheaper (Stormtech - $12), but the second model seems to have a few more positive reviews (Rick Steves - $30).

http://www.amazon.com/Stormtech-Packable-Rain-Poncho-Forest/dp/B000Y97KXW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=apparel&qid=1219079135&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Steves-RS-32-Hide-Away-Poncho/dp/B000PWJ2ES/ref=pd_sim_a_1

I don't have a solution for the shoes, but either of these options should be small and light enough to tuck into your bag without making much of an impact.

aiethabell
08-18-2008, 04:35 PM
I have the Rick Steves' poncho, and it's good for travel use - as long as you're not traveling on business. I jokingly call mine the Batcape, as the black thing billows in the wind. However, it keeps me dry (in Seattle that's no mean feat) while I'm waiting for my bus home. It's also big enough to cover several bags of groceries at the same time. You will sweat in it, though, so it's not for hot weather and rain combined. In Thailand, perhaps, you'd be as wet inside the cape as out.

If you need a business-style lightweight coat, I have and recommend a Travel Smith one. Mine's microfiber, reversible, and has kept me dry in nasty weather. It doesn't have a hat, though. I recommend a Seattle Sombrero from Outdoor Research (the nice people on the first floor of the building Tom Bihn's in). It may not be businesslike, but your head will never be wet in it. Mine's going on 17 years, now, and doesn't look used at all. REI sells them if you're not able to get into the shop.

As far as shoes, I'm a diehard Birkenstock wearer, but they're slippery inside in the rain. If you don't care about looks, Tevas or Columbia's kayak sandals are great. They're made for water, and heck, your feet will dry! If you want to keep your skin dry, you can either buy Gore-tex socks (a bit pricey) or just say 'aw, heck' and get wool socks. Your feet won't be dry, but they'll be warm. Tilley's unholey socks are also a good choice. They dry amazingly fast and won't wear out. Honest. If they do Tilley will replace them.

Hope this helps someone!

PM4HIRE
08-19-2008, 11:14 AM
When I travel across North America as a IT project management consultant,
I packed a shell jacket from Wintergreen Designs. And yes, made in USA.

Link: http://www.wintergreendesigns.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=WGN&Product_Code=10110&Category_Code=AK

This shell is light, packable, durable, and investment for a life time.

Buy the best and cry once!!!

pretzelb
08-20-2008, 06:04 AM
When I travel across North America as a IT project management consultant,
I packed a shell jacket from Wintergreen Designs. And yes, made in USA.

Link: http://www.wintergreendesigns.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=WGN&Product_Code=10110&Category_Code=AK

This shell is light, packable, durable, and investment for a life time.

Buy the best and cry once!!!

Yikes. At that price I think I'd cry over and over unless I was able to use the jacket at least three times a week, and then I think I'd be crying because I was getting rained on three times a week. I would worry that after a few years I'd get tired of the color or design and want an upgrade. But they do have some other interesting items.

Darcy
08-27-2008, 01:34 PM
Buy the best and cry once!!!

I completely agree. I once heard that the secret to style is to save your money and buy 3-4 classic, well-made, and (because of that) expensive pieces per year, over time assembling a sharp looking wardrobe that will serve you for years. This is, at least, how I've assembled my outdoor/hiking wardrobe.

PM4HIRE
08-27-2008, 03:55 PM
Darcy:

Before I was forced to retire, I assembled my professional
wardrobe based on the classic men's style. I had less
clothes than my peers, but the clothes lasted at least
a decade before the need for replacement, so I actually
spent less money on clothes over the years.

I've since given my wardrobe away except for a couple
of polo shirts and khakis. I wear Duofold tshirts and
shorts now almost exclusively.
__________________

pretzelb
08-27-2008, 05:17 PM
I completely agree. I once heard that the secret to style is to save your money and buy 3-4 classic, well-made, and (because of that) expensive pieces per year, over time assembling a sharp looking wardrobe that will serve you for years. This is, at least, how I've assembled my outdoor/hiking wardrobe.

I almost upgrading my hiking boots with this thought in mind. There is a pair of Crestas by LL Bean that have made me drool for years. But I rarely get to use my cheaper hiking boots and they are decent for the minimal effort I put them through. But still ... one day I'll take the plunge.

The problem is this rule doesn't apply to electronics. I bought a very nice iPod just over a year ago and now I'm thinking I should upgrade. :(