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How long is your packing list, and how do you organize it?

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    How long is your packing list, and how do you organize it?

    I have a basic packing list that I keep in OmniFocus (a productivity app for Mac & iOS). I use it as a template: when I have a trip coming up, I just duplicate that list and add or subtract things specific to that trip. Then as I pack, I check things off in OmniFocus on my phone.

    OmniFocus helpfully tells me how many items are remaining on the list, and I was a little startled just now to realize that my packing list template is 114 items long! That includes 7 things to do before a trip (arrange for cat care, wash dishes, etc), and my 9 subject headings each count as an item, but that still leaves 98 things that I expect to pack for most trips. That seems like a whole lot! And yet everything fits into an A45 or WF plus a personal item.

    The items on my packing list are things like "Bras 2-3", "Coat, hat, mittens, scarf?", "Toothpaste", "iPad and/or Kindle", and "If going to Minnesota: key to sister's house". I list each toiletry item separately since I generally always need the same things no matter where I'm going, but I collapse clothing items into categories since what I need depends on the season and destination (so "Shirts" is a single item on the list).

    The subject headings are a mixture of functional and descriptive, and I've been thinking about a more efficient way to sort things. The functional headings are based on what I'll be packing into (all the stuff on the wet toiletries list goes into a 3DCOC, all the stuff on the dry toiletries list goes into a mesh 3DOC).

    Anyway, looking at my 98-item list got me curious about how others organize their packing lists. Do you have a basic packing list that you adapt for most trips? How long is it? What level of detail does it go to, and how do you organize it?
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian... and now also Seapine/UV!

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

    I use a spreadsheet. I have a Master Packing List of everything I can think of to pack. Then make actual packing lists for various trips. When I got home from my month-long trip to Lisbon, Portugal, I made a note of what I brought but didn't end up using. Constantly editing what to pack.
    Navy/Wasabi S25, Sitka Mini OP,
    Nordic/Iberian SE, Nordic PCSB, Navy Medium Clear OP, Iberian 8" Key Strap, Ultraviolet 8" Key Strap,
    Black/NWS SK, Ultraviolet Large OP, Fjord Small TT, Verde Small Double OP, Island Origami Swan, Island 3D OP , Island SSC , Nordic/NWS LCB, Multi Color Clear OW


      Great topic!

      My packing falls into two categories: static and dynamic items. Static items are travel-specific things I keep intact and re-pack every time, like my Deluxe Spiff Kit, my Scrubba bag for washing clothes, and my Plum mesh 3DOC with my travel chargers. I try to keep these well-stocked and ready to go. I really don't like to change my EDC and that makes packing easier because I know my Parental Unit will be there as always.

      The dynamic items are those that depend on where we are going and what we are doing. Rain gear, swim stuff, etc. I usually write a paper list for these, sometimes I draw a map of the bag I want to use and label where everything will go. Why have nice notebooks if I don't use them? [emoji1]

      Over time I have streamlined what my core clothes will be on any trip. Fewer pairs of undies and socks and fewer outfits for the kids since I end up washing stuff every night anyway just so it doesn't pile up. I always pack the thinner, quicker-drying stuff so there are clothes I pack again and again for travel. I know what to reach for.

      Because of that streamlining, my clothes, outerwear in particular, is becoming more like a static item with less variation. I can get away with one merino cardigan, a packable down jacket, and a packable rain jacket no matter what the weather. Knowing it can all be stashed when I'm not wearing it is a real relief in a variable climate like this.

      I hope this makes sense, I'm not sure!


        My system is similar to @cristina's... I used to travel up to 80% of the time for work, thankfully I travel a lot less now, so I've had a lot of practice.

        I have typical clothes I bring for all seasons, work trips, hot places, and then cold places... the toiletries I leave packed in a clear 3DOC and SSC, in my bathroom closet... if I was running low on something during a trip, I replenish it when I get home, so it's always ready to go.
        Same idea - for most of my electronics, I have an extra set of cords that I leave packed.
        I check the destination weather the day before I leave and pack then - doesn't take very long.

        For unusual trips, like when I went to the Ecuador highlands and the Galapagos a couple years ago, I actually made a detailed extensive list of everything on the Evernote app and test packed. It was my first trip with the A30 and S19 and I wasn't sure yet how that all worked. After some refinements, I had a plan... and as @lizziejean3 does, I annotated that list based on what wasn't used and what was missing
        The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.
        -Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures


          packing... list?

          my packing process:

          1) call uber
          2) grab brainbag
          3) make sure dopp kitt (3DOC clipped to the interior o-ring) and my travel wallet are in there
          4) drop ristretto into front compartment
          5) throw approximate amount of clothes needed into back compartment
          6) get into uber


            This is the one I work from when I travel with a int'l carry-on and my S19. I adjust the organization according to each trip, and its needs. 3rdCoast Highlander's Travel Checklist-2.pdf
            Synapse 19, Black Halcyon/Island with multiple organizer accessories. Black Halcyon/Island Side Kick, 7-8 TB Shopping totes.
            Briggs & Riley CX Carry-on.
            "You can't have a narrow mind and a thick passport."- Pauline Frommer
            Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.


              Originally posted by 3rdCoastHighlander View Post
              This is the one I work from when I travel with a int'l carry-on and my S19. I adjust the organization according to each trip, and its needs. [ATTACH]22317[/ATTACH]
              You can get the clothes you listed in the lower left section into a Side Effect???
              I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian... and now also Seapine/UV!

              I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.


                My experience is pretty much like G42’s. Cords, toiletries and essentials stay packed. The only change up is the clothes, which I can pack in about 5 minutes. I’ll check the weather for my destination, pick between the Pilot and the WF, grab the appropriate packing cube for it from my home office, and head to my closet to pack it with suitable clothes for the trip. Head back to the home office, if needed, swap packed items from one bag to the other, add packing cube, work laptop, zip it up and place it by the door with my coat (if needed) and the shoes I’ll be wearing for that trip.

                Entire process takes max 10 minutes... when I’m travelling for work.

                When it’s leisure, it usually takes me a week to pack our trailer for whatever camping we’re doing. With lots of “oops, forgot this, oops forgot that” in the mix.

                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                  I'm enjoying a thread of packing list fans comparing list styles. Reviewing and refining my lists is part of the anticipation fun.

                  I keep a tab of lists in OneNote. Each type of destination and season combo has a complete list, down to the last key strap. I would forget my head if it wasn't attached.

                  Very little on my lists is static beyond my phone, knitting and core toiletries. I update lists for a given trip depending on weather, health, planned activities, restaurant availability, and transportation. If there will extensive changes, I'll copy the stuff into a new list. Actually, my camping gear list is static. Most of that stuff is pre-packed and stored together.

                  How many items do I pack? 65 looks like my norm. Weekend and business trips can be less than 35 items. The longest has over 200 items. That's for my annual Acadia NP vacation. I bring a couple seasons of wardrobe, a week's worth of food, multiple activities worth of gear, creature comforts, entertainment, and more.

                  Short lists are in a plain column with like things grouped together. Tables organize longer lists. Each cell holds a category. IE clothing, gear, food, etc. I'm not specific with clothes, just "3 Ts" or "2 jeans", unless my wardrobe mixes poorly, like my current summer one. I put bags on the list too when I have more than one bag to pick from. IE blue SSB, big backpack, orange baggallini.

                  I finish packing the night before and I make a short paper list of stuff to do right before I leave. Like setting back the heat and packing things I used in the morning.


                    My method is one not too long checklist, clustered as much as possible by type of trip, destination climate, etc., of all types of clothing (but not specific items or quantities of clothing) or article I would or could possibly need. It’s probably around 40 items; and my checklist gets updated every few trips as new travel purposes or new purchases may add new items. Probably half of the list is routinely packed.

                    For me it’s really used as a confirmation that I haven’t forgotten to think of something, rather than any attempt to organise what I take. When preparing for travel I get out what I think I need and then just work way through list with yes or no for applicability and making sure nothing useful or essential has been missed.

                    I happen to use Things app for this.
                    Last edited by BigBadD; 03-17-2019, 12:22 AM.


                      Since I've discovered Tom Bihn, most of my items are "container-ized" so packing is typically quick and mostly focused on which clothes to pack. Toiletries are always packed, so is my edc. It's just a matter of which pouches to take. That said, I still obsess over the items in my containers and rearrange and repack as a hobby.
                      Getting to the point with too many bags to list them all. Current daily carry is my Black Halcyon Zeitgeist with a Cobalt Cerylon 3DOC as my "purse"/


                        I try to keep it as simple as possible and tend to consider the ease of travel rather than plan for "what if" scenarios. Those situations rarely come to fruition and most of the time you can acquire anything that you truly need.

                        When I pack more than a backpack it's usually for a few-month hitch on a ship, and I usually just live out of the bag. Even for months at a time, it's easy to get by with just a few pairs of clothes, toiletries, and the documents/laptop that need to be with me.

                        In my experience, fewer things = a more enjoyable travel experience and unencumbered freedom at your destination.


                          My husband says I’m list obsessed. I begin packing lists as soon as we book a trip.

                          I use an app. I basically copy old lists for similar trips, and add extras I’ll need this time.

                          Once in the air, I ‘uncheck’ everything on my list, and then recheck as items are used. At the end of the trip I know what I wasn’t used.
                          Synik 22, Truck, Luminary 12 with a MCB Freudian Slip, Daylight Backpack, EDC HLT2, Side Effect or Side Effect, zippered Large and Small Shopbags, Co-Pilot, Travel Tray, Snake Charmer


                            Ha! I spent a few hours yesterday going through my various TB stuff getting it ready for a trip that's two months away. I have been in the list-obsessed ranks since birth. Someone in these forums suggested Airtable as a means to organize things. My first use for it was to create an inventory of all my TB stuff - that was eye-opening. I have one list with different categories: clothing, medication kit, wet toiletry list, dry toiletry list and electronics. My husband praised me for how well I pack so now I pack his stuff - yeah I know I've been conned.

                            pvn - Noooo! (are you my adult son? - that's exactly what he does except no Uber he usually travels with us)


                              Mine is about 40-50 items, depending on how you organize it.

                              For the past few years, I've been an indefinite traveler, but where we move around with a homebase. So every 3-6 months, we pack up the big old checked suitcases (think big, probably overweight, Samsonite wheelies) and setup shop in a short-term rental. Then we do shorter trims from there.

                              So my master packing list is basically everything I own. I'm pretty sure I've left a few things behind at various short-term rentals, but I'm not sure what.

                              For regular trips from our homebase, I do have a quasi-packing list, or at least a process. So for example:

                              Work Stuff: If I'm working part-time or work is slow, I'll just bring what's in my EDC work bag. So laptop, a pouch that always has my dongles/adapters/thumb drivers/whatnot, charger, etc.

                              Personal Care: No real list here. I just pack up what's in the bathroom drawer or whatever into my toiletry kit.

                              Misc: Kindle, things in my travel tray (which I continue to use all the time as a nightstand organizer), a folder that always has my important travel documents (vaccinations, passport photocopy, insurance photocopy, et).

                              Laundry Stuff: If it's more than a few days, I'll bring some Tide sink packets and a Scrubba. Unless I know there's laundry where I'm going; then I'll skip it.

                              Clothes: This is really specific to the destination. Warm, cold, rainy, all that. I don't really do traditional travel clothes much, but there are a few travel-friendly items I use and always bring: a comfortable pair of jeans, a hoodie to wear on the plane, etc.

                              Overall I've come to the attitude that there are really only a few true essentials: Passport, phone, wallet, keys, and laptop. I'm unlikely to forget anything else, but if I arrive and realize my swimming trunks are at home, I'll buy a pair. If I didn't pack deodorant, they probably sell it there. Just think about the fact that if you arrived at a hotel with a strip mall next door and had nothing but your wallet and the clothes on your back, you'd be just fine for the night. Apply that to travel: if you have enough stuff for tonight, you have enough stuff indefinitely.