Packing Tips: How to Travel Just Right
Years ago, we had a couple who sold their 33’ Airstream for a Bowlus. They knew Bowlus was what they wanted, but they were worried that losing nine feet of length meant having considerably less storage. We suggested they sort through what they considered useful versus what they carried but never used. It turned out about seventy percent of what they carried had never even been touched, nor did it qualify as “emergency supplies.”
Although you might think they should consider auditioning for an episode of “RV Hoarders,” the reality is we all carry too much. All this “stuff” can really slow you down. For this couple, it kept them from camping inside some of their bucket list National Parks. They also had to spend considerable time maintaining equipment that they never used. Now, they travel with only what they need and nothing more.
So how do you become the Goldilocks of packing? Consider these tips:
- Pack for what you plan to do not what you might do. We do have one exception, which is to always bring a swimsuit. Whether it is a hot springs respite or a splash in the lake, a dip can be the perfect reset for a day.
- Think about a simple color wardrobe palette so everything goes together.
- Invest in clothes that are designed for travel. They wear and wash better.
- If possible, try to pick items that can be multi-functioning. For clothing, think about layering. Those squish puffy jackets can be layered with a vest or rain jacket and take up zero space.
- For meal prep, think about how you might be able to extend an appliance for an assortment of meals. One of our easy classic favorites, The Coleman Folding Camp Oven, turns your cooktop into an oven for less than $25.00. Hot cinnamon buns anyone?
- Two good knives are better than a drawer of dull ones.
- The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker will thrill your most demanding latte snob.
- Deli paper as plate liners can make almost everyone volunteer for dish duty.
- Take a moment and download your guidebooks, great reads and your next Netflix binge before you leave home. Even with a Wifi amplifier, you may find yourself with zero reception. Don’t see it as a disaster; smile and remind yourself of the good ol’ days.
- Finally, one golden rule we try to live by is to wait until we “need” something three times before we purchase it. That way the few items you take with you will be more likely to remain useful on future trips.
One last thought: consider adding a travel journal. They are so much more than a record of your trip. Like many of our owners who take privacy seriously, we like how a journal is a wonderful way to process your personal experiences. We like to keep a list of our adventure intentions along details of our trips…and yes, a list of possible “must have” items. One of our favorite Bowlus families started their journals when their adorable daughter was just three with the hope that those same adventures could be duplicated in the same Bowlus with her and her children—how heartwarming!