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640 Gearaphobia 2012-05-10

Element packed and in Kansas

As my wife, Amy, was leaving for work this morning, I stopped her and said, "we only have three weeks before we leave!" Both of us smiled. Over the last several weeks, we have been slowly getting ready for our summer trip, but now is the time to buckle down and finish the job.

As we begin to pack, we know that we have a problem. It's called gearaphobia - the fear of needing something that we decided not to pack. More than likely, we would be able to continue the trip without the vital piece of gear, but it might not be as comfortable. So we tend to have too many items on the packing list and that make it to the car. Work together to cure gearphobia - just say 'no', to the seventh pair of shoes!

Through the years, we have tried to control our gearaphobia. The only method that works for us is by using lists. When we don't meticulously prepare a list and pack using the list, we find that we just throw things in the car until we run out of room. Then, once, we arrive at our destination, we have more stuff than we want. If we could have a yard sale at out camp site, we would! We find that we packed so much gear, that we can't find anything, but we also find that we have multiple's of everything we weren't looking for. We question each others packing, 'Why do you have four rain jackets?' or 'Do you think we need really need three coffee mugs, each?' Luckily we have a friend in Boulder who allows us to store lots of extra everything at his house. One year we left about half of our gear that we packed for our trip in his basement.

Words from a gearphobic - make lists and pack accordingly.

So a few ready to go tips ...

Not only is there a list of things to pack or do, but also a time line for getting them done. For some items, you might want to wait until the last possible minute (like mowing the yard) and other things you might want to get done as quickly as possible so that you will not have to worry about them later (such as servicing the vehicle, or repairing gear).

Don't forget that you probably also have many family, home, and work chores to do before you can go. One year, we had family obligations right before a trip. We then were forced to pack at the last second. It was a disaster. The family obligations are a must do, but we should have finished packing before the relatives came to town.

Make sure that you are communicating and sharing packing lists. You don't want to pack doubles (or triples) but neither do you want to forget a vital piece of gear. On several occasions I have been on climbing trips that no one packed a rope!

Stick with the list. If the list has five pair of liner socks, don't even think about packing six pairs!

Pack together. Check off the list when the item is packed and help each other make those tough decisions like, do I need five or six pairs of shoes?

We keep lists from each year and make notes on the list - did we use the gear?, do we have something better? do we still need it even though we didn't use it?

Pack for the weather. You might need cold and warm weather gear.

On long trips, agree on how long you plan to go between trips to the laundromat.

We have sent things home using UPS. It's not cheap, but at the time it was necessary, just to give us more space.

Every extra 100 pounds of weight added to a car decreases mileage by 2%.

Of course if we flew to our destination, packing might be more difficult, but with all of the extra baggage fees, it would be harder to overpack.

Happy Gearaphobic trails


Okay, yes, I made up the word. : - )


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