Laura’s Packing List
Yesterday, I looked through all of my stuff and started putting together a packing list for the trip.
I’m a big list person. I make lots of lists all throughout the day. It helps me make sense of the constant jumble of stuff in my head. For the trip, since this isn’t just some weekend jaunt, I wanted to start an “official” big long list that I could work off when figuring out what to take, where to pack it – and what I still need to acquire before we leave.
I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so making a list allows me the space to make sure that every little detail is as spot on as it possibly could be before leaving. A bit silly, yes, but it helps me feel at least a little bit of control over a very open-ended and un-structured trip (I’m discovering that, maybe, I’m not quite as spontaneous as I’d like to think that I am).
What do I still need to pick up before we hit the road? For starters, I’ve decided to go with front and rear panniers, which means that I need to get a set of front panniers. I’m eyeing one last wool shirt, and I’d like to swap my current pedals (MKS) for the style that Russ has (I discovered that my toes don’t have to grip as much on his pedals, which might help keep them from cramping!). Then there’s the question about whether or not to get a new folding chair (the ones that Russ and I have, that are really compact and great for bike travel, are falling apart). Do I want to get a better travel pillow or just take the one I have? And, last but not least, do I want to carry a torch?
Dave June 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm
I’ve been curious why you and Russ don’t use clipless? Trying to cut down on the total number of shoes in your life?
Laura June 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm
Hey Dave – Thanks for your question – I’ve actually never been interested in clipless pedals. I don’t like the idea of being that attached to the bike, even if you do get more power over the long run. Russ and several friends tried quite hard to convince me, but I ended up convincing them to go back to regular flat pedals! What we discovered is that, for the kind of touring we do (stopping a lot, often riding un-paved roads), it’s nice to have regular shoes and flat pedals, so that you can put your foot down at any moment – and, yes, so that we only have to carry one pair of shoes. But, I think pedals are very personal and everyone has to figure out what arrangement works best for them, so in no way are we advocating that everyone give up the clipless lifestyle.
owlvin June 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm
i saw bones on your list. my wife and i travelled with these for years:
Russ June 24, 2009 at 12:13 am
I used clipless for a few years and really loved them. Then we discovered touring on dirt roads. Lots of fun, but sometimes a little dodgy for clipless for me. Also, since I commute a lot, I was going through a set of cleats every 2-3 months!
It’s also nice that I can just hop off the bike, run around and snap a photo without slipping all over the place.
owlvin – cute dominoes!
John June 24, 2009 at 7:47 am
I’ve used clipless for several years as well, and have actually started to have some foot problems (someone suggested plantar fasciitis but that’s usually the heel of the foot, this is the ball of my foot – basically the same symptoms however) so I tried an experiment and started using Power Grips and street shoes. So far, it seems to have lessened the issue. I’ll continue testing it for a while and see what happens. I guess the point is that at this late date it’s best not to change what you know works for you.
Best of luck on the trip!
Toni June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am
i’ve been reading recently that the drom bag works great as a pillow.. have you tried that?
Michael June 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm
I’m rolling with the idea that by ‘torch’ you mean some sort of flash light. I have an itty-bitty Gerber flashlight on my key chain that comes in handy a lot; like for finding things when it’s semi-dark and you’re looking into the bottom of a bag full of stuff. It’s nice to always have it right in your pocket ready for use.
Love the lists. I’m a left handed dyslexic who’d lose/forget his head if it wasn’t attached. I needs me lists!
Laura June 25, 2009 at 6:59 pm
Thanks Michael. Actually, by ‘torch’ I truly mean ‘torch.’ Since I’m a metalsmith and jewelry maker, my torch is an essential part of my toolkit. But, I’m just not sure if it’s really worth bringing along… It would absolutely be handy to have, but can I really picture myself soldering at a campground or in a hotel room? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke…! 🙂
As for the pillow, Toni, I’d never thought of using the dromedary bag. What an interesting experience that would be – it’d be like having a waterbed! I haven’t ever tried that, I wonder if anyone has? I’m really quite curious now…
Michael June 25, 2009 at 11:07 pm
You know how thought sometimes come to you at the oddest of moments? That you meant a torch for your jewelry making popped into my head in the shower this morning.
I see how using that particular tool of your trade could get complicated.
Jack June 27, 2009 at 8:24 am
A little mini-blacksmith shoppe? I’d love to see that. It would make for an interesting post.
Daniel June 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm
I’m wondering if you all considered taking your xtracyles on tour. On the reasons you ruled them out.
Daniel June 28, 2009 at 2:32 pm
That should say and the reasons you ruled them out.
Laura July 1, 2009 at 11:21 am
Hey Daniel – Thanks for the question – I’ve never had an xtracycle, so I never really thought about buying one especially for the trip. Any reason you’re curious why we nixed doing an xtracycle tour?
Toni June 30, 2009 at 5:55 am
Laura, seems to me that you won’t be moving very fast on your journey, so I don’t see why your tools should be left behind. My brother was heavily into making things in his wood shop w/o the use of power tools, and he forged himself some beautiful chisels using recycled car springs, over a hibachi… you may find yourself greatly inspired by the focus of this trip to produce your art. Why not?
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Regarding the last few questions, i would take what you already have with you. If you discover you rpillow is crappy after a week, you can get a new one then. If you chair breaks after a month, there are hundreds of wilderness/backpacking stores all over the country, especially in the northwest. You might be surprised and grow onto the pillow and have the chair last until south america!
as for the torch — no clue!
i like that you’ll have speakers for the ipod. i’d definitely do the same!
geoff in boston