My “Always Pack” List
There are a few things that get packed up every time; no matter where, when, or how long a trip may be. There is a small black mesh bag that normally stores my electronics, it does double duty as my “always pack” container on trips. Items that are always packed are: wool buff, spork, headlamp, eye mask, ear plugs, sarong clip (sarong too, but I do not currently have one and have been on the look-out), notebook/pen and passport. You may or may not be surprised to know that only one of those things actually gets used in my day-to-day life.
Each of my “always pack” items is invaluable when needed, serves multiple purposes and has saved my bacon on previous trips. My wool buff was a hat, a face mask, glove and pot holder on a camping trip in the Smokies. It was a scarf, headband and hat on my trip to Europe. It was a scarf again during the snowpocalypse in Jackson, MS this past January. In the year I have owned it, it has time and time again proved to be one of most useful clothing articles.
<wool buff in action!
The spork, once scoffed at in the cafeteria in high school is now used with triumphant gusto. I also newly acquired it last year at REI in Knoxville, TN when I got the wool buff and Dr Bronner’s soap (2 oz.). In the year I have had it, it has not been used too often. My best guesstimate is 20 times or so, but when you need a utensil, you need a utensil! It got the most use on my camping trip of course. I used it in the airport a dozen times or so. In Europe it was mostly used in Germany and the Negev desert. I cannot stress the point enough tho, that when you need a utensil, you need a utensil! Then when you pull out the spork with glorious relish it may as well be gold.
Next item is the headlamp. Not too much to say about it other then I love the hands free feeling of having an adjustable flashlight. It almost never gets used, except for camping or the rare moments down south when we lose electricity. I walk my dog every night using my boyfriend’s regular flashlight and it is only just now dawning on me that I should use the headlamp (I can be a dunce at times). Again it is one of those items that while not in use too often it proves itself worth a million dollars when you need one.
The eye mask was a freebie given out by Delta on our flight to Europe. I didn’t think I needed it but the packet came with earplugs which I had forgotten and knew I would use those. Since I hate throwing away items I kept the eyemask in my bag during the trip. It became a wonderful tool for sleeping. It usually takes me a day or two to get accustomed to a new environment to sleep well. With the sleep mask I sleep like a baby every time.
I am currently without a sarong. Usually the one I have operates as a throw blanket, beach blanket, dressy skirt, swim cover-up, loungey dress and serves a multitude of other various uses. During a clean-up over a year ago I donated it thinking it wasn’t truly adding value at the time. Since then I have not found a good replacement and since I have been making due without it for so long now I hesitate to buy another. I guess I am waiting now for one that was ethically made, in superb colors that match everything in my wardrobe and at a good price. Basically the shangri-la of sarongs. It could be awhile.
With the ever expanding assortment of electronics available out there I am still old school when it come to taking notes. My notebook and pen are invaluable to me. All the information will typically be transferred to an electronic system, but I still like the feel of writing and the freedom of spacing it gives me on the page. I tried using a moleskine as most digital nomads raved about them, I found a cheap spiral bound small notebook was more conducive to my style. I also use either a purple pentel pen or a bic 4 color multi-click pen.
Lastly, my passport is always by my side because you never know! I would never want to miss out on an opportunity just because I didn’t have the most important tool in a travelers kit with me. Also, if your wallet get stolen or lost, how happy will you be getting to the airport with a backup? ‘Hey, let’s jet down to the Bahamas!” will probably never happen when I am in Orlando, but you can’t blame a girl for dreaming!
What do you “always pack?” I am curious to compare notes! Oh and by the way, it’s earplugs that get used everyday!