Observations on Packing


I am about to leave on a five day trip, so packing is on my mind. I don’t have any awesome tips about how to pack for a 10 day trip in a small backpack, probably because I would never be doing that. It occurred to me, though, that there are three types of packers for a basic trip. A more specialized trip like camping or going on safari changes things. Apologies for any perceived sexism. I know I am making wild generalizations and that males and females are in each of the following three groups.

The Methodical Packer

This packer has planned their trip months in advance, has their destination added to their weather app, shopped 2 or 3 months ahead for the appropriate clothing or to add to their current wardrobe so it all mixes and matches. There may be checklists.

A month before the trip is not too early to start the packing process. This first involves laying out in some separate space, all the potential things she might need. (I am assuming that women make up most of this group.) She has duplicates of all her cosmetics and toiletries so she does not have to pack them on the travel day. Every day or so the tidy piles are checked and edited, until the perfect combination is at the ready, merely needing to be placed in the suitcase the day before leaving.

The Day Before Packer

This person is likely to be male or female, and may or may not have planned the trip months in advance. In fact, the trip planning strategy is inconsequential to this kind of packer. They know trip is coming up. The laundry was done two days before so all options are available.

Tidy piles may exist for this person, but they are edited in hours or minutes rather than weeks. This packer may kick themselves for realizing at this late date they don’t have time to pick up a replacement for their perfect black cardigan after discovering that moths had a little feast. They sigh, and pack it anyway, knowing that almost nobody will notice the tiny hole near the shoulder.

Once satisfied with their selection (this could take a couple of hours), they pack it in the suitcase, leaving out the outfit that was selected for travel day. Cosmetics and toiletries are packed when dressing on travel day, as they are used, to avoid forgetting anything.

The Stuff and Run Packer

Not much explanation is needed for this kind of packer. If I had to guess, I would say the group is mostly men, though in a crisis women can be quite good at it.

Basically, this packer has the timing of their packing down to a science, just as a methodical packer does, but it takes them minutes rather than days. They grab their case, stuff in everything they think they might need, and hit the road. Anything that has been forgotten can be picked up at the destination.


I fall into the Day Before group, and as it’s the day before my trip I’m packing today, especially as I have an early start tomorrow. I unexpectedly had to take the dogs to the boarding center (see yesterday’s post) so my timing is a little off because a) I’m still doing laundry and I have two appointments later and b) I signed on to post everyday and here I sit typing away. Clothes are still spinning around in the washer and dryer, so I have an excuse.

Posts for the next few days will be noticeably shorter.


3 thoughts on “Observations on Packing

  1. I’m a “throw a bunch of stuff into my bag and when it’s full I’m done” kind of packer. I’ve done a lot of travelling, though, so I can usually pull it off pretty quickly without forgetting more than one thing. Forgetting one thing is inevitable whether I make a detailed checklist and pack in advance, or pack in a rush on the way out the door.


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