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3-Day Thursday: How to pack without being a pack-rat

3day_ambassador_badgeHello!  Yes, you!  You with the rolling suitcase, the garment bag, the two pair of shoes for every outfit, and a bathing suit “just in case” … oh, wait, that’s me and my luggage for a typical weekend away.  Not this time!  I, and all the other 3-Day walkers, are under strict packing instructions and limitations; no need for heels, swimsuits, or little black dresses!

Here’s an idea of what needs to fit in my duffel, which can weigh no more than 35 pounds fully loaded.  Oh, and there’s no room for vanity in that luggage – no electric outlets at the campsites means no hair dryers!:

  • two pair of walking shoes that I have trained in
  • t-shirts, shorts, underwear, sports bra, two pair of socks for each day
  • long comfy pants (sweats or flannels)
  • waterproof jacket (a true raincoat if the day starts with steady rain; a small light poncho for waist-pack “just in case”)
  • warm fleece or sweater
  • sleepwear
  • shower shoes or flip flops
  • sleeping bag, air mattress (battery-powered!), and pillow
  • plastic sheet or tarp
  • flashlight (the small “miner’s” light that wraps around the head with an elastic cord keeps hands free)
  • towels and washcloth (I opted to pay $12 for towel service – fresh dry towels every time I need shower)
  • basic toiletries – toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush or comb, shampoo, deodorant, moisturizer for face and body, sunscreen, insect repellent
  • other necessities – ear plugs (? my tent-mate promises she doesn’t snore, but what about the person in the next tent!?), Advil
  • waist-pack with water bottle(s)suitcases

And what goes in the waist-pack?:

  • i.d./license, money, credit card, insurance card
  • sunscreen and lip balm
  • phone/camera
  • sunglasses
  • rain poncho
  • tissues
  • handi-wipes or Purell

I’ll be wearing the waist-pack when I arrive at Opening Ceremonies at (yawn!) 6:00 a.m. on July 24.  I’ll also have on my sports watch and hat, perhaps sunglasses, obviously a pair of shoes and … some clothes!  When I pack for a trip I have a list for WEAR, a list for PACK, and a list for CARRY (waist pack); the 3-Day will be no exception.

I was given some great advice for packing:  put each day’s clothing (underwear to outerwear) in a separate Ziploc bag marked with the day or “evening after shower”.  Easy to just grab the individual bag and get dressed, and the clean and dirty clothes stay separate.

All those individual bags go in a kitchen trash bag, as does my sleeping bag and pillow.  All these bags will be tucked inside a large industrial-size trash bag, and the whole lot will at last be put into my duffel bag.  Yes, there’s a lot of plastic involved, but we want out clothes and supplies to stay dry!

Comments?  Questions?  If you think I left anything off my list, please let me know!

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Personal update:

Thanks to everyone who left messages of encouragement on my post about walking solo.  I have great news to share!  My former team-mate introduced me to a woman in town who is also walking the 3-Day in Boston; she has walked the event before in another city, so she is experienced and enthusiastic.

We went for a wonderful 10-mile training walk last weekend: Alewife station into Harvard Square, down along the river crossing into Boston, up thru the Comm Ave parks, thru the Public Gardens and Common, past Gov’t Center and Quincy Market … we were heading to the North End for lunch, but got sidetracked by the colorful displays of produce at Haymarket.  Grabbed ourselves some strawberries (“Strawberries!  Fresh strawberries!  Dollah a box!”), blueberries, corn, and cherries, then headed back to the T at Park Street.

It was one of the few not-so-wet days Boston has seen in the past month; we walk at about the same pace, and found plenty to talk about along the way.  We decided to sign up as tent-mates for the 3-Day.  It was like a blind date and audition rolled into a training walk!

14 comments to 3-Day Thursday: How to pack without being a pack-rat

  • Carl can pack for a week in a little tiny tote, but not me! I would have to take everything I owned for time out in the woods.

  • It’s great that you found someone to walk with. I’m sure it will make this an even better experience for you!

  • Wow – I am impressed with this level of organization. I can’t wait to hear how it actually works for you. I can sense your excitement in all these posts. I know you will have a great time. So glad you found another partner.

  • your packing list is a thing of beauty. This year, i will be involved in my 13th and 4th 3Day, including several stints on Boston Gear & Tent Crew. As a person who has hefted hundreds of overpacked and badly packed bags, cheers to you for taking the time to make sure you pack well. Love a careful packer!
    And in response to your comments about your new walking partner, keep this in mind – in 2001, I walked in my first 3Day Walk. I signed up alone, I trained alone, and I tented with someone I met the night before the walk. By the time those 3 days had passed, I had met several people with whom I have remained friends, one of whom I have walked or crewed with every year since, and to whom I am now married! You never know who you might meet out there.
    Have a great event.

  • Great idea about marking each day’s clothes in a separate bag!

  • I love the idea of keeping each days’ clothes in one bag. I may have to steal that the next time I go on a trip!

  • Shelley

    This is a great list!
    Like Lauri, I’ve crewed on Boston Gear & Tent (and will again this summer!). I definitely can appreciate a well and LIGHTLY packed bag. :O)
    One tip from the my experience as a walker: There are individually-packaged insect repellent wipes that you can easily fit in your waist-pack. I recommend these instead of a bottle of repellent. That way, you can carry them with you, you only need to apply if the bugs become a problem (instead of spraying it on in the AM “just in case”), and you won’t have any extra bottles in your luggage that could potentially leak.
    Enjoy the walk and come find me to say ‘hello’!

  • My raincoat is one of those that are supposed to be scrunched up into a sausage. Love love love it.

    I’d have paid for towel service, too. Wet towels are heavy. They take forever to dry (and possibly won’t in a pack!). And fresh ones are oh, so nice…

    You know I’ll be cheering you on from the stage. I’m in awe that you’re doing this.

  • Good for sure! I bet this will be an amazing experience.

  • Kathy – we won’t be camping in the woods (I hope!). The campsites are typically at athletic fields, but the details are under wraps for security reasons.

    Stacy – yes, my new partner and I even walk at the same pace (for 10 miles anyway, we’ll see about 60!)

    Margot – I didn’t create this list; it’s a compilation of many lists and advice from the folks at The 3-Day

    Lauri – thanks for the positive notes! You certainly have had an amazing 3-Day career!

    rhapsody & memory – I used to laugh at my mother because she is uber-organized like that, but it really makes sense :)

    Shelley – I will definitely find you and say hello! great tip about the bug wipes

    Susan – yes, the towel service seems to be VERY well worth it! How could I dry a towel inside a tent (if it’s rainy/misty/damp out)

    Tara – it has already been amazing, and the event is still 4 weeks away.

  • I’m so glad you found a walking partner. That will make it so much easier! Packing- I have a hard time taking just the bare necessities. I’m a girl who likes choices and options re: clothing. But it looks like you are very well organized. You’re going to do great!! I’m so impressed.

  • I packed for 3 weeks in Europe in a small bag weighing 20lb. And I packed too much! Lots of plastic bags are good. You’ll do just great. I know it!!!

  • I’ve been following along on this but not commenting much but I just want you to know how much I admire you doing this. It doesn’t sound easy by any means!

  • I really like that photo of all the suitcases LOL

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