I’m an over-packer. There, I said it. Given the chance, I would bring it all will with me when traveling. Most of the time when I arrive at my destination, I discover that a lot of the stuff I brought with me, I could do without and survive quite nicely. “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best”, this was something my grandfather used to say as he prepared for his annual camping trips.
I have a tendency to take this to the extreme when thinking about what I want to pack. The thought of being without something during the trip makes me think, “if I don’t have item ‘x’, the whole trip will be a disaster!”.
Some of the things that help me to pare down my packing list from ‘everything, including the kitchen sink’ to something much more reasonable, are some simple facts. I don't have a team of sherpas to carry all my stuff, and I am only allowed to bring ‘X’ number of bags with me.
Vans, tents, and planes only have so much space for luggage. The other thing that helps me make a decision about ‘take it or leave it’, is “can I carry it by myself”? Sometimes on Mexico trips I may need to be able to carry all of my stuff for some distance, like when I need to walk through the border during Amor 3 Day trips.
There are some things that you just don’t want to be without on your trip, and those can be slightly different for each. Amor has a great packing list for you in our Mission Trip Planning Guide, and Jon wrote earlier a minimalists packing tips blog.
After many years of camping in Mexico, here are a few of my personal packing ‘must-haves’.
Headlamp. It is way more convenient than a flashlight. It’s small, lightweight, and leaves your hands free to do stuff like playing cards, preparing meals or late night trips to the baño.
Big hat. For those of use that are ‘follically challenged’ (bald), a good hat is hard to beat.
Sunglasses. Squinting all day gives me a headache and may lead to premature wrinkles. Got to protect my beautiful face!
Flip flops. It’s nice to kick off the work boots at the end of the day and let those toes breathe! Great for in the shower too.
Solar shower and/or Baby wipes. Solar showers are a great way to have a warm shower at the end of the day. Baby wipes are great for quick clean-ups and can be used to freshen up a bit if taking a full shower is not practical.
Extra money. I bring extra money to buy a couple of Mexican blankets at the Amor Store. These can be used to put under my sleeping bag to give a little extra padding. They also can help you keep warm on an extra chilly night. I usually donate them at the end of the trip. Good for me during the trip and great for the pastors to be able to give to a family in need.
Everyone’s ‘must have’ list is going to be different but hopefully this gives you some fresh ideas. I hope to see you at camp soon!