Reckless Packing

Walking Trail at Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, WA. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

The size of a suitcase is only limited to the size of my imagination, when I pack for the annual family Sun Mountain Lodge vacation.  I imagine that, if we’re staying four nights, I’ll need about four bags:  two big bags, a smaller bag, and a purse that’s stuffed to capacity.  The family Subaru is not limited to one carry-on and one personal item per passenger.  No! There’s room for all kinds of bags, including a ginormous Styrofoam cooler and a big box of food.  It’s also okay to throw in a few towels and much more than 3 ounces of bug-spray and sunscreen without ending up on some kind of “no-fly” list.  Bug-spray and sunscreen, in my hands, only pose a danger to myself if I get confused and point the nozzle at my eyes—while Nate and Alex take turns driving on twisty mountain roads.  Knowing that this could actually happen, Nate has taken the proper precautions and has packed more “dangerous” items far from my reach.  (The more I have to struggle or crane my neck to get something, the less likely I’ll keep trying.)

Typically, I’m not this reckless and wild when packing for a trip, but I’ve already survived two plane flights this year for which I’ve made lists of things I “wished” to take. Then, I had to cut that list in half—and then half it again—in order to shove everything into something that could fit under the seat of a plane.  I’ve watched in terror as flight attendants spotted roller-bags and stopped people from boarding the plane with them.  Even though they were regulation size, the overhead bins were magically already filled and “sky-check” was just not happening.  Instead, those passengers had just won the thrill-of-a-lifetime prize of free lost luggage.  No thanks.  I will stuff 2-3 outfits and toiletries into one impossibly tiny bag and just wear all of my other clothes on the plane.

But. . . when packing for the family road trip to Sun Mountain Lodge, I splurged.  I made one list of everything I could think of and then I added onto it. I cut nothing.  It felt great.  It felt like I was living my best life—the kind that people write about in books like this one:  You are a Badass:  How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.  Yes—the first step to loving my “badass self” on vacation was filling up a large suitcase, finding another one in the closet, and stuffing that one full as well.

“I’m doing it!” I told Nate. “I’m really doing it!”

“Yes. Yes, you are,” he replied.

So, here’s how I survived a four-day trip with just four “badass” pieces of luggage:

Inside the Big Multicompartmental Suitcase I Stuffed:

–Three pairs of shoes—all of them crappy—all of them wrapped tightly in plastic shopping bags.

–Three swimming suits—in case I ripped two of them. I don’t know how that could happen, but it could happen.  The bathing suits could get caught in a car door and get dragged several miles before I’d realize what was happening.

–One bathing suit cover-up.

–Every pair of socks I could grab in two “fistfuls” from my dresser drawer.

–All of my underwear. All of it.

–All kinds of running clothes.

–Several T-shirts—both practical and “novelty.”

–Two pairs of pajamas.


–An alarm-clock.

–Toiletries in the front pocket. (Here, I actually went with the 3-ounce rule.  I’m not sure why, but I guess some habits never die.)

Inside the Other Large Bag, I Packed:

–A dress I wadded into a ball. (It’s a cotton, wrinkle-free dress—in theory. I tested that theory. I tested it hard.  It almost worked.)

–Several skorts.

–A bunch of “nicer” shirts.

–A small hairdryer.

–A flat iron.

–A baseball hat.

Inside the Smaller Bag, I Packed:




–Makeup/toothbrush/deodorant/tweezers/manicure scissors


–Phone Charger


Inside my Purse, I stuffed:

–More pens.

–My phone.


–A wallet.

Questions You Might Have:

Did I use everything I packed?  Not remotely!  I have no regrets.

Did I forget anything? Nope.

Which was harder: packing or unpacking?  Definitely unpacking and trying to remember where I found everything in order to pack it in the first place.  That is definitely one “downside” of packing like a badass.

Your Turn:  How do you pack for a trip?






34 thoughts on “Reckless Packing

  1. Hilarious!! Like SUPER hilarious. I pretty much packed the exact same way today for 5 day trip- 4 of which will be spent in the pickup on 8 hour driving stretches!!!!! Shorts, jeans, ALL underwear, 2 pj’s, but only 1 swimsuit. Only because I only have 1. Haha. Your part about the swimsuits and the dress wadded up in a ball almost made me snort!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha ha. Well, I guess I do have 1/2 a swimsuit besides my suit. For some reason I saved the bottom to a suit I bought like 10 years ago. It definitely needs to not be saved!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I pack way more than I will need. What I pack for a two-nighter would be enough for two weeks in either northern Saskatchewan or Puerto Vallarta, proven by the fact that I continue to live out of my suitcase for two more weeks after returning back home. No need to put anything away. Besides, if we were to go on another spur of the moment trip I would already be half packed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh i am very familiar with that packing! Twice this summer I’ve been limited to ten pounds and one small bag- what a pain. Twice I’ve had the fun of car traveling where I just keep throwing things in🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Had to laugh as I read this I was packing for our canoe trip. I saw a blog recently that mentioned the car being packed like the exodus from Egypt. I never take more than a carry on anymore on a plane, what a hassle and expense. But, car is just a whole other story. I will have to take a couple of pictures of our fully loaded car. Good thing we don’t have kids or dogs along as their faces would be plastered against the windows to make room for our important stuff. As always love your take on these dilemmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After packing for many many years (for two persons, then three, then four, and finally two again) I pack as little as possible. In caseI forget something, I buy it, but usually it’s not necessary. Very funny post, thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We are opposites in this regard. I try to pack and get away with as little as possible. Once I spent a weekend in Munich (coming from Vienna) packing only a toothbrush just to see if I could. I could, but my friends may have wished I hadn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For a month in the camper? Everything. Or almost – fewer long sleeves when hot, fewer sleeveless when cold. For anything less, or requiring a flight: one small roller bag (underwear per day + 1, 2 – 3 pants, 1 shorts, 1 skirt, 1 nightwear, 4 – 8 variety of tops, maybe a raincoat and/or sweater, toiletries.) and one tote with computer, book, at least one knitting project, writing implements, passport, snacks, etc. In pockets: wallet, phone, camera. If in my car, bedding and air mattress ( I am often spending nights where some or all is necessary, and if I’m bedding down in 5 different places in a week, I’ll not expect hosts to wash all that laundry!), at least one kayak if there’s a chance I’ll see paddleable water, plus paddle/PFD/drybag, backup knitting stuff, cooler and food.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel that I’ll disappoint you there, but here’s how I pack for anything around a week: I grab either a backpack or a gigantic handbag and toss in: two pairs of pants, one skirt, one dress, all the underwear I can find, two pairs of socks, two pairs of pjs and my sandals. Everything else goes on my body. And then when I come back home I don’t unpack for as long as humanly possible lol
    Hope you had fun during your trip! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I remember a colleague telling me about how much she took on holiday. I said “you don’t carry your own bag do you?” She immediately went quiet. I later found out that her husband had just had a wrist operation so he couldn’t carry his own bag, let alone hers as well….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, no! It probably is better to just pack what you can carry. That’s typically the rule I live by when traveling by plane, but in this case, it didn’t matter how many trips I took to the car back and forth. Thanks for stopping by!


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