It’s time to pack!

In two days I leave to begin scouting for my upcoming photo workshop in Oregon, today I’ll start some of the necessary packing for the trip. It sure seems like there’s a lot of stuff to remember to bring, as much as I’ve appreciated a digital workflow, there’s just a lot more stuff to bring along. This used to drive me crazy, because I could never shake the idea that I’d forget to bring something, even when I hadn’t forgotten anything. Eventually, I just made a list, and then refined it over time. My standard list contains some things that won’t be necessary for every trip, that’s fine, it’s very easy to cross out things that you decide not to pack.

First, there’s the basics:

Clothing: Hat, shirt, coat/jackets, warmth layers, belt, underwear, shoes, socks, boots, hiking boots, wellies, hand warmers, glomitts (glove/mittens).

Toiletries: Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, razor and blades, prescription drugs, ibuprofen, nail file, comb, hair brush, antiperspirant, sunscreen.

For car-based trips, it pays to be prepared in case of emergency. I vary what I do bring depending on circumstances, more water for Death Valley, blankets for the Sierra.

Car Needs: Emergency food and water, blanket, towel, chains, flares, first-aid kit.

Wherever you go, there’s some potential for marketing, if nothing else, always have an abundence of business cards with you, and hand them out generously. Have a pen and paper handy to get contact info for people you meet, too, perhaps they’d like to be on your mailing list?

Marketing Needs: Business cards, show postcards, portfolio, marketing packets, resume, bio, pen, paper.

This is supposed to be a photo trip, yeah? Now, normally I keep a lot of my basic camera gear prepacked, so this part of the list usually gets checked off quick. One warning here I should put on the list itself, the “little wrench” I mentioned is not something that airport security will let me bring on-board, since I often carry my camera bag onto the plane, it’s important for me to remember to move the wrench into my checked baggage.

Camera Stuff: Camera battery charger, tripods, memory cards, bag, batteries, lenses, filters, microfiber cloths, sensor brush, compressed air, that little wrench that the tripod needs.

Next we get to the downside of the technology revolution, all the stuff you have to bring. The power strip is very important on trips like this, it’s never entirely clear how many plugs you’re going to end up with when you’re n the road.

Electronics: Cell phone, cell phone charger, phone earbuds, phone sync cable, GPS, batteries for GPS, charger for GPS, laptop, laptop power adapter, card reader, storage gadget, storage gadget charger, power strip, extension cord.

Don’t forget to bring reference materials!

Books: Maps, photo guides, Tidelog, recreational reading.

Even with the advent of gadgetry I tend to print out hotel confirmations and directions “just in case”. And I can’t live without Ziploc bags, both for storing toiletries (preventing them from leaking into the rest of my baggage) to organizing small objects they have dozens of uses on the road.

Miscellaneous: Pens and paper, printed directions, printed hotel confirmations, printed weather forecasts, Ziploc bags, multitool, music, stepstool.

So develop your own list, perhaps starting from this one, modifying it for your own needs, and as technology changes. You’ll find it trip packing a lot faster, and you’ll drive away feeling more confident that you haven’t forgotten something important.

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