The List

About four years ago, I started to get the travel bug in a serious way. I’d taken my share of trips to various parts of the country by plane, seen a thing or two, but I always wondered what lay between point A and point B. What made up all those miles between airports? I’d taken a few road trips, but nothing much beyond the five hour drive to Seattle. I don’t even really remember what flipped the switch in me, but one day in the summer of 2005, I decided to spend two weeks driving across a significant portion of the northwest US.

The idea of planning for this kind of trip was daunting, especially since I intended to spend as many nights as possible camping out of my car on national forest land to save money and to experience more than just a roadside Motel 6 every night. By this point I’d spent quite a few nights sleeping in my 4-year-old Isuzu Rodeo while climbing at Smith Rock in central Oregon, so I had a pretty good system established for living out of a car, but a weekend away didn’t quite stack up to two weeks of calling my driver’s seat home.  Ultimately I planned for as many eventualities as I could think of, packed up my car, hoped for the best, and spent an amazing two weeks seeing parts of the US I’d only heard of, and many I hadn’t.

Since then, I’ve always made sure I had a copy of this list to reference for any trip I’m planning, regardless of how I get there. Some parts I leave out, some I add to, but it’s changed little over the years. There’s nothing revolutionary about the contents, nothing groundbreaking. It just works.

Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Swiss-army-style pocketknife
Pan w/ handle
Dish scrubber
Fork & spoon
Water (2 gallons)
Day or overnight backpack
Climbing gear
Towel & washcloth
Laptop or handheld
Extra batteries (AA and AAA)
Road & topo maps
Portable jump battery
Folding saw
Camp chair
Toilet paper
First aid kit
– Pants (2 pair)
– Shorts (2 pair)
– Tshirts (4)
– Long-sleeve pullover
– Coat
– Fleece vest
– Rain jacket or poncho
– Socks (3 pair)
– Underwear (4 pair)
– Hat
– Beanie
– Hiking shoes
– Slippers
– Camp shoes (Vans)
Food (non-perishables)
– Bagels
– Hummus
– Peanut butter
– Energy / granola bars
– Zataran’s beans and rice
– Ramen
– Apples
– Jerky
– Pringles
– Tortillas

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