The List: 2013 Edition

For my inaugural post on this site, I published a list I had compiled for road trips and car camping that had stood by me for quite a while. While the whole point of a list is to not forget anything, the list itself is not exempt from this and has grown some, as well as expanded on a couple areas. Still largely focused on car camping, most of the items do however translate well into a backpacking checklist, usually just depending on the size of the gear. This stuff on hand, I usually feel prepared to go just about anywhere.

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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.

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