EVERY TIME I LEAVE for a trip I bring something dumb and I know I’m not the only one. So I put the question to the Matador crew and our Facebook homies, and here is our collective list of lame packing choices.
WHAT IS THE DUMBEST THING YOU HAVE EVER PACKED?
Ross Borden “A micro-puff down jacket to Cook Islands and Mexico. I’ve actually done this SO many times. It’s always a waste of space and I never wear it. So this is my new rule: it’s all about altitude. If I am going to Hawaii (and might climb the volcano), I should pack it. If I’m going to Mexico, and staying near sea level, there is absolutely NO need to pack a hoodie, a jacket, or a sweater…it’ll never leave my luggage.”
Nick Rowlands “I’m actually the opposite. I tend to take far, far too little, and then get completely caught out when India decides to be cold at night in a hill station (come on, it’s INDIA, everyone knows it’s always hot!). Though I did carry a wire saw around Uganda. I have no idea why.”
Paul Sullivan “A Tripod. I know it’s known as a “must-take” for photographers but I have taken it so many times on trips when it’s just been a Pain.In.The.Ass and I’ve never used it.
Eileen Smith “A t-shirt from my high school Ultimate Frisbee team which looked to me like a bunch of guys standing around, with one of them supporting a Frisbee on one finger, but which looked to other people ( in Guatemala, in the early 90’s, civil war and all ) like a gang of thugs with one of them with a machine gun. I had limited clothing, and wore it inside-out, once every few days for the rest of the 6-month trip.”
Carlo Alcos “A mosquito net…it never saw the light of day over 2.5 months in China and Vietnam. I suppose if one was planning on really roughing it and staying in the cheapest of hostels or sleeping in a hammock it could be handy…but for most travelers probably not necessary.”
Michelle Schusterman “When I moved to Brazil my Portuguese teacher told us to bring dishes because we wouldn’t be able to find any in Salvador. Like, plates and forks and stuff. We thought she was nuts, but put some cheap plastic dishes in the box we shipped just in case. The box arrived six months late thanks to a strike. To the surprise of no one, we hadn’t had any problems finding dishes.”
David Miller “No shit y’all, the ‘Sawvivor’. It is very lightweight, true, but in the context of a long distance hike on the Appalachian Trail where (a) every ounce counts, and (b) most of the time you’re too worn out to have a fire, a piece of gear like this says ‘rookie.’ ”
Sarah Park “A ginormous Ziploc bag of tampons. Why? I don’t know. As if women around the world don’t have solutions for this type of thing.”
Anne Merritt “The complete works of Jane Austen in a single volume. It was a gift from my Scottish auntie, whom I visited at the start of a UK backpacking trip. I should have shipped the thing home. In my feeble defense, I was 20.”