I still don’t understand the whole ultralight packing thing. (It’s annoying mostly because people who are into that are often so self-righteous about it.) Like, I’m traveling for a three-day weekend, so it should be super-easy to pack carry-on only, right? I’m a small-ish person and it’s summer, so clothing is tiny. But here’s what I need: an outfit for Friday daytime, Friday night dinner, Saturday at a waterpark, and a formal-ish dinner Saturday night. Currently I have three dresses and a t-shirt/shorts, plus a bathing suit. Plus shorts/tank to sleep in. Not going to wear a bikini because 51 years old and not feeling like I want to show off every bit of jiggle (I have seen bigger people than me rock a bikini, but the way I’m proportioned means it’s not the most flattering for me – instead, a longer top and quick-dry shorts make me look athletic). Plus I would like to have dressier shoes for Saturday night, and it would have been nice to have one pair of casual shoes that look nice with a dress as well as shoes for the waterpark. I may combine the latter two, though it would mean wearing leather Keens to the waterpark. In an ideal world I would also take my work laptop / charger so I could work some to make up for leaving early Thursday, but I probably won’t unless I want to take a larger backpack for my plus-one bag. This is a 100th birthday party, so the whole family is there plus a new baby (5 generations) so camera gear is non-negotiable; between us we will probably take an SLR with a couple of lenses and a Go-Pro, plus of course my phone. And I need a cardigan for the plane / over-airconditioned spaces, plus a kindle and iPad and their chargers, plus my knitting.

I think the ultralight packers’ advice would be to wear only one outfit Friday (I’ll be in Sacramento and it will be around 100 degrees F – I expect to sweat). Granted, I could probably find dressy flats that would be lighter than the wedge heels I’m packing. But do these people not get cold on planes? Or sweat and want clean clothes? Or read enough to want a non-backlit device? Or work on weekends? Or take good pictures of special occasions? Or need lots of sunscreen and not have an easy way to get to a store? It also ticks me off that the advice tends to assume that anyone who travels a lot will of course be in the carryon-only brigade. Anyone who reads this knows that I have traveled a lot; it’s mostly convinced me that I usually appreciate having choices and a change of clothing available.

Currently I have a messenger bag plus a carry-on-sized suitcase, but I still might need to take more of the camera gear, that would drive a larger bag. Ted doesn’t even try to pack light, so we may end up having to visit the bag check anyway; it would at least make packing sunscreen easier.