Brett Rants

Travel Clothes

Three weeks in Germany, I should have packed for three days, instead.

clothes and such laid out not much to look at more as a visual writing prompt than anything really required for the reading experience - still they add a little something Can you tell how awesome these pants are?
5.11 Tactical Series
Ask for them by name...

And listen to the sales staff say,
'Who? What? I don't think we carry those here, sir.'

Hello
My Name is Brett
and
I am an Over Packer

As my fellow members from
Over Packer's Anonymous
chorus as one,
'Hello, Brett'


This could be long and boring (probably still will be, knowing me, my asides, and tendency to drone on about nothing), but I will try (honestly, I will) to keep it as short (as humanly) possible (or, you know, I won't, I haven't really decided, yet, so perhaps a bit of each).

Whatever, welcome to my post-trip packing notes. I mean, you do push whatever little thought comes into your head to the Internet, don't you? No? Well, I do...

Electronics

COMPUTER: yeah, I didn't take a computer to Germany, but when I tripped around the Continental United States for most of the summer, I did. It was, perhaps, the last trip I shall take with a computer, as the computer was an emergency measure in case any 'business' needed attending. I don't think it ever actually did. Anyway, if carrying a computer, I can recommend carrying an Ethernet cable, as well.

PHONES: I packed two phones, because one had service, but I liked the other one better. I never needed the service (others in the group were connected, so I didn't have to be) and wouldn't worry about a connected phone next time. I brought a camera, also. And all I'll say about that is I'd been better off with a phone that had more memory than packing the camera. I took 100x more pictures with the phone than the camera. I, also, connected to hotel wifi a lot, but that necessitated changing a bunch of passwords once I got back to the states. So next time, I'd just download whatever movies I wanted in advance, delete as I go to make room for the pictures, and call it a day (or a trip).

HEADPHONES: the headphones took up a fair bit of space in the luggage, but they were well worth it, made the plane trip (and connection to the in-flight movies), oh, so much better, as they were a sound deafening, noise attenuating model. Very nice. Very pleased that I packed them. I was hemming and hawing about whether I should take them or not, but very glad I did in the end.

ADAPTERS: I used a cheap ($5) prong adapter that worked perfectly. I never needed (never used it, not the once) the heavy duty transformed I'd bought pre-trip, as my shaver, phone, even camera battery charger were all able to take 220v.

MISC: I use an electric shaver, so bringing that was a must. Hotels (the ones we stayed in) were full of perks like hair dryers, coffee machines, sometimes irons (yeah, actually, only sometimes coffee machines, but often that was made up for by having in room) towel warming racks and all sorts of fun stuff. So, I was glad I brought the shaver. Oh, I also bought some of those phone backup battery chargers, which I liked having around, but based on the pacing of our travel (and therefore, our time away from the hotel), they were never needed.

Consumables

TOILETRIES: Perhaps one of the great joys in travelling is shopping at new places, while interacting with the locals. And since they have toothpaste, dental floss, and all that sort of stuff in Europe, I should have packed way less. Of course, one of the reasons to over-pack is to save money. I spent 10€ for 8oz of rubbing alcohol, which is close to 10x the price in the states. But live and learn... and it's part of the fun. Anyway, I've got notes to pack more hand wipes, zipper quart bags, and large garbage bags next time. We'll see if I do. Certainly, couldn't go wrong filling up the extra space in the suitcase with hand wipes. Oh, and cold medicine was at a premium, too, so pack it on the theory that will negate its ever being needed.

FOOD: let's just say, I horde food (so, Over Packers Anonymous and Food Hoarders For Life, because there's no shame in staying alive). Anyway, I guess, I horde food the way other folks horde, um, what, toilet paper, tissues, change for the restroom tip plate, that spare bottle of liquor, extra pack of cigarettes, or... I don't know. Whatever. I probably was packing a good meal or two at all times (call it two pint water bottles worth in size, plus the water, of course). I should cut the quantity back some (some, some, not all), to like, maybe, half a meal or something; heck, I could live on the edge and only carry an extra candy bar, as we never, really, were that far away from a restaurant, convenience store, street vendor, cafe, or whatever (and oddly, I can't remember seeing any vending machines that didn't sell cigarettes, but those were literally everywhere).

Clothes

What this post was supposed to be about...

PANTS: see those pants in the picture up top, those are 5.11 Tactical Series pants (ask for them by name) and they are awesome (cargo pockets with built in organizers, but don't get that baggy look, and are), perhaps the chief inspiration for this post. Next time, I'd only pack the one pair and wear them everywhere. With the in room drying racks, I was able to wash them a few times; and that was good enough. I suppose it's nice to have the second pair of pants in reserve, but I never wore them. And let's face it, pants (real pants) take up a significant amount of space (like, most of one of those packing cubes, something else, I recommend using).

SHIRTS: the long sleeve seersucker (the orangish one in the picture above) was wrinkle free, but made me look, um, plumper than I'd like. So next time (yeah, likely there will be a next time, if not for a few years), I'll probably do two (or so) of those hyper-thin short-sleeve Hawaiian shirts, one or two long sleeve thermals, and a maybe up to three travel t-shirts.

JACKETS: I brought two jackets and a fleece, mostly because I couldn't decide what to pack, I was afraid of being chilly, and I knew layering (and therefore, taking stuff off) would be just as important as staying warm. From a comfort point of view, it worked out pretty well. The rain slicker thing fit over my wind-breaker; and between the two jackets, I was wearing a fair bit of insulation. But I'm vain and there was a lot of padding (let's just say we ate well), so something more form fitting would be my choice in the future (something like a waterproof long-sleeve shirt with thermals layered underneath).

SOCKS: I packed a half dozen pair of random socks and threw half of them away after I realized I never wanted to wear them again (certainly not for extended days of walking and museum hiking). So, next time, four pairs of the best cotton socks I have and plan to wash them every night (as it often took a few days for them to dry completely, no sense starting the day with damp feet). Blisters were not unheard of in our group, so athletic tape might also be a wise investment. I'm going to have to think about that...

UNDIES: I got some nice travel underwear, not tighty-whites, more like long legged blackies (see image below). They washed nicely, and though they were starting to, um, sag towards the end, the two pairs lasted for three weeks of uninterrupted use. So, I'd bring four pair next time (and ditch the back-up tighty-whities).

PAJAMAS: I brought one pair of nice bottoms and two extra t-shirts and they fit the bill for me. When weighing (oh, I am good) out the alternatives, I'd put nice pajamas (full working sets) ahead of the second pair of pants.

Finally, when I showered, I washed my clothes, and that took an extra ten-fifteen minutes... or, you know, just enough time for a travel companion to snap a few choice photographs.

this picture and the next two are basically all the same, they are of me in a shower, mostly dressed, just sort of hop in there, soap up, and wash the clothes along with everything else, takes a bit longer, but then, satisfying those kinks usually does
Clearly, a Hazen Kraut shower.

So, let's see, food, clothes, I tend to pack too much, no camera next for me time, and... oh, yeah, right, semi-embarrassing photos (of course, not really, or why would I post them, but whatever). And I think that covers it. I've said what I came here to say, posted what needs posting, and ranted for far too long, after all, the cats need feeding... or so, I can only gather from the meows, echoing in the distance and the scratching at my feet...


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