I love going on holiday with my family, we get up to all sorts of adventures, climbing, camping, canoeing, walking and just mucking about. However, as you can imagine, owning a website like Little Adventure Shop means we all have quite a bit of outdoor kit and packing to go away is turning into a nightmare.
For our latest trip we booked a week in Mallorca over Easter. Mallorca is one massive playground with great climbing, water sports, beaches and the road cycling is out of this world. Needless to say we wanted to take a crazy amount of kit; two road bikes, four wetsuits, four climbing harnesses, boots, helmets a rack of gear and we squeezed in a few changes of clothes before we hit our Easyjet baggage limit. A few weeks before we left I decided I needed a plan to prevent the otherwise inevitable site of me loosing the plot the night before we left in a crazy packing frenzy.
Pre-kids my friends in the Forces have always shouted "7 Ps" at me as I realised I had failed to bring some vital bit of kit on a trip. 7 Ps stands for "Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance". To get control of the packing mission I started to make a master list of everything we needed to take on holiday classified by sport and saved it as a spreadsheet so I can print it off when we need it again (my Mother would be so proud!). The list took a while to put together but it was a great help and I soon had all the holiday kit in our spare room. Unfortunately it resembled a spiders web of harnesses, neoprene and lycra so stage two of the great family packing revolution was to sort the gear before you chuck it into the bags. This is where Andy Kirk-Patrick comes in (the guy who has just taken Alex "One Show" Jones up that massive face in Yosemite for Sports Relief) he does a lot of winter climbing and I remembered reading in a blog that when he packs his rucksack he has a little bag for everything i.e. one for a pair of gloves, one for food, one for a down duvet jacket etc. he then ties these all together with a thin length of rope so nothing can accidentally fall out - genius! I wasn't worried about stuff falling out of big bags but I needed little bags organise everything so I gathered up all the stuff sacks that were lurking in our house. Our girls had one bag each for their underwear another for tops and T-shirts and another for shorts and trousers. Separate sacks for our own wetsuits and swim stuff that we then could take to the beach, bike kit in a separate bags and everyone had their own bag of climbing kit so there were no excuses for forgetting a boot. I was then left with a dozen or so bags that I could just chuck straight into the big bag and it was job done! We arrived an Mallorca, nothing was forgotten and an added bonus was that even the kids knew where their kit was.
So after years of last minute manic packing I think I have seen the light. With an growing family and increasing kit mountain something had to change and the Master Kit List as it has now become known plus the "little bag packing scheme" seems to alleviated packing stresses. Unfortunately it does nothing to reduce the end of holiday washing mountain!