Unusual Problem: Residing Life Out of Packing Cubes

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In relation to tidying, I’m the polar reverse of Marie Kondo. Ask my associate, my people or any of my former roommates, bless their hearts, and consensus is that the one individual messier than me goes by “Leo” and performs ahead for Argentina.

Whenever you mix my disorganized disposition with a lifelong gear obsession, to not point out the truth that over the past eight years I’ve bounced from mountain city to mountain city like a military brat, the consequence isn’t fairly. My gear storage system—when you can name it a system in any respect—consists of precipitous, borderless piles of surf, snow, fly fishing, mountain biking, path working and tenting gear, which threaten to avalanche and bury me alive at any second.

I additionally journey commonly, each for enterprise and pleasure (as an outside author, the 2 are sometimes inextricably intertwined). My messiness is a continuing companion wherever I roam: Board luggage and backpacks inevitably flip into black holes that swallow socks, obscure my passport the night time earlier than a world flight and ruthlessly mock me till expletives erupt from deep down in my troubled soul.

However I’m virtually 30, rattling it. In an effort to behave my age and take a look at my hand at #adulting, I acquired a set of Patagonia packing cubes this previous spring. Dubbed Black Gap Cubes (satirically for me, however actually named for his or her capacity to eat uncanny quantities of matter) and accessible in small (3 Liters), medium (6 Liters) and huge sizes (10 Liters), these packing cubes provided a possible answer to my on-the-road group woes.

My problem? Reside out of the packing cubes on a fishing journey to Alaska, a surf journey to Mexico, a street journey by way of the Pacific Northwest and visits with household on the East Coast. The hopeful final result? Cut back the frequency of each misplaced objects and packing-related migraines.

The Infinite Pursuit of an Instagram-Worthy Pack Job and a Tidy Tent

Illustration of a messily packed duffel bag.

We’ve all swooned at these photographs, taken when professional athletes are about to embark on an journey and lay their gear out on the mattress, primped and horny for the ‘gram, each carabiner and Clif Bar simply so. Whereas I’ve by no means been in a position to attain such a tidy, photogenic structure, I do sometimes organize the whole lot on the ground or mattress whereas packing—significantly for expeditions, when lacking a single piece of the puzzle jeopardizes the complete mission. My query has at all times been this: How the hell do you keep organized as soon as it involves cramming all of stated gear into your duffel or backpack?

That is the place the packing cubes got here in. On my fishing journey to Alaska, I put all of my socks and base layers in a single dice; mid layers in one other; gloves, eyewear and beanies in a 3rd; and chargers and miscellaneous gizmos in a fourth. Greater objects, like outerwear, my hip pack and fly rod, have been free in my bag, however with out the smaller objects floating across the duffel prefer it have been an enormous junk drawer, discovering the whole lot was a lot simpler.

After I headed to Mexico on my surf journey, I used a smaller dice to stash wax, fins and fin keys—necessities which might be straightforward to misplace and can spoil a surf journey do you have to achieve this. This was essential, as I might get up predawn, throw the dice in my pack and head to the seaside half-asleep with out stressing about leaving something behind. I additionally discovered it simpler to ration surf wax all through my journey since I saved it multi functional place as an alternative of free on the backside of my backpack.

I appreciated that the medium and huge cubes unzip to fold open like a e book, and each side have a zippered mesh divider. This was a handy characteristic for additional separating gear. Whereas tenting on the Washington coast, I saved my unworn garments on one facet of a dice, clear used garments on the opposite facet and my damp and soiled laundry in one other dice totally.

My solely gripe: Typically I forgot which dice held which gear. As such, some will need their packing cubes to be clear, like these mesh-topped cubes from REI Co-op. Nevertheless, I dug that my cubes have been constituted of heavy-duty and waterproof materials, in case you want to lash a dice to your pack—or by chance depart it exterior your tent in a single day, as I did within the notoriously moist Pacific Northwest.

The Verdict: Packing Cubes Are Useful, Not a Magic Bullet

Illustration of three packing cubes.

On every journey I took this previous spring and summer time, packing cubes helped me begin my journey off far more organized than ordinary—each class of drugs in its rightful place earlier than it even entered my bag. Nevertheless, a multitude would inevitably materialize a number of days later once I did not return garments and equipment to their respective cubes. I’d begin off with a neat and tidy group system, then rapidly devolve to a messy duffel, gear-strewn tent or disorganized trunk. Stunning, proper?

Sadly, packing cubes aren’t sentient beings. They’re not programmed to wash up after the shambolic, scatter brained gearhead. They’re merely collapsible, zippered material drawers—it’s as much as the consumer to make use of them correctly. Packing cubes weren’t a magic bullet for me: They didn’t remedy me of my messy illness, and I stay a pack-job slob, albeit a barely much less slobby one. Thankfully, although, I’ve hope.

I’m penning this the night earlier than I take off on my remaining journey of the 12 months, this time to a good friend’s wedding ceremony on the East Coast, the place I’m additionally hoping to attain some swell and go tenting with my brother. My to-do listing grows by the minute: My suitcase continues to be beneath the mattress, laundry hangs in every single place, wetsuits dry on the porch. Usually, I’d be overwhelmed with pre-trip nervousness proper now, however I take solace in the truth that my packing cubes are laid out like clamshells on the mattress, prepared and prepared to supply their companies. I’m virtually 30, rattling it, and I’m dedicated to staying tidy on this journey. I’ve all of the instruments required, all I want to seek out is the motivation to take action. Fingers crossed it’s round right here someplace—possibly beneath one in every of these piles of drugs?

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