The Big Purple Bag – Revisited


As I was unpacking yesterday, I realized there were a lot of things in that Big Purple Bag of mine that I never actually wore while on vacation.

Things like:


1. The cowl I knit expressly to wear in Shenandoah National Park. (The yarn was called “Shenandoah.”) Even if Shenandoah National Park had been open, it would have been too warm to wear a cowl.

I guess I could have worn it as a tube top.

Not really.


2. The goldfish boxers. I sometimes wear these to sleep in, but I would never wear them down the trail to the bathroom at a campground, and on the trip I learned pretty quick to dress for bed in something I wouldn’t mind wearing down the trail to the bathroom.


3. Shorts. All five pair. I gave up the thought of wearing shorts about the time I gave up the habit of shaving my legs. Is that too much information? I apologize.

(Note to Self: next summer, buy shorts in a color other than khaki.)


4. My denim skirt. A denim skirt for camping? Really? Why did I think I’d need a denim skirt for camping? And anyway – if I had, I wouldn’t have worn it for the same reason I didn’t wear the shorts.


5. My blowdryer. Not once in three weeks did I plug it in. I washed my hair at night and dried it in front of the campfire. It was heavenly. My hair smelled like woodsmoke for weeks and weeks.

And there were other things too – all the socks I planned to wear with the shorts. About a dozen tank tops. A turquoise cardigan. My swimsuit. You get the idea.

So, anyway, as I was unpacking, I made two piles. In one pile, I put the clothes I actually wore. In the other, I stacked all the things that never saw the light of day.

I didn’t pack a chew toy. Ursa dragged that into the picture.

And, there are the piles. The pile of things I didn’t wear is on the right.

Then, I made another pile – a pile of the things I would pack if I had to do it all over again. And here is that pile.


But, it isn’t complete. In an ideal world, I would add a pair of zipper pants. And a pair of shoes like CPT America’s. You can see one of them there on the left. We lost the other shoe somewhere along the way.

Those shoes were perfect for tooling around the campsite. They were so easy to slip on or off when you entered or exited the tent. They were much better than the laced shoes I brought. I figured this out somewhere around Yosemite, and then CPT America didn’t see much of them after that…and now he sees them not at all.

But back to the bag….With my pile assembled, I stuffed everything back into the Big Purple Bag and weighed it. (11.5 lbs.) Then I compared that number to the actual weight of the Big Purple Bag as it was really packed. (27 lbs.) Huge difference. (It’s that fourth pair of khaki shorts that gets you.)

So, anyway, I’ve learned some valuable packing lessons from this exercise, and next year – or whenever we head to the woods again – I intend to pack much more lightly…

…and have my own pair of zipper pants. But, I think I may have already mentioned that.

From my usual spot at the kitchen table,

Mrs. Smythe

8 Comments on “The Big Purple Bag – Revisited

  1. Well, I must be a weirdo, cause I never regret over-packing. Gives me a feeling of security somehow….

    • Feeling of security? It gave me a feeling of fatigue every time I had to heft that thing over my head and into the sky box!

  2. Hehe! Too funny, Mrs. Smythe! Yet all so true about what we pack and need. . . Or don’t!

  3. Toiletries definitely don’t count.

    At least with some zip-off pants you won’t need to pack all those shorts! =)

    • The toiletries are a separate entity. They don’t enter into this discussion.
      But I may not even need that ol’ bag next time, anyway. I have my lye soap from Tennessee. You can wash everything from the dishes to hair with that stuff.