Packing for Mom's Bucket List
My mom announced a few months ago that she wanted to drive to Alaska. We live in Dallas. That's over 15,000 miles... just in case you were wondering.
My mom, Gloria, is a 72-year-old widow who's had 3 hip replacements. Yes, three. My husband, who is not known for generosity (Don't worry, there is a GREAT, amazing man in there), told me to quit my job and take my mom on her bucket list road trip. So I walked out of my corporate job of 7 years for the last time this past Friday afternoon. It was surreal and liberating and terrifying - all at the same time.
Back to the trip...
My mother, bless her heart, just wanted to "wing it" and stop at all of the interesting places until she got to Alaska. [Some backstory: approximately 25 years ago, my grandmother and three of her best friends set out on an overnight trip that turned into a road trip to Alaska (from South Carolina). They had the time of their lives.] So we asked her one night, what's the one thing you want to see in Alaska (and showed her A LOT of internet pictures). She said, "Denali". I burst into laughter and said, "well, that's something we have to plan." I called Kantishna Air Taxi the next day. They had 2 days at the Skyline Lodge in August remaining when I called in April. I booked them immediately and told my mom there was no backing out: we were going to Alaska.
The more research we did, the more I realized, trips like this are usually planned a year or two in advance: not a month or two in advance. Accommodations (that were reasonably priced) were scarce in many areas, so we decided to camp in some places, because dropping $800/night on a condo in Jackson Hole is unwise when you just quit your corporate job and for assorted other reasons. Camping was a good alternative, because my husband and I already have a lot of gear, so only supplemental necessities remained. We've been planning and scheduling for the better part of a month now and still have so much to do. This past weekend we went to one of my favorite stores, REI: where mom was consumed by the thought of needing everything from snow pants to a hand crank radio to freeze dried neapolitan ice cream. (In true REI trip fashion, we ate the ice cream before getting home.) Note: I do the same thing every time I go to REI. I want all of the things.
Here is our packing list (excluding my mom's clothes, because she still can't decide what to pack; we leave in 11 days). (Strike that. 4 days, at the time of this post.):
- Thule car top carrier that we bought second hand from a friend (Thanks, Scott!)
- Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2 2-person tent
- 2 - REI Trekker 1.75 sleeping pads (I borrowed Trey's and my mom will use mine. The bags have the same numbers, but Trey's is definitely bigger than mine.)
- REI sleeping bag (I have no idea the rating on it... I've had it forever.)
- Kelty sleeping bag (Mom got a deal on Amazon and since weight wasn't an issue, this bag suited her needs perfectly.)
- 1 - Yeti Hopper 40 cooler (We have the original, but I've linked the Hopper 2 new version.)
- 2 - Kelty Redwing bags that Trey and I each had way before we got married. The link is to the new version.
- 1 - 7 day BearVault
- 2 - Jetboil Flash stoves plus 2 - 230 gram fuel canisters and 1 - 100 gram canister
- Katadyn water filtration system (just in case)
- 2 - Opinel No. 8 pocket knives
- A LOT OF INSTANT COFFEE
- Fuji XT-2 (graciously and reluctantly on loan from the hubs)
- Fuji XF55-200 f 3.5-4.8 lens
- Fuji XF10-24 f 4 lens
- Fuji XF35 f1.4 lens
- Vanguard carbon fiber tripod (After post edit: The Vanguard didn't make the trip; it was replaced by a Novo T5 carbon fiber tripod.)
- Novo T5 carbon fiber tripod
- Lee filter set
- Peak Design cuff wrist straps and capture pro camera clip. (I absolutely love the wrist strap and when you're clumsy and holding $3k in your hand, its better to be safe than sorry.) I really want the Peak Design Everyday Tote, but since I've just quit my job, I'm trying to use what I have. My husband has the 30L backpack and the Everyday Sling and we can't say enough good things about them.)
- Peak Design Everyday Tote that my husband surprised me with after this original post.
Let me state, I feel like I am packing way too many clothes, but my husband (who I'm sure wants to discourage me from buying anything on this trip) continues to doubt this. Noted that I do need a pair of gloves.
- Patagonia Nano-Puff
- Athleta City Slicker rain jacket
- Icebreaker Aria dress (Possibly my most favorite item of clothing, I own.)
- 2 Icebreaker short sleeve shirts
- 1 Smartwool 150 bottoms
- 2 Smartwool 150 tops
- 1 Woolrich base layer 1/4 zip
- 1 REI woolies base layer 1/2 zip
- 1 Columbia 1/4 zip fleece top
- Mountain Hardwear City Pass shirt (This is one of my top 5 favorite things - not only because it saved me from sunburn at least 3 times on our Wild West trip - but because it is so versatile. I definitely would love a second one.)
- North Face Class V skort
- Athleta Midtown skort
- Royal Robbins shorts
- Athleta Wander skinny pant (These pants are great. They are super comfortable for flights. The zippers are an issue for TSA, but the comfort is worth the hassle.)
- Athleta Chatarunga tights
- Lucky jeans
- Chaco Bears Ears Z2 sandals
- Merrell Moab 2 shoes
- Birkenstock Gizeh sandals (These are my city (read: I'm finally clean) shoes.) I love these sandals: my second pair; I wore the first pair completely out.
- Patagonia trucker hat (Yes, I wear the kids size.)
- Patagonia sweatpants
- Nike beanie (Donated from a friend. Thanks, Sarah!)
- Scarf my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago
- 5 pair of socks, Icebreaker unmentionables, and a belt
Typing all of this was exhausting, but I'm beyond excited to get this show on the road.