Living simply in the wild

Vegabond How To Series: Pack rats, packing for a family of four

I over packed. I always over pack. All the other tips i had been reading about packing for an extended trip with a family told me to pack, and then unpack half if it and leave it. I thought i had listened, but we still packed a LOT.

Even though we aren’t on our trip right now, we still went through all the motions apart from boarding a plane. And we did live out of our packs for a week.

What we packed in:


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Clothes (per person)




  • Make-up
  • Hair ties, comb
  • bar of soap
  • toothbrushes
  • feminine products
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen, bug-spray
  • small sewing kit
  • small tube lotion
  • toothpaste
  • Terry cloth organizer


First Aid Kit

  • Band-Aids
  • Tweezers, nail clippers
  • Curing pills-digestive upsets
  • Yunnan PaiYao Powder– stops bleeding, pain
  • Activated Charcoal- food poisoning & digestive upsets
  • Essential oils (teatree, eucalyptus, peppermint)
  • Healing salve
  • Ibuprofen (kids and adult)
  • Benadryl (kids and adult)
  • Bug spray


  • Ziplock bags
  • 2 water bottles
  • sunglasses x 4
  • decks of cards
  • dice
  • journal
  • small flashlight + batteries
  • Documents + copies


Activities Bag (boys backpacks)

  • 2 activities books each for boys
  • crayons, pens, glue, scissors pack
  • legos in ziplock bags
  • travel activity pack


We didn’t do too bad. Our packs weighed in at 28lbs and one at 32lbs. Not too bad! If they would’ve been over 50lbs we would have had to pay $100 a bag. I love airlines.

One pack had all of our clothes, and the other with our toiletries and misc items. We had a carry-on back pack with the laptop and electronics, the Juniors both had a small backpack with toys and books, and i had a small purse. Lugging around even that much proved to be a slight pain. It meant one of us was carrying a pack on our back and a backpack on our front. The boys also complained about carrying their backpacks at times, so i really feel we had too much stuff.

It is hard to know what i would have cut out, what we wouldn’t of used. At the point of packing i felt like we needed or wanted it all.

We could have cut down the toiletries some and bought some when we arrived. But i really enjoy brushing my teeth every night. The essential oils and other medicinal things, they provided some comfort knowing i’d be prepared should we need them.

The books and activities for the boys could have been scaled down. But we had quite a bit of traveling and they tend to get bored, so the variety made our lives easier.

The clothes we packed, i think we did great on. We didn’t pack much for clothes and we were going to be wearing the same things over and over again. But i think the amount we packed was just right.

So that is what we packed, and it did all fit! Was is too much? Maybe a little. We definitely could have packed less. But if it was too much we were going to give the unnecessary items away to either make room for things to bring back or just to lighten the load. We did not take much of value, just the electronics.

How much stuff would you take if you were packing for a family of 4 for 4 months?


2 responses

  1. I think you did great packing, especially the “famine” products (in toiletries), lol. I knew exactly what you meant, but I still had the thought that snacks were perfect! I am saving your list as one for me to follow. There are 6 in our family and I feel like I do pretty well, but I still overpack. Things to occupy the kids tend to be a lot of it, and they shouldn’t be. Good job!

    December 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

    • Simply The Wildside

      Oh i’m so bad at editing! They could be one in the same right? lol

      December 17, 2013 at 9:09 am

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