Weirdly Specific Packing and Possession Lists?
July 14, 2019 4:06 PM   Subscribe

What packing list was sent to MTV's Road Rule cast? What personal possessions did Scandinavian pioneers in the 1800s own on the farm? What does a typical billionaire have in their house? (Think Peter Menzel's "Material World", but even more.)

I find myself fascinated with packing lists. I scour the Peace Corps country-specific packing lists, despite not joining the Peace Corps. I found myself fascinated with the lists of items taking on the Oregon Trail (taken, abandoned, packed, included in the game, included in the Frontier Trails Museum, etc).

I would love to know what packing lists have been sent to reality-TV cast members - MTV, cooking shows, adventure shows, etc.

I would love to know what people in various places at various times used to own.

Basically, I REALLY enjoyed Peter Menzel's "Material World", and I want more.

What weird packing/possession lists do you know of? Links are appreciated. Thank you!
posted by Ms Vegetable to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
How about a list of mandatory gear that needs to be packed in your sled for the Iditarod?
posted by DingoMutt at 4:22 PM on July 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

This is my personal list honed over the last 20 years. It might be TOO specific, but I have been abroad ~12 of the
past 15 years, 83 countries so far. I carry under 15 pounds of stuff (It used to be close to 10, but I need a laptop now).

Here is my list. I keep a lot of things I no longer pack on it.

Here is a photo of my 1/2 empty 46L backpack with my shoulder bag in May after 8 months traveling .
posted by maya at 4:42 PM on July 14, 2019 [11 favorites]

Hello kindred spirit! I, too, love reading packing lists for events/situations I will probably never be in.

The only one I can think of off the top of my head, though, is the Burning Man packing list (this is one of many, many examples you can find online). How 'weird' this is depends on your experience, I guess.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:57 PM on July 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Probate inventories are the Material World of colonial America. This archive from Plymouth Colony looks like a good sample. Every scrap of cloth and bushel of beans is listed and valued so they give a good idea of daily life and the comparative wealth of the decedents.
posted by Botanizer at 5:07 PM on July 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oh! 'Normal' to me but potentially interesting to you: packing lists for multi-day bike ride events.

- Paris-Brest-Paris packing list part 1 and part 2 (again, one of many you can find online) - What you need for days of riding with very little stopping and no additional support
- RAGBRAI packing list - What you need for days of riding with minimal support
- AIDS LifeCycle packing list - What you need for 7 days of riding and camping with vehicular support
posted by rhiannonstone at 5:18 PM on July 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Similar in vein....
posted by tilde at 6:25 PM on July 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Joan Didion's 1970s packing list is something of a classic in the genre.
posted by wreckingball at 6:27 PM on July 14, 2019 [12 favorites], which I learned about here on AskMe at some point, is a site dedicated to traveling light. I've linked you directly to the one page version of the packing checklist, which was last updated in 2015, but the site itself has many pages that are updated frequently.
posted by sockermom at 7:23 PM on July 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not a list exactly, but mrsturtle immediately recommended The Things They Carried. It tells the story of non-issued items that GIs in Vietnam found important enough to carry with them through the war.
posted by spinturtle at 7:56 PM on July 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

My very favorite list is this one on papyrus from Egypt, possibly 4th c. CE:

"A comb
A spouted wine cooler
A chest for clothes
(remember his ring)
A robe
A knife
A measuring cup (?)
A cupboard with six compartments
A flask of oil
A measure for nails (?)
Two rings
A pair of scissors
A linen towel
A hood . . .
A hood . . .
A hood . . .
Likewise a hood [. . .
Two white [. . .
A white garment
Two coverings
Two towels
An empty sack
Two linen cloths
Two sheepskins
A white blanket with a fringe
A pot of pigeons
A pot of snails
A measure of . . .
A measure of vinegar
A vessel of . . . lentils
A vessel of . . . lentils
A pot of . . . meal
Two empty sacks
A . . . of . . ."
(Verso): "A list of . . . "

ETA: Also this letter from Paniskos to his wife Ploutogenia is part of a whole series asking her to send him some equipment. It's another favorite!
posted by Mouse Army at 8:41 PM on July 14, 2019 [13 favorites]

The One Bag One Page Packing List seems like more than you might need if you're a minimalist, but it has a good collection of the things with which you might travel.
posted by blob at 9:53 PM on July 14, 2019

Here's a list of the "Livestock, provisions, plants and seeds" that were packed on the First Fleet, the eleven ships that brought the first group of British convicts and colonists to Australia in 1788.
posted by Cheese Monster at 10:41 PM on July 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Here's the results of a search on 'what to take to boarding school.
posted by glasseyes at 5:49 AM on July 15, 2019

Here's the list for the Shackleton led Nimrod Expedition.
posted by jackmakrl at 11:32 AM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

During the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, the Canadian government required every person entering to mine for gold to carry one ton of goods. Some packing lists [PDF]
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:50 AM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Not packing-specific, and not really a list, but it seems like it might scratch the same itch: Elizabeth Chin's My Life with Things is a fascinating, smart, and very personal book about objects and homes and what it means to live amid stuff.
posted by dizziest at 12:41 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

You might enjoy artists' concert riders! Most are definitely weirdly specific.
posted by yawper at 12:44 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

CBC's medical writer considers the list of medications packed on Apollo 11 with a link to the medical supplies on the ISS and brief thoughts about what we'll need for Mars.
posted by zadcat at 3:21 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here is a list of what the Mycological Society of Toronto requests people pack with them on mushroom hunting forays. Similar, but perhaps more specific, is Modern Forager's "foraging kit" packing list.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:47 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Lots of these are right up my alley - thanks!

Other ones that would be interesting:
- Road Rules (seriously, I've been trying to find that packing list for years)
- scientists/others who overwinter in Antarctica (for instance, in Jerri Nielsen's book "Ice Bound" she mentions packing deodorant and then realizing there is no point to it)
- non-professional cooking shows (America's Worst Cooks, the British Baking Show, the Kids Baking Championship, etc)
- submarine packing lists
- other times of probate lists
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:49 PM on July 15, 2019

The Lewis and Clark expedition list.

In the backpacking community there are several apps and websites used by people who obsess over their own pack lists for long distance hiking trips, examples: Appalachian Trail gear list on GearGrams, Pacific Crest Trail gear list on LighterPack. If you're looking for lists like these, there are many versions of them.
posted by peeedro at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

You asked for Antarctica-specific packing lists, so here's the information USAP provides
posted by Metasyntactic at 6:10 PM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Big Dead Place hasn't been updated in absolutely ages, but I bet the suggested luxury items still apply for anyone planning to head to McMurdo.
posted by DSime at 7:49 AM on July 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

In an odd bit of synchrony I recently read this footnote in Good Omens (p. 366 or perhaps 384 depending on edition) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman:
Except for Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (1725.. 1798), famed amourist and literateur, who revealed in volume 12 of his Memoirs that, as a matter of course, he carried around with him at all times a small valise containing a loaf of bread, a pot of choice Seville marmalade, a knife, fork, and small spoon for stirring, 2 fresh eggs packed with care in unspun wool, a tomato or love apple, a small frying pan, a small sauce pan, a spirit burner, a chafing dish, a tin box of salted butter of the Italian type, 2 bone china plates. Also a portion of honey comb, as a sweetener, for my breath and for my coffee. Let my readers understand me when I say to them all: A true gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman, wheresoever he may find himself.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:07 AM on July 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

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