Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Uncle Ben's Travel Kit - Kid Centric Food, Fun and First Aid

Last night I dropped off two of our nieces in Boston and marked the completion of a second epic adventure in the last 3 weeks. As soon as I finish blogging about Costa Rica, I'll blog about that trip. Suffice to say, we had an awesome time.

As I was unpacking from the trip, I marveled at how well the daypack's worth of gear I'd been carrying served me on these trips. Whether I needed snacks, entertainment or a puke bag, I was ready. In spirit of sharing successes, here's a dump of that bag:

Size wise the $20 Wasing '50L' backpack seems like overkill. But I found having extra space and external pockets came in handy while out and about. Chance of seeing wildlife? I could toss in my DSLR. Was rain in the forecast? No problem, I'd add a couple of umbrellas and a rain jacket to the bag. You get the idea.

I tried to start the day with the pack's brain empty, and found that it would naturally fill up with papers, snacks, cables and countless other items I wanted quick access to.

The plain green folder in the pic above contains our most important documents, like those from my Brother and Sister-in-Law that said we had permission to drag their children around the world. The rest of the pouches are described below.

The hidden pocket under the pack's brain was perfect for storing a kid friendly first aid kit. We went through copious amounts of Dramamine (those Costa Rica roads can get twisty!), a few Benadryl and Pepto tabs, a couple Band aids and more puke bags than I'd care to remember. On the plus side, we never needed the fever or diarrhea meds. Though I'm glad I had them at the ready.

The Bubblope contained our shared journal and a printed version of this document which describes the rules to 15 different kid-friendly card games. I also carried a few copies of Highlights magazine, which has kid friendly articles and puzzles. The cards and journal were a hit, the Highlights, not so much. Apparently, I need to up my magazine game.

Each of the kids contributed to the journal in their own way. Some example include: pictures by G., journal entries by T., scrap-booking by J., flight data (yes that's right--time, altitude and speed) by D. and game design ideas by C. The journal ended up being a delightful hodgepodge of content which really shows the personality of each of the children.

For obvious reasons, the orange pencil pouch was filled with snacks. The kids carried some snacks in their adventure bags too, so these were backups.

The black pouch contained markers, pencils and tape for journaling; cards and a pocket version of Farkle for gaming and some random items and a travel bug or two for Geocaching. Combined with the items in the Bubbleope there was never any excuse for not having something fun to do. T. and I played quite a few rousing games of Crazy 8's, and the whole family enjoyed a multi-day game of Farkle. I had hoped we'd put the Farkle dice to more use, perhaps teaching the kids to play craps, but alas, we didn't have the time.

Whatever you do, don't forget the Scotch Tape: that stuff is kiddie Duct Tape. With enough Scotch Tape and imagination, anything is possible.

Finally, I took the contents of my man bag and relocated them to a Spider Man lunch box. The lunch box happens to be the perfect size to contain all the items, and it fits nicely into the main bag. Plus, I can't help but smile anytime I take it out of my bag.

Whether you're climbing Everest, Shooting photos at the Summer Olympics or taking your Nieces to see Blackwater Falls, WV, gear selection is all about balancing weight and utility. And looking back at my recent travels, I think I struck this balance well.

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