Road Trip vs. Backpacking: Do We Need to Pack Lightly?

I’m hoping that some of you can help settle a disagreement.  But the thing is, I’m having this disagreement with myself.

As you may know, I spent the last year cultivating my super-light packing style.  I spent weeks last year contemplating backpack weight, additional weeks contemplating backpack options, and then discovered the joys of packing lightly on my test-trip to Vegas.  By the time I was ready to pack for Europe, I’d pared it down to five dresses, a pair of bike shorts and a pair of Tevas.

And do you know what?  Nothing bad ever happened to me.

Sure, we both had to spend a few pounds on sweaters in Bath–it’s colder in England in July than I’d anticipated–but in every other way, packing lightly was awesome.  My laundry was done within hours of returning home and I learned how unimportant having lots of ‘stuff’ really is.

So then why, when faced with the ability to pack a car instead of a backpack, does my pile ‘o stuff look like this:

Counter clockwise from bottom left, you are looking at:

  • two skirts
  • a pair of leggings and a pair of bike shorts
  • three pairs of pants; shorts, capris, and cargo
  • six tops
  • ten dresses; two dressy, eight casual
  • a brown thing that can be either a dress or a skirt
  • three long-sleeved cardigans
  • a knit vest
  • a scarf

The two pairs of shoes–in addition to the ones I’ll be wearing on my feet–are not pictured.  Additionally, underwear are not pictured because, well, I don’t want to post photos of my underthings online.

So–what the hell?  What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I seem to whittle this pile down?

And do I even need to do so?

Of course, since I’m so conflicted on this issue, my husband and I are also having a disagreement.  He’s on the ‘we’re driving so we should take whatever we think we may need’ side of the argument.  He’s a guy, and he’s planning on bringing five pairs of shoes.  Five–seriously, dear?  My Tevas fulfill the need he has for three different types of shoes–sandals, sneakers, and hiking boots.  And he has a pair of Tevas (and is, of course, bringing them!)

So–what do you think?  Do we pack light or do we admit there’s no need?

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