I guess this is it. Shipping out to Colorado at 10:05 tomorrow morning, so everything that’s going with me has pretty much got to be packed at this point. I don’t quite have the “How and What to Pack” section of the USAP Participant Guide memorized, but it doesn’t feel like I’m far from it. I’ve supplemented the official list with my own personal equipment list, adding things a few items that had escaped notice of the USAP (though I do expect them to add things like “buddha” and “plastic squid” to future revisions of the guide).

I’ve packed everything and zipped it up “for the last time” three five times now. Each time there’s less that I’ve forgotten to stick in or had second thoughts about. I think, to a first order approximation, I’m done. I’ve got to say, it’s less stuff than I thought I’d be taking. Nowhere near the official allowance of 140 pounds; probably comes in at less than 80, all told.  One duffle, one backpack, and my carry-on bag – that’s it. I’ll admit that at least part of my (ahem) “spartan” packing is due to Beth’s stories of the dreaded “bag drag” up from McMurdo to the airstrip. Apparently the combination of abysmal weather, treacherous slope, and awkward luggage have brought many an ice virgin to tears. I figure I’ll have plenty of other occasions to be reduced to tears (“What do you mean there’s no more chocolate?!?”); I don’t want to be that guy any more than I have to.

But I think I’m done now (modulo acquiring the aforementioned stash of chocolate in Colorado). I’ve tucked Jeremy in and sang him the same lullaby I’ve sung every night for the past 8 years; Andy’s got another 45 minutes before she gets the same bedtime treatment. Then it’s my turn, crawling under the comforter and turning off the lights for the last night’s sleep in my own bed until next spring.

[Administrative notes: remember that you can subscribe to automatically receive these blog posts as email by sending a message to The detailed FAQ-in-progress on my trip south is over at, including a page where you can submit your own questions and vote on others I should try to answer.]

2 responses to “Zipped

  1. Wow; it still seems a little unreal to me. Good luck, and have an amazing trip! (To be fair, "amazing", is one adjective I'm not particularly worried about you not collecting :-}). — Randy


  2. I'm just catching up on this, and reading your previous blog entries. Wow! Pablo, you're living the dream! Have a fantastic time, take lots of pictures, and keep us updated.


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