The Garden Travel Packing List

There’s nothing like making a packing list to get you excited about a trip, and no doubt you’ve got several items that top your list each time you make it.  For garden travel, there are particular things we need, only remotely connected with the time of year we travel.

Because if it’s a garden tour, then you’ll probably be traveling mid- to late spring through mid-autumn (timing is seasonally adjusted according to your destination – you can leave Seattle on an autumn day and wind up in Auckland in the spring).

We aren’t hiking and this isn’t a camping trip – it’s a garden tour.  Maybe you are touring on your own – just you, your list of gardens, and maps or GPS device.  Perhaps you’ve planned the trip with a friend, and have spent ages going through your files of “Must see someday” to plan this once-in-a-lifetime event. It could be you are signing up for a well-chosen, small-group tour with like-minded folks (Ireland Gardens 2010 – details now online!)

First things first, especially when we’re off to Ireland, Scotland or England:  a raincoat.  Just to be on the safe side, of course.  This is something that I’m in the market for, so I’ve started a little research.  I like the ¾ raincoat from LL Bean ($139), because it’s meshed-lined;  like to do my own layering, and don’t want a heavy lining adding degrees when no degrees are needed.  “Two front pockets” the description says – but how big are they?  I need some room, so that my other essentials fit.

Travelsmith has a microfiber double-collar raincoat ($159) that the Wall Street Journal selected as “best overall raincoat” and is described as “totally waterproof.” I had a “totally waterproof” raincoat from Travelsmith, but it began to leak badly. I ended up just as wet inside as out, and that’s why I’m searching for a new raincoat, so you can see why I might be a little hesitant about this one.

Still, it has a detachable hood; I like that.  Umbrellas are totally useless on a garden tour – I use my hands to take notes and photos.  Online, Travelsmith doesn’t say anything about pockets with this raincoat.  How can that be?  It seems like most Travelsmith clothes have about 42 pockets, 38 of which you will forget about immediately, but usually several are large enough to stuff with important items.

This, of course, prompts the question: Just how many pockets do you need in a raincoat? Again, we’re not hiking the Pacific Trail here – not that there’s anything wrong with that.  What else is in those pockets, besides a few Kleenex, a camera, notepad and pencil, leftover package of biscuits from the tea tray in your hotel room?

Do you have a favorite raincoat for travel?

More garden travel essentials to come.

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