We will issue each Porker two bag tags, so plan on two duffels total, with tent, sleeping bag, and Thermarest pad enclosed inside.
Rule of thumb: If you can't lift your bag above your head and count to three, it's too heavy. Our drivers will handle those bags fourteen times, so be empathetic and pack like a pig!
What Kind of Bags
Those Rubbermaid tubs don't hold up so well, nor do structured suitcases. A soft duffel bag is your best bet, and you might slip the tent and sleeping bag into an inexpensive nylon bag. Remove any detachable straps. The clever Porker will mark his/her bags somehow, perhaps with a bright bandana or colorful tape, to make them easy to spot in our pile.
In the past, we have asked Porkers not to bring furniture. We still don't want you to bring stereos, gas grills, or refrigerators, but we’ve loosened up on the folding chairs, camp stools, etc. You'll get two bag tags from us, and we will remind you several times that you should be able to lift your packed bags over your head. If you have room for a compact folding chair, and it doesn't increase the number of bags or make your bags too heavy, then bring your folding chair. We reserve the right to change our minds next year, but we're hoping everybody will be reasonable and pack like a pig.
Rather than an air mattress, we strongly recommend that you bring a Thermarest pad. You've been there. First you're in heaven, stretched out on your air mattress, and then your butt slowly eases onto the ground. Then your shoulder blades touch, then your whole back, and pretty soon the dang thing is flat. Not so with the Thermarest pad. It's more compact than an air mattress, more durable, and it puts three cushy inches between you and the ground. By Tuesday of RAGBRAI, we start finding air mattresses stuffed into trash barrels. Save them to use on plush carpet for your house guests. For the rigors of RAGBRAI, you need a Thermarest pad.
No Good Stuff
While we’re on the subject, remember that RAGBRAI beats the heck out of stuff. No jewelry, good luggage, good clothes, good anything. Don't even think about bringing a laptop, and in fact, think about the value of your expensive electronics and consider leaving them behind. Bottom line: if you like it, leave it home.
Phone- and Electronics-Chargers
In spite of our advice above, a lot of you are going to bring your expensive electronic stuff (NO LAPTOPS). If so, bring your regular phone charger, not the kind that plugs into a car cigarette lighter. We have a couple of Juice Things, charging stations plugged into generators, that can handle well over 200 electronic devices at one time.
See Our Tips
For help with what to pack, click on First-Timers for PBV Tips or our Suggested Packing List under Details.