This is a post in an ongoing feature on Her Packing List called “The One Little Thing“. Each week or two, I’ll be interviewing a traveling lady to find out the one little thing she just can’t travel without. This one is brought to you by Jess Graff.
Hi, I’m Jess. I am an artist, art teacher, adventurer, designer, actor, and dancer. Corvallis, Oregon is where I call home. It’s beautiful here: green, lush, with friendly people, and somewhat soggy weather. I like to say I live in the shire because that really is what western Oregon looks like to me, with its rolling hills, meadows, and forests.
Yet, all this beauty can’t keep me here all the time. Like a wayward hobbit (and believe me, I eat like one too) I must go forth into the world and explore. I must break, somewhat, with tradition and go where no hobbit has been before, which is to say most of this big beautiful world we live in. Sometimes those adventures get a little messy but I have a couple tricks that help make everything go a little smoother.
What one little thing can you not travel without?
I always travel with wet wipes.
Why has this one item been so important to you?
I am not a neat freak in my everyday life, nor am I overly concerned with germs and everyday bacteria, but traveling can get messy quickly. When I wander, I never know where I will end up. Wet wipes can come in handy in so many ways and have saved me in many, would be awkward, uncomfortable, or mildly irritating, situations.
How packable is it? Does it take up much room? Is it heavy?
There are different brands of wet wipes that have different size packaging, scents, and primary purposes. My favorite, that I have found so far, are Cottonelle Flushable Moist Wipes, in the travel pack. They come in packs of 10, weigh about 2.6oz, and fit pretty neatly into small bags and purses or large pockets. They are much gentler than wipes with alcohol and do not irritate my relatively sensitive skin. Once the resealable pouch is opened you do need to make sure you reseal it properly so that the package does not dry out or leak. Putting the pouch in a baggie isn’t a bad idea if you are going to be squishing your pack or stuffing things in it hurriedly, but even without you would probably be fine.
Why would you recommend this to your travel friends?
I would recommend this to my travel friends because you can’t always predict where your adventure will take you or what will happen once you are on it. You could plan to just walk around a city center and while you are walking you could find a farmers market, and just need to cut into a melon or eat a beautiful peach right there. Rather than being sticky for the rest of your mini adventure, or awkwardly pouring out part of your water bottle on your hands, or looking for a fountain to wash up in you could just pull out a wipe and not even have to think about it anymore. Or alternatively on your walk, the local birds might decide to use you as target practice, and then your wet wipe would save you from having to walk around covered in bird droppings. The possible scenarios are numerous.
Can you name one incident or situation where you were so happy to have this item with you?
I could name many. Both of the situations above have been instances that I was happy to have my wet wipes. I have also been glad to have them post hike at Montserrat and other locations when I was covered in sweat and dust and was able to wipe some of the grime away and make myself feel more appropriate for human interaction again. Most memorably, I was oh so happy to have them with me at a very sad toilet in Athens where there was neither seat, nor doors, nor paper in sight. I have also appreciated them in many other unpredictable and more beautiful moments.
How did you hear about this item?
This is the part where I say that sometimes my mother is right. In a pre-me-taking-my-first-solo-adventure panic, my mother bought me some things that she thought I would possibly need. While some of these items were less necessary and while I rolled my eyes at many of her inclusions, wet wipes were part of her care package of concern. I brought them along mostly to appease a worried mother. I have since thanked her, many times over.
What type of traveler is this item perfect for?
These are perfect for pretty much anyone in my opinion.
If you are a traveler who stays in primarily nicer hotels and has access to running water all or most of the time you may find fewer extreme instances to use them. And if you are an extreme adventure hiker you may just not care to have them adding any weight to your pack.
However, most of us have at some point inadvertently put our sandaled foot in something suspicious, eaten a messy ice cream cone, gotten sap on our hands, been splashed with mud, or felt sweaty and gross after a long walk on a hot day. In scenarios like this where you may not feel like wiping your hands on your clothes or when you are unable to shower or wash up right away, wet wipes can solve the problem almost instantaneously and get you out of pretty much any sticky situation.
About the Author: Jess Graff is a children’s art teacher, an artist, and designer. Who loves every piece of her creative existence and feels so fortunate to have her “normal” at home life be nearly as exciting as her wanderer life. Follow her adventures at Clay Bird and the Travel Bug.