Packing with unpacking in mind...

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by nigel, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. nigel

    nigel Member

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    DD reports in to the Scholars Program next Monday! She is bringing only what is on the list, and - per the terrific advice here - plans on using only a backpack. However, we are having a hard time getting everything to fit!

    Those tube socks and towels are especially bulky. We planned on packing everything in vacuum-sealed plastic sleeves using the Food Saver (think cryovac packaging). This really cuts the bulk down by about 40%. She was going to have one of every item (socks, t-shirt, etc.) NOT vacuum packed for ease of access in case she needed a quick change. However, she has gotten some feedback on the Facebook page suggesting not to vacuum pack her clothes as it will really slow her down when it is time to unpack and put things away.

    Do you agree? As long as she has a small pair of scissors with her (like the ones used in 2nd grade) the bags open quickly and easily, and everything is already in a neat pile. Will she be allowed to have the scissors?

    Also, she was planning on using her new backpack. Is there any reason she shouldn't, and bring an old one instead?

    Also, any other packing advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks... Nicole
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    What I found myself wondering is how is she going to pack up to bring everything home?
    If there is an outdoor store near you that's still open (like an REI or a Gander Mt) check the backpacking sections for towels. I purchased one several years ago that's made for backpackers. It's like a very large chamois, does the job, dries fast, and takes up very little space. I use it once a year when I go fishing in Canada and space in the duffel is limited, what with adult beverages, snacks, and all.
     
  3. nigel

    nigel Member

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    Won't she be able to throw everything into her sea bag once they head down to the prep school? There is a lot of room in there, right?

    Nicole
     
  4. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Last year my son could not fit everything in a back pack either. He used a sea bag type of duffel. Was not a problem. Most reported in with a big duffel bag and some a backpack and duffel, all of those required socks, towels, etc take up a lot of room.
    I wouldn't bother with the vacuum packing and all of that. Your DD will be fine with whatever she shows up with.
     
  5. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    Ditto what Packer said. Get a fairly inexpensive larger pack. Don't bother with the vacuum pack. How is your Scholar going to repack them to leave CGA for MMI? The backpacking towels are efficient, but probably better to get "real" towels and stay under the radar. My son was a Scholar at MMI last year. He used a pack larger than a day pack for CGA orientation. We went to Parent's Weekend at MMI and brought it home. We shipped the MMI listed items to MMI directly. I think it was two boxes and a flat packed ironing board (small). (Chief L will inform you that is needed! Oh, yes.) We also went down at the end of the year to pick him up, with his accumulated stuff. You'll need to factor in if travel for you is not an option. The kids from the islands and Alaska had to do the most planning. Even for us, driving to MMI was a day and a half trip. But we stopped in DC and USNA with our son on the way back.

    If we can offer any other advice, based on what we experienced, please don't hesitate to ask. Advice is free, but our situation may not apply to you. :thumb:

    By the way, I have heard from a couple of last years Scholars (mine included) that orientation at CGA was harder than Swab Summer, at least so far. But at least one other felt the opposite. For what it's worth.
     
  6. nigel

    nigel Member

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    This whole time I have been assuming she will be issued a seabag at USCGA. Am I correct? My thinking is that she will not have to re-pack her backpack, she can just throw everything into that seabag. Those things are pretty big, I am assuming there is lots of room.

    She will be disappointed if she can't use her backpack. She really didn't want to lug a duffel around. Vacuum packing is no big deal, I have a machine and use it often. However, it really isn't sounding like it will work. I must admit, I still don't see why not - but I do trust the excellent advice here.

    As far as her MMI items, we are shipping them directly to MMI. She will either ship them home in May or we will pick her up. I was going to ship some items (like the ironing board) directly from Amazon to MMI. They will even ship her a broom!

    We bought the thinnest cheapest towels at WalMart, trying to reduce bulk (and she likes them, too!). The funny thing is, the three towels altogether cost the same as one pair of crew socks for MMI! (As Lt. Dan said in Forrest Gump, "Take good care of your feet!")

    She is getting pretty nervous for orientation. She is very fit so she isn't worried about the physical aspects, but I know she is worrying about the yelling. I don't think I will tell her your feedback about orientation being tougher than swab summer! That will just stress her out more.

    Nicole
     
  7. JMS

    JMS Member

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    Well, then please let DD know we are rooting for her; AND GET DOWN AND GIVE ME 20! :biggrin:
     
  8. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014

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    Each Scholar is issued a seabag, so she won't have to worry about that. I agree with bringing a backpack, just know that even with scissors the vacuum bags will slow her down a bit. Honestly, as long as she doesn't show up with a luggage style, rolling bag, she will be just fine.

    As for CGAS orientation being more difficult than swab summer, it is really hard to make that distinction in my opinion. During CGAS, they are exposed to all of the yelling and mental stress so they are more prepared in that aspect for Swab Summer, that may be why it feels easier. I will tell you know that I have prepsters in my company as swabs right now and they struggle in areas just like the other swabs do.

    Your daughter wouldn't have been accepted if she couldn't succeed, she'll be just fine! Just let her know to take it one meal at a time :thumb:
     
  9. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    +1 T&F08. :thumb:
     

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