Saturday, 26 June 2010

Weekender Packing List - Lessons Learned

Ever been to a tango weekender? Or thought about it, and wondered what to take?

Here's what I learned from my four days in the south of France. Men might simplify things a bit by taking a suit, which would deal with all of the evening milongas, but then you have to puzzle out the shirts and ties. And for the daytime milongas people wore all sorts. Polo shirts and chinos are a pretty safe bet, but I had lovely dances with guys in cargo shorts and flipflops.

Key: Final packing list, comments on return.

The Brief: 5 nights, 4 milongas, unfamiliar Mediterranean climate. 18-22C, possibly windy. Might want to do tourist things. Actually there were 7 milongas! I hadn't understood the programme.

Dancing Shoes 1 (pink tone) I only wore these once, with dress 1, and they're a bit tight for a long milonga. I should order a half-size up in this brand.
Dancing Shoes 2 (silver tone) Wore them all the time - these are the half size up. Winner.
Dress 1 (attention-getting and folds up to nothing) That worked.
Dress 2 (also folds up to nothing - very pretty - quieter though. Could conceivably be worn as daywear, if not too windy) That didn't work. Put it on and it just felt wrong. Something about the climate and fabric and proportions. Felt sweaty. Didn't wear it.
2-piece outfit 1 (relatively casual but bright and cheerful, super-pretty, both parts recycle as daywear) Winner, wore the sweet little Audrey-Hepburn Capri trousers for 2 milongas and as daywear for 2 days.
2-piece outfit 2 (relatively warm in case of unexpected weather, top recycles as daywear, dark colour) This took care of one of the milongas I hadn't counted in the planning. But the skirt is a bit too big and rides down - requires an anti-static slip.
2-piece outfit 3 (relatively formal - cheerful colour - top recycles as daywear) This covered for the failure of Dress 2.
Little Black Dress as backup in case I've totally missed the tone. Didn't need it, but don't grudge the space to proper risk management.
Underwear as required by above.
Knee length zip-up over-dress to wear over outfits when walking to and from the venue. Very glad I put this in at the last minute, otherwise wouldn't have worn Dress 1.

There's 2 outfits redundancy there, but that's because I'm not familiar with the climate or the venue and I don't know exactly who's going or how they dress or whether there's aircon or fans, or whether Dress 1 might be out-of-place. Redundancy and flexibility, luckily.

Both pairs of shoes are comfortable rather than demanding; long nights. Good call. My feet hurt up to the knees at the end of day 1. Any of my other shoes would have been disastrous.

Denim skirt Did the job well but could have either gone without it, or worn it instead of the tourist trousers and avoided the attention of security at King's Cross - I forgot that if you have visible pockets on loose garments, they always search you. Pencil skirt again next time.
Various cotton tops used one for one of the uncounted milongas and 2 things to cover the shoulders only needed the one that matches Dress 1 
Spare light hot-weather skirt, folds up to nothing. Took care of another milonga - good call.
Factor 50 sun cream essential
Beach towel didn't need it
Foldable kitbag didn't need it
Bag with all bits for doing hair, legs, face. Decanted shampoo, conditioner. Bobby pins.
Daywear flat sandals. Wore them all the time and danced in them twice.

Will wear tourist trousers on train with ankle-covering canvas shoes and socks, and hoodie; those will do for any off-road walking. Perfect - took me up the telepherique, hoodie took care of cool evenings.

Camera essential
Adapter for chargers
2x spare SD cards for camera

Document wallet with all booking references, train tickets, and passport.

Small bag with book, money, cards, and knitting.

The only thing I had to buy was sticking plasters for my feet.


NYC Tango Pilgrim said...

Only two pairs of dancing shoes? (in a good way) Haha...most of the women I know pack half of their suitcase with shoes.

I like to travel light (even for the cross Atlantic trips). No suit (unless I am going to BsAs) but different shirts for each night. TWO pairs of shoes! :-) A couple of trousers and a pair of jeans. I always pack extra socks and boxers.

Simba said...

Come on, we need one suit for each night, matching shoes, shirts, ties, cufflinks, belts and socks...


msHedgehog said...

@Pilgrim - I'm not a big shoe loon, and I like to travel light, too, which is why things I can wear both as tango wear and daywear get extra wardrobe points. If I can't carry all my luggage easily up and down stairs then it's too big and it gets edited. The problem with suits is indeed the packing.

Romney said...

Thats a pretty good hit rate. You can't go wrong with comfy shoes.