Automating the Packing List: There’s an App for That

This past summer we put a priority on shorter road trips, camping at state and regional parks across the state of Oregon. For the purposes of staying organized and embracing the powers of the Cloud, I created a Google spreadsheet detailing the various packing lists for equipment, clothing, kitchen, gear, etc. And while I could access the list on my phone or print a hardcopy checklist, a spreadsheet is limited in how it incorporates images and is accessed by other individuals.

Fortunately, during the workweek, I double as a Marketing Manager for Cognitopia, a Eugene-based tech firm that develops a self-determination software platform for people with cognitive challenges—to help improve independence with person-centered ePortfolios and IEP self-direction, goal tracking, and progress sharing and a library of task analyzed routine activities using text, images, and video modeling.

And while the Cognitopia platform is designed with individuals experiencing cognitive challenges, the tools can be used by anyone needing assistance ticking items off a list or sharing in a team activity like group camping. For example, consider all of the moving pieces related to prepping for a camping trip—shopping for groceries, washing sleeping bags, reserving a camping spot, etc.

Using Goal Guide, I created a goal called Camping Trip Prep and assigned it to a group of adults sharing the responsibility of getting everything squared away the week leading up to the first day.



As tasks in the goal are accomplished, each person on the team checks off a box and their profile photo appears next to the completed activity.


With the camping trip prep underway, you’ll still eventually need to collect the litany of gear, clothing, and accessories required to survive a long weekend in the wilderness. Using Routines, I moved the items from my spreadsheet to a standalone Camping Packing List routine, adding a photo of each item as a visual reminder (useful if you’re including kids in the process).

But wait, there’s more! Once created, I can share the Packing List routine with anyone I’ve already connected to within Cognitopia (my kids and fellow campers, for example), text the link, email the link, or copy and share it a different way (Facebook messenger, for example). Accessing the link to the routine doesn’t need an account within the tool.


That’s it! If you have any questions on how to use Cognitopia for your next camping or road trip, send me an email ([email protected]). Happy camping and happy trails!

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at