Packs in Packs




  • Official comment
    Daniel Pehrson

    Hey Daniel,

    Gotta apologize for the unacceptable delay in getting back to you here, I apparently can't figure out how to properly configure this thing to send me email notifications when people post new threads!

    With that said, I have been thinking about this problem and how to tackle it from an engineering standpoint. If I could ask an important question:

    Would you be OK with a solution where you planned a 'First Aid Kit' as a pack itself, and when you tried to add it to a new pack it just copied the items over? Or would you really want to maintain the structure so that it actually shows nested packs?

    Essentially, the first way is much easier to build, but the second way is probably more useful, I just have to ask so I can figure out how to best prioritize my development time.

    I really want to figure out a clever way to let packs have sub-packs because it would solve so many problems:

    • First aid kits
    • Approach gear
    • Travel items
    • Stuff sack organization

    I don't yet have any concrete plans for implementing this, but I do want to confirm that I think it's an important problem to solve as soon as I feel I can solve it well.

    Thanks a million for being a Trailposter and for the vote of confidence. I have a huge amount of work to do to even get Trailpost to where I want it to be, but all the feedback I'm getting from people like yourself is really helping.

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    No apology necessary, it can be hard to keep on top of it all at times.

    Your interim solution would certainly be useful, in fact I think it would be a feature in and of itself.

    I've given it some further thought, and having packs able to be included within other packs would also sort out another feature that I was considering requesting, in the ability to create custom categories.  I've sometimes felt a little limited by the enforced category choices (whilst they seem to cover all the bases, I like to group my big 4, for example).

    Perhaps instead of rewriting the way categories are stored, you just allow the addition of subpacks to packs, these could render below your general categories and you could just create global weight properties based on the pack and it's subpacks.  Keep in mind you will need to check to ensure that you don't run into any recursion issues (a pack including itself, or a pack including a pack that contains itself).



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    Daniel Pehrson

    You've raised a couple of really good points, and some of them are stuff where I've agree it's a problem that needs to be solved, I'm just trying to figure out the best way to approach it both now and in the future.

    The "Big 4" is one that I want to solve, but I am *hoping* to solve it once I get the centralized gear database in place. Once I have that, theoretically, all locker items will be tied to actual products which have will be properly categorized in an appropriate taxonomy, for example, "Shelter > Tents" or "Backpacks" which I could use to automatically infer things like "Big 4".

    When I built the first prototype of Trailpost, I knew the decision to use fixed packing categories was likely to be polarizing, but so far the majority of the feedback from the surveys indicates that people don't necessarily have a problem with fixed categories, they just need them to be both narrow enough to not be overwhelmed with choices, and broad enough to cover the activities they engage in, and the way they think about packing. I'm actually running a survey right now to collect very detailed feedback about how people would change the categories and I hope to make some tweaks in the near future.

    I'm admittedly being a bit cautious about how I handle categories because allowing for custom categories would introduce a lot of inconsistency and complexity into the system which would then be very difficult to roll back if it turned out to not be a good idea.

    I also actually have a somewhat "far out" theory that in the long run, categorization may not actually be the best way to organize packs at all, and instead, it should be focused on "problem" based packing. If you're interested in learning more about how I think about this, you can check out this comment on /r/trailpost where I went in depth on the topic. This isn't something I plan on implementing any time soon or forcing on people, it's just one of those theoretical things I keep in the back of my head.

    As for sub-packs, I am committed to solving this problem, but I need to make sure the solution is well thought out, precisely because of the problems you identified: recursion and circular dependencies. I'm not sure if you're a software developer as well, but those two things can introduce a lot of complexity as well, so I have to make sure it's really worth it if I can't find a more clever solution.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your ideas with me, these kinds of conversations guide most Trailpost development, and I'm really looking forward to moving Trailpost to the next phase where I can start really introducing features and functionality that no one else has.

    Reach out anytime you have questions, comments, ideas, or feature requests. I am now 100% sure I get email notifications here because I got one for your last post!

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    Daniel Pehrson

    Hey Daniel,

    I just wanted to follow up here since we had been discussing categorization and let you know that Trailpost has just released custom packing categories. You can now create your own categories in addition to the shared "community" categories that we've always had.

    You can read more about this here if it is useful to you:

    I know this doesn't exactly the solve your original problem, but I'm hoping it may be one step closer to helping you organize your packs in a way that makes sense to you.

    As always, reach out if there's anything else I can do to help.

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    Greg Overton

    Hi Daniel P!


    Chiming in to add my vote for "kits" within "packs" ("packs within packs"). My use case is the same as the other Daniel up there; the ability to arrange an "ice kit", "rock kit", "3-p tent kit", "bivy kit", or "cooking kit", for example, and include those kits within a larger "pack" or load-out. Important requirements:

    1) The ability to change the contents of a kit, and have that reflected in any pack in which that kit is used. For example, if I change the type of stakes I'm using in my "tent kit", I'd want those stakes to be replaced in any pack that has the tent kit in it. If I get a new stove, I'd want that to be swapped in all my packs by changing the stove in my "cooking kit".

    2) Items are de-duplicated in a pack, when they're added from multiple kits. There aren't too many examples of this that I can think of, but, for example, if I have 5 locking carabiners in my "rock kit" and also have 5 locking carabiners in my "ice kit", then add both my rock kit and my ice kit to a "pack", I wouldn't want 10 locking carabiners, I would still only want 5.

    Also, I appreciate your effort and thought surrounding these features. I've done software dev myself, although that's not my main occupation at this point. Cheers!


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