Packing Predicaments

Austin Reed Packing Predicaments booklet

These days I am often thinking of where I am going next. In terms of travel, that is. I have become addicted to long weekends away. Enough time to explore. Not enough time to get bored.

And I travel lighter and lighter. Surely the only people who have leather suitcases or stacks of Vuitton luggage are the people who have people to carry them? Unless I have to take my laptop, I can manage for days out of a big nylon Eastpack bag.

This 1951 Packing Predicaments guide from Austin Reed takes a dim view of minimalist packing. It has checklists for a gentleman’s seamless travel, including: ‘The Absolutely Vitals’ like lavender water (inclined to corkage!) hot water bottle and pyjamas (two halves are better than one) and ‘The Virtual Necessities’ such as ‘hat, cap or both’, braces (spare pair ensures perfect equipoise) and Asprins, Opium etc.

And then there are lists for The Delightful and Dreadful Game (golf), Games and Dalliance, Night After Night, Taking the Air, Seaside Scenes and Hiking. The booklet finishes up with simple lined pages for you to add your own lists.

Just about everything Austin Reed printed in the mid-twentieth century was very very handsome. Such care was taken with the words, illustrations and production. Not sure who illustrated this one. It was printed by Lund Humphries, so could be one of their alumni. I don’t think it’s by Fougasse, who did many of the earlier Austin Reed illustrations. If anything, it looks rather like Mr Havindens work..

I have a few bits of Austin Reed ephemera. Lovely things all. I wish I knew if they were given out in the shops or sent to special customers. Either way, what a great giveaway. Just look at the joyous endpapers.

Austin Reed booklet endpaper


Daniel Nelson

I do love that. It’s a shame that they no longer have any of this quality of literature. It’s all very modern and soulless now. Where did you find this?

shelf appeal

I probably found it in an old shoe box on the floor of an old bookshop..


I have a hard-back copy of this published in 1930 that came from my father. It has printed cloth binding and different printed end papers and was printed by the Curwen Press, famous for such things.

shelf appeal

How interesting. I would just like to be able to sneak in to the stock room in Austin Reed where they kept all the booklets and pinch one of each.


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