[Review] PackPoint packing list builder

Going on a vacation? Try PackPoint, and this time you won't forget your phone charger, swimsuit and goggles.

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Overview

PackPoint is a free, good-looking travel app designed to make your packing easy with the help of app-generated and user-customized packing lists you can share to your Gmail, and other accounts, and print out. You can also create templates for easy list generation next time. Overall, the idea, UI and performance seem great but for a couple of pitfalls, which will eventually let you decide whether this app is worth keeping.

Installation

PackPoint requires access to device and app history as well as in-app purchases. The app needs access to Internet to be able to pull weather forecast information for your upcoming trips and suggest warm or light clothes, sun glasses, umbrella and the like items that depend on weather.

UI and Usability

Now, I have a two-fold impression of the user interface here. First, the looks are neat, and as I was familiarizing myself with the app, it seemed like a very smooth and thought-through tool, although some rough edges made me hesitate later on. Once you launch the app, it will ask you whether you are a Male or Female, since the lists are gender specific. You will be able to change the gender from the Settings later on.

Right after that, you are offered to create a new trip, and input the destination’s name, trip dates and whether you will have access to laundry facilities during your stay.

Next, you are tasked with choosing Activities, and that’s where I frowned for the first time. The number of activities seems generous enough, but not for me, and I started looking for a way to add a custom activity, for example, visiting Disney Land or medical tourism, or a road trip. Unfortunately, there is no way you can add your own custom activities. What you can do, though, is activate the premium features, or try them out for free during a 30-day trial period, and customize the default lists for each activity.

Navigation

Navigation seemed fine until I started customizing things and creating my own templates. I was able to access the ‘Create New Template’ menu only once – when I first chose to create the template. When I applied the template, I realized I am missing some things and wanted to go back to the Template menu and edit it, but alas, could not find a way. Every time I would create a new list, I would face an option to choose from already existing templates, but I could not find the option to edit the existing or add a new template anywhere in the settings, or from within a trip. The only way I could bring up the option is clear the app’s data from my device’s Settings, which totally deletes whatever the app had stored.

Navigation is smooth, but there isn’t what I would call a main window, which would display a summary of trips, templates and settings. When you launch the app, you see one of your trips, with options to switch to a different trip, settings, edit activities, or delete the trip options. As a result, I found myself going in circles on several occasions when I was looking for the above-mentioned options.

Also, the first time I created a template, it did not display any items on the list when I applied it to my trip, which may be a one-time glitch.

Features

  • Activities for business and leisure trips
  • Warm and light clothes, a great variety of items on default lists, from extra chargers to pain killers, umbrellas and sun glasses
  • Nifty weather forecast-based items suggestions
  • Attractive UI
  • Free, with premium features available via in-app purchases
  • Available in many languages

Should You Download It?

PackPoint is a great idea wrapped in an attractive user interface, but at the moment I find my hand-written packing lists easier to set up and use. The app has a huge potential, but currently it just feels raw, tedious and rather generic. Users who travel frequently to different locations will find this app quite helpful, but the time you will need to spend on customizing your lists and setting them up, entering custom items and swipe-deleting the unnecessary ones is more than just sitting down with pen and paper, or a simple note app and writing a list.

Where is my passport?

Also, it does require the user to spend some time going through the activities’ lists because, for example, if you need a passport on your trip, you will have to choose International from the activities. Otherwise, you won’t find documents anywhere on the list.

Gender-specific items and large family lists

I also asked my girlfriend to check the lists from a woman’s perspective, and she found it odd the app suggested men pack condoms, while women pack birth control pills, as if STDs were ‘gender-specific.’ Also, for a large family it would be nice to have user profiles, or a way to generate lists for the entire family. There is a Baby activity, though, but if you are responsible for packing a husband, a wife, four kids different ages, each with favorite must-have toys, a pet, or a pair of Grandparents, you are better off with good old Excel sheet or a pen and paper.

The Perks

On the bright side, PackPoint’s weather conditions-based suggestions and classic packing lists will make do for the forgetful folks traveling light or alone. The developers have a website dedicated to user feedback, and I have to give them credit for responding to user feedback and gradually working on new features, bringing them in updates.

Overall, PackPoint is a work in progress, and we would love to see a more intuitive layout and a few bugs ironed out. I also hope the developers will be able to come up with code solutions to all user requests listed on their ideas website, and there are a lot of user requests, which means the app gained enough traction and generated a user base.

Pros

  • Free app, beautiful UI
  • Weather forecast-based clothes and items suggestions
  • Easy add or delete items from default lists
  • Create custom templates
  • Share lists with friends and family via Gmail or TripIt
  • Customize default lists (premium)
  • Good for individual trips, especially business
  • PackPoint widget for your home screen

Cons

  • An annoying bug (or a missing feature?) that won’t let edit or add more templates once you exit the Templates menu
  • No way to add custom Activities
  • Too tedious for large families trips
  • Incompatible with road trips
  • Passport is only on the International activity list

Verdict

PackPoint is a neat packing lists app ample enough for lone and forgetful travelers who have to travel a lot and tend to forget basic things. The developers keep track of user requests and gradually roll out new features. Besides, the app is free and without any annoying ads, but a request to rate. A one-time premium purchase unlocks editing the default lists feature, but a few quibbles make the app too tedious to customize, especially for large families and types of trips that do not fall under the app’s default activities list.

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
Usability
Features
Default Lists
Navigation