Whenever I get ready for another hike or another backpacking trip, I seem to scurry around like a mouse for an hour or two, gathering all my gear and checking off my list, afraid of forgetting something. After our last backpacking trip, however, we have devised a simple system to make getting ready for trips easier and smoother. And the less time it takes to get ready, the more time spent hiking or on the trail!
Hang a "Master List" in the closet that holds your gear.
We decided to print ours out and laminate it, that way we can cross off things we have with a marker and wipe it clean for next time. This is a great time saver, since we don't have to hunt down where the list is- it's already there! Make a checklist for day hikes and backpacking trips and categorize them by seasons. Since hiking in the winter requires additional gear, have a separate list for it.
RePack each backpack at the end of each trip, leaving out only food, water, toiletries and clothing.
This saves a huge amount of time. Wash everything that needs to be immediately after each trip and repack. Make a separate list of items that belong in the pack permanently. Make sure to leave out items like sleeping bags so that they don't loose their fill, especially if they are down. Now all you need to do for the next trip is grab and go!
Sort through gear at the end of every trip and re-evaluate.
Determine at the end of each trip, when your memory is the freshest, whether you needed or used a particular item. If it's not one of the 10 essentials and you don't use it, toss it. This helps to bring down over-all pack weight over time. Make a list of items that need replacing and repairing as well, such as first aid items that were used or a broken tent zipper. If you don't do it now, chances are you will forget and have trouble during your next trip.
These system has worked out great so far, and I cannot imagine going back to my former scurrying!
Do you have a system/strategy when it comes to storing gear for the next trip? Share in the comments below!