If your like me, you want your gear organized, easy to find and all in place. Well what we want and what we sometimes end up with are not the same. I try to keep things orderly and tidy because you never know when you might be able to get out for a little adventure. However we all know that life and the lack of time to keep things the way we want them does happen. I am sure that after a weekend trip or a longer adventure the last thing we all do is take the time to put everything away in its proper place the moment we get home. I am sad to say I have done that one too many times.
Okay so a little confession. I came home from Hell Hike and Raft and did just this. All my gear, tent, pack, boots, drybags... All of it just tossed on my gear bench in the garage. My work travel keep me moving for about four weeks consecutive after our Epic Social Adventure. And, yes even while on the road the thought of all my gear, some old, some newly purchased and some newly sponsored gear laying out unorganized weighed heavily on my mind.
Recently, when I finally had enough and had enough time, I took control of the situation. I also have a trip coming up the second weekend of November and needed to get things in order or would never be able to pack effectively. I have always had a gear bench and hooks for my packs, hammock accessories, hiking poles and the underneath of the bench stored all my tents and packs. This system worked well. When I used it mind you. But something that was becoming a larger issues was the "smalls" (Frank Fritz - American Pickers term). Something that can't but put on a hook, that needs its own pace and is easy to loose without its predetermined space. Smalls are also usually expensive and items of great importance. Everything from your titanium spork, to your GPS or favorite multitool. All moderately expensive and necessary for each trip. But oh so easy to misplace when your gear area isn't organized.
Just as I was about to undertake organizing and cleaning up my gear bench a neighbor was having a yard sale and asked if I was interested in a tool storage system. I stood there in disbelief! Why hadn't I thought of this before? The Craftsman tool chest was the perfect solution to my gear smalls! Sliding drawers of various depths to accommodate all sorts of smalls. This would definitely I would never ask my self "where the hell did I put my spork?" ever again! YAHOO!
I brought back the tool chest back to my garage and got to work. Old gear, new gear, sponsored gear from Hell Hike and Raft all quickly found its place into the drawers by category. Wow! I didn't realize I had so many pocket knifes. As I mentioned, this was a spur of the moment gear organization epiphany. I wish I could take total credit for the ingenious idea.
I can tell since I done this, and needed things they are always organized and where they are supposed to be. Its amazing how much nicer it is to not have to muddle through a pile of gear to just find a head lamp. Obviously, not everyone has a Craftsman tool chest to organize their gear or a sizeable area in their garage to store all of it. I will offer that keeping your gear in the same place is a must. Having too many small locations is just a quick and easy way to drive yourself mad when need a specific piece of gear. A multi-draw Rubbermaid container may offer the same type of solution for you and at a fraction of the cost of a tool organizer.
If you don't have a garage or don't have the free space in the garage then maybe a dedicated closet is the way to go with shelves or hooks to stow our packs and tents while utilizing an organizational mechanism for your smalls. Organizing your gear ensures you know where every thing is and enables you to pack efficiently and effectively for every adventure. This also dramatically lessens the risk of forgetting to pack something critical for your trip.
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