Here is how I imagine myself at least once each camp trip.
Deep from the comfort of my sleeping quilt and fleece a troubling though saturates my mind “Where are my hiking socks for tomorrow?” I try to push this thought out of my mind, until the sun rises. No, it has been established there will be no sleep or comfort until I’m sure of where my socks are. I sit up in my single person tent, and start to rummage through my back pack. The light from my head lamp seems to bounce off the walls of the tent, but escapes the constraints of the main compartment of my backpack. The irony of the situation doesn’t escape me. I know as I rummage through my backpack I’m only disorganizing everything else I had in there.
When the sun rises, I have forgotten about my socks. After a cup of coffee and pot of oat meal my mind recalls the previous night. I look over at my pack and spot my socks, right where they are supposed to be, prepared with the rest of my gear beside the foot of my sleeping bag.
I think it is funny that despite the limited amount of gear that I bring, that organization is an issue. I have been thinking about how to organize the gear in my pack, and have a few ideas.
1. I’m going to try using more transparent bags. If I can see it, I can access it fast. For small items I’ll try to use heavy duty zip lock bags. For the larger items and clothing I like the idea of using mesh bags.
2. Use the small backpack pockets for specific items, and functions. Make sure to put the items back when finished using them!
3. This is a well known one seen from a variety of sources, multi functional items are valuable. Why have two or three items when one will do the trick! A Victorinox or Leatherman is a perfect example of this.
4. Use checklists. I think others have said that maintaining a checklist and then looking at the stuff that you use is a great way to prioritize your gear and make sure you have everything with you. I’m also thinking of making prepared check lists for various situations.
5. Do a before dinner (or whenever you have a few free minutes.) gear check. Might as well locate the things we are going to need in the evening, and next morning before the hike. How many times have hikes started with false starts because someone forgot something at camp?
Do you have any systems, or tips on keeping your backpacks organised?
Amendment: I'm sure other people have assigned specific items and functions to small back pack pockets, used various bags, and checks before dinner, in the past. Sorry if I stole someone else's idea. Thank you for all the great ideas!