A Place for Everything

    Backpacking Gear — It helps to have a place for everything.

    I had a friend who has since passed on who loved fishing. He couldn’t get enough of it. He was also good at it and could catch fish any time, anywhere it seemed.

    As impressive as he was as a fisherman, I think I was even more impressed with how prepared he was. His gear was always ready.

    After a fishing trip I noticed he would immediately clean his equipment and repair or replace what was broken or missing. Everything had its place, and it was all together. When someone asked him to go fishing with them, all he had to do was add his lunch. He didn’t have to find anything.

    Being prepared before you go also helps on the trail. If your gear is organized, you know what you have and where to find it when you need it. Get in the habit of putting your equipment back in the same place after you use it. This is especially important when you’re backpacking.

    For example, if you use your first aid kit, put it back where you found it when you’re done. Then you can find it the next time you need it, and you’re less likely to lose it when you move on.

    Of course, leaving things behind makes a fun sport for those who come after. You can look for things other hikers have lost. Or clean up after them.

    One of the last backpacking trips I was on was like that. We found a beautiful, isolated spot in some timber uphill from a well-used camp site next to a lake. Before we hiked on the next morning we took some time to clean up the other area. It surprised me what others had left. Among other things we found a frying pan, about a three pound bag of trail mix, a food bag with lots of food in it, and a full size pillow with a nice pillowcase.

    On other trips I’ve found things like a sleeping bag, a closed cell foam pad, a hunting knife, money, fishing gear, creel, camera, clothing, tarps, and once I came across 200 feet of camo climbing rope. I guess I can understand the camo climbing rope, because it did blend in. And I suspect some of the other things were abandoned, but others were obviously misplaced and missed.

    Live by the old saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” It will not only help you be prepared for your next trip, but help you keep track of your gear along the trail.

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