The polar explorer Roald Amundsen famously declared that "Adventure is just bad planning." After once taking off for a backpacking trip without stove fuel I've taken this advice to heart. A major part of my planning for any backpacking trip is dusting off my trusty spreadsheet and going through all the items I need, step-by-step.
|My backpacking spreadsheet, part of the way through trip prep.|
Know the categoriesOne of the secrets to staying organized on the trail is having a variety of stuff sacks (light nylon bags with drawstring closures) to hold similar items. For example, all my extra clothes go into one stuff sack, my stove and cooking gear in another, food in yet another, and so on.
|Stuff sacks in action. Pickle Branch Shelter, VA, 2011.|
This system makes it easier to find the items you need when you're on the trail, and makes both setting up camp in the evening and packing up in the morning a lot easier. One of my favorite packing hacks is the "camp bag." This is a clear plastic gallon ziplock that holds all the things I may want in my tent or next to me at night in a shelter. Things like my headlamp, book, journal, earplugs, and so on. Set up my tent, toss in the sleeping bag and pad, and the camp bag and I've got all the essentials with me right away.