View Full Version : where's my *&$#(@! headlamp?

06-14-2006, 06:24 PM
Getting ready for a long weekend in the Whites for the Presi traverse.....

My office is where I start tossing all my gear a day or two before a planned hike and it is quite the big mess at this point...It might rain--jacket and pants....it might be windy and cold--fleece, gloves, hat...it might be hot--shorts, tshirt, baseball cap...I WILL be hungry--plenty of food...maps, hydration bladder, bandana, bug dope, first aid, beaners, COFFEE.....but where's my headlamp??? Then I must decide on trail runners or boots....Osprey or Kelty...poles or no poles...Crocs or Keens.......like I said, what a big mess...... :eek:

What does your 'getting ready for a hike' area look like?


Jay H
06-14-2006, 06:33 PM
I'm single. I just throw everything into one big pile a few days (hopefully) before the hike.. and I'll try to organize everything before I start packing. In other words, I'll run through my brain things I need

a)during hike
b)before hike
c)car camping or backpacking gear
d)maps and navigation gear
e)food and drinks
f)emergency gear
g)clothing before and after.

Then once I have the huge pile of crap, I start packing. This makes things somewhat systematic and I try to go through it all for every hike.

For paddling, it's a bit easier, I have one huge duffel bag full of paddling gear, bilge pumps, sponges, PFD, sprayskirt, compass, etc. so throw the kayak on the car, throw the bag in the car, grab the paddle(s) and grab clothes and food and drink and maps...

Hiking can be somewhat different as you've got more to inventory, raingear etc...


06-14-2006, 06:35 PM
I'm with JayH. My current place is wicked small, but the new place I'm closing on next month has a lot more room. I'm looking forward to converting the extra bedroom into a computer/gear room. :D

06-14-2006, 06:42 PM
Yep same here, single guy, small place... between the climbing gear, the camping gear, the hiking gear, the ski gear, maybe one or both bikes (road and MTB) my place usually looks like a sherpa and his yak exploded...

I try to keep it under control, but hey, sometimes having it spread out is better stored away, at least you can see it... well maybe... if it is next to something that reminds you of the last time you saw whatever you are looking for...maybe... a real maybe... :)


06-14-2006, 06:51 PM
We have a small place too, but it does have a basement, so that's where most of the gear lives. I think we could start our own shop with all the stuff we have :eek: But really, it's all pretty organized, so we don't have to do too much of the running around like chickens with our heads cut off the night before we head out!

Whether day or overnight, we tend of bring everything up from the basement/out from the bedrooms and make a nice pile on the floor/table for each of our stuff. The tent gets split, food gets split, the pile grows, etc etc. Then it's time to see if it will all fit in the pack! :)

06-14-2006, 08:17 PM
Our gear is "stored" (there has to be a less genteel word for it!) in the basement, and hiking clothes in a variety of drawers and closets upstairs. Dayhikes are no problem, as we have packs that are more or less ready to go, though I check the contents. Backpack trips are another story. We form two piles (his 'n hers) and the scene looks like two kids on an Easter Egg hunt as we go through the house looking for one thing or another that didn't get to where it was supposed to be.

06-14-2006, 08:18 PM
Wait till you get a big place!! More room for more stuff! :eek: I've proved the adage that the more room, the more junk!! Right now I'm between two houses and a cottage!! I'm never sure just where anything is (there's plenty in the Grand Caravan as well!!)

Agree with Jay, all of my yakin stuff is in a plastic storage unit. Much of my camping/hiking gear is in the same, but as hikes differ, so does gear. It still takes time to sort through. Hiking poles are always what I'm looking for. Earlier in the week I rummaged through some gear looking for head net and a couple other odd things and luckily found them pronto!!

Pack extra money -- if it's critical you can purchase!!

06-14-2006, 08:21 PM
Camping room. Everything in cubbies. Right from the storage location into the pack. Done it so many times it's like clockwork now.

Of course, I have a 100% chance of forgetting something.

06-14-2006, 08:30 PM
I'm with Bubba. My only chance is to buy my way out of trouble. Between the hobbies, the tools, and the knick-knack collection, the only things I can find are the things I needed last month. I spent a good part of last Sunday getting ready for the Presi-Traverse. I think I'm set, but I have the Visa card on top, I'm sure I'll use it more than once

06-14-2006, 08:49 PM
my place usually looks like a sherpa and his yak exploded...

This so PERFECTLY describes our tiny little apartment that I will have to steal the phrase from Kevin.

Boston apartments are tiny to begin with, then squeeze 2 people in a space they intended for one, add to that a gear addict, actually make that 2 gear addicts, and numerous types of gear, for hiking, backpacking, skiing, climbing, kayaking, biking, etc . . . then complicate it further with an addiction to books and crafts and cooking and what you have left is an obstacle course that would challenge even the winners of Survivor.

Now, top that with one boyfriend whose idea of finding something in the packed craziness involves dumping, yes I said dumping, ALL the contents of said 100 Liter gear box all over the place and start chucking things over his shoulder until he finds what he needs . . . ah the headlamp . . . there it is . . . and that is if he is lucky and doesn't have to repeat the above process with more than one of the gear boxes.

So, we usually end up not sleeping at all the night before we leave on a trip, which is almost every Thursday or Friday night, can't wait to move into a real sized place in August . . . whoohoo . . . more room for gear :D :D


06-14-2006, 09:12 PM
What does your 'getting ready for a hike' area look like?


I am a fairly well organized individual.
Got a house with walk out basement direct to the truck.
In the basement (which is dry) I keep all of the gear ready to go in a moments notice.
For years I had stored all hardware (tents, stoves, headlamps, filters, pots, ect) in standard plastic milk crates and still do.
All the clothing was either in large duffels or coats hung....everywhere.

Last year, I finally got a bunch of those large rectangular 15 gal. plastic storage bin totes with folding lids. These are PERFECT for storing all clothing where I organize each bin for different weather expected, rain, snow, warm, cold. No time for "drawers" or buros.
And these bins are stackable, a great space savings bonus!
I can easly rumage through a bin and grab a piece of each clothing needed,
grab a hanging pack of suitable size, stuff it and I am OFF.
I also keep limited food supplies in plastic sealed bins as well.

I don't get to the mountains very often, but I do hike nearly every day and every possible weather condition from home, so I got the clothing routine down pat.

When I do go to the mountians, I take a single plastic bin tote with a range of clothing for all conditions, throw the bin in the truck, head north, pick what I need at the trail head.

....I got too much stuff..... :eek:

Lawn Sale
06-14-2006, 09:31 PM
I am single, have a large house, and am a pac-rat, which is not a good combination. I have 2 rooms for tents and gear, 2 dressers for clothing, a wall for packs, and and the beams (exposed post & beam farmhouse) for the sleeping bags. When wet I can hang all the tents in the barn to dry.

My getting ready for a hike includes firing up my camping program and deciding what I want to take, virtually. It allows me to think of each piece of gear rather than looking at it, and I get a pack weight I can pare' down if I need to. It all seems clearer than attempting to lay my gear out in front of me as I tend to over-pack. Then I just go by the list and accumulate what I need from various areas.

06-14-2006, 09:35 PM
My process is somewhat disorganized, but I try hard to make order out of chaos quickly.

For winter (or winter-like) day hikes I have a check list, which I follow like a religion. My gear is in a closet, those deep stack-able bins and pull-out drawers in a stackable plastic cabinet. But mostly it's just stacked. Most survival gear is 1 or 2 sacks which I rarely change. Other gear gets grouped logically and sacked or arranged.

For other season hikes, I throw things together carefully, though often without a list. Camping and overnights are exception - I make up a list according to conditions and days planned.

For all hikes the night before I use our backbed room to place everything: pack, poles, sacks, food, etc on the floor: group and then assemble. I add perishables at the last minute the next morning. I leave my pack, spare clothes, boots & jacket near our backdoor, so I'm ready to go in the AM.

Hey Jade - Thanks for posting this question. I rather enjoyed reading everyone's responses!


Double Bow
06-14-2006, 09:47 PM
No yak guts on my wall but, I have a room in my basement (which I call "Base Camp") that looks like a Kansas trailer park after a tornado.

Stangely enough, with everything (except jackets) all over the place in that room, I'm able to pack my stuff and be ready to go in a moment's notice. It helps that the only things that change are what snacks, how much water, which jacket, and wheather or not to bring the "hat & glove" stuff sack.

I'll be packing for the traverse Friday morning and will forget something and live without it.

06-14-2006, 10:48 PM
Ahhh....my secret shame, the gear storage area. Well, it looks like someone blew up REI in there. At least we can keep the door closed. :eek:

06-14-2006, 11:16 PM
With 5 children, my hiking gear is always being used for something other than hiking. My headlamp is very popular as flashlights can never be located. My raingear is always being loaned out on some fieldtrip or excursion. Daypacks are used for school bags. Sleeping bags are used for sleep overs.
The most important stuff I try to keep in my car(my only space that I can call my own) but it disapears regularly too, and my car just isn't a good storage place. Last time I went up Monadnock, got to the trail head, went to buckle up my carfully packed waist pack, and found that the plastic buckles were broken. :eek: The story of my life :o

I too keep a religious check list. Follow it carefully, checking off each item as it gets packed. Then, almost every trip, I loose the check list, curse up a storm, and then start over again.

I love hiking, but hate packing. :(

06-14-2006, 11:30 PM
I am last minute kinda person :o. I usually pack my bag the night before my hike, and usually freak out in the middle of the night looking for some gears and end up having only 4-5 hours sleep before I hit the road for a long drive to the trailhead.

My packing area is somewhat tidy. With my empty backpack laying on the floor, I'll look at my gear list and started finding my gears from all over my apartment. It is kinda like my grocery shopping list, I'll find one thing at a time and stuff right into my pack.

My unpacking scene is just the opposite. I'll throw everything out of the pack, all dirty clothing go right to the laundry basket, and most of the time I'll do the laundry right away. The other gears on the other hand, will remain on the floor for days to come.

06-14-2006, 11:56 PM
My basement is a cross between a gym, a mountaineering shop, a hockey locker room, a workshop, a bicycle shop and an overflowing self-storage locker. To the casual observer it is a complete clutter, but I actually know where most things are. Most of my stuff in either hanging in a specific location or in a specific plastic bin. I can usually find what I am looking for fairly easily.

06-15-2006, 07:42 AM
Uh - Jade - Did you check your new pack? You said you had it in there on Sunday...

06-15-2006, 07:52 AM
one time - I forgot everything - even my clothes :eek: :eek: ;) ;)

06-15-2006, 08:31 AM
I usually drag everything out of my gear locker and place it in the middle of the living room floor. I will pack my tent and sleeping bag the night before, but I like to pack everything else the morning of the hike, otherwise I end up unpacking just to make certain I packed something.

06-15-2006, 08:32 AM
If this reply does not give away the fact that I am a librarian... :D

My gear is basically in small sacks that go into my pack...

emergency gear
extra clothes

After each hike the food and Camelback come out...the other stuff stays unless it needs to be replenished or cleaned...if that is the case that gets dealt with and the stuff all goes right back in the pack.

The morning of the hike the Camelback gets loaded and the food too...

The outside pocket of my pack has my compass and multitool (which I wear on my belt when I hike), as well as my raincover, rainpants and tp...

Top pocket has whistle (I sometimes where the whistle too), maps...

Pretty organized...the small sacks help to keep things organized and dry, and they make it a lot easier to use a different pack...

06-15-2006, 08:36 AM
My current packing endeavor also includes work clothes because I have a two-three day project up in Whitefield, NH....AND my dog Carmen will be joining me (not on the traverse), so I've got all her stuff to pack too....I am a rather organized person so my mess probably looks rather orderly to the average person (not that anyone here is 'average')......

My headlamp is right where it should be, next to the extra batteries and first aid stuff! And, Dugan my vetwrap is all set now.......

Ok, like I am SO excited, I just want to be there now!!!! :D :D :D


06-15-2006, 11:47 AM
Charlie built a shed a few years ago, ends up looking like some floors of Hilton's Tent City. It has:

1. 4 or 5 kayaks on the ceiling.
2. several bikes hung from the ceiling
3. a kayak gear area
4. a shelf for just backpacks
5. a box just for hydration
6. a clothing rack for skiing, winter stuff
7. skis organized in slots on the side wall
8. the four sets of crampons are kept each in their original box

With all this organization, we still lose things like crazy.
Where is x map?
I still can't find a camp shoe from the long trail section 2004.
Headlamps - I'm notorious for sticking headlamps in jacket pockets.

Mostly, I try to keep everything that I'll use in my day pack, stored in the daypack.


06-15-2006, 12:13 PM
This is an interesting thread. I am trying to bring my son to the level of self-reliance. so I have him pack his day pack and backpacks. He has come a long way.

My wife is waging a personal war against entropy. She is highly organized. She may get some of you organized for a nominal fee.Although she hikes I would never consider her an outdoor type. She might get you organized alphabeticaly so all Mountain Hardware will come before MSR and The North Face.

06-15-2006, 12:46 PM
I have Bankers Boxes on racks in a room in the basement. One is Winter, one is Food, one is Always Bring, one is Maybe Bring, etc.
As long as I get everything back in the right box AFTER a hike, I'm usually okay. Since I'm often packing for the mini-chips also, I have wound up with all the TP and matches in one pack, 3 knives, 2 Headlamps and a flash light in an other and all the food and water in mine, but...

06-15-2006, 01:05 PM
so I only have half a disaster area going on when I pack. ;)

I always get the food in order first. :D

I always do a mental check list before walking out the door (especially since that time I left for the Catskills without my tentpoles, or the time I left for the 'Dacks Highpeaks in October without the stove- though I had plenty of fuel). :(

I always forget one thing, anyway- and I have come to terms with that. As long as it is not something indispensible- ;) and I have I rarely leave something essential home anyway. I have often had to come up with some creative ideas to make a trip go.

06-15-2006, 01:18 PM
After nearly four decades of gear accumulation and no dispersal, things are now totally out of hand around here. I tried to stay organized for years, but it was futile. Now that my kids have grown up and (mostly) moved out of the house, my gear has expanded outward into their former rooms, not to mention the garage, kitchen, sundeck and living room. Fortunately my girlfriend, who doesn't live here, is also an outdoor-obsessive and understands. When the time comes for me to sell this house and move, I don't know if I'll list it all on Ebay, have a outdoor gear lawn sale, or simply burn it all in a backwoods bonfire of the vanities. Probably all three...


06-15-2006, 03:44 PM
I'm going to print this thread and hang it on the refrigerator for The Other to read.

It won't get me out of the doghouse re: the piles in the basement, garage, etc.

It won't even make me feel any less guilty.

But it will make me feel a little less lonely about my affliction. :o

out there
06-15-2006, 10:02 PM
Yeah, wow, this is the view behind the curtain.
The kids, and some friends who adventure with us seem to think this organizing and packing just happens- POOF- Magic time!
Our basement too is a tidal pool of gear which just barely makes sense to me, the keeper of the mayhem. I keep core essentials in one mesh bag which can wind up in a day pack, climbing pack, multi day pig, or kayak/canoe dry bag, This little bag of essentials keeps me from air head gaps in packing despite switching activities (no it doesn't)
My wife has begun to take charge of "her stuff", I guess because I must have done a real sucky job one too many times. She puts everything in ZIP LOCKS which are now available in huge sizes- I fear she may one day put me in one :eek:

06-16-2006, 07:59 AM
What does your 'getting ready for a hike' area look like?


Except for a simple summertime dayhike:

1. About a week ahead of the trip, I'll make a list.
2. After the list is made, I'll look for each item to make sure I can find it and I'll inspect or test it to make sure it works or has all the parts.
3. When it's packing time, I pile each item on my bed.
4. After everything is on the bed, I put them all in my pack and check the item off the list.
5. I put the pack, boots, etc. in the car.

When I return from the trip:
1. I unpack everything.
2. Dry out whatever is wet.
3. Launder as required.
4. Store everything in its usual spot.

I've found that organized unpacking is the key to preparing for the next trip. (Something I've learned from swapping leads on long rock climbs where the person following a pitch removes gear and racks it neatly to reduce the time needed to rack up for leading the next pitch.)

06-16-2006, 08:02 AM
My husband and I each have "the bin." These are those big Rubbermade bins, filled with all of our smaller gear. Backpacks are hung from a closet pole (snap the hip belt around the pole and it's a great place to hang them) and jackets, pants and fleeces are in the coat closet, but everthing else lives in the bins. My bin is semi-organized; in the summer, all the winter and fall stuff goes to the bottom, and in the winter, all the summer stuff goes to the bottom. But the first aid kit, fire starters and headlamp are always on top, along with the huge plastic bag to line the pack. They always go in first no matter what time of year it is, and then I just throw in the standard clothing and food for the season on top of that. Tuck a couple/three water bottles into the side pockets, map, compass and knife in the little front pocket, and off I go. Packing for a hike usually takes me a grand total of 5 minutes. I guess that's what happens when you've been doing it since you were 10 years old....