First, Happy New Year! I hope this is the beginning of a prosperous, healthy, and interesting new year for you.
And now our first topic of the year...staging your stuff for ease of use and efficiency.
I headed out at daybreak for my morning run this morning (sadly, I have been slacking on this for the past couple of months as well) and thought about how easy it was for me to jump out of bed and be on the trail quickly and with a minimum of effort. The reason for this is that my running gear, like everything else of importance, is already staged so all I need to do is go to my closet and, since everything is organized and easy to get to, gear up and be out the door in minutes.
This is a good lesson for all parts of your life. If you are in your home office working on a project you don't want to have to stop and run around the house looking for the scissors, put everything on hold and run to the office store because you ran out of printer ink, or email a half dozen people to find someone's contact info because you wrote it on a scrap of paper and it is...somewhere.
The same is true for your camping equipment, bug out gear, travel stuff, etc. If you keep all of your stuff organized in the same area, where it is easy to grab and go, you save yourself a lot of time and excess effort. I no longer even have a bug out bag. Instead, I just go to my closet (it's a big closet plus my daily wear clothes and shoes only take up about two linear feet of space leaving the rest of the closet for my sporting/survival gear), pick up a backpack, and fill it with whichever kits I need for the occasion (toiletry kit, international travel kit, office kit, backpacking food kit, wilderness survival kit, first aid kit, appropriate clothes and shoes, etc). This entire process takes less than five minutes and I am ready to go anywhere from across the city to across the world.
Here's a few important reminders about staging your gear:
- Put things back where they belong (you want to be able to grab and go in the dark if necessary and you can't do this if you don't know where things are).
- Keep a list of what goes into each kit (this makes it easier to remember everything when you are repacking).
- Refine your lists and your gear continually. When you get back from a trip, a hike, a run, etc. is the best time to determine what stuff works and what you want to get rid of and replace.
- Repack as soon as you get back from a trip. Don't dump your stuff back into your closet when you get back from a hike and forget about it until next time. Instead, as soon as you get back, don't put your stuff back into your closet until it has been cleaned, refilled, and repacked. This way you will ready to pick up your stuff on a moment's notice and leave.