|Red Mesh Stuff Sack - My "pocket items".|
This stuff sack keeps me from the panic of looking for my "pocket items" at the last minute, and allows me the time to organize them at the end of the previous trip. It is so much better than reaching for my knife on the trail but not finding it.
Weight-wise, I add this amount to my clothing, hat and shoes for total "carried weight", like with skin-out weight.
So, just what goes in my pockets?
Liquid hand sanitizer (very small to small sized, trip dependent)
Moist towelettes (2 or more in small zipper-type bag)
Compass/thermometer (or a more detailed compass for navigation, trip dependent)
Small wallet for essentials (packed that day)
Car key (house keys left at home)
Snacks (packaged that day)
|Pocket items. Missing is the sun screen, it is on the list to be replaced.|
For pockets on the trail, I wear a long sleeve nylon fishing sport shirt with big front pockets and a pair of nylon trail zip-off pants with leg pockets, and side and rear pockets. Everything has a particular place. For example, when I need to check the compass direction I reach for my left chest pocket. My knife is always in the right side hand pocket, and so-on.
Rewind to the 1980's...I used to wear a photographers vest in place of a day pack for my hikes. It was quite convenient. My poncho went into the back pocket, I carried a water bottle on a strap over my shoulder, and my camera gear and everything else found a home in the vest pockets, of which there were several. I wore this vest through the early 1980's to the mid - 1990's on occasion until I moved on to a choice of backpacks, hydration packs or a waist pack. It was a nice warm layer on cool days but not too hot except on the very hottest days (I'm talking about hiking in Kentucky, Tennessee and North Georgia). I must have been a character to see hiking along with my stuffed vest, hiking boots and heavy camera gear. But I'm still using the same pockets to hold the same things some 30 years later. My, how life has changed and how it hasn't.
Back to the present...At home at the end of a day hike, I remove my water bladder and any other water bottles and wash and dry them, make a list to replace anything I've used, get a clean handkerchief and then empty my pockets, putting all that back into the red mesh stuff sack to be ready for the next trip.
Of all my organization tricks, this one seems to serve me the best. It allows me to add water and food, grab my day pack and go quickly.
For backpacking trips, I expect things to take longer to be organized, but my "pocket items" are already done. I just move the stuff sack from one pack to the other. The bright red color helps me to make sure it is there before I cinch the top and go.