Friday, February 5, 2016

Ready your gear for 2016!

For a few of us, readying our gear for backpacking usually waits until the night before leaving on our first trip of the new year. Waiting until the last minute is really no way to go. Stuff gets forgotten, cannot be repaired in time, or can't be found. The stores close before you can replace what is lost or worn out. My plan is to always work ahead and ready my gear now during the winter months, where there is plenty of time to do what is needed (if you live in the far south, do this during the heat of summer). While most of my gear is relatively new, I still need to check the following items:
First aid kit - check all medicine, discarding and replacing anything out of date, replace any missing tape, pads or band aids.
Water purifier - Toss and replace any out of date water treatment. Clean water bottles in the dishwasher.
Food kit - Fully wash & scrub utensils, spoon, stove. Update spices and snacks. Replace any old plastic bags and add new ones as needed.
Tools - Replace used matches, verify your Bic lighter still works. Update repair tapes. Make sure your sewing kit has a working needle. Verify waterproofing bags and cases are still...waterproof.
Pack-Tent-Quilt-Pad - Check closely for cuts, torn fabric or ripped seams, make any needed repairs. Reseal tent seams if needed. Count the tent stakes and poles, add new ones if needed. Verify the quilt loft is good and the sleeping pad still supports you OK.
Headlamp - Check and update batteries. Remember to carry fresh spares. Check your spare flashlight too.
Media - Update those batteries, software, and apps as needed. This includes replacing your 1988 National Park map with a current one before planning your next trip with it.
Clothing - Check and repair or replace anything you have outgrown or worn out. Do those hiking pants still fit? Don't forget to fix that hole in your head net to keep the mosquitoes out. Replace that faded, worn out, but cool-looking hat with one that actually shades your body.
Shoes - Make sure these still fit and have useful tread on them before heading out. If venturing into the mountains this spring, remember to check your micro spikes or snowshoes/poles. And don't forget those hiking sticks too!
I hope you get the idea and check everything you use before you throw it on your back and pack it out the door. I weigh anything new that I purchased since last year and update my gear list to be current.
I actually load everything after I check it and try on the pack to make sure it still adjusts OK. That way, when I reach the trailhead I am fully prepared for a fine trip.

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