Before I venture out camping, backpacking, or hiking, especially where risk is higher, I use a checklists. Instead of reinventing the wheel, REI Co-op has great online printable checklists. Additionally, I have also included a link to the Philmont Scout Ranch 10 essentials.
Before a significant trip, I print up the list and start staging gear in a pile. When to start this process depends on the complexity of your outing. Sometimes completing the checklist the night before is okay, while other times will require more plan-ahead actions. I do find that as the number of people involved increases, the more complex the planning becomes.
One more thought – I can say that there is a value to packing some items kinda’ last minute. For example, if you check your tooth brush off the list, then use again and leave it at the sink, you may forget it. This can apply to all types of things you need while outdoors, yet also use on a daily basis at home. My advice is to only check the item off the list once it has actually made it to the packing area. In a future post about a recent NH winter hike, I left my 1 qt. essentials bag in my truck console, in my mind it was packed. I think it comes down to practice and habits. What do you think?
Professional writer and scouter Mark Cordeiro details “The 10 essentials for hiking at Philmont“. During a visit to Philmont in July of 2018, I purchased a few of these water proof checklists, they were just inside the store door at the Tooth of Time Trading Post and were about $1.00 each. Although I did not see them for sale in the online store, you may be able to call and order copies. Thanks for reading…get outside. Andrew