OB18: Keeping Your Gear Organized
Keeping your gear organized may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you want to get outdoors. Some folks just throw everything into a couple of bins and hit the road. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. Any excuse to get out is a good one, but not being able to find something because you brought everything can kill the fun.
Having a few ready to go bins can go a long way in not stressing about packing. Keep anything that doesn’t have an expiration date on it in some bins. They should be easily accessible with everything you might need for a quick jaunt into the woods. The only thing you would need to do is pack a cooler with food, something easily remedied by a quick stop to the grocery store. You could even go one step further and have a ready to go bin with just food. Depending on where the food bin gets stored you could keep it stocked with non-perishable food or dehydrated food. Make sure to rotate the food out if it’s close to expiring and replace it as needed with newer items.
There isn’t really any right or wrong when packing your rig for a trip. We can say avoid putting too much on the roof if you have a safari rack. Adding things increases the chance of a rollover event, which no one wants. Keep as many things as you can inside the vehicle and inside whatever you store them in. You also want to make sure there are not too many small projectile like items floating around in case of stopping quick or an accident.
Having two or three ready-made storage bins, you can just grab and go. This eliminates any time you might spend digging through bins of gear searching for what you might need. Keep the number of things in the bins down to the basics; you shouldn’t need to pack everything for a quick weekend trip. Minimalism is a good thing.
Everything in one bin does not make for a good time. Ideally, you should have storage inside of storage. We mention breaking things down into kits early on in this guide. It’s a good idea to store those smaller kits in their own containers inside of the larger kit container. Label them so you can easily identify what’s what and get to it quickly.
If you have a drawer system, consider making sectioned off areas for specific types of gear or food. There are some companies that offer dividers for drawers that configure easily to your needs. A drawer system is probably the best way to keep things in your rig and out of the way. They generally mount in the cargo area of a vehicle and come in various configurations and sizes.
If you go to any hardware store, you can find inexpensive plastic bins to store your gear in. These are not bad options and work well. Plano makes several different styles that consistently come up in conversation when gear storage and organization is discussed. They stack easily on one another and have hooks to be able to strap to a cargo rack or bars.
If you want something more rugged, consider going with a Pelican case. Pelican cases are military grade, and their prices reflect this. Many people swear by them though. Hit some local military surplus stores or even check online for discounted or surplus cases. They can often be gotten for several hundred dollars less than retail.
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