I have a lot of stuff to pack, wear, fill, and drag along with me when embarking on one of the several adventurous things I like to do. I actually have multiple sets of gear I wear and use, depending on the activity and where it’s taking place.
For riding motorcycles, I easily have more sets of boots than I do shoes. And then there’s gloves, helmets, body protection, tool packs, hydration systems, goggles, SPOT and GPS devices, cameras (Oh—don’t get me started on cameras), survival gear, and camping do-dads that all have their purpose on a specific ride or in certain conditions. I even pack air (ha, ha)! Sure, it comes in tiny, pressurized canisters intended to inflate a tire. But really, it’s just air; and I have to remember to pack it or else I get mad, uncomfortable, and annoyed.
All this remembering can be a problem … So here are a few packing tips I’ve developed to ensure I don’t forget anything important.
DISCLAIMER: This advice is coming from the guy who has lost his wallet a hundred times, never knows where his phone is, and went to the airport–on multiple occasions–on the wrong day (to the wrong airport once) without his passport.
- Step one: Only buy and use quality items! There’s nothing like a sweet deal to make you want to skip out on the best (and sometimes pricier) products available, but I’ve learned that performance far outweighs the savings. Don’t get me wrong; I like money. And I need it to do fun stuff in lieu of working. But when I’m miles away doing what I love, saving money doesn’t help me at all. In fact, it usually pisses me off.
- Step two: Unpack. Don’t leave crap in your gear bag. Empty that sucker out every time you come home. Clean your gear, and make sure to store it in a good spot. Then, you’ll always know where your stuff is and what to pack for your next ride or adventure. I almost always need the clean slate of an empty bag before I pack. If I don’t, I usually end up with a lot of left-hand gloves and mismatched socks.
- Step three: After packing—visualize! This sounds weird to say out loud, but I actually visualize myself getting dressed and even physically point out what gear I just packed to make sure I don’t miss anything. It’s like a very sad, compulsive version of the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Instead of cute kids learning where their knees are located, it’s a forgetful dirt biker, snowboarder, terrible surfer, or fisherman trying so hard to guarantee that he packed underwear, ChapStick, and food.
- Step Four: Don’t forget food! No matter where I go, Kate’s Bars go with me. They have big-time taste and the real energy I need to pull me out of a hole. Plus, I really like driving past fast food restaurants on road trips and seeing that envious look in my buddies’ eyes when I eat one in front of them.