Last-minute outdoor checklist

If Joan and I have an important goal in life, it is getting out as much as our time allows us.

And a large part of achieving that goal is having our gear, food, and clothing organized for easy grabbing.

Part of being geared up at the last minute for any trip involves four significant groups of pre-staged items for us:

However, before we leave the door, we always look at one final list on our fridge. I am mainly prone to forget certain items (memory card for camera still in my laptop), or Joan will leave behind her hiking poles. And, of course, we like a reminder to bring certain items to increase versatility.

Here’s the list on our fridge: 

Note this is an outdoor list as opposed to a trip specific list.

What we do with free time often gets mixed and matched, even on the weekend. We’ll camp one night, backpack another night or two, and then bracket it with a quick camping trip as we are not ready to go home. Or we’ll do a hut trip, packraft, etc.  This list ensures we get prepared for any trip we wish to take overall. Your list will probably be different, but the overall idea is a practical and useful one.

In more detail:

  • The NOAA Point Forecast app is more for driving than outdoor activities. If there’s a potential for muddy roads where we may get stuck or a snowstorm on the interstate, we’ll change plans appropriately.
  •  A cooler with drinks, snacks, and ice packs makes a nice treat post-hike.
  • Since we are in Utah, and water sources are not always sure, a smaller version of the Aquatainer comes in handy. FEMA suggests one gallon of water per person per day for emergencies. This guideline seems about right for trips that turned into last-minute camping trips due to water uncertainty.  We’ll sometimes pack more water as appropriate.
  • The tent and accessories are straightforward enough. I keep the tent pre-staged for both camping and backpacking. But a good reminder.
  •  I need to remind myself to bring the camera, card, and accessories as (more than once!) I forgot to take out the memory card in my laptop or bring extra batteries for a more extended trip.
  • Poles remind Joan to make sure the hiking poles are in the truck.
  • In the summer I tend to wear sandals all the time. A quick reminder to grab the shoes by the door saved me more than once.
  • During this COVID year, we make sure we have masks and take a needed piece of gear.  We are excellent about isolating, but this is one case where being cautious matters if we go into a store post-trip here in Moab.
  • spare key that Joan carries just-in-case.
  • Not every trip needs an extra battery pack for phones. But we like to take it on longer trips esp if we are reading during long winter nights or find ourselves navigating more, taking photos, or even filming.
  • Some post-trip clothes and shoes make for a comfortable drive home.
  • For winter, we like a reminder to have our outside light engaged when it is dark. We have a similar light in the entryway on, too.
  • “Any questions? “ is a catchall category. I tend to be blunt with actions and move quickly when in trip mode. Joan likes to pause and think about our next steps. This simple question helps both of us to think of anything we missed and avoid potential “spirited discussions.”  🙂
  • …and finally, we lock the door and head off to another trip.

This quick list is the last step we consult before leaving. And many times, it assisted us in making sure we don’t miss a few essential items that make our trips go more smoothly.

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Roger Moore
Roger Moore
1 month ago

That is a well thought out set of lists. I need to get a set up like it together for camping.

When I started making lists and pre packing my diving equipment my shore diving capacity went through the roof. I get in a few days a week before work to shore dive.

That being said I am the most likely person to bring to left neoprene gloves to a dive. (And have in the past.)