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How do you store/organize your gear?
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Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/12/2012 15:27:40 MST Print View

Over the last few years, my family has accumulated a lot of camping and backpacking gear. There's a combination of car camping gear, backpacking gear, and things that are used for both. Sometimes outings are just 2 of us, and sometimes it's a family of four. Every time we pack, I end up pulling almost everything out of our gear closet to figure out what we need. My boys tease that it looks like REI exploded in the room.

With my oldest about to start boy scouts, I think things are going to get worst instead.

Any ideas on how to organize and store gear?

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/12/2012 15:39:52 MST Print View

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/12/2012 15:49:59 MST Print View

Might want to check out Mike C's new book where he has everything in one large cardboard box. Put in your vehicle and go. Might be good if you do not want to the neighbors knowing you are going out for a few days.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/13/2012 06:33:59 MST Print View

Yeah, that's a problem here, too. I have car camping gear stored in the garage, an entire closet in the basement full of backpacking gear, another closet in the guest room full of backpacking gear, all the kayaking gear stuffed behind the couch in the basement (including two touring kayaks!), not to mention each member of the family has some of his or her hiking clothing in their own closet.

I ended up storing gear sorted by type and use. So the basement closet has packs, cooking gear, and other hard goods. The upstairs closet has sleeping bags and backpacking-specific clothing (i.e., things we don't wear in town.) Each person has two Rubbermaid tubs with clothes and personal gear in that closet.

When it's time to pack for a hike, I can go to each closet and get out exactly what I need from each bin. So I grab out one or two or three packs from the closet, reach in the box of cooking gear and take out the stove and pot that I want, grab the appropriate water treatment and containers from their box, etc. Same thing in the upstairs closet - take out the right sleeping bag, then each person gets the clothing they need from their containers or their own closets. I usually sort gear on the bed in the guest room - each person gets a small pile defined by their sleeping pad, and all the gear is laid out on the pad for organizing and packing.

What makes all of this work for me is having a good packing list. I have a standard list for solo hiking and for hikes with my wife and family. I'll start with that list, tweak it for a specific trip, print it out, and start grabbing the gear. Packing for a weekend trip doesn't take more than an hour or two if I've spent some time tweaking the list.

Now, car camping is a whole different story. That's when our garage looks like a bomb exploded in an REI Scratch and Dent sale. Not pretty.

Good luck.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
what i do on 01/13/2012 09:35:23 MST Print View

I keep everything in one area, as compact as possible. I use rubbermaid tubs or appropriately sized boxes.

I sort items by category. I have separate containers for: outerwear, bottoms, top basewear, top midlayers, stoves and kitchen gear, camp tools, shelter, packs/sacks, and bags/quilts. No, I do not hang my bags. They are piled loosely in an oversize tupperware and aren't compressed. It's much more convenient to have them in a container that can be easily moved and stacked. I also have small containers for misc small accessories like biners, for first aid and field repair kits, and for at home repair/diy stuff like seam sealer and cordage. My hygeine stuff is combined with my normal travel kit b/c items overlap. I grab what I need from there instead of keeping a separate hiking kit. My hats and gloves likewise stay with the normal winter accessories.

I'm still working this out and intend to greatly pare down my gear once I have a satisfactory setup, after which I should be able to (hopefully) keep a "to-go" box and a "less-used/special use" box.

I think about this too much.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/13/2012 09:44:25 MST Print View

I store all my gear in one rubbermaid roughneck plastic storage box that stack for easy storage that is my Bug out gear box. I store my pack, sleeping quilt, ridgerest in the closet and with Bug out gear box. So if their is ever a fire or emergency I just grab the box,pack,quilt,ridgerest and I am out the door. I can pack the pack after the emergency.
If you get a big enough rubbermaid box you could store everything in the box and just grab it .
You could also assign one box for each family member and they they just grab their box.
Plus storage wise you have bug,water,rodent proof boxes that stack in one corner of the room and your garage.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Rubbermaid boxes! on 01/13/2012 14:12:47 MST Print View

As with others, I am a big fan of rubbermaid (or similar) boxes. I place them on shelves.

My climbing gear is all together, my ski gear is all together, same with car camping gear, backpacking gear, and so on. Plus, my pack of choice for the season is more-or-less always pre-packed.

So plastic shelves and plastic totes organized and pre-packed = much goodness.

Here's an example. All my car camping gear (except for clothing, sleeping bags and pads) is one tote:

I can be packed and ready for a trip in a half hour or less (well, depends if Adrianna goes or not...then it takes longer. Much longer. :D)

Edited by PaulMags on 01/13/2012 14:16:55 MST.

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Thanks on 01/13/2012 14:24:20 MST Print View

Thanks for the ideas. I thought I had everything down to a pretty simple system when we just did car camping. I have a big tub in the garage that keeps most of the cooking and misc gear and then sleeping bags and tents were kept in a closet. When we came home from camping, I would wash our clothes and re-pack our bags so that we would be ready for next time. I also had a food box packed with staples that was restocked after each trip.

Now we have 7 tents, 8 sleeping bags, 8 packs, 8 sleeping pads plus a lot of other gear. It's a lot harder to pull things out.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Rubbermaid boxes! on 01/13/2012 14:32:04 MST Print View

Last weekend I was at Point Reyes and as I was approaching the campground I saw a guy a little bit ahead of me wheeling in a cooler (closest trailhead is less than 2 miles away). As I got closer I realized it was not a cooler, but a rubbermaid box with "Camping" written on the side. I guess that's one way to do it.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/13/2012 19:14:42 MST Print View

How do you store/organize your gear?

I would have to say poorly. :) I do use the storage tubs but have not figured out an efficient way to do so. There's too much overlap. A number of things that go backpacking also go on day hikes or winter trips while other items are very trip specific. If I was rich, I'd just have duplicates of the things that go on multiple types of trips. Instead I separate them the best I can and use lists to make sure I get everything I need for each outing.

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
Gear Storage on 01/13/2012 20:10:23 MST Print View

Does anyone store all their gear in an unheated space like a garage? My house is tiny and I am thinking of building a small workshop/gear storage building. I am mostly concerned about sleeping bags,tents/tarps, pads, skis, and maybe packs everything else should be fine. Is there worry of any kind of moisture build up that could cause mildew or rust due to the space being unheated? I would definately insulate it and make it tight as possible, I have been tossing ideas around about built in storage. I am also concerned about rodents. Does anyone see a downside to keeping sleeping bags uncompressed in rubbermaids? I am probably overthinking it and may be a bit paranoid but I would not want to have to replace a three hundred dollar sleeping bag or get rust on the edges of nice skis.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Gear Storage on 01/13/2012 20:19:48 MST Print View

"Does anyone store all their gear in an unheated space like a garage?"

I store stoves, fuel, skis, some tents, and a few other items in my unheated garage. I store sleeping bags, backpacks, and some tents in an unheated storage room. All of the sleeping bags are uncompressed, although I don't bother to put them inside any containers.

One of the good things about storage in the garage is that the waste heat from my auto seems to dry out anything stored there. In thirty years, I have never seen any rust on ski edges.


Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/13/2012 21:10:40 MST Print View

Hope someone posts a great solution. Think the winner will be someone with minimal collection of gear serving the greatest variety of circumstances.

That would be the ultimate solution -- simplicity.

The biggest items (i.e., greatest volume when stored) present (quite naturally) a huge storage issue == especially if there's a concern about moisture.

That means sleeping bags/quilts and insulated jackets/parkas/vests/pants get stored in big cotton sacks stacked in a basement room.

Rest of backpacking gear splits up by category into rubbermaid boxes w/lids (or into baskets and drawer units for smaller items) stored on basement shelves (packs, tents, bivies, tarps, groundcloths, stuff sacks, pots, cups, utensils, stoves, lights, tarp/tent poles, stakes, guylines, first aid kits, hydration gear, etc).

Sleeping pads get stored in large duffels or on top of basement shelf units.

Long items (hiking poles, ice axes, skis and ski poles) fit into corners.

Non-insulated clothing items (jackets, wind shirts, pants, shirts) either get hung on clothes rack or (especially the wool items) folded into rubbermaid boxes placed on shelves.

Bulky non-backpacking gear (canoe, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, fishing gear, car-camping stuff (cots, shelters, kitchen/tables) goes into garage (not heated, but rarely below freezing).

Definitely do not look forward to ever taking a long-distance road trip that would include canoing, kayaking, skiing, car-camping, fishing, and backpacking!

Edited by JRScruggs on 01/13/2012 21:16:52 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
In boxes with labels on 01/13/2012 23:06:38 MST Print View

I got a bunch of standard sized boxes at an office-supply store, printed up labels on the computer and taped them on. I should group them more thematically: outdoors stuff, house & yard, auto, etc because I started grouping big boxes with big, medium with medium, and the beer boxes together. Two walls are like this, but longer: big and medium boxes

For the repurposed beer boxes I was able to slip in two shelves above the water heater and chest freezer but below the stitch-and-glue wooden triple kayak: beer boxes

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/13/2012 23:13:13 MST Print View

>"Definitely do not look forward to ever taking a long-distance road trip that would include canoing, kayaking, skiing, car-camping, fishing, and backpacking!"

Richard: We had friends show up, literally equipped like this:Entire LL Bean catalog

kayaks, mountain bikes and skis were mounted on top of their Subaru. Backpacking, fishing, etc stuff was inside. Really it was a pick-up truck loadfull. But hanging off of a Subaru. Which they drove 2,650 miles from Seattle to Kenai, Alaska.

One trick (they didn't do) is to realize that you can rent the big stuff on location. Another trick (they also didn't do) is just borrow our stuff - we've got 3 or 4 of everything.

Matt Dickstein
(mirabela) - F
gear storage on 01/14/2012 08:12:08 MST Print View

An entire bay of the garage ... four season stuff for the whole family. Packs, tents, bags, pads, snowshoes, skis (nordic & alpine), boots of all kinds, traction, ice tools, stoves, cookware, shells, insulation, harnesses, rope, rack, fishing stuff, life vests, paddles, maintenance & repair equipment, and spares of most things so we can take friends along.


Edited by mirabela on 01/14/2012 08:13:42 MST.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Storage on 01/14/2012 08:36:17 MST Print View

I live in a small flat/apartment, and would be ashamed to post a photo. There is gear everywhere. Sometimes i can't open my front door for gear, and have to navigate a canyon to get to bed at night! :)

Edwin Morse
(slosteppin) - F
Storing gear in UNheated garage on 01/14/2012 17:36:48 MST Print View

"Does anyone store all their gear in an unheated space like a garage?"

Most of my gear is stored in my garage. The exceptions are sleepingbags, pads and (now) water filters. The first winter I stored gear in the garage I forgot and left my water filter in a box in the garage. There was a large crack in the ceramic filter in the spring. Now, anything that freezing might damage is in the house even though we don't have much room.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Storing gear in UNheated garage on 01/14/2012 19:11:26 MST Print View

I have the opposite problem. Extreme heat that is hard on seals and coated fabrics. Those stay inside.

Ryan Merritt
(LoneHiker29) - F

Locale: South-eastern US
How do you store/organize your gear? on 01/15/2012 11:41:30 MST Print View

I use three large and two small Rubbermaid Action Packer containers on a shelf in my garage. One of the large ones holds all of my car camping gear, another one holds all of my tents, summer bags and and pads, and the last one holds packs and boots. One of the smaller ones holds all of my misc. backpacking gear, and the other holds all of my fishing gear. My winter bags are hanging in my closet along with all of my misc. hiking apparel. All of my kayak gear is stowed inside my kayak which is hanging from the ceiling at the back of the garage.