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Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 15:44:20 MST Print View

What is the one item you often forget to bring, and later on wish you did?

I'll get the missing gear list started.

Since I pack the night before, and generally head out at 3AM or 4AM when it's still pitch dark, I often forget my sunglasses in the car, until I turn a specific corner on my fav trail, usually coincides with sunrise at the angle it hits my eyes under the hat brim.

I get the "Deja-vu aha!" moment. Oh Man! I forgot my sunglasses again!

Not a trip killer, but I end up wearing my wide brim hat very low in the front, Clint Eastwood style.
Clint E Hat

How about you?

Edited by RogerDodger on 02/13/2012 15:59:21 MST.

John West
(skyzo) - F

Locale: Borah Gear
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 15:50:30 MST Print View

Not sure this belongs in gear lists,

but anyways, I seem to ALWAYS forget my sunglasses as well. I just don't think about it when I am leaving in the early morning from the trailhead.
I have also forgot sunscreen on more than one occasion.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 15:54:26 MST Print View

Tarp (not my sleeping shelter, at least)
water purification (I could boil)
Sleeping bags (car camping so had extra blankets)
Sleeping pad (do-able)
Food (uhhhh.... yeah, no food sux)

And one time I went snow skiing w/out my jacket (luckily it was warm spring day)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 15:58:35 MST Print View

I'm more careful on the trail and this year I've gotten religious about using a checklist. But previously, it was something in repair/sanitation kit (iodine, extra shoelace, mini sunscreen, etc). So I now keep them all in one zippered pounch.

On vacation travel I'm always going somewhere sunny without a hat. So I have an ever-increasing collection of stupid local hats from sunny beaches and toxic-waste sites.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
"Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/13/2012 16:05:10 MST Print View

That's why every single item I take is listed separately on my gear list spreadsheet, and why I print out the list before each trip to use as a checklist.

It really helps me avoid those inevitable "senior moments"!

There was a time a few years ago when I went off without my hiking clothes. They were sitting on the bed beside my pack, but I grabbed the pack and left without noticing the shirt and pants! Since then, they go inside the pack if I am not going directly to the trailhead that day!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Hmm on 02/13/2012 16:16:36 MST Print View

As I sit in the airport on my way to Ca for work and the BPL event next weekend I'm now wondering what I did forget. I literally threw the gear bag in my truck, unpacked from my last trip. What did I forget? Thanks :(

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Footwear on 02/13/2012 16:16:38 MST Print View

My worst has been forgetting my shoes and getting out at the trailhead wearing flipflops. Two hours later, after heading into the nearest town, were on our way.

We have a saying: If you forgot it you don't need it. This has proven true for every circumstance but that one.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 16:53:33 MST Print View

"What is the one item you often forget to bring, and later on wish you did?"

Answer: any item that I looked at in my gear closet and thought "I've never needed that on any other hike so why carry it on this one?" Guarenteed - the Trail Gods are watching and busily planning their next not-so-nice surprise for me several days from the trailhead. Try carrying your pack after having stepped on and broken one half of your hip belt buckle. A spare buckle is 1.5 to 2 ounces. (my hip belt doesn't have enough extra length to tie in a knot).

It is far easier to forget something you DID bring along, but then did not repack before you left your last campsite. It's usually the little things that get you - eyeglasses, socks or bandanas left drying on a bush, the spoon you set down on the log at dinner time, etc. I have found a variety of items left in campsites; very expensive water filters, hiking poles, hats, assorted clothing. Wise are they who, having packed up and are now ready and anxious to go, turn around and carefully scan the campsite for anything that may have decided to remain behind. I spent an hour crawling around one site before I finally found my reading glasses in the dust.

It's your money, spend it however you like.

Edited by wandering_bob on 02/13/2012 17:03:26 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 16:56:03 MST Print View

I have broken the hip belt buckle, but I got along just fine tying the ends of the belt together. There was just barely enough length for a square knot.

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 17:16:20 MST Print View

TP. Only happened once, and it was on my workbench right where I had left it before jetting out for the hike.

I did a Mike Clelland with leaves and bummed some off my buddy.

Yep, smooth stones are a no fly for me. :)

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 17:19:19 MST Print View

"I spent an hour crawling around one site before I finally found my reading glasses in the dust."

I once spent about 30 minutes looking for my camera before leaving camp. Turns out it was in my pack all along, it just somehow ended up on the wrong side of my pack liner.

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
forgotten on 02/13/2012 17:33:12 MST Print View

Spoon hands down, someone alwas forgets a spoon. Luckily I usually have just enough knife to make one

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: forgotten on 02/13/2012 17:54:24 MST Print View

I have a pretty complete list yet I usually forget something.

"Old age is a b i t c h" (need spaces to circumvent profanity filter)

Last trip I forgot my water bottle but I had another one, but it had no markings where one cup and one pint are, but I managed.

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
tin opener on 02/13/2012 17:54:36 MST Print View

You bring your new lighter knife, with more of a long blade and a serrated edge for cutting, with none of the tools you don't need like screwdriver.

Then try open the tin for your dinner.....ahh...

James Landro
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Re: Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 18:00:32 MST Print View

Most common are TP and spoon.
The one time i forgot my quilt, thank goodness I had a hammock with that i wrapped up in on my sleep pad. Actually kept me quite warm.

The absolute worst worst?
Forgetting lighter/firesteel. No fun at all.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 18:10:59 MST Print View

Forgot to take off my glasses and leave them in the SUV.

Forgot the camera. Forgot to charge the camera battery.

Other than that I never forget anything. I have been using a checklist for decades.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
2 stories on 02/13/2012 18:25:46 MST Print View

My buddy forgot his tent poles for a dome tent, he thought they were in the bag. Boy did he have a big bivy! +1 on pole less shelters.

I forgot my truck key on a solo 50mi JMT trip. I thought I lost it on the trail- mind games the whole time. I was in a hurry at Florence lake to catch the boat taxi, I left the key in the door, won't happen again!

(jpovs) - F - M
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 18:30:53 MST Print View

Forgot my camera on one trip. The next trip I forgot to charge the battery. The following trip I forgot my memory chip. Good thing I had my iphone 3GS with. Cant wait for the iphone 5 to come out, then I wont have to worry about a camera anymore.
Dog leash a few times, but I was able to use some guy line to get the job done.
Left wallet on the shuttle with about a hundred in it. Got it back a few hours later down the trail on the shuttles return route. Costed me a few miles out of my way of hiking to the trail head to meet up. But I did learn that most backpackers can be trusted as all my money was still there. Even had total strangers offer me some big bucks, but I declined. Thank you Superior Shuttle (SHT).
Been lucky so far. Knocking on wood.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 18:37:03 MST Print View

Last trip out to China at 3 in the morning I leave my camera bag behind. Luckily we arrive at the airport early enough for me to trip home and find it there on the living room floor. Then we use the ATM at the Shanghai airport. 3 days later we discover my wife's ATM card has gone missing. We call find out no transactions went down, cancel the card and rely on mine for the duration. That same trip my prescription glasses drop a lens -nice design screws go in upside down . We did the impossible -new glasses in Mandarin / English. Better? Worse? The Same? I must have offended the Travel God.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 18:52:09 MST Print View

For some reason I can't remember we traditionally ask "Did you bring the toilet paper? Did you bring the matches?" before we start the car on every trip. I don't remember why, but both must have been forgotten on some trip in my early backpacking history. No matches can be a real bummer! I now carry some in the cooking gear and in both my first aid kit and my partners.

Other forgetfulness includes:

Forgot my boots once on a trip when I was carrying a traditional non UL pack. I wore my running shoes which helped convince me I could make the transition to trail runners when I took up UL a few years later. Took my wife's cross country boots instead of my own on one trip. Two sizes too small does not make for a pleasant ski camping trip.

A buddy forgot the his zipoff pant legs when he started in shorts. No big deal since he had rain/wind pants to wear in camp.

After bragging about how light their pack was, another buddy discovered he'd left his tent in the trunk of his car. He thought his buddy had it in their pack. No harm done since it was a clear, bugless night.

Someone left the freeze dried chicken out of the packed food on a weeklong trip.

My wife likes to forget her hiking socks. Luckily she has tough feet and with trail runners it's no big deal. Back when we were in heavy boots, it was less comfortable.

Check lists, closed packs, and a last minute run through of the list at the car help.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 19:50:29 MST Print View


Took wife and both kids car camping. Youngest was not yet one.

Diaper-changing time arrives, as expected. Wife wades into the job and asks me for the diaper bag. I politely ask where she packed it. SILENCE. "I thought you packed it" was her reply.

"No, diaper bags are your job; camping gear mine." Went over like lead balloon.

Bottom line - pun intended - our daughter got potty-trained in the state park.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Diapers on 02/13/2012 20:04:32 MST Print View

Bob: Wasn't our fault (it was Alaska Airlines') but we ended up in a bear-infested camprgound (Brooks Camp, Katmai National Park) with 5 month-old, two diapers in the carry-on, no sleeping bags, and no tent. The Park Service and other campers are very helpful in such a situation. The next jet arrived before we resorted to using shorgum moss.

Early on, my wife and I would each assume the other (a very competent traveler and BPer) would have some little thing - flashlight, wallet, etc. - and not sweat it. Too often we'd each skip the same thing.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 20:07:45 MST Print View

Forgot my tent this weekend. Luckily I realized it before I got my permit and hit the trail, but too late to turn around.

I still got a quasi-backpacking trip out of it! Even though I only had a day permit!

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/13/2012 21:17:56 MST Print View

Went up to Mt. Rainier to ostensibly get a new National Parks pass and just go for a short hike. Well, it was a great day for early March (cold but clear) so I grab my pack from the backseat and start hiking up from Paradise toward Camp Muir. The day gets later and later and by the time I turn around, it's getting dark. No problem. I reach into the pack for my headlamp and...wrong pack.I have a busted laptop in this bag and a t-shirt. Jacket is back in other pack in the car, along with lost coming down for trying to take a shortcut (STUPID) and end up getting really turned around. Had it not been for a cell phone, a ranger turning on her floodlight, I would have walked the wrong way. Was I turned around. Moral of the story: if you have two identical day packs, make sure you identify the one for hiking and the one for work.

Remember kids, it ain't the first mistake you make, it's all the subsequent mistakes that really add up.


Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
"Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 06:27:30 MST Print View

First time: I was young, and my dad and I were going on one of our early trips, five days on Isle Royale National Park. We lived in southeastern Michigan and drove the whole way to Houghton. When we were unpacking the truck to get into the motel late at night after the drive, I realized my boots were sitting next to the door at home, placed there so I wouldn't forget them. Dad was kind enough to buy me new boots, but of course I got mad blisters and it seriously cut into our itinerary.

Another time: I bought a synthetic belt (instead of leather) with the intent on using it both around town and backpacking. I fell into the habit that one pair of pants got one belt, another got a different for a couple days. I wore the jeans with the leather belt to Glacier NP, thinking I had packed my "backpacking" belt to change into when the time came along with hiking pants. Nope; had to wear the leather belt the whole trip, and I sweated enough that the leather stretched and I ruined the belt. Not a big deal, and if hiking pants were made in my size would have never happened.

Now I just wear whatever I'm going to hike in when I leave the house, whether it's a dayhike or a week-long trip.

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North; UK
lost on 02/14/2012 06:37:12 MST Print View

I always lose my photon light before a trip; then I always find it clipped to a hanger in the tent after I've pitched...

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
"Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 09:53:01 MST Print View

NEVER again.

Peter Treiber
(peterbt) - M

Locale: A^2
"Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 09:56:06 MST Print View

Cheese. Every time. Spend a half-hour the day before picking out the perfect wedge at the yuppie food mart, bring it home, throw it in the fridge, and...

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
"leave it in the fridge, and..." on 02/14/2012 10:11:04 MST Print View

in the summer, after a hot 100F day hike, I like to reward myself with an ice cold iced tea in the car upon my return.

I used to leave a bottle in the freezer, and then I would forget to take it out in the AM when I head out.

Then I tried to outsmart myself.

I put my car key in the freezer with the bottle, that way I would not be able to leave the house without it.

I even left a post-it note on my wallet. "keys and bottle in the freezer"

I wake up at dark o'clock, trying to sneak out without waking up the Mrs or the dog, get dressed quietly, dang it! where are my keys? I know I left them somewhere obvious. but where? WHERE?

Edited by RogerDodger on 02/14/2012 10:12:25 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/14/2012 13:38:35 MST Print View

I am always forgetting my spoon. Cut my lip once using my knife to eat noodles.

I ALMOST completely forgot my pack before a 2 day trip. I would have had to swipe some food from my friends and bear grylled it at night

I also forget my headlamp sometimes. Campfire light gives me enough room to do things, but some stuff goes missing until morning. The worst was having my headlamp in my sweatshirt pocket and having it fall out when I was walking outside of camp. No headlamp to find my missing headlamp!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: "Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 14:01:00 MST Print View

>"Now I just wear whatever I'm going to hike in when I leave the house, whether it's a dayhike or a week-long trip."


Prepack the post-trip clothes days in advance and have them already in the car.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: "Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 14:10:28 MST Print View

I forgot my dog's food one time on a 3 day trip. All his gear was on the list except for food. We hustled and did the trip in 2 days instead of 3 and he shared my food. Could have been worse. Could have been the other way around!

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
Re: "Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 14:20:41 MST Print View

"Cheese. Every time. Spend a half-hour the day before picking out the perfect wedge at the yuppie food mart, bring it home, throw it in the fridge, and..."

I couldn't have described it better myself. Peter hit the nail on the head.

Not backpacking related but a funny story nonetheless. Years ago I was a reserve firefighter. I woke up late one night to the alarm, pulled on my turnouts and zombie-walked my way to the fire engine. We were rolling to the call and I woke up enough to realise I was in my socks. My boots were back at the station next to my bed. Thank goodness someone had left their wildland boots in the back seat of the engine. I have never been so happy in all my life to find shoes 2 sizes to big. :)

Mary R
(pietimer) - MLife
Re: "Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again!" on 02/14/2012 16:08:29 MST Print View

I once forgot my tent poles with my freestanding tent. Then, a few months later I forgot my tent stakes with my non-freestanding tent.
Both times the items were forgotten when transferring from one backpack to another. So, check your gear lists during pack transfers too!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/14/2012 18:06:38 MST Print View

Accidentally left some piece(s) of gear at home? Honestly, never.

Of course, now that I said it, the next trip... :)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/15/2012 16:44:29 MST Print View

I always pack the same way putting the stuff in the same order so I usually have all the necessary bits with me.
The only item I forgot in the last few trips was my mini Bic but I had a magnesium bar anyway.
I had however a strange moment on my last trip when having almost finished setting up my tent I was looking for the extra strut for the back of the shelter.
I had seen it when I unfolded the shelter but after going around the tent and looking under it , I still could not find it.
Turns out that I was carrying it and a peg on my left hand.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/15/2012 17:31:52 MST Print View

It's been years since I have forgotten anything major that lives in my pack. After each trip I clean everything, replaced used items, and put everything that don't need to stay lofted back in the pack. Lofted items after they are dry go into a huge cotton bag. So when I go I grab pack, grab the cotton bag, load a food container, and I am off without forgetting anything... except....

one trip I forget my hiking clothing.. which is a big problem since my hiking clothing is typically all my clothing except a vest, rain jacket, and extra pair of socks. Normally I wear "street clothing" to trailhead, change into hiking clothing, and then when I returned to the car change back into my street clothing. I left the bay area wearing trail runners (thank god), no socks, cotton shorts, cotton tee (it was quite warm). South Lake was going to be my trailhead. It was early summer (cool + bugs). Stopped in Bishop for lunch when I realized no hiking clothing. Thankful I had my debit card and Eastern Mountain Sport was a block away so was able to purchase a pair of socks, hiking pants, a supplex shirt, which were very much needed getting the bugs and sun on that trip.

Since then hiking clothing live in a stuff sack which is at the top of the pack until I hit trailhead so I don't forget them again.


Edited by verber on 02/15/2012 17:42:59 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/15/2012 18:14:33 MST Print View

>"The only item I forgot in the last few trips was my mini Bic but I had a magnesium bar anyway"

I should put a label on my pack that says, "TSA won't allow lighters, fuel, bug juice" as a reminder to take it out for trips on commercial flights and to replace them at the other end.

There were several things I always had in my around-town day pack (Bic, Swarmy knife, nail file) that now live in my car because I use that same pack as airline carry-on.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
nice on 02/15/2012 22:31:33 MST Print View


i keep mine inside so that the cold doesn't drain the batteries. i end up forgetting it more than i'd like to admit. makes for interesting evenings :D

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/15/2012 23:01:22 MST Print View

>but I had a magnesium bar anyway.

I prefer a king size Snickers bar. Tastes better.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/15/2012 23:08:07 MST Print View

Usually if we forget something it's some fresh food that was wrapped up and in the refrigerator (usually something that took time and effort to prepare). We generally take enough food that we don't miss it much, though.

Backpacking as a couple, at least there's some redundancy at times in the personal items (i.e., he forgets his headlamp, so he borrows mine), though stuff like dental floss where we share the dispenser, we designate who's packing and it gets packed then.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 02/16/2012 12:16:38 MST Print View

A watch. Every time. No pun intended!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Oh Man! I forgot my _______ again! on 02/16/2012 18:37:05 MST Print View

but I had a magnesium bar anyway.

I prefer a king size Snickers bar. Tastes better.

Magnesium is an essential part of a healthy diet and of course multi use. That is : scape some on your morning porridge and light the fire with the rest.
Food in the fridge...
I did leave a bag some time ago. Now I put all of my food inside a large bag in the fridge the night before and leave the backpack open so that I can see the food is missing .
I only have my rain gear ,warm layer and my Nalgene Cantene (empty) on top of where I put the food. So quick to pack in the morning.
A couple of trips ago I forgot my main headlamp. I was charging the batteries and left it out.
But I had the E thingo, in my emergency bag..

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Forgotten gear on 02/17/2012 11:46:30 MST Print View

I don't ever use a gear list, I just sift through the gear closet for whatever gear I think I need for a given trip.

Hence, with somewhat regularity I find that I forget something important.

Off the top of my head, it seems that a head lamp and my spoon are the two most common items for me to forget. I've also been on trips where tent poles were forgotten, stakes, fresh food, fire starting items (matches, lighter, etc.), stove fuel, maps, sunglasses, gloves, warm hat...

The worst offense yet was New Years Eve 2010. I had decided to do a last minute quick overnighter with my dog once I found out my girlfriend's flight back into town had been cancelled. We got all packed up, made the drive to the trailhead and started down the trail just after sunset. We were only going about 3 miles in, so it wasn't going to be a big deal to be hiking in the dark. We got about 1.5 miles in and I realized I didn't have my camera. I wasn't sure, but I had a suspicion that I left the camera out on my back bumper of my truck. Grudingly, I decided to turn around and head back up the trail to get my camera. Upon returning to my truck, I discovered that not only had I left my camera on my back bumper but sitting next to it was my little stuff sack with my car keys, license, cash, ipod and cell phone inside. My sunglasses were sitting there too. Doh!

Luckily, once I'm on the trail, I've had pretty good luck about not leaving anything behind at camp. The only thing I can think of that I lost in this manner was my homemade tripod. I still can't figure out where I left it though...

Tom Eickenberg
( - F

Locale: Mid Coast Maine
Fuel on 04/17/2012 18:29:19 MDT Print View

I used a check list, check my pack several times during the week grabbed put it in the car set my fuel bottle next to it in the back seat. Got to the trail head grabbed the pack and off I went without the fuel. Luckily I was meeting my brother in-law on the trail and he had esbit to boil water for my freezer bag meal

greg jenkins
(OCPik4chu) - F

Locale: CO, Rockies
Oops! on 04/23/2012 14:12:33 MDT Print View

I have forgotten a few things here and there, like several people my sunglasses are the most common or sunscreen and for the same reason, no sun up that early so why would you even have glasses with you? haha.

Thankfully I really dont forget the important stuff. Probably worst thing Ive forgotten was gloves on a winter camp. Thankfully I had all the rest of my gear and borrowed an extra pair of fleece gloves someone happened to have with them and I was fine. There was little wind and wasnt all that cold so I stayed nice and warm :)

Never broken a hip belt buckle yet :)