One of the best time investments I have made was sitting down with a postal scale and weighing all my gear. I am sure for some of you this sounds more like a chore, but once done it is extremely useful. Using Google Drive I was able to create a 'Spreadsheet' that enabled me to have access to a modular gear list anywhere. MS Excel will work exactly the same, yet I find that Google is easier to share with others. Below are some reasons having a gear list can be beneficial.
The gear list below is for a trip I recently took. It shows how I laid it out and you can see how the equations are in place to give the user the weight of each section/type of gear and then a master weight at the bottom. There is also space to include the weight of water and food. Using the below format allows me to get a accurate weight and monitor what I used on the trip.
Grand Canyon R2R2R in March
Grand Canyon R2R2R in March
- Gear list are not just for the toothbrush trimming weight weenies, but for anyone who has ever complained about how heavy their pack is. It is very easy to go from a light pack to a heavy one. Tossing in multiple lightweight items, quickly adds up weight no matter how light they are.
- Forgetting something for a trip sucks. I have seen people short themselves on food, forget headlamps or even hiking shoes. Don't laugh, we all have done it..... sometimes too often. Having a modular list allows you to ensure you are not forgetting anything.
- Along the lines of not forgetting anything it allows you to virtually pack days or even weeks in advance. There have been multiple times I have began my list two weeks out and added to it right up to the trip date. It is very easy to forget a item when you leave your packing to the last minute. This also allows you to really consider if you need the particular item or if there is a better alternative.
- Hosting trips is a lot of work. Ask anyone that has put together a backpacking overnighter! Having your gear list all together allows you to share it with others on the trip. This makes their planning easier and minimizes the amount of forgotten items or confusion about what items are actually necessary. It is very stressful when someone forgets something that is crucial to the trip...as is carrying more then you need.
- Gear lists allow participates to share their knowledge with newbies easily. On my first backpacking trip I made lots of backpacking 'cardinal sins' that could have been avoided if I had access to a gear list. Especially a trip specific gear list. I probably would have left the 32oz jug of sunscreen at home and only brought enough for the three day trip. What the fuck was I thinking.
- Lastly gear lists make you legitimate. I mean what backpacker doesn't know how much their headlamp weighs, including the spare batteries. Come on. Make one already.