Gear and other Junk

I was gonna bring that too......

Man I love to fish, camp and hike. Like most of my outdoor endeavors, the preparation is a very big part of the process. I love the planning, sorting, finding, cleaning, oiling and over all prepping for the adventure. I'll scout the area to be used via aerial photographs and Topo maps before walking in to peek about a bit. based on my findings, I start my planning.

Gear is very important to the outdoors person. The right stuff makes your trip a joy, full of good times and memories. The wrong gear makes for a rather disappointing if not dangerous venture.

Charles Cataldo my friend and mentor stressed the six "P" rule. PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE. One only need spend a wet night in the Hudson Gorge or a frigid weekend on the slopes of Mt. Washington to realize that this is a mind set not a suggestion. The six "P" rule should be your mantra whenever you plan an outing no mater how short or slight you intend on making it.

I use to teach a packing priority exorcise I called POCKET, PACK and PAW. This simple allocation and distribution method is used by all seasoned outdoors persons, they just might not know they are doing it. For those that are not a custom to this mindset I will explain.

Ask any woman that carries a handbag to explain how she organizes it and after much arguing they will usually turn out the bag and describe in the most interesting and sometimes scary detail just what they carry and why but more importantly WHERE. Things in this strange sack of chaos are in order. Oh I'm not suggesting for a second that I as a mortal man understand the order, I can't even see symmetry after its explained to me, but its there...for her that is.

We know what works for us. We know how to prioritize and tweak, making adjustments based on perceived needs. We do it all the time. Look into your medicine cabinet, sock draw, spare bedroom closet or vehicle's trunk. There is a plan there.

When you plan and pack to carry what will become your only means of self support and dare I say luxury, you use the Pocket Pack and Paw rule.

Any item that you would use allot such as a hiking staff, fishing rod, camera or hunting rifle will invariably be carried in your hand (Paw) even things carried on the shoulder such as canteens are Paw items. Then we break down the remaining items into what you will always need to keep with you and never want to separate yourself from (Pocket) such as cell phone, whistle, fire tool, compass, Light, handgun, pocket knife. We might lose the pack with all the other support it carries but can still manage to navigate or protect yourself and survive. Things hung around the neck are usually very safe if tucked into the shirt. Fire tools and compasses are best carried here. Items worn in the center of your belt between the kidneys can be reached with either hand, a great place to have your folding knife ride. Items worn are Pocket items.

The (Pack) breaks down further into its own sub categories, outer compartments, top cover storage area and the main body of the pack or even the deep internal areas of some packs where sleeping gear is protected. There is opportunity for a plan.

I always pack my packs basically the same way. No matter if it be a day pack or expedition size monster, certain items will always be found in the same places. I don't need to wonder where I put the first aid kit, its always in the same spot. It may be a scaled down (or up) version of the one in one of my other packs buts its always in the same spot as is the toilet paper and trail mix. If I need it in the dark or have to explain to someone else where to find it, its never a hunt.

If trekking with others I always cross check equipment with my companions to ensure we are not redundant to the extreme, redundancies are sometimes a good idea with certain items.

Note: All members of the trip should have redundant Pocket each his own!