My backpacking weight worklist…
(it’s a work in progress…)
Put all your backpacking stuff together in a tubby or something that you can easily grab the whole thing if you want to just run off on a moment’s notice (well, with a little prep) and not wonder what you did with (insert name of fiddly tiny equipment here).
The other part of this equation is that after getting back from a hike you promptly clean your gear and put it away to be ready for the next time as well…
Depending on how big your tubby is, you can store all your camping stuff (tent, cooking gear (stove, cookwear, shelf stable items-though I tend to avoid storing much more than salt and tea bags in there because I want the stuff I take to be moderately fresh and there’s little chance of ants/bugs invading the storage)) as well as the larger bottles you use to refill the tiny sized containers in your pack.
Things like Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (I get at Trader Joe’s in the monster size for the same price as one of the smaller at REI-although the almond version is heavenly), bandaids, Purell, matches for the waterproof container, bandaids and stuff that you can generally refill the smaller packets of I leave in here as well to keep it all together.
If you use Nikwax or other restoratives you can keep that in here, too.
(I am finding that all the refill stuff as well as the camping stuff starts turning it into a 2 tubby affair though probably best to do 2 and then just grab 1 on the way out the door.)
Sleeping bag, sleeping pad and backpack need to be out and hung up after you wipe them down/wash them.
If you have a dehydrator you can make lots of cool snack foods and ingredients for soups or dinners instead of buying those pre-made dinners. (Just make sure to write the instructions on the ziploc bag of how much water and what order to load everything into the cookpot when you are on the trail.)
Dehydrated mushrooms work fantastically in soups and other foods and dishes (and provide some potassium for your body after hiking all day) though you can get these in the grocery store as well.
I like the instant mashed potato mixes with cheese-you can make a potato cheese soup with mushrooms and chicken boullion or actually make the mashed potatos… I’m generally too impatient. I also like to look for sales on the stuff that is ‘just add water’ (soup mixes, potato mixes, boullion, drink mixes, etc) since they can be a bit pricey.
New foods should be test driven. I just sit out on the porch with the camp stove and test drive. Anything that needs to be gotten from inside the house either needs to be taken into consideration or written off the list as a possibility.
Other items that take a bit longer to rehydrate or require simmering can sometimes be soaked in water ahead of time. Take an empty Nalgene bottle and fill it with a bit of water, then about halfway through the day or at the break before you get to camp (or even right before you set up camp), put in the item (beans, noodles, etc.) and let them soak until you are ready for cooking. Its best to test this before hand to see how long each item needs to soak…if you let it soak too long, it can turn into glop which is gross.
Another thing you need to do is get a map of the trail you are hiking (well, if you know the area, this might be optional-but I’d still have it in the pack).
Trails.com has downloadable maps for a yearly fee or there are kiosks to print out special maps if you can find the right one for your area.
Printing out your own maps on an inkjet and waterproof paper is a super geeky thing to do (so you know I love it.) I also tend to create a single page (front and back) of tent instructions, first aid stuff, clever knots, etc.
I’ll post it eventually when I PDF it.
There are loads of other things that you can do to prep for a packing trip, but really, get everything together as you go along and you can just run off for the weekend (my advice is to escape cell range (or fake that you aren’t in cell range) when another department tries to get you do do their work on a weekend…)
So, what are your hiking preps?