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Organize your Gear Shelf

Notes on maintaining an organized shelf for your travel gear.

Keep your travel gear organized at home. One of the best things you can do for yourself as a traveler is to maintain some sort of a gear shelf at home. Because we all carry different gear configurations for different sorts of trips, from car camping, to backpacking, to international travel, keeping an accessible quiver of equipment is key.

Watercolor tin and travel sketchbook

My Gear Shelf Tips

Here are some things I've learned after keeping a gear shelf for years.

  • Sell or give away all the old gear you won't really need or use. A small, manageable gear shelf is ideal. If it belongs in the corner of a basement, get rid of it.
  • Clutter makes you travel less.
  • Avoid bottomless pits of gear in big, opaque containers.
  • Keep your packs packed and ready to go.
  • Keep your gear in a temperature regulated room.
  • Your gear shelf should be adjacent to a lot of open space so you can re-pack, sort, remove and inventory.
  • Keep your gear pre-stocked. My cooler stores travel plates, forks, knives, a bottle opener and kitchen knife. My carry-on is always stocked with toiletries and essentials.
  • Keep an assortment of stuff sacks, dry sacks and compression sacks so you have custom solutions to any packing situation on hand.
  • Let organic gear like sleeping bags and fabrics hang with your clothes or in a light, loose sack.
  • Label small boxes and containers.
  • Save twistie-ties, rubber-bands, travel toothbrushes, small containers and so forth and keep these in a small items box.

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