Most successful outdoor retailers take monthly, quarterly, and/or an annual inventory of what they have in stock, what needs to be replaced, and what might need to be added to the store’s shelves. Items that sit ignored on the shelf or are no longer in fashion go in the “50% Off” bin or “sale” rack, enabling the retailer to make space for the newest and greatest products.
That practice of practical paring holds true for those of us who enjoy human-powered outdoor adventures and are, even now, preparing for the trails, climbs, and river rapids that we anticipate and dream about each winter.
And chief among those preparations is a thorough consideration of the current contents of our backpacks. The idea is simple: How do you lighten your load for your next adventure, feel less stressed when packing, and maybe offer free and still useful gear to a friend or local outdoor-based organization in need?
It’s time to “clean house.” And by that we mean pull your gear out and place it all on the ground, inspect it, and discard those items you can do without. In fact, here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education, we offer a number of courses that, among other things, show participants the ABCs of backpacking — which includes properly packing a backpack.
One important part of our courses is when participants “explode” their pack in front of their peers. Typically, the group circles up and