Google Docs Kit List

Discussion in 'Kit Lists' started by Shewie, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Trail Blazer

    I've been making lists for a long time, long before I could do one on a computer. The use of a computer did not produce a better list however. But I approached my lists differently.

    For one thing, I gradually realized there was little difference in the list according to the season. The only real difference was in the clothing, either actually being worn or carried. But I still developed two lists.

    The first list was a basic list with everything sorted by category, like kitchen, bivouac, first aid, and so on. The second list was the packing plan. Each pack had a slightly different packing plan because of different arrangement of pockets and so on. It was mostly a theoretical exercise that held up well enough on the basement floor and was mainly intended to prevent something being forgotten. In that respect it was not failsafe. Over the years, however, you know what you're going to use or want. I usually also have something along that's new that I'm trying out, too. And I usually have something along that doesn't get touched. I find maps fascinating and refer to them constantly on trips but a compass, on the other hand, never seems to be particularly necessary.

    Two other things: there are no brand names on my lists because most (but not everything) thing are of a generic nature or they're so old the name no longer has any relevance. And although I sometimes weigh the full pack, I have never listed individual weights. I did go through an exercise weighing a lot of different things on the mailing scale here at work but the results, although interesting, were not especially useful.

    I also keep two other lists. Food or rations gets a list of its own. Consumables have to be stocked for each outing, of course, and there are some things that have to go together with the ration list, like certain cooking utensils.

    I also have a list of things that get taken on a trip away from home but are left in the car. It's a short list and is nothing more than lots of extra water and a complete change of clothes.

    That just about covers it.
    cathyjc likes this.
  2. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I do much like you BlueTrain. Slightly different stuff every trip anyways. I'd never get out the house if I had to make a computer kit list. I lay the stuff out on the bad and decide what to leave at home - a salutory exercise which seems to work. Hubby makes lists and always takes too much. :confuseded:
  3. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Trail Blazer

    I still forget things sometimes. The trip itself is the thing, not what I'm taking with me.
    Social Climber and el manana like this.
  4. ADz

    ADz Thru Hiker

    Then why not just leave everything at home and go naked? The trip is the purpose but the kit is the means to serve that purpose.

    Unfortunately I am too unorganized and have a memory like a broken sieve so it's nice to work on lists to jog memory and keep track of things. Well in theory anyway as I never get round to doing proper lists. I usually just end up winging it night before in mad rush and then forget things or run late. I'm going to try and get out as often as I can now, time/weather permitting so hopefully get a bit of practice in organizing my ****.

    Lists are not just self-serving they are also good for sharing ideas and techniques with others.
  5. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I find them very useful in getting the weight trimmed down too

    (even though I still carry far too much crap)
    el manana and ADz like this.
  6. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Trail Blazer

    Well, actually, I've done that, only I sort of thought that belonged on another forum.

    While the outfit serves a purpose, it does not in and of itself enable the trip. The first and great object is to get to the trailhead. In most of my trips away from home, that's about a hundred miles away, give or take as much as 20 miles. From there on, I could really manage with the shoes on my feet and presumably with the clothes on my back, assuming that I remember to take my car keys with me.
    Still, I do proper lists, kit layouts on the floor and devote considerable (though not necessarily deep) thought to my outfit. At home, the gear is a hobby. On the trail, walking is the hobby, in a manner of speaking, and the gear becomes the burden, no matter how little it weighs. I don't think much about what I brought along when I finally reach the woods. It's too late by then anyway.

    In theory, I start thinking about "stuff" when I get back home, although not right away. I think a little about what I used, what worked well, what didn't, what wasn't used and why and what I wished I had taken. I used to make a regular worksheet following an outing with details like that as well as time, distances, weather and who or what I saw on the trail. Sometimes I see a lot of other people and sometimes none. Same with wildlife. In a way, it's making memories. But my notes are not organized at all.
  7. ADz

    ADz Thru Hiker

    Indeed. Much easier to visualise and work out where you could potentially improve on bulk/weight.
  8. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Either you are extremely fit or you don't do the distance/ascent that is involved with many hiking trips.
    The reason i make that statement is that for most of us the kit selection DOES matter, not only does it matter it makes a massive difference to the distance/elevation you do but also how you feel at the end of the day.

    For quick 5 miles strolls it really makes no difference, but when you are walking over the tops of mountains and have to make it to spot A as that's the only flat sheltered ground then cutting a few kg can make a massive difference.

    I've gone out with 20kg and struggled massively, i just wasn't able to hold enough pace to complete the planned route in daylight hours, this caused a major headache as we were hiking across a range of peaks with shear drops both sides, so there was no escape route which we could drop down and set up camp early.

    So i think it's dramatically oversimplified to state "The trip itself is the thing, not what I'm taking with me"

    Spend a night at 2000m with kit that you selected for sleeping at 500m and i think it would change your mind.
    Kit weight and kit choice does matter to me, it is the difference between enjoying a hike and getting to the points i intend to camp or struggling through and trying to find a plan B because i wasn't able to make it to plan A
    ADz likes this.
  9. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    The joy of the web. People can be diametrically opposed to the strangest things.

    If its good enough for Santa..............................
    ADz, Teepee and edh like this.
  10. edh

    edh Thru Hiker


    I'm as much (or perhaps more) of a gear aficionado as the next person......but if you are fit some extra weight does not make a huge you are, fit.

    YMMV is a useful yardstick - comfort for me might be penury for you etc etc....
  11. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Trail Blazer

    By no means am I especially fit or even young. Moreover, I was talking more about a day trip with no more than about twenty miles total max. The elevation of the mountain in the background of my photo is only about 1,000m. Pay no attention to the snow in the foreground. But basically my comments on lists stand as they are. I was talking about lists, not weights.
  12. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Agreed, the problem is finding that sweet spot where "some" goes from making a difference to not making a difference.
    For me at my current level of unfitness that's around 9kg.
    Much over 9kg and i struggle, much under 9kg and i don't really notice much of a difference

    If i go as low as 7kg then i don't notice a difference at all (e.g. dropping from 7kg to 6kg)

    The other thing is, you might go for a lighter tent, but decide to take more camera gear, or in my case a lighter tent but a heavier sleeping bag.
    So it's not only about weight, it's also about compromising on what luxuries your willing to take against the total weight.

    For me personally gear lists have been a massive help.
    It's enabled me to look at the stupid things i don't really need and see how much they add to my total weight.
    It's also helped me balance that comfort v weight, my new tent should be around 600g lighter than my current tent, but my sleeping bag is also around 150g heavier.

    For non challenging day trips i agree, if i was doing say 20+ miles though again i'd try and get my rucksack as light as possible, but for normal day trips i just stuff whatever i think i'll need in my rucksack and damn the weight
    ADz likes this.
  13. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Some good points made - I think one big factor in gear lists is honesty - like El counting in his cars keys.....
    el manana and gixer like this.
  14. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Agreed again

    What gets my goat are those folks that seem to have pack weight linked to their self esteem.
    I've seen folk bragging about 5kg load out weight for a 10 day trip, yet later you read they took their Ipad, solar charger, teddy bear and a spare pair of camp shoes.

    When questioned their load weight wasn't really their load weight it was the weight of their tent, sleeping bag and rucksack :banghead:

    So if gear lists are used as a tool rather than a self esteem boost i recon they're bloody useful
    ADz likes this.
  15. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    It was a Panda :oops:
  16. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Aye, i've seen your trip report pics Ed, poor dog :p

    cathyjc likes this.
  17. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Trail Blazer

    By all means are lists useful, going on essential, but they're still just lists on paper. In my case, the list has nothing to do with weight, since any given list is rather generic. I might list "pot" or "mess tin," and decide on which one in particular when making up my outfit for a trip. I only have one tent that I use as well as one sleeping bag and one sleeping pad. There's no decision making involved there, although I may choose to use something besides the sleeping bag if it's hot. The list is just an aid to memory.

    Let me say something about weights here. It doesn't enter into my list making because it just doesn't. But some writers in the past always gave weights and I guess they still do. But some, like those of Sears/Nessmuk are positively suspect. I've never understood how he managed with such low numbers for some things. His boat, however, the Sairey Gamp, I believe it is (it still exists) supposedly only weighs 10 1/2 pounds. I'm not sure it would hold me. I think I outweigh Sears by about 70 pounds, so what can I expect?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  18. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    its a valid point, nothing gets my goat more than people bragging their gear is half a kilo lighter :rage:....and they forget to include their car keys....
  19. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Given you do the driving, I would hope your most grateful passenger would carry the keys for you :rolleyeses:
  20. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    The last two trips he's even had me making and carrying the sandwiches....:(...
  21. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    You deserve better :D
  22. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Have you met him?

    I thought not.

    Yes - a bit of pickle would not go amiss next time :rolleyes:

    We'll gloss over the 'soup and crisps' ministrations shall we :angelic:?
    Teepee likes this.
  23. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    The cynic in me says he makes them dry on purpose Ed. ;)
    edh and el manana like this.
  24. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Trail Blazer

    Whether or not you have a carefully thought out list or not, it always seems to be a struggle to keep the weight down, referring here to pack weight, of course. You get together all your gear and it isn't so bad, then you add water and food and the weight almost seems to double. It can go from twenty pounds to thirty pounds just while you're looking at it, or so it seems. The food doesn't seem to amount to much but water is clearly an issue.

    The old timers never seemed to mention carrying water. I did a lot of camping with relatives when I was little, although not backpacking, and we didn't bring water with us. My uncle always knew where there was a spring somewhere. These days, however, natural water sources are apparently either suspect or scarce. Then, too, of the places I regularly go, there simply is no water in some places. Yet on the other side of the hill, literally, the trail if overflowing with water in places. It's all about the geography. And naturally there's no water source on top of a hill. Such is life. So you have to bring your own if that's where you're heading.

    This is all assuming you drink water.
  25. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    No but I've met you :giggle:

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