What have you left behind?

Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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427
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Long Island, NY
I'm about a month out from a little trip and I'm starting to think I'll forget something. I'm starting to pack and I should make a gear checklist.

Have you ever forgotten something - or didn't realize you needed it until it was too late?

How did you work around the missing or wished for item?
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
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Warren, Manitoba
On a 10 day trip into WCPP a couple years ago, we paddled up into Siderock lake to our site for the first night and realized we had forgotten the toilet paper in the rush to get going a day early. It would have been a 12km paddle back to the truck so we just passed on doing that.

Moss works really well.
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
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southwest Indiana
Left the pertinent maps behind once on a Quetico trip. This was well before the advent of the GPS. I did have maps for pretty much everywhere I wasn't planning to go.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
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Maryland, USA
I forgot my tent once. Used tarp but the bugs nearly killed me. I now use a packing list for each and every trip. I modify it each time depending on season, where I am tripping, etc, but the master list remains the same.
 
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Jun 12, 2014
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NW Iowa
I like the idea of a master list but I know I'd just lose it. I try to make up a list of what I'll need a week or so before the trip and keep adding to it as I think of more things and cross them off when they actually get in the car. What helps me the most is to spend a few minutes at a time and run through all the different things I'll be doing and what I'll need. For example:

Getting ready to launch the boat, better put on my LIFE JACKET and grab my PADDLE. Tough landing so I'll have to wet foot it, good thing I have my WATER SHOES. Sure is hot doing all this paddling, think I'll take a drink. But my WATER BOTTLE is empty, guess I'll need to FILTER some. Maybe I'll stop and fish for a while. Grab my POLE and tie on a LURE. Hey, I caught a fish! I'll need the NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS to get the hook out.

I'll do the same thing for everything from building a fire, setting up camp, cooking, birdwatching, injuring myself in various ways, to little treats I'll deserve at the end of a long day.

It's kind of fun and more than once it's helped me remember something I was forgetting.

But to answer your actual question: Thankfully I've never forgotten anything important. Usually what happens is that, while on the trip, I THINK that I've forgotten something and then I find it tucked away in some little pocket when I'm unpacking back home.

Alan
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
As Alan illustrates, visualizing works for me too I do have a checklist but have forgotten (not on the same trip )the stove, the stove fuel and toilet paper. None are an issue aside from man made rules that made fire making an issue. In Maine you need a fire permit. When I discovered my boo boo re stove or fuel there was no way to call for one Dry ramen anyone?
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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Long Island, NY
Thanks for the good ideas and yes, TP wasn't on my list :-0

If I forgot my map I would certainly be rattled. Probably enough so to get my hands on another before heading off. I'm a map, compass and gps type of guy.

I think I'm going to try and follow Dave's lead and create a master checklist and upload it to Google Drive. I like keeping stuff there and I can access it from my phone if there's a signal to be had.

Good idea on visualizing what I may be doing. That's sure to help!
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
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Colrain MA
We drove up and spent the night at Churchill Dam before putting into Chase Rapids the next morning. The bugs were the worst I've seen. In the breaking down and repacking of our gear the bag that had the tie downs for the tarp got put in a truck that was staying there and not in one that was taking the gear to Bissonette Bridge.

Down on Long Lake we figured out what happened. Fortunately the kids on the trip were into making Paracord Bracelets and we had enough cord to string the tarp.

And then there was the year I forgot SPOT. My son had just had his Gale Badder removed and had to stay home. The river went from 1100cfm the day before we drove up, to 2700 when we put in, by the time we hit the falls it was running at over 8000. He was in a bit of a panic not knowing where his son was.
 
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I forgot my hammock fly once. I would have never thought a space blanket, which I improvised a fly from, could be so noisy in a slight wind. The funniest was when I arrived in the ADKs and found I had brought mismatched halves of 2 different double paddles!
Turtle
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
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I try to compartmentalize my gear by what activity it's for, shelter, cooking or paddling. During the early days of getting ready I'll check out each pack, box or barrel to see and remember what all is in there and see if it is still valid for the upcoming trip. I guess I'm doing just what Alan said about visualizing using each bit of gear and what all I need to make it work. Depending on how long it's been since I've used something I'll probably do a little test'em out. Set the tent up in the yard, do the same with the fly tarp. Fire up the stove and see for sure that it will boil a couple quarts of water. Check out those dang zippers everywhere.

I've lately discovered that one of the ways I get gubbered up is having too much gear that isn't going along getting mixed up with what I need. Did a little round up of all the extra stuff and packed it away and out of reach. Then when I'm packing I just take everything in the pile. When I remember how little I had when I was young to go camping and all the wealth of really great gear I have now, I feel a little foolish. Too bad I can't send some back to when I was a teenager.

As far as leaving things behind; have you noticed how easy it is to overlook these darn black or dark brown stuff bags and packs? I suppose it must be cheaper to make them in dark colors rather than the brighter, more noticeable ones. I get around that a bit by painting a band of bright color around the bag, kind of a limping solution, but it helps.

I have to laugh at myself; I want to go camping but it seems I want to take the 21th century along. When I consider what I really NEED as opposed to what all I take along I feel like a real tourist. Oh well.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Forgotten gear

I have not forgotten much, at least in the way of tripping gear to be paddled in. I did a long desert trip a couple of years ago and discovered that I had but a single pair of short pants. The other pair somehow ended up in a friend’s truck. A friend’s truck 2000 mile away. Which was very strange because I was never in his truck.

I have forgotten gear in the deadliest of places – left on the top of the truck before driving off. Several coffee mugs, a pair of binoculars, a rolled up dry bag and probably some things that blew off unnoticed.

I pack using a master list, every time, every trip, and can’t imagine doing so without a checklist. Two columns, roughly organized so that all the camping gear is listed consecutively, all the paddling gear together, etc. 120 some items in two columns.

That master list that contains every possible piece of equipment for any kind of trip from a weekend car camper to a cross-country paddling trip to hunting, fishing or winter travel, so it has “sun hat” and “snow mobile suit”.

I have printed copies of that list and simply grab one and cross things off as I pack them.

Or as I come to them on the list and don’t need them. I still get a feeling of accomplishment when I come to the section of hunting gear on a non-hunting trip and can rapidly cross off a dozen items (or not – oh, its deer season, I’ll bring the blaze orange hat).
 
Joined
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OM mentioned item color. I wish my Dromedary bag as well as several other things were orange. After leaving the Dromedary bag at the end of a portage twice ( necessitating an extra 2-6 mile paddle to go back for it). I have festooned it with orange surveyors tape.

I ought to look for orange duct tape for other black things..
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I have a handwritten list on the same single piece of paper kept in the same place for more than 10 years. I pack the night before and check the list.

I don't think I've ever forgotten any important item. If anything, I still take too much. My kitchen is a Jetboil, spork and plastic bowl. I should remember from now on to forget the bowl.

I have locked my keys in the car, with no spare, at the beginning of a trip. Fortunately, the put-in was near a town with a locksmith. I once lost my only (pocket) knife in a Burger King bathroom the morning of an Adirondack trip.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
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Red Lake, Ontario
Was going on a two nighter and left my camouflage kitchen bag at the put in. Wasn't 'til we got to camp we realized we forgot it. Had a snack of stuff that didn't need to be cooked and headed back to find it sitting there on shore. Lesson 1. Don't use camouflage bags. Lesson 2. Reduce the number of packs. Fewer larger packs not more smaller packs.
 
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Joined
Jan 8, 2014
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Minden, NV
I usually don't make lists and have forgotten a lot of stuff. That is one way to figure out what is really important, and an opportunity to find a substitute. Last year my brother brought a tent but forgot the fly. We had a tarp to use during a rainstorm.

I went on a commercial horse pack trip once and we woke up to find no coffee. There were a lot people sitting around staring into space. A guy rode around 12 miles each way to go find some. After a week on the trail, when we got back to the home corral there were signs in the woods like "Forget something"? It was pretty funny at the time.
 
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OM mentioned item color. I wish my Dromedary bag as well as several other things were orange. After leaving the Dromedary bag at the end of a portage twice ( necessitating an extra 2-6 mile paddle to go back for it). I have festooned it with orange surveyors tape.

I ought to look for orange duct tape for other black things..

Kim, I once did a 20 mile day on Tupper Lake. We had arrived at Rock Pond when the missus announced that she had forgotten some needed, uh, feminine hygiene products in the van (we had been in a motel the night before). This was not the first time for such forgetfulness; she once asked a very personal question of every female back packer we encountered in the Wind Rivers.

I wasn’t at Rock Pond for 10 minutes before heading back. The Whitney Ranger had chatted us up on the paddle in and I beat him back to the launch. When he saw me re-launching I believe his exact words were “What the hell are you doing back here?” and I awkwardly told him the truth.

Gear color does matter, and black seems forgettably bad. So is camo; I have some good quality camo gear from my hunting days but tend not to bring it for forget-me-not reasons.

I like having bright/contrasting color reflective tape on gear that I might overlook when packing or need to find in the dark. I have it on the big tarp stakes (anti-toe stubber) and on the food barrels/buckets, dromedary bags and etc.



The thing I have most often left behind in the past, especially if hurriedly packing camp, is the drying line and I’ve taken to bringing bright yellow or white cord for that purpose. That, and stakes, are the things I most often find on established sites, although I never seem to find good line or good stakes.

I have locked my keys in the car, with no spare, at the beginning of a trip. Fortunately, the put-in was near a town with a locksmith. I once lost my only (pocket) knife in a Burger King bathroom the morning of an Adirondack trip.

Keys are another story. Or stories.

I have forgotten to bring keys to the take out vehicle a few times, typically on a convoluted or assisted shuttle where I didn’t actually personally drive my own vehicle to the take out and leave it there. It didn’t take long before I decided that keeping a spare key in a little pouch in one PFD pocket was a fine idea. That little pouch also holds a $20 bill, which has come in handy more often than the key, and it used to hold a quarter for a pay phone (remember pay phones?).

Best ooops no keys stories – My wife has a vehicle key pouch in her PFD as well. And I keep yet another spare key in my essentials bag. That’s three.

We were on a trip in a remote marsh, and we each had our usually key rings of house/van/etc keys as well. That’s 5 vehicle keys along for the trip if you are keeping count.

We loaded all of the gear into the van and I moved it a few feet to facilitate racking four boats. When I exited I tossed my key ring onto the dash as I shut the door. Tossed it with exquisite timing, so as to lock five (count ‘em, five) sets of keys in the van as the door closed.

On a trip with novice friends I asked several times if they had their car keys, their car being the one left at the take out for the back shuttle. I asked before we left the take out, and I asked again before we left my vehicle at the put in and launched.

When we arrived at the take out they didn’t “have” their keys, but they knew exactly where they were - dangling in the ignition behind locked car doors. We hiked up to a local home and asked if they had a coat hanger to spare. They must have been Amish or Menonite, ‘cause they didn’t have a coat hanger to spare.

To that end, when I am travelling with friends in the truck or van, I provide each of them with their own set of keys that unlocks everything – vehicle ignition, roof rack locks, pad locks, cap lock on the truck and tail gate lock.

And I have well secreted hide-a-keys on every vehicle. I would say “Never again” but I don’t want to jinx myself.
 
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Joined
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Minden, NV
Color is important especially on remote trips. I like white canoes because they show up underwater and at long range. Green is traditional but the worst color when it come to being practical. My bags and packs are dull colors but we don't portage much.

I used to do lots of field work as an environmental consultant and quickly figured out that tools needed some orange paint on them or they were going to get lost. Bright colored flagging is handy under some circumstances, as long as none is left in the field. It is good to have some brightly colored equipment like the inside of a sleeping bag in case you ever have to attract the attention of an airplane pilot.

I don't like black nylon for wallets. camera cases, tool cases and the like. It is too easy to lose stuff in the dark. Even with a headlamp, at night a bunch of that stuff in a bag or pack is really hard to see. Someone showed some reflective tape on a boat which is a great idea.
 
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PPine, I ran into a field biologist working with game cameras in a densely underbrushed backcountry area and joshed him about his brightly colored daypack, which he was dropping as a marker in the greenbriar. It was something like pink and purple striped and looked like it belonged to a Junior High girl.

His response was “Ok, you tell me why it’s that color”

I knew the rational but responded “Because your Hello Kitty pack lost its rhinestone spangles”.

Good guy, and I learned a bit about piping plover habitat.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Reduce the number of packs. Fewer larger packs not more smaller packs.

That's the trick. I use two and only two bags on all trips, whether one night or several--a Duluth pack and a waterproof day backpack. Everything goes in them. If I can count to two, I've got everything.

And all my gear stays in those two packs all year long, except for the extra clothing and food, which for me is nothing more than dehydrated commercial meals, protein bars, and decaffeinated tea.

And those two packs, always packed, stay in my magic bus all year long. As do the dehydrated meals and tea.

So, basically, I'm always packed and ready for a trip . . . if I can count to two . . . and if I remember to take the magic bus instead of the Mustang convertible.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
I have forgotten the all important TP...on a 6 day trip it wasn't a small thing!
I even forgot my paddle once.
Worst memory lapse was when none of our gang of four remembered to bring some Advil!!
Generally speaking, my pack has so little in it, it's hard to forget much. If I bring something that doesn't get used (except rain gear and a dry change of clothes) then that unused item doesn't come with me again.
So the list is pretty short, albeit mental only.
 
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