Many years ago I bought a six man tent to use for family camping. In preparation for another trip I unrolled the tent to be sure I had all the parts for this overnight outing. To my great dismay I found I had committed the dreaded error of all great scouts, the tent was stored away after the last outing while still wet. The mildew badly damaged the top of the tent. The repair cost was almost as much as the cost of the tent.
As a Boy Scout I had been taught to open a tent and dry it after I got home, but I forgot! As time has gone by I found other times where I forgot to remove a food item or that I overlooked something that later caused distress while preparing for a trip. Aided by the computer technology I decided to prepare a checklist to use after returning from a trip to assure nothing was overlooked. It is far better to take care of these things immediately after returning while they are fresh in mind. Many items in the checklist below can't wait for the next trip.
1. [ ]Was the tent and ground cloth dry before it was last put away?
2. [ ]Were any repairs needed to the tent or other gear?
3. [ ]Were all the items in the cook set cleaned and rinsed thoroughly after the last use?
4. [ ]Where are the towels and scrubby used for utensil cleaning? These items are often wet and can damage other equipment.
5. [ ]What items did I find I needed during the trip or forgot to take? This is a good time to make a list. There is nothing like stopping at the local outfittter on the trip home.
6. [ ]Are any tools, tent pegs or other items broken or lost?
7. [ ]Do any knives, hatchets, saws or other tools require sharpening? Maybe that Sven saw needs a new blade because it has lost its set.
8. [ ]Have all the water bottles been drained, cleaned and stored away with the caps removed? You may want to loosley install the caps after the bottles are dry. (Keep mice and dirt out)
9. [ ]Has the sleeping bag been aired and stored loosely?
10. [ ]Has the sleeping pad been unrolled and inflated before storage? Keeping them compressed is not a good practice.
11. [ ]Has the trash bag been removed from the pack and put into the trash can? YUK!
12. [ ]Have all the food items been removed from the packs? This can be a double YUKK!
13. [ ]Have rain suites and pack covers been stored away wet?
14. [ ]Have any items been removed from the first aid kit or have the medications exceeded shelf life?
15. [ ]Do any staple items like salt, pepper, spices, oils, matches or fire starters need resupply? (If you use strike anywhere matches they must ALWAYS be stored in metal containers! Mice are known to ignite them.)
16. [ ]I used to advise keeping stoves full of fuel during storage. I have since learned that they should be emptied. The fuel will cause corrosion and clogging. My Coleman repairman told me to remove the fuel during long term storage.
17. [ ]Have all finacial obligations and accounts been settled? Group trips often involve cost sharing.
18. [ ]Have your trip notes been completed? Are maps, notes, and other documents secured for future use?
19. [ ]Has the water filter been flushed, drained and stored correctly? Do filter cartridges need replacement?
20. [ ]Have batteries been removed from flashlights and other such items as the GPS and weather radio?
21. [ ]Does the candle lantern need oil or a replacement candle?
I hope the list will save you some distress and expense so you may better enjoy your next outdoor experience.
Please share any ideas you may have that I overlooked.