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How to Prepare for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

How to Prepare for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Posted by Patrick Dray on

Hey Guys! I’m Pat and I work for Groove Life in our wholesale department. The Wholesale Team will be at Outdoor Retailers Summer Show in Denver, CO this June, and I would be foolish to miss an opportunity to climb a mountain with a Marine I served with while I was in the area.

Here’s one way I prep for any adventure: the beloved gear list.

Get Outside and Do Something!

How to Prepare for Your Next AdventureI am a huge advocate for getting outside and doing something physical. In 2017, I decided to venture into trail running ultramarathons. While training, I seemed to get to a park and continually realize I was consistently missing something small that may not have been imperative, but I would have liked to have with me. I grabbed a tacklebox and kept a headlamp, gels, flashing lights, etc. inside of it. This one simple step saved me hours of time. Organizing and preparing doesn’t have to be arduous. Keep it simple.

Success Starts with Planning 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Hopefully, by this point you’ve heard this old adage. How many times have you made it a few miles down the road just to realize you forgot something? 

There are some important questions to ask as you create your packing list.

  • Is it worthwhile making a gear list?
  • Did you weigh the pros and cons of the item in question? 
  • What kind of adventure are you going on?
  • Is there a required gear list for this adventure?
  • How are you traveling?
  • How can you organize your gear to your advantage?
  • “Do I really absolutely have to bring my waterproof jacket?? (Yes. Yes, you do absolutely need to bring it. Before anyone mentions desert climates, I have been rained on in Palm Springs and seen snow in Iraq.) 
how to pack for your next hiking trip

Manage Your "Real Estate" Well

Real estate is extremely valuable. I’m not just talking about the housing market. How much space do you have to work with? If you’re taking a motorcycle on a cross country tour, how you pack will be quite different from if you were driving a Transit van. Luckily for me, I am driving the Groove Life Adventure Van on my next excursion.  Even with a van loaded to the hilt with trade show gear, I will have ample room for my personal gear. The van is EPIC!

When Groove Life first purchased the van it was boring, but functional. There were captains chairs in the front and an open cargo bay, the embodiment of “bare bones.” Stay tuned for a post about this lifted, go-anywhere beast.

Keep it Simple, but Functional!

A packing list can be as detailed or as vague as you want it to be, but remember to include the “must haves.” Here is an easy bullet point list that I use to make sure I am amply packed.

  • Beans - snacks, dehydrated meals, utensils, stove, water
  • Bullets - pocket knife, multi-tool, axe, bow, rifle
  • Bandages - general first aid is a must, tailor as needed
  • Batteries - USB, Power Bank, extra batteries (full charge!)

  • I borrowed this method from my military background. The Marines has a method for organizing information in about a situation called the 5 paragraph order. This short three point bullet list is a modified system of that same system.
  • By the time I finished making my packing list for climbing Mount Lindsey, it had 76 line items. That’s probably excessive, but I am meticulous. When I served in the Marines, gear lists detailed to the point of how many socks needed were issued for every field op.

    Modify My System for Your Own Style


    What works for me might not be the most practical solution for everyone. The most beneficial practice I have put into place has been creating a template using Google Sheets, and it's worked for every single adventure I have been on.

    If you’re not a spreadsheet guru, don’t worry, you’re in good company. I’m a firm believer in learning through trial and error (a few YouTube videos don’t hurt either.) A lot of features on the Google Sheets app are quite similar to other spreadsheet programs. And my boss wasn’t upset when I started producing some high quality excel sheets either.

    The template was easy to make on my laptop and tweak as needed. Instead of scrawling notes on scrap paper (which you’ll likely lose if you’re like me), your template will be available on your phone via the Google Sheets app. Before I turn the key and leave the house I can open the app and verify all the line items. My template has 4 columns:

    • Quantity - How many do I need?
    • Filled - How many are packed?
    • Item Description - What is it?
    • Location - Where is it packed?

    I added conditional formatting to the filled column. Based on the quantity of each line item filled, the cell color changes.

    • 0 - Red STOP
    • 1-Less than number listed in quantity Yellow GETTING CLOSER
    • Filled = Quantity - Green YOU’RE GOOD

    As mentioned before, this template works for any type of adventure. It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to visit family over the holidays, volunteering at an ultramarathon, or climbing a mountain. It worked for me on all those occasions.

    The packing list doesn’t have a No BS Warranty like a Groove Life silicone ring, sorry. But, it will help you stay organized and you’ll pick up a new skill.

    There is no such thing as “gressing” - you are either PROgressing or REgressing. Make sure you’re ready for adventure with a solid packing list.

    Keep Groovin’!

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