Here are 5 tips to keep your gear accessible:
Have a designated space for your gear at home. This can be a shelf in your hall or bedroom closet, a basket near the door, or even a large backpack. The important thing is to have all of your boots, coats, hats, and mittens together in one place so you don’t have to go hunting for those missing gloves every time you want to head out for a hike.
Use containers to separate each person’s things. Inside of your designated space, further organize your things by person. If you keep your hiking gear in a closet, small boxes or baskets work well to house all of the little pieces of clothing and accessories. If you keep your gear in a backpack, utilize those pockets.
Use a box or a backpack to transport your outer-most layers and accessories to and from the car. Once you’ve fished out the things you need for your hike and put on what you will be wearing in the car, put the rest together in a collapsible box or a backpack. Once you get to the trailhead, put on the rest of your gear and you are good to go.
Keep a tote with backup gear in your car at all times. Stock your tote with spare mittens, hats, and wool socks for both kids and adults, a change of clothes, a towel, a blanket, weather covers for your stroller or carrier, an umbrella, traction devices, extra diapers and wipes, a spare soft-shell carrier, and extra trail bars and dry snacks. Only use these items if you or a fellow hiker forgets to bring them or if someone gets wet and needs to change.
Always clean and return your hiking gear to its designated space when you get home. This is the key! As tedious as it may seem, take the extra few minutes to hang coats, connect gloves, and return those hats, scarves, and other accessories to their proper place. When the time comes to go out again, you will be so glad your fresh gear is all in one place.