Your workweek is finally over and two days of uninterrupted outdoor bliss lie ahead. All you need to do is pack your gear and get on the road. Suddenly, it’s 11pm on Friday and you’re digging through piles of mid layers and gloves to find that left hiking boot that has to be in there somewhere.
Part of “making home” outdoors starts with proper gear storage at home, whether you’re dealing with a single closet or a garage full of space. Here are a few tips from REI employees on how they make storage (and packing) as convenient as it gets.
Tip 1: If you’re dealing with minimal storage space, it’s important to only keep what you use. Take clothes, for instance. Try hanging all of your clothing on the left side of the closet; if you find that what you don’t wear continually gets pushed to the right side, you’ll be able to see what you wear most. Then donate what you don’t need.
Tip 2: Use all the space available to you! Backpacks can still hold gear when you’re not using them. If there are packs you only use for certain activities, keep gear inside them that you’ll rarely need to take out.
Tip 3: Hang up packs, self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags from hangers or wall hooks inside a closet. Organize packs by size and/or length of trip—this will also help streamline the packing process.
Tip 4: If you’re running out of closet space, you can also install a curtain rod or steel pipe between two multi-shelf racks to hang clothing and camping gear from.
Tip 5: Keep a tall laundry basket in the corner to store awkwardly long items like oars, foam rollers and trekking poles.
Tip 6: Bins are great, but they’re not very helpful if they’re not organized and clearly labeled. Organizing plastic, lidded bins by activity will help keep searching to a minimum. One employee suggests keeping bins in easy-to-reach locations for the gear he uses most often. Bins for seasonal activities can be kept higher up or farther back. A quick tip: Put a few packets of desiccant inside each bin to keep gear dry.
Tip 7: A multi-shelf rack stores a lot of gear in one handy location. Use webbing to hang cams, quickdraws, and other pieces of gear from the top rack, then use the bottom shelves to hold stuff like helmets and ropes.
Tip 8: A pegboard is one of the best ways to utilize vertical space, but hanging one securely takes more than just a few screws. You can build a frame on the back of the pegboard with 2 in. x 2 in. wood strips so the pegboard sits a a little ways off the wall, allowing enough space for you to pass hooks through the board and hang your gear on them.
Tip 9: Store your bike in a way that maximizes space. Check out more tips from the experts on how to store your bike, which will depend on the amount of available storage and the type of bike you have.
One last tip: Personalize your storage space in a way that inspires you. Print photos of past adventures, hang up posters of mountain views, or create a spreadsheet that lists all of your gear and where it lives. Then start planning (and packing for) your next great adventure.
Do you have tips on smart gear storage? Share your tried-and-true methods in the comments.