Junk on the Bunk, is a term that you either know or you don’t and if you do it brings back fond memories of prolonged inspections in uniform, ha-ha. By contrast social media and #FlatLayFriday might be something you look forward to on you feed while people display all of their gear in a cool and artistic fashion. Well I’m her to talk about gear lays and some of the very real benefits of doing them.
For me they are great because it is a great time to inspect gear, while I may have been at work all week developing my list a gear lay helps me slow down and take my time. I usually do a gear lay before major trips where the “oh I forgot” doesn’t cut it or when there is gear involved where I might needed it to do such popular things as survive. Taking the time to do this especially with technical gear is a great visual representation of what I have on a flat well-lit surface.
What I want, what I need and what will fit. There are many times where I have a lot of nice to haves that may or may not make it in the bag. The flat lay is a great way to triage gear and create your go and no go piles. Another great benefit is the ability to group things by function like cooking, sleeping or clothing. Sometimes everything doesn’t go in the same spots but you know you have everything for instance I might spread load my food through my main pack and my Kit Bag (Chest Pouch from Hill People Gear) so I know I have ten packs of peanut M&Ms and I know where I put them (6 in the kit bag, 4 in the pack, ha-ha). Another good example would be your water options between bottles other storage and treatment but you get where I’m going.
It helps with packing especially when you are deciding what goes stays or how you are going to bring everything and the kitchen sink. This flat well-lit area is a great litmus of how you want to pack you gear, think of it this way if it is hard now how will it be on the mountain in the wind at night. Ask yourself is it repeatable and easy or is this one of those things that will never pack again… The flat lay is good for me because it makes me slow down and think about what I’m doing. This is also a good practice if you are camping with a group and splitting gear or sharing different responsibilities. We hated Junk on the Bunk inspections in the military but there is a reason, better figure out you buddy forgot the stove now than at 10,000 feet on a mountain.
When you are doing you gear lay take pictures! It’s fun we want to see what you are up too and what cool gear we have to get next. Share it on social media rub it in my face you get to go somewhere fun this weekend. But also think of this, if something bad happens and people are looking for you it might not hurt for them to know what they are looking for and your capabilities so they can better plan a rescue. This isn’t something many people think about but could your emergency contact tell rescuers you were in a red tent and had three days’ worth of food? Even if they are awesome and they can (and I’m sure they are) a picture is worth a 1000 words and can be easily transmitted to the powers that be. Just an idea…
The idea of doing a gear lay might seem a little time consuming but trust me it’s worth it. You will have a better pack and gear selections by taking your time. Your social media game will be fire and in a worst case scenario you could have the deck staked a little more in your favor when people are looking for you. Just don’t forget when you take that picture to make sure we can see you Kit Fox Outfitters logos and #GetTheFoxOutThere !