27 August 2014

The Cave & The System

 I've gotten a couple questions over the years regarding trip planning and gear selection so as I renew/remodel my cave I thought I'd snap a few pics and describe the process. I'm always looking for new ideas and suggestions so if you have any you'd want to share please leave a comment!

All of my outings beyond a day trip start with maps and coffee!

In my Cave I've got a 4x8 planning table covered with maps of the areas I haunt. Depending on what I want to do, foot travel, canoeing, snowgo, atv etc I'll use the corresponding map set best suited to those activities. If I have never been there before I'll do some research and then plan according to what I know. If I have been there I'll typically skip the research part. I will determine what I want to do or learn at this point, forage, scout, sight see, adventure-ize and get a list of gear to support the activity.

With the gear list done I'll select a pack from the pack wall. These are the packs that are currently in my rotation, meaning they service a specific purpose for the current season. Some other packs are in storage because they won't see use at this time.

To the left of the packs there are a number of Kifaru pullouts.These are the core of my system. Each one holds elements, one is my current sleep system and base layer for sleeping, one holds my food, one holds the current water filtration system I am using, one holds the cook kit, one holds rain gear, one holds a kill-kit, one holds FAK stuff, one holds spare clothing. No mater what pack I pick these pullouts go into that pack. By doing this I am not perpetually packing and repacking packs. I put the core pullouts in and go.

If I want to trade out contents in the core I hit the gear rack and pull pieces that I want to put into the pullouts or add to the pullouts.

This includes shelter, cooking set be it solid fuel, canister, wood burning etc, miscellaneous stuff like micro lantern, bug net, space space or bivy sack, eating utensils, edge-ware, snacks, condiments, fire kit and so on.

You get the picture.

Shelter selections currently include the following BCUSA tarps WC MEST, MC MEST, 10x7 MC UL, 10x10 G1 MC, 10x12 UL MC, 9x7 A-TACS FG, 10x10 A-TACS AU. Additionally a Bear Paw net tent, Mountainsmith Mountain shelter, Titanium Goat bivy and a GSX 4 season round out the shelter arsenal.

For cooking I've got canister stoves, a Whsiperlite, and a Emberlit, the Whisperlite is mostly winter. If not using these I'm cooking over an open fire. Additionally in this section there are a number of small bags that I use inside the Kifaru pullouts that contain various things.

The miscellaneous shelf has knives that are in the current rotation, field glasses, snacks, fire kits and steels, food condiments, utensils, bug nets, micro lanterns, bivies and space blankets. 

Next to last and last shelf holds various pots, kettles, canteens, cups etc.

At the end of each season I'll comb through the gear I used and didn't use and either sell it off or pass it off to my sons for their use. The selection of clothing, snowshoes, waders, hip boots or hiking boots, conveyance, bow, rifle, rod, etc are all done separately on a need and season basis, all of it starts here though...


  1. That's a pretty impressive layout. Neat and organized. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks Ben. For me, getting that organization is enabling me to spend more time doing what I love outside. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Now that is some organisation!
    You don't want to see my cave these days. You really don't....

    As I understand it you do not have a standard kit and alter that according to season and function, but assemble it, like a puzzle as the occasion demands?

  4. Yessir, the core of the system is the pullouts. They're packed by category and hung in the same places on the pack board. When I grab a pack I know it isn't completely packed unless I have all of the pullouts. While I may change specific types of content in the pullouts the remain specific to that function. Sleep/shelter, Food, Clothing, Hydration, etc and so on.