Some people say our obsession with organizing our overlanding gear, tools, and camping equipment is an unnecessary waste of time and energy. But we know better. If you truly aspire to become an enlightened Trail Master, the path begins by bringing your gear into subjection and order.
In this lesson we will consider the Four Pillars of our Gear Zen philosophy and how they can lead to being fully present when overlanding. If closely followed, you will discover the secret to directing your presence and attention to what truly matters: less stress and more enjoyment of your journey. Challenge accepted?
The chaotic or distracted mind tends towards creating disordered spaces. But the mind intent on focus, and flow, will begin ordering gear according to purpose. In your vehicle this is important because un-grouped gear will tend to get separated and will be difficult to locate - and scattered gear will not last as long because it gets stepped on, or dirty, or falls out and gets lost, etc.
There are many ways to contain your gear. Some people choose bins and boxes but, of course, we prefer soft (but rugged) storage, like bags and pouches because they optimize and conform to the space more than hard containers.
Even if you have a drawer system in your overlanding rig, bags and pouches are a great way to subdivide that space - unless you just enjoy rummaging around like you are looking through your kitchen junk drawer at home.
It's been said that the person who is wise will seek to be totally detached from all life experiences - like water flowing over a duck's back. But when it comes to organizing your gear, we think certain forms of attachment are essential. Plus, who wants your gear instantly becoming a dangerous projectile if you ever rolled your vehicle or hit a tree when trying to miss hitting a squirrel (please tell us you would swerve)?
Our two favorite forms of attachment are hook and loop (especially Velcro brand), and the MOLLE (PALS) system. Both systems of attachment allow for personalization and modularity that you can adapt to your specific needs and even different circumstances over time.
There are too many gear storage systems out there that prescribe to you how you should manage your gear because they come pre-fixed in place.
Free your mind and your gear - with modular attachment.
Because we have established the foundation of attachment (especially using hook and loop) - you now have the freedom to reveal your gear - even when it is hidden - no more questions about what's stored where. Instead of using x-ray vision (who has time for that, anyway?) why not slap a ID Panel / label on it and suddenly you can quickly scan for what you are looking for. We also believe in bags and pouches with 'windows'. While often not fully transparent, they still bring a level of awareness that allows you to see the unseen - while letting go of frustration and eliminating the hour long search for your extra poncho.
The hierarchy of imminence is a fancy way of saying: you only need what you need, where you need it. You don't need cooking gear near you while you're driving - but you do want it easily accessible when you have camp setup.
If someone slices their finger off while showing off their ninja skills during a bathroom break, you want quick access to the first aid kit (headrest to the rescue!). Need paperwork for crossing a border? Grab it from your visor organizer.
When everything is at hand when you need it, where you need it - there is no need to go into rage monster mode - and that means everyone around you can have a little more zen too.
(No more rage monster: "Who misplaced the flashlights!!!")
Are you ready to embrace the Four Pillars of Gear Zen? If so, you will discover a better way of overland travel - and from there, a more chill mode for moving through your world.