Checklists, Yay / by Dave Hileman

So checklists. Wow, the fun never slows down here. I actually have several checklists and they are not infallible for making certain everything is where it needs to be when it needs to be (because of operator error!) but they go a long way to solving problems before they occur. 

We have a packing checklist for getting equipment, food and clothing to the trailer. We have a “to do” list that includes most everything we need to accomplish before we leave for a trip, a list for both inside and outside of the trailer anytime we move it from camping sites or storage, a checklist specifically for camera gear and one to remind me of the order of operation for the generator. Oh, and one that specifies what goes in the front and back of the truck. 

I hate to get on the way and then remember that the grill is still in the garage or I didn’t bring the hiking sticks or worse, the battery charger for the camera is still plugged in at home. You cannot easily replace everything and, besides, you don’t really need duplicates of equipment or the extra expense. So make sure you have packed carefully and the way we do that is with these lists. The primary packing list for trailer and truck is generated new each trip with whatever adjustments we need. For example we added walkie-talkies that we use to help me avoid trees and tables and low flying aircraft while backing into camp spaces and they are great. So, add new items or subtract things you no longer need to take. The items on this list are crossed off only when they are  in place not just stacked by the door to go out. Lesson learned! 

The checklist for preparing to move the trailer is really important to me. I think because I have done it a lot that I know how, but the more familiar you are the easier it is to do something without really thinking and that can lead to disaster. For example, our list says check the five points at the hitch: emergency brake, two chains, electric and hitch lock. Easy right? Well one day I did four but did not latch the ball just dropped the trailer and drove off. Fortunately I only drove to the dump station in the campground but still, stupid. I was distracted and did not read the list. So, CJH does the inside list, I do the outside list and she checks the outside. 

I will write about the camera gear and what I do to get ready in a couple of days but the checklist is so helpful when I am getting gear from two bags, a bin and a few other spots. 

Checklists have really helped us be safer, be more ready for a trip and to enjoy more time doing what we want to do because we have remembered hiking boots and bug spray and binoculars and…. 

Add write yourself a checklist to your checklist - worth the effort.