The Importance of Checklists

I’m not the most organized person in the world. I’m scattered brained and like to play things by ear. This can be both a blessing and a hindrance. It makes dealing with situations that pop up easy but bad for when I overlook something important. The later occurred while I was on vacation. I was all excited to do some guerrilla camping in my trek light hammock. In fact I had been highly anticipating getting to sleep in it and get a review done. When about half way into an eight hour road trip to New Orleans I realized that I did not bring either of my two hammocks. I packed quickly without using a checklist and ended up spending three cramped nights sleeping in a car with two others. I am still cramped and sore.


BOB Checklists

In addition to my vacation blunder I can only imagine how bad that would be in a disaster evacuation or bug out where you have time to pack some items. Having to leave and then realize that you forgot something crucial. Your wallet, sleep system, food or some other vital item you will impact your survivability. I’ve decided that some things are best not left to chance and a simple checklist of needed items takes little to no time and could make the difference between life and death.

Physical Checklists

For me nothing beats paper on a clipboard with an actual check mark on it. This will be my preferred method from here on out. I will make a checkmark list on the computer and print it out. I’ll do this from now on for every vacation to make sure I’m swinging in a hammock and not curled in a ball on the car seat. I will also be making a huge checklist for my Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags and other kits. These I will laminate and keep either in or around the bags themselves. This will make routine checks on them easier. I like to go through every few months and check for what needs replaced, replenished and has become outdated. With the laminated checklist I was use a dry erase marker to go down the list and check them off. When I’m done anything without a checkmark will get replaced then the sheet can be erased.

Digital Checklists

As a backup to the printed checklists I will keep a copy on my Evernote account. This will be synched with my phone so I will always have a copy of my checklist. This will make it easy if I have to go out and buy a replacement. It will become a shopping list that i always have and wont forget. I can check off the items on Evernote and transfer that information to the psychical list when I get home. Evernote combined with paper and clipboard make an unbeatable combination.

Hopefully you can learn from my uncomfortable nights and make a checklist. I love sharing stories of lessons I’ve learned so that maybe it will help out someone else.

Do you make checklists? Have any horror stories on forgetting something? Let me know in the comments!


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7 thoughts to “The Importance of Checklists”

  1. Checklists are important to any effective outing. They not only give you a clear idea of what you have but also give you a clear view of holes in your inventory. It helps to be able to see everything you have versus rummaging through your bag at o dark thirty saying ” I think I have one.”

  2. Let us know when you finally do a review of your Trek light hammock system with all the details. i have been considering (or re-thinking) the ground sleeping/ tent camping vs hammock hangin’. Right now i am just about to make the decision to invest in the hammock/ tarp for my BOB and any casual ‘guerilla’ camping i might choose to undertake.
    In the mean time, i’m makin’ a list and checking it twice……

  3. I am a new prepper and filled my BOB and my husband’s sorta willy-nilly as I bought things. Mine had some important items and his had others. Yesterday while stuck on the interstate I realized both bags were in his truck sitting back at the house. Because they are not organized, I had been moving both back and forth as we traveled by a different vehicle several times each week. This is why I made the bags, you can be stuck on elevated parts of the road over swamps for hours and hours.
    The delay, this time, was short. But had we been sitting there for a long time, the bags would have given us food, water and even some cards for a game. I will now make my BOB list and make sure each stay in one of the vehicles. No more moving them back and forth.
    Had we been in stuck in a blizzard on the road as people were a week or so ago up in snow country we would have nothing and our lives could have been in danger.
    Organization and lists are the answer. Nothing can help you if you can’t find it or it is not with you.

  4. Much like copying pages of a textbook to remember the material, the act of creating the list itself will help you remember, especially if, like me, you spend too much time making a shopping list and then leave it at home when you go!

  5. If you want to set-up repeatable checklists and routines you can use this web application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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