I actually organize most of my gear very differently than your typical hiker. The reason I do this is to make getting ready for a trip and cleaning up afterwards easier. I remember the days of when I would take a hour plus to get all of my stuff packed up the night before, spend a couple hours hiking, and then spend over another hour cleaning up and putting away the gear I took. It made it really easy to feel like it was more work prepping/cleaning then time I spent enjoying the outdoors. Which meant it really cut down on my desire to go hiking or camping.
Most organized hikers will have a gear room/closet where they will have some method of placing various like items of gear together. A lot of times you will see shelving with big plastic totes and if the person is super organized the plastic totes will be labeled with whatever kind of gear they contain. That is a solid way to do things especially if you have a bunch of different varieties of one piece of gear. However, I organize my gear so that I can most efficiently gather it together for a trip and put it back when I’m done.
I organized my commonly used gear for hiking by its function and put all of the items necessary to serve that function together. Then I placed all of the items for a particular function into Magpul Daka Pouches. The Daka Pouches are just an easy means of holding all of the items I would need for a singular task. I have one for my water filter, one for the dogs, two survival pouches, and a medical kit that all sits together. I plan to do some more detailed posts about what all I keep in each pouch but take my water filter pouch for example. Inside the pouch I have my Sawyer Mini water filter, CNOC dirty water bag, a clean water bag, and the syringe for back flushing the Sawyer Mini. That is realistically everything I would need to use my water filter and it is all in one place. The other pouches are set up similarly for their purpose. This setup means that if I have my water filtration Daka Pouch I have everything I need to filter water.
In my gear closet I actually use a shower curtain rode to hang up all of my various packs ranging from backpacking packs on the big end all the way down to my hydration pack on the small end. I then got some buckets and placed all of my food in one and all of my Daka Pouches in the other. This setup means that the night before I go hiking I can decide which pack would work best for the distance I’m going, then I decide which Daka Pouches I need, and how much food I want to take.
Example: La Luz Trail just outside of Albuquerque, NM. We were planning to hike up then traverse across to a cable tramway, eat lunch, and then ride the tramway down. Total distance was roughly 8 miles with 3,700ft of elevation gain. I grabbed my Osprey Daylite pack which is a 13L daypack. I then grabbed a Daka Pouch for survival essentials, water filter, and my medical kit. I grabbed a thing of freeze dried food and several Clif Bars. Threw all of that and a 1.5L Camelbak into my pack and I was done packing in literally 10 minutes.
The Daka Pouches are definitely not the lightest, I’m not really a gram counter, but the system is set up around efficiency and in that way it excels. I know when I grab one of the pouches it contains everything that I would need and I can grab various pouches based on the demands of my hike or trail run.
Below are links to Amazon for some of the products I mentioned above (if you click through the links we get a small percentage back on purchases at no cost to you)