Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Seasonal Inventory Checkup

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

The weather here in the West has been trending towards spring with warmer weather, occasional rain, and longer days -- no snow like in the mountain states, or rain and flooding like in Texas and elsewhere across the Southern and Eastern states. I still have some cool weather gear in my Get Home Bag, but sunscreen and extra water has been added. This brings me to...

Inventory Time
As I checked through gear in the two bags that go with me every day (and took out the water bottles that had been there for a month), I remembered the gym bag that I haven't used for 7 months. I was able to swim 3-4 days a week before finding my current job, because I didn't go in to work until 10 AM. These days I start at 5, the same time the municipal pool opens for the day.

I kept a towel, swim trunks, goggles, shampoo, soap, $5 in change, water and a flashlight in the bag, and seven months sitting in a bag is not good for a flashlight. The light obviously didn't come on when I tried it, and when I tried to remove the batteries the case was very hard to open.

COAST PX25 Flashlight
If you look closely at the 3 AAA battery carrier, you can see the corrosion at the base opposite the contacts (orange end) and also in the body of the flashlight (the white area in the opening of the tube at 5-6 o'clock). One of the cells fell apart in my hands when I removed it, which is why all the contamination occurred. After wiping off the contacts and replacing the batteries, the light still didn't come on. I tried some electrical contact spray cleaner next to see if that would fix any problems, but no luck with that, either. I feel pretty dumb about leaving a flashlight unchecked for half a year and now throwing away a $40 flashlight because of $2 worth of batteries. This is not going to happen in the future.

The Fix
From now on, there will be an inventory list of which items are permanently in each bag, and a calendar reminder to check and swap out perishables and other items, like batteries, especially in bags I don't use regularly.

(Editor's Note: If you aren't going to be using the bags for a while, don't leave alkaline batteries in electronics. Either store them in plastic battery cases, use rechargeable batteries, or both.)

This isn't a problem with my EDC or GHB bags: I'm constantly in them and always looking at the contents and using what I carry. The gym bag is in my closet on a hook, and since I'm not swimming or going to a gym, it was "Out of sight, out of mind"... forty dollars out of mind. I am not able to replace this light with the same model, as my budget won't allow it.

The Takeaway
I plan to check my gear much more often than in the past. I can't make mistakes that cost this much too often, even if my budget is in better shape than when I started writing these posts. 

The Recap
  • Don't forget to check all your gear for things that need to be replaced or renewed.
  • Don't expect your memory to keep track of everything -- have a backup copy and make it easy to find!
Nothing was purchased this week, and all items swapped into my Carry Bags were in my pantry already.

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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