Over the years, I’ve collected a ton of stuff for hunting and hunting-related activities. The problem was that I could never find anything that I was looking for when I needed it. So a couple of years ago, I decided that I would figure out a way to store all of my gear in a neat, organized, and easy-to-find manner. The fact is that when you’re organized, you’re more efficient and effective in everything you do.
To improve your hunting gear storage, you need to first understand the problem. For me, I had everything in totes, but the totes were oversized which made it difficult to sift through it all. Secondly, all of my clothes were also stuffed into totes, and I always seemed to find what I was looking for at the bottom of the tote after throwing everything else on the floor. Lastly, although not a huge issue, it bugged me that my totes were all stacked on top of each other and not easy to access.
Once you understand your specific organizational problems, you can start working on solutions. Totes keep out unwanted scents, dust, and varmints. If you have mice eat your backcountry meals or chew through your tent cords once, you won’t make that mistake again. Totes are great options for storing gear but consider smaller totes rather than just a few big ones. Clear sides add the benefit of seeing most of your gear inside without having to open the lid.
In addition to totes, three-drawer organizer carts work well for smaller items such as calls, scents, tools, and miscellaneous products. I have a couple of these, with one designated for hats in the top drawer, gloves in the middle drawer, and gaiters and socks in the bottom drawer. Pick up a cheap label maker to name all of the totes so you know what type of gear is inside each one. For equipment that you plan on using on every hunt, such as your first aid kit and essential gear, small organizer bags work well to grab quickly and toss in whatever pack you are using on a given day.
Stacking totes isn’t a huge issue, but it can be annoying to have to unstack them to get to what you need. A steel storage rack with wire decking will make your totes easily accessible while doubling as a place to hang backpacks and turkey vests off the sides. Look for adjustable shelves so you can fit all sizes of gear that you choose to store on them. Always put the heaviest gear on the bottom and the lighter equipment on the top shelf. Your back will thank you later.
I’ve always been a fan of the hunting gear closets for clothing but wasn’t a fan of the price tag. After searching online, I found an option on Amazon that meets my requirements. You can hang all of your hunting clothing on the center rod from base layers through your outerwear to quickly grab for each hunt depending on the weather. Wardrobe closets keep your clothing clear of dust and relatively scent-free. If you are a whitetail-hunting scent fanatic, consider adding an ozone machine to your gear closet. They aren't as expensive as they used to be, and can serve a purpose besides just killing odor on your bibs.
Although I think totes can be handy while storing your hunting gear at home, installing a DECKED drawer system in your truck will undoubtedly keep your gear organized, secure, and dry while on the road. These are more of an investment than the other methods mentioned, but if you like to hunt after work, travel to hunt, or struggle with gear all over the backseat of your truck, it’s well worth the money. And similar to the ozone machine, these have purposes beyond just hunting. You can store your roadside hazard kit in there, keeping everything organized for the next time you need to pull someone out of the ditch or change a flat tire.
You can buy anything and everything to organize your gear, but you need to put it away after your hunt for any system to work well. At the end of the season or after a long hunt, clean your gear correctly before putting it back. Take the extra couple of minutes to place everything back in the spot it belongs and you’ll be glad you did the next time you need it. Money can buy organization options, but it won't matter if you don't follow through.