When I was a kid and my dad would take me to play rugby, I learnt very quickly to check I had everything and ‘tick’ it off in my head ‘cause, there was nothing more embarrassing and frustrating than turning up with something missing.
The way I did this was to visualise myself wearing my kit from toe to top… boots (tick), socks (tick), shorts (tick), under-shirt (tick), match top (tick), gum shield (tick), tape (tick) ….. towel (tick).
I do the same when I prepare for a hike, particularly for the longer ones …. missing a critical item can be more dangerous than embarrassing!
Although my personal visualising technique can still work, it takes practice. But what I have found being really useful is using the camera on my smartphone.
Depending on the type of excursion you will need more or less equipment so what I’ve done is to lay out the various items I’d pack on my bed, depending on what I was planning to do, and take a photo on my phone. You can label these photos for easy search if you want and the quality is so good you can zoom in on items in detail.
This means I keep track of the kit I took with me, re-use this to check the next time and update it if I found I use more (or less) of an item. By having a photo of everything before I leave I don’t need to rummage through my backpack searching for something that might not be there.
It’s a simple thing but one that saves time and can be reassuring.