Top 5 Ways to Make Sure You Never Forget Your Astronomy Equipment

Star Party Checklist

It's true - we've found ourselves forgetting bits and pieces on nights out. We've crashed and burned as we realised we left our favourite eyepiece at home. It's even worse when we go to star parties, since we'll have to spend an entire weekend without whatever item we forgot! This doesn't just happen to us either - some people forget to bring a tent despite bringing the tent pegs. We all know someone who's forgotten something fairly important on a night out or during a star party, and their story slowly morphs into an urban myth you hear at every event you attend.

Through trial & error, we’ve found some great ways to make sure we bring everything we need - we all know that mental lists just don’t cut it when you’re packing last minute the morning you leave (trust us!).

#5 Post-its

Our door on the morning we leave is littered with post-its. We’ll write down the things we need to bring (but are likely to forget during the packing rush in the morning) and as we leave, we can make sure we’ve remembered it.

Post-its on your telescope also work, since it’s the one thing you’ll really need to go observing. Stick them on the body or its container, and you’ll see them as you go fetch the scope to put in your car.

This method can sometimes cause delays though - we’ll have to sift through our bags to make sure the items are in there, and if they’re not, we’ll have to hunt them down and then re-pack all of our bags. But it does work for things like eyepiece kits, since they’re in a separate box.

#4 No last-minute packing

We have a schedule to keep and we’ll try out damnedest to keep it! Mostly. It was once. And it did work! But at what expense? We’re pretty lazy so having to set aside a time to pack that wasn’t the morning of was really annoying. It’s like scheduling in time to study. You know you’ll try to think up excuses and end up playing The Sims all day. (This writer is only a year out of uni, she’s spent a good while procrastinating her assignments in recent years.)

#3 Keep everything in one place

We have two places where we keep most of our gear: the foyer and the dining room. Weird locations but they work for us. We’ll go hunt everything down from those two places and we’ll usually have everything we need, barring things like food, drink, and clothing. We actually found that the worst part of travel is the unpacking once you get home, so our suitcase usually has at least one item from the last star party we attended. Lots of red torches in the pockets too. We never have to worry about annoying people with white light at least.

#2 The fridge

We have a whiteboard marker and we’re not afraid to use it. More suited to camping equipment for when we go to star parties, but it can work for regular equipment, since we all know that a great night observing the stars means plenty of good snacks and drinks. You’ll naturally find your way to the kitchen, and from there you can check your fridge for the list of items you'll need to bring.

Pin up a list to the fridge if you want, and cross items off as you go along. But if you’re going to be using a list, then the option below will be great for you.

#1 A checklist

Star Party Checklist

The most logical option. An option that half of our team doesn’t “believe” in, whilst the other, more organised half, does. We don't have to tell you why checklists are great, right?

We looked around online for a pre-made checklist, but we didn’t find anything concise that didn't require copying and pasting into a new document. So we made our own. We even made it pretty. You’d be surprised how much an aesthetically-pleasing checklist makes us want to use it! This checklist is also great for beginners who aren’t sure what they need to bring to their first viewing or star party. Our first star party was nerve-wracking since we weren’t sure what to bring to it. Some things were obvious, but others weren’t so much. This checklist is a great help to us, and we hope it will help others as well.

If you want to download a copy of our checklist, you can find it below. It's free and available in two sizes - A4 and US Letter.

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