Water, food, batteries, gloves, even bandages.... There is a component of every gear bag that is perishable. This is especially true if you carry your gear bag in the trunk of your car - exposing it to heat, cold, crushing forces, and a lot of banging around.
It's a terrible thing to open a gear bag when you need it most, only to find the granola bars crushed; water bottles leaking; gloves weak and breaking down; and bandage wrappers wet, torn, or otherwise compromised. What can you do to prevent this?
One simple step is to use what you've got. Instead of going to your well preserved gear stash under the sink in your bathroom - when you need a bandaid for your kid's knee, go to the trunk of your car instead. When you pump gas, slip on one of your gloves. When you need a drink of water, grab the one from your gear bag. Just be sure to replace the supplies you use regularly.
By making it a habit to use gear from your go-bag, you're not only rotating your stock, you're also regularly checking in on the status of your supplies. If something leaks or gets broken, you'll know it when you go get a bandaid or a glove.
As an added bonus, you'll be familiarizing yourself with the content of your bag. When you need your gear and time is of the essence, you're less likely to be rooting around in your bag looking for something you KNOW is in their somewhere, or for something you thought you had, but don't.
Preparedness is more than gear or classroom training. Good basic habits can give you a tremendous advantage and hep you be as prepared as you want to be.
What other tips do you have for keeping your gear fresh?