The smell hits you in the face before you can put your key in the door. An aromatic mixture of wet dog, aggressive sweat, and stale Fritos wafts through the air, stinging your eyes and assaulting your nose. It’s so bad, you can taste it.

You left your wet, sweaty gear in a pile in the basement last night. In your rush to get out the door this morning you forgot to hang it up to dry, instead leaving it to fester in its own filth for another 12 hours. If there’s one thing that will make a bad smelling pile of gear worse, it’s time.

Now you’re standing at the precipice of your mistake, mentally preparing yourself to deal with the funk.

The age-old battle of dealing with gear after a trip has been hard-fought by adventurers for centuries. For us weekend warriors, this battle seems especially acute. When you get home after a trip of any length, you’re dealing with a number of factors driving you away from gear-organizing and toward bed-sleeping. Our excuses are endless:

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• I’m exhausted

• I’m starving

• I need to poop

• I can’t stand the smell of myself right now, let alone my gear

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• I have to work in the morning and since I got up at 4am and it’s already 10pm I need to shower and get to bed so I can be a functioning human being tomorrow

• I’m out of detergent

• My blisters make it hard to walk

• I really need to poop

• I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with this right now

• I drank too many IPAs after skiing and I’m glad my buddy drove me home and wow, the room is really spinning right now…

I hear you. The struggle is real, but we must overcome. That’s why I have The Shower Rule for post-adventure.

The rule states: I am not allowed to shower until all of my wet, gross, manky, stinky, funky gear is hanging up to dry or otherwise dealt with sanitarily. I made this rule because the only thing I want to do when I get home is go to bed, but I absolutely won’t go to bed unless I’m clean. The same rule should apply to my gear.

If you’re the type of disgusting human who climbs into bed all gross after a day out, then this rule doesn’t apply to you and we probably shouldn’t be friends in real life. But if you want gear that lasts longer and housemates who don’t hate you, I recommend instituting The Shower Rule. Why punish yourself tomorrow for that which can be done today?

At the very least, it will keep your mouth free from the taste of manky gear.

Photo by Kristina Ciari