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High Reliability Camping
Every summer, Utahns head to the mountains for camping, biking, rafting and other activities. And every summer, many a family is left without a stove, or a helmet, or a…because it was left at home. Thrill-seeker and quality manager Cindy Spangler wants to prevent your next packing mishap with a customized camping checklist.

A Checklist for Every Camper

Checklists reduce errors. That’s why checklists, long used in the airline industry, have been adopted in health care to improve safety. Simple checklists like the WHO Safe Surgery checklist reduce the risk of skipping an important step.

We’ve compiled a quality expert-approved checklist of camping must haves for hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, base camping, canyoneering, and yes, even glamping.

camping checklist

Checklists are a Powerful Tool

In his thought-provoking book, The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. Atul Gawande argues for using checklists in the delivery of health care as well as in other enterprises. What kinds of checklists can be helpful? Justin Fox, former editor of Harvard Business Review, describes the different sorts of checklists:

  1. Task List: A step by step guide to activities which must be followed in a certain order. Most helpful for well-defined activities that have a lot of detail—too much for one person to remember. Examples: setting up a tent, cooking, changing your flat tire.
  2. Coordination List: Best for extremely complicated tasks that take a group. The coordination list forces the individuals to check in on a regular basis. Example: Planning the big family reunion.
  3. Discipline List: A list of procedures that keeps you from making bad decisions in times of stress. Example: the serenity prayer needed during and after a long family holiday.
  4. To-Do List: A personal list that is revised on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Example: all the things you need (want, hope, then give up getting) done before my vacation starts.


Originally published June 2017. Article has been updated to reflect current information.


Cindy Spangler

Quality Manager, Global Surgery, University of Utah Health

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