We need to sort out our camping gear before we go away

We need to sort out our camping gear before we go away.

Question: When do I say this sentence? I mean before going camping or I’m on the camping site and getting ready to leave?

Thank you!!

Before going camping. In this case, ‘sort out’ means to decide what to bring and to potentially buy or borrow things you’re missing.

If you were at the camping site and getting ready to leave, you would say something like, '‘We need to pack up our camping gear before we go home.’

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Disagree. When packing up someone could say ‘come on, we’re leaving soon and we need to sort out this camping gear.’

To “sort out” can mean many things, depending on the context. Regarding preparing for a camping trip, it can mean to decide which items to bring camping as well as to decide how to organize/pack the items physically for the trip.

Yet the phrase can also be used while camping to refer to organizing gear upon deciding to leave… For example, maybe several different people are camping together and various items belong to different individuals; someone owns the stove, another owns the tent, still another owns a camp lantern, etc. Since the group is breaking camp and leaving, the members have to “sort out” which items belong to whom so that the equipment returns with its proper owner.
Or, some of the equipment may have been rented in which case it might be useful to “sort out” (i.e., separate out) the rented equipment from that owned by individuals to make return of the rented items easier. Or, utensils got mixed up in the box with the cleaning supplies so they should be “sorted out” (reorganized) before repacking them and leaving.

To “sort out” can also mean generally to understand/figure out/prioritize/organize something. For example, John needs to sort out (prioritize) what he’s doing after he graduates, whether he wants to travel a bit or find a job. Susan is working on sorting out (understanding) when to use perfective and imperfective verbs in Russian. Let’s sort out (decide, divide up, understand) who is doing what on this project so we don’t duplicate work. A mother told her child, "your sock drawer is a mess. Please sort it out (organize the socks in the drawer) before you go play.

There are plenty of additional contexts in which this phrase could be used.

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To me, “before we go away” sounds like they’re talking about what they need to do before they leave on a trip. Sounds to me like they’re preparing to go on a camping trip. You can “sort out” camping gear before going away on a trip or before going back home.

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