Before you start stacking the tent and chairs into the truck, check out these packing tips for some help on what to bring, what to leave behind, and how to pack just what you need.
Packing for a camping trip can be a real challenge, as there are usually not many amenities waiting for you in the woods. Because of this…some people pack everything…only to find that they use half of what they brought. Then there’s the other extreme of bringing just the clothes on your back (bad idea if you have company.
Use the tips below to get the most out of your car space and still have everything you need to enjoy your trip. You can plan for the elements and the unknowns without pulling a trailer or loading up the roof rack. Here are some ideas how…
Packing Tip #1: Bag it!
One of the most miserable experiences in the woods is when your clean clothes get dirty or soaking wet. A great way to keep your clean clothes nice and neat is to pack them in gallon zip-lock bags. I discovered this trick a few years ago and it’s been a life-saver. Pack your clean socks, shirts, and skivvies in a single bag. This way they are clean, dry and dust-free and easy to fish out of your pack! All other clothing items can usually get worn an extra day. This also keeps your clothes nice and compact, as you can squeeze the air out of the bag as you close it. For an added layer of water-proofing, line your pack with a trash bag and tie it closed. It’s a handy packing tip…try it!
Packing Tip #2: Multi-Task Your Tools
There are many things you’ll want to have in the woods, but some of them serve a limited purpose and others may not get used at all. Example? How about that 5-pound folding shovel that you got at the surplus store? It’s nice to have, if you need to dig a trench around the tent or make a field latrine, but it can do much more! It can drive tent stakes, so keep the hammer at home. It can also saw small branches, so there’s no need for a saw. Look at what you’re packing and see why you need it and if something else can do the job. There are plenty of ways to make do in the woods…it just takes some time to think it through.
Packing Tip #3: Paper or plastic?
If you’re going to the supermarket on the way to the campgrounds, you may want to pick paper over plastic. The brown paper makes good fire-starting material and you won’t need to carry it out of the woods with you when you’re done. The paper can also be used for leaf rubbings or coloring for the littler campers. It also makes sense to bring a water cooler and use it for drink mixes rather than pack cans, glass or plastic bottles for drinks. It’s lighter and easier to pack on the way in and way out!!
Packing Tip #4: Carry it Yourself!
Parents inevitably become the campout pack mules. One way to make packing easier is to have everyone pack a small backpack with their own personal items. This can include a refillable water bottle, a mess kit, snacks, a pillow, flashlight, a small first aid kit, and any other small games or items. This can drastically cut down on the adult’s load and make all the campers feel as though their pulling their weight.
I hope these tips help make your camping planning go a bit smoother. Sometimes a few extra moments of planning can really pay dividends when you’re in the woods. Check out the camping checklist pages to remind yourself of any items that you might be forgetting!