Spring and summer bring popsicles, suntans, and, of course, those
cherished family camping trips. Mom and Dad load up the family car with the
tent, the kids, the dog, and all their stuff and set up their
home-away-from-home in the wilderness.
Below are some tips from your organizing experts at Restoring Orderģ to
make packing for camping a cinch. These tips are not an exhaustive list
of items to bring camping, but a guide to maximize the ease and
enjoyment of your camping adventure. Happy camping!
Youíll need to call well in advance if you plan to rent a trailer or RV
if youíve chosen a popular camping weekend.
Find out beforehand if there are facilities on the grounds, or whether
youíll need to bring your own T.P.!
Sometime before the day you leave, put all bags, coolers, and camping
supplies in the middle of your garage or driveway to see if what you
plan to take will reasonably fit in the car. (You donít have to have the
coolers loaded at this time.) If your gear wonít fit, you must either
pare down or get a haul-behind trailer or roof-top storage.
Bring a camera and lots of film to record your trip.
Assign only one person to load the car. When multiple people are
tossing things in, space is not conserved, and a plan cannot be followed.
When loading the car, put food and other items that will not be needed
right away at the back or bottom.
Limit toys, books, and games to that which can fit in one backpack per
child. Otherwise, these items will overtake your car. Remember, youíre
going camping to get away from the daily routine and have new
Avoid using cardboard boxes, cloth bags, or any storage containers that
arenít waterproof. In this climate, plastic rules.
Shrinkable is good. Inflatable bed mats use less room than foam
cushions. Sleeping bags that stuff into a bag take less room than layered
cotton roll-up bags. Fold-down tables and chairs are now available at any
If you plan on obscuring the windows by packing up to the ceiling, set
your side mirrors for maximum visibility before leaving your driveway.
Bring a cell phone (charge beforehand) in case of emergency.
Carry a first aid kit. Donít forget any current medications, allergy
relief, and sunscreen.
Hand-held radios are a great way to keep track of each other in a large
campground. Agree on a time to check in with each other if youíve split
up. Keep tabs on kids.
Plan outfits in advance of trip. Remember: you can wear clothes more
than once. It will mean less laundry when you get home!
Roll clothes inside bags to save space.
Pack lots of extra plastic bags to separate dirty laundry, wet clothes,
or dirty shoes.
Donít leave home without your sunglasses and hats.
Invest in a pop-up shade. Donít forget rope and stakes. Youíll be glad
to wait out a shower under the shade, rather than huddle in your tent
with wet boots. If the weather is nice, you can leave it in your car.
A ground tarp will limit seepage into the tent. Bring hammer and stakes
for tent assembly.
Tables that fold out make a great cooking/staging area for your stove,
food prep area, and clean up area.
A gas or electric lantern (or two) will shed needed light on your site.
Donít forget extra fuel, mantles, or batteries and bulbs. Fit lantern
and supplies inside a plastic tool box for safe transporting.
Bring one flashlight per person (and extra batteries).
Find out before you go whether firewood will be available for purchase,
or whether you will need to bring your own. Plastic water-tight bins
work well for wood. One bin of wood will only last a few hours, so pack
accordingly, or bring cash to purchase available firewood.
If you forget matches or lighters, youíll have to resort to rubbing
Rope and string seem to come in handy when camping. From clothes lines
to tie-downs, youíll find many necessary uses.
Order & Cleanliness Tips
Pump soap and hand sanitizer go a long way to keeping campers clean.
Baby wipes or moist towelettes. A thousand uses--from wiping hands to
quick clean-ups, to mini baths, wipes are so handy!
Use a floor mat in front of the tent for wiping feet (faux grass works
A whisk broom or battery-powered hand vacuum will rid the tent of
needles, grass, and dirt that is carried in on shoes.
Dishwashing soap, scrub brush, towels, and paper towels are a must for
cleaning up dishes and pans. Some seasoned campers even use a dish rack
(if you have room) to air dry dishes to eliminate drying.
Food & Cooking Tips
Call ahead to find out if there are barbeques available, or if youíll
need to provide your own. If you bring a grill, clean it out before
packing, and bring large plastic garbage bags to cover it on the ride home.
Store non-perishable dry food in big plastic storage bins with
air-tight seals. If you use clear plastic, you can see what is in each one.
This way, food can be left outside, even if it rains.
Block ice lasts longer than shaved ice. Pack each cooler with one
block, and nestle food around the block.
Bring water jugs if it is not readily available. Each person needs at
least a half gallon of water per day. Bringing personal-size bottled
water is also useful. You will use more than you think, especially if it
Plastic zippered bags of all sizes are great for snacks, leftovers,
collected treasures, and so much more.
Vicki Norris is a dynamic entrepreneur, speaker, television
personality, and author who helps people live out their priorities. The founder
and president of Restoring Orderģ, an organizing services and products
company, Norris teaches others how to identify priorities and create
sustainable change in personal organizational habits.
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