One of the biggest frustrations for me as a mom (with enough going on as it is) is keeping our gear for car camping organized and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Truly, around here with Mtn Papa’s work schedule, that is often all we have. Camping is a quick decision when we all have a day off and we want to be able to go without any extra hassle.
Getting a system in place now that the kids are a little older has been my goal this summer. It is a work in progress and will continue to be so until winter most likely (and then revamped next year as our family’s needs grow and change). Fall is the best camping around here (less crowds, bugs and heat) so it’s when most of our camping happens.
I’ve spent a bunch of time working to find some products and a system that help with the aforementioned organization. This post will be one of many on the subject. Before I dive in, however, I have to say that each family will have different needs and therefore different ways of keeping everything together and organized. What works for us may not work for someone else (or maybe just a part of it will.)
The biggest change we have made is adding a GrubHub Camp Kitchen to the mix. It’s basically like having a fully stocked kitchen all packed into a suitcase and ready to go at any time. You’ll see the GrubHub pop up in posts throughout the rest of the summer. The “nitty gritty” gear review will come later this summer. However, let me just say that this is beauty is great for car camping, long term camp set up, and maybe even rafting trips where you aren’t limited on gear space. It’s a new favorite around here. **Psstt…ignore the trash bag hanging off the side – the GrubHub actually comes with a great nylon trash bag that is resusable and SO much better! Like I said, full report coming later!**
Anyone that camps will tell you that when you are packing, you might as well stay a week instead of just a night because besides food, the amount of gear is essentially the same. We agree. However, sometimes one night is all we have and we’ll take it!
Our current plan of action for making car camping quick and easy (at least the packing part!):
- Sleeping bags, pads and camp pillows stay in a large duffel
- The tent fits in that duffel too usually (unless we are doing a big group camping trip and we need the mega tents.) Right now we’re loving our Bergans Compact Light 4 person tent.
- The GrubHub is fully loaded with all cooking utensils, dishes, roasting sticks, cleaning wipes, towels, garbage bags, stove(s) and spices we need for any cooking. This means that as soon as we get home, things are fully washed, dried, replaced and repacked. It fits a TON of gear in there – the biggest challenge is making sure it isn’t too heavy! I love how everything has a place, there is guaranteed “counter space” for cooking and I know it’s all there!
- Another tote keeps our “standard dry goods”. For us this is the following: Tang, hot chocolate, chai, graham crackers, marshmallows, cooking oil, and granola bars.
- A final tote keeps items like headlamps and fresh batteries, some camp toys (butterfly net, trucks, ball, etc.) our Kelty Noah’s Tarp (for shade and sun) and anything else that doesn’t fit into the food, sleeping, or kitchen categories.
- When we go, each person has their own small duffel bag that keeps clothing, swim suits and camp towels in them. This we pack right before go.
- The cooler is also packed before we go (and after we meal plan depending on the days) and any other dried food is added to the tote mentioned above.
Like I said, the plan is still ever changing and evolving – we’ll update as we need to! How do you make car camping easier?!? Totes? Lists?