How To Pack For Your Next Camping Holidays

This is often regarded as one of the most challenging steps in the whole process. Before you even begin, realise that packing can be extremelly time consuming. By understanding this now, you will not only pack and organise better; but you will also prevent a lot of frustration later.

What To Bring?

Hopefully at this point, you still have at least a week, preferably two or three before departing.

Here I will be describing the Staging and Packing method, and the difference between the two.

At this point, you have already decided where you will be going and what type of camping you will be doing. Obviously, this is going to influence strongly what you will be taking, but let’s step back a minute and discuss “how”, not “what”.

The Staging Area

amazing landscape in the forest

The fist step in the packing phase of your trip is to find a place in your home to start gathering things to take, “The Staging Area”. Make sure this area will not be tampered with before your trip. For example, deciding to put the staging area in your seven-year old’s closet full of camping gear would NOT be the best decision. If I’m tent camping, I usually put my staging area in MY closet or my office; these are the two places the kids know they are are not allowed unless I’m with them. Notice how I said,”unless I’m with them”? That’s because it is important to include the kids in all aspects of the camping experience, including packing. See, Bring The Kids. A backyard shed or garage is ideal also. If your going in the RV or camper, then just use it, but make sure to keep it locked.

Before You Begin

Print out the “Camping Checklist” and check the box that says,”Staging”. Sit down at the dinner table or living room coffee table and gather the family. Personally, I turn off all TV’s, radios, or anything that can be distracting. Begin by marking out all items on the checklist that you know you will NOT be taking. Now simply get another piece of paper write “Staging Checklist” on it and begin writing things down that you or a family member wants to take but is not on the printed checklist. REMEMBER, try not to deny anyone of something they want to bring as long as it is within reason. If anyone on the trip is miserable, it will make for a bad time for everyone. Remind them where the campground is and explain that there will be plenty to do once you get there.

The List Is Complete, Or So You Think.

Begin staging everything on the list that is most likely not going to be needed before departing. Explain to the family that NOTHING goes in this area unless it is checked off of the list and try to be adamant about it. It is also critical that if anyone decides to add something during this process, IT MUST BE WRITTEN ON THE LIST.

The Captain

When dealing with the Staging Checklist and the Final Checklist, I have found that everything goes a lot smoother if only one person is in charge of the list, a CAPTAIN. This is usually myself, but if your wife, husband, daughter, or son is good with this kind of thing, then let them take charge. Make sure that they understand that if something is missed or forgotten, the Captain is most likely to be blamed.

Creating The Final Checklist

Preparing your camping checklistThis is the moment of truth. It will be the most important step in the WHOLE camping trip and should be done the night before or even better, the day of departure.

Take both the printed version and the one that you created and combine them. Mark this copy “FINAL CHECKLIST”. If you are computer savvy, take the printed copy and delete all things marked off, and add what you have added and then print it out. If your unsure how to do this, then writing everything on a new piece of paper or just stapling them together will work just fine. Although I strongly encourage to do it on the computer because you can save it and then have a personalised version for your next trip.

This is when you have to get a little serious. You will use this list to check off items AS THEY ARE BEING LOADED in the car, truck, van, RV, etc. Explain to the family that nothing gets loaded unless the “captain” is aware and checks it off. As with any trip, remind the kids of how long the drive is and to keep anything inside the vehicle they may want during the trip. Time for everyone to use the bathroom one last time, and your off!

Three Reasons

Seem Like A Lot Of Work? IT ISN’T! There are three reasons why the “staging and packing” procedure is the best.

It makes it EXTREMELY hard to forget something.
You have as much time as you want to think about what you want to bring AND what is not necessary. You will be surprised how much things change in between the “staging” and “final” checklists.
You can SEE everything, in one area, and be able to rationalise space.