7 Things You Should Do When You Get Back from a Camping Trip
A camping trip is never just the actual trip itself. All the prep and packing before you go on your trip and the unpacking, maintenance, laundry, and organising that has to be done when you get back are all part of it. It’s definitely not the most fun part of camping but many of the jobs are essential and will help you save time and money too.
We have only been car camping so far which is great because it’s convenient and you can take whatever you need with you but it also means that there’s more stuff to deal with after the trip. As per the name of this website, we aim for minimalist family adventures so try to take as few things as possible for us. It still usually means a car boot and a roof box full of gear, food, and clothes when you go camping as a family of five.
Below are the things we do when we get home from a camping trip:
- Empty the car & unpack
The first thing we do is to empty the car completely and the whole family does this together. My husband will usually move things from the car to the door where I will delegate things to the kids that they can deal with and organise the rest for myself.
We try to pack in an organised manner with a few boxes dedicated for camping items and lots of packing/nappy pods (these are actually made for reusable nappies but great for organising clothes too) that are easy for the kids to help carry and unpack. I will go into more detail about how we pack in a different blog post.
The kids head straight upstairs with their pods packed with their clothes and a shared bag with books and toys. They unpack these and put the items in the right places. All dirty clothes are packed in a laundry bag so this is placed next to the washing machine with anything else that needs washing like our picnic mats that we use for lots of different things.
- Put stuff where it belongs
It’s a great idea to have a dedicated storage space for your camping gear to simplify the whole thing. Put things that can go straight back where it belongs. For us, this includes our self-inflating mattresses, the camping stove and gas canisters, lights for the tent, camping chairs, storage shelf etc.
- Clean things that need cleaning
We have some other camping gear that usually lives in the same boxes but that I always wash when we get back home too. This includes our camping plates, cups, cutlery as well as stuff that we use in everyday life too – saucepan, frying pan, chopping board, reusable water bottles, etc. I wash these and let them dry and put anything that always lives in the camping boxes back there as soon as possible. I also give the washing up bowl that we use for camping a clean and store that away.
- Laundry time
As soon as everything that needs to be washed in the washing machine has been gathered, I put the first load of washing on. For us, there’s usually a couple of loads to do when we get back. The sooner your washing machine is on, the sooner it will be done and ready for the next load so I always put it on as soon as I can.
- Dry out the tent & sleeping bags
If you’re lucky enough to arrive home on a sunny, dry day, it’s perfect for drying out your tent and sleeping bags. Drying out your tent is an essential step in looking after your tent. If skipped, you will most likely experience problems with mold soon and that will mean you’ll have to buy a new tent. Avoid this expensive mistake and get that tent back up to let it dry properly. It could take a few days to dry or maybe just one if it’s warm and sunny. When it’s properly dry, you can pack it away until next time.
For the same reason as above, it’s a good idea to hang up your sleeping bags to air out and make sure they’re completely dry before packing them away in their stuff sacks to be stored until your next camping trip. This will help keep them fresh and last longer.
- Be your future friend
To make things easier for your next camping trip, you can prepare a bit for next time while unpacking and organising your gear. Make a list of anything that needs replacing, refilling or stocking up on and sort it all out as soon as possible if you plan another camping trip soon. Or if not, keep the list somewhere where you’ll find it to remind you before next time.
If you do go camping often, you can refill things straight away and add things like a clean washing up sponge and tea towel to your camping gear to save packing time next time.
- Shower & relax
Last but not least, have a shower (or a bath if you prefer) to get properly clean – this always feels amazing after a camping trip! Then it’s time to relax! Have some food, a beer or glass or wine, get comfortable and put your feet up. You’ve worked hard!