How to Make Packing for Camping Easier, Faster, and Much Less Stressful
The main reason why I try to live a more minimalist life is to reduce stress. Less stuff means less stress. This is also true when it comes to packing, whether you’re packing for a house move, a holiday or for going camping.
As soon as we decided to start camping as a family, I started thinking about how we can camp with less stuff to make the process easier. I read loads about what others pack and made my own list of things that would be relevant for my family to get an idea for what we needed. From the very start, I also started planning how the camping gear could be organised and stored to come up with a system to save us time and effort before every camping trip.
You don’t want to start each camping trip with rushing around the house looking for stuff, wondering if you have what you need and stressing about running out of time. Don’t worry, packing for camping doesn’t have to be like that. In this article we will look at how to make packing for camping easier, faster, and much less stressful. Let’s get started!
- Make a Personalised List for your Family.
All good things start with a list! Well, at least when it comes to packing. Start making a list of all the camping gear that your family needs. When you have written everything down, either on paper or digitally, it’s time to organise this list so that it makes sense for you. Perhaps a section with all the actual camping stuff such as sleeping equipment, tent, camping stove, camping chairs etc., another section for everyone’s personal stuff like clothing, toiletries and entertainment, another section for food and drink and so on. When you have your finalised list, make it easily accessible by putting it on your phone or iPad so that you can easily tick things off as you pack them.
Other people’s lists can be useful as inspiration but they’ll most likely include some things that your family won’t need that you can leave at home. Making your own list make more sense and, once you’ve created it, you can use it for all your future camping trips.
- Create a Storage and Packing System.
If you’re new to camping or new to organised camping, then it’s time to create a system that works well for your family and your camping gear. Storing items in large plastic boxes works well for many.
I’ll quickly introduce a few things that are included in our storage system. In our garage, we have a few shelves dedicated to camping where we keep the camping stove and a few smaller boxes with other camping supplies that we only use for camping (lights, tools, and other accessories).
We also store the tent in the garage along with the camping chairs, self-inflating air mattresses, the cool box, our foldable shelf for the tent, picnic mats and a bag with shower sandals for the whole family. Having nearly everything gathered like this is great as you can easily get an overview and see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten as it’s right in front of you.
We keep the sleeping bags in the house where the temperature is more stable. They’re all in the same place to make things easy. We use cushions from around the house as camping pillows but because we always use the same ones, everyone knows which ones to get when we are packing.
We have a large black storage box from IKEA that we use for other storage in the garage when we’re not camping that we get out before each trip to use as a food cupboard for the trip to the campsite and at location too. We add some larger items from the kitchen to this box too (washing up bowl, frying pan, large water bottle etc).
When it comes to clothes, we use pods (designed for reusable nappies) as packing cubes to keep things organised in the tent. The kids can usually fit all their stuff except for bulkier jumpers in a pod each which is great.
Having these set storage solutions that we repeat for each trip makes it so much easier to pack for our camping trips.
- Start Packing Early.
When you have a system in place, packing for camping should not take very long but to keep stress levels low, I still recommend starting your packing early to make it as smooth a process as possible. Don’t leave it until the morning if that’s when you’re setting off. We usually pack nearly everything the day before which makes the start of the journey more pleasant.
- Be Your Future Friend.
When you get home from camping and unpack, think about how you can make it easier for your next trip. Make sure everything is put away clean and in the correct place. Fill up your travel bottles of washing up liquid and shower gel, top up your first aid kid if needed, check that there are plenty of bin bags and kitchen roll in your camping box ready for next time and so on.
Every time you go camping and go through the packing process, you’ll learn more and get better at it all. Soon, you’ll be a pro at packing like an organised minimalist for your camping trips which will mean more time to enjoy with your family and a lot less stress!