When you go camping you can expect to pack a lot more than you would for a holiday abroad. You’ll need supplies for sleeping, warmth, storing and preparing food, light, comfort, hiking, and more. But you also need to pack sparingly, so you have room for everything you need. This list of camping organization tips will help you prepare and pack wisely. You’ll have the necessities without running out of space.
Whether you bring a camper trailer or not for all of your accessories is completely up to you, but the common theme with camping is that you pack as efficiently as you can. Organizing everything once you arrive at camp is also very helpful. You don’t want to waste time looking for the right tools when it’s time to head out on a hike, set up camp, or make a satisfying meal. Here are some top tips for staying organized while you camp.
1. Start with a plan and a packing list
Know how many days you’ll be camping, how many people are coming, what meals you’ll be preparing, what the weather forecast is, and what activities you’ll be including in your camping trip. As you think of each of these details, dive deeper to determine what equipment and supplies you will need. Think through the steps of camping: setting up a tent, sleeping in a tent, preparing meals, sources of light during the evening, etc. Then make a check-off list you can use for packing.
For example, if you want to make breakfast burritos, you’ll need a campstove, fuel, pan, utensils, plates, cooking oil, eggs, milk, cheese, sausage, hash browns, salsa and tortillas. If you want to sleep comfortably, you’ll probably want a warm sleeping bag, pillow, camp mattress or cot, and a pillow. The more detailed your list, the more likely you won’t forget an important item.
Another helpful tip is to pack by topic rather than by person. One tote bag can be used for all hiking boots, another for coats, etc. Storing tents, sleeping pads, and campchairs in their provided bags helps keep items contained, clean, and easier to find.
2. Camping organization tips at your campsite
- Bring a hanging organizer. If you have a camper trailer, you’ll have more than enough space for this one. An organized kitchen stash for your camping trip will give you the time to enjoy meal preps out in nature. There’s nothing better than enjoying a nutritious camp-cooked meal outdoors to fill your stomach and give you energy. There are plenty of collapsible camping organizers that you can use, such as this one for utensils and food prep items.
- Use egg cartons. Leave your eggs at home,and simplify your fire starting kit by filling your empty egg cartons with match light charcoal blocks. A couple of 18- to 24-egg cartons filled with charcoal will help save space and secure the charcoal. You don’t have to pack an entire bag this way, plus you can burn the carton when it is no longer needed. Match light charcoal blocks are actually easier to use than anything else when you’re building a fire, so if you can store and transport them easily, you’ll be a happy camper.
- Use a belt with hooks. Buy the largest sturdiest belt you can find as well as some S-hooks. Simply wrap the belt around a tree, attach the hooks into the belt holes and keep your pots and camping pans hanging while you’re out in the woods. You can even use it as an excellent miniature security system. Just secure your belt between two trees and hang pans from it; if anything walks past them, they’ll rattle and alert you.
- Organize your health supplies. Not only do you need a first aid kit, you should also include bandages and antiseptic wipes for potential scratches or injuries. Any medications you may need should also be included with your camping supplies. A hanging organizer would keep everything clean and close at hand while allowing you to see exactly what you need.
- Prepare some of your foods ahead of time. If you are concerned about being able to keep all your foods cold enough for the duration of a camping trip, you may want to prepare some of it ahead of time and freeze it. Packing frozen food in your cooler will help keep it cold longer and will also eliminate some cooking steps. All you will have to do is thaw it out and heat it up again.
3. Keeping camp clean and safe
Camping outdoors is a wonderful way to connect with nature, and doing so is quite therapeutic. But nature also comes with wild animals, and you must be organized enough to minimize any risks. Here are a few camping organization tips to keep you safe:
- Protecting yourself from bears — most campgrounds in bear territory include bear lockers. This is a metal locker that cannot be opened by bears. Use it to store anything with a scent, not just food. Lotions, sunscreens, candles, pots & pans that have not been cleaned, plus all food, will attract bears. Even your garbage bag with food scraps will be a certain target. Do not keep any of these items in your vehicle, either. If you are planning to take food with you on a backpacking trip, you should use a bear canister.
- Wash all your dishes thoroughly after meals — to save space, you can bring a collapsible dish pan. It’s very easy to heat up some water at the end of your meal and wash all your dishes before leaving your campsite to hike or explore. If you don’t, you will attract squirrels, birds, raccoons, and other wild animals. Be sure not to store food in your tent or you may find holes where animals have chewed through! Remember, you are in their territory when camping.
- Carefully store dangerous items, such as matches, lighters, axes or knives, especially if camping with children. One way to do this might be with a metal ammo box. Of course, you can also use a wooden box with a padlock.
Enjoy your camping trip!
If you take the time to use these camping organization tips, you’ll be free to enjoy your camping getaway. You’ll have everything you need, you’ll know where all of your camping accessories are, and you’ll have more time to enjoy the great outdoors.