Backpacking, Camping, Family Camping, Outdoor Education

Organizing for a Camping Trip

Whether you are an experienced camper or just beginning your journey, knowing how to pack feels daunting. You either won’t bring much and end up regretting it. Worse you pack so much that it barely fits in your car. Either way, organizing for a camping trip allows you to create a system in which you can comfortably live while you are away from home. It is especially helpful if you are taking a particularly long trip or one where many outdoor activities will be enjoyed. You never know when you will need something as important as a first aid kit or a knife.

Similarly, you want to be just as prepared with all your ingredients for dinner when you have several children. It saves on the hassle as well as keeps everyone safe. It also allows you to know what you are bringing and whether you have packed it or not. Rather than accidentally packing several boxes of spoons but no forks, all you need to do is check your designated spot. Oh, look! Your designated spot has clean utensils and you are on your way! So let’s dive into some quick tips on organizing for a camping trip.

Organizing to Be Eco Friendly

Organizing camping eco friendly

Being organized also allows you to be an eco-friendly traveler. Like in the utensil example, packing can make you flustered and disoriented. This leads to mistakes. If you are intentional and organized with your packing, you automatically eliminate the stress. This means you have more brain space. Now you can think “is what I am doing going to be potentially harmful to the campsite we are going to?” So, you may realize that packing plastic utensils may cause trash to be left around the camp. This could harm an animal who picks it up. You may consider using reusable silverware. Also, make sure you have enough garbage bags to collect all the plastic utensils after each meal. Either way works. However, you may have never thought about how it would affect the environment. So organize with a calm and organized mindset.

Keeping your Campsite Squeaky Clean is just as important as organizing for camping.

Organizing for Camping Style

organizing for camping style

Let’s look at the options you have as a camper to stay organized. Much of this depends on how you are going to be camping. It will also depend on what your itinerary includes, and how experienced you are with camping as a whole. If you are a new camper don’t try and do everything at once. Build up your activities on each trip. Then you won’t overwhelm yourself or your gear.

Just because you have an RV doesn’t mean you have endless safe storage. There are many nooks and crannies you can find. Trust me they fill up quickly. Just because you have the space doesn’t mean you need to fill it. Remember this is all weight and that weight will affect your gas mileage.

What is your Camping Style? Find out now!

Camping with a family? With children, you need to balance their needs with activity gear. This is why organizing for camping is so important. They are going to have lots of items just for general care. Then with their activity gear, you may be overwhelmed. So plan, what are the top things you want to do. Then pack only the necessities. However, if you are solo, experienced, camping from your car, and only plan to fish, you may be less organized. Whatever side of the spectrum you fall, being organized is still a valuable skill to uphold throughout your trip.

Organizing for Camping Strategies

Let’s look at what strategies are easiest to implement first. Thinking about some of the more challenging parts of camping, you want to find things to make that experience easier. Procedures you may not want to think about! For instance, going to the bathroom, showering, cooking, or doing laundry outside. All of these take some practice to get a hold of, and are easily changed with some organization.

The Caddy

For example, make sure everything you need to shower is in one spot so it is less of a hassle. Using a shower caddy comes in handy for visiting the bath house at your campground. It also makes it easier to find other things around your campsite. Use a shower caddy to keep napkins, utensils, salt pepper, and condiments at arms reach on the picnic table. Now it pulls double duty!

Consider using a caddy like this in more places than just one!

Meal Prep

Similarly, packing all ingredients by meal, allows you to do less digging for any ingredients. Overall, one major tip for camping is using clear totes for packing items. Include in these totes bathroom needs, or cooking equipment makes everything easier to find. It is beyond exhausting and frustrating to go through box after box to find the pancake mix. Especially after a long hike when either you or your partner are starving. It also allows your kids to have a better idea of where things are in case they decide to help with any duties.

Organizing camping meal rep
Prep your meals for easier camping!

Do as much prep and chill at home as you can. This will make cooking while camping that much easier. There is no sense in spending hours working over a camp stove. While it may be fun you don’t want all your time outdoors cooking. Instead, do the work at home before you head out and combine the parts together at the campsite. This organization for camping tip is made even easier with our wonderful camping recipes where we take this into account!

Color Coding

Additionally, doing small changes such as simply color-coding the bags you use allows for easy identification of each container. For a solo traveler, this would be a great way to distinguish what is in your backpack when all you are trying to find is your ibuprofen. For a family of travelers, this would be perfect for keeping each children’s belongings accounted for and on each kid’s body. There is nothing like having to get three kids showered and ready for the day. Then you suddenly realized you grabbed the wrong toothbrush and another kid’s clothes. Keeping a specific colored drawstring bag that any kid can recognize to be their own makes it easy for them. It also pushes them to have some independence while helping you see that each kid is prepared for the upcoming tasks.

This is also a great way to organize snacks for each kid. Especially if you happen to have a kid who has allergies. You can easily pre-pack pretzels for your daughter in her favorite pink plastic bags before you leave. It allows you to do one less step, and for her to know what is hers without worrying about her having an allergic reaction. Anything to make it easier on you is a win and organizing for camping is the tool that will make life easy.

Color-coded bags help children to quickly find their gear.

Organizing for Preparedness

Organizing for camping preparedness is important. This becomes increasingly true as you end up sleeping at your campgrounds and all of a sudden your site turns to pitch dark. Of course, you are safe and you should make sure you are taking the correct precautions to stay safe. One of these precautions is making sure you know where each item that you immediately may need is at all times. Using the pockets in your tent or sleeping bag for your flashlight is a simple organizing tool that will bring light in the darkness.

If you are changing in the morning to new clothes, put your pants next to where you sleep so you can reach in them to get your pocketknife. This can help in nighttime emergencies as well. Additionally, make sure your cell phone is charging properly. There are many power banks that can help you ensure you always have emergency communication. These warnings are not meant to scare you, but simply to express any issues that could arise while you are asleep. It is much better to be prepared than to be caught by surprise. Organizing for times even when you are asleep is important.

Organization for Camping is not Expensive!

Organizing camping reuse

Next, let’s look at how to make this organizing for camping easier financially. Repurposing or using resources you already have, can help to take the burden off of packing. For example, one of the most notable helpers is the stack drawers you commonly find in offices. By simply putting this in your trunk, you have easy access to a few organizational stations that are easy to find and easy to identify. Using one for a first aid box, another for clean towels, and yet another for utensils for eating allows you like the camper to always know where to find something. It also gives you the stability if you are a regular camper to simply keep this stack drawer set filled and all you have to do is put it in your car.

These drawers can also be handy in organizing your RV. They can be tucked away under the table when it needs to be put out of the way, as well as, easily transportable outside if needed. For safety purposes, this is also extremely helpful to create a constant first aid kit spot where any member of the party can find what they need promptly in a time of desperation. This is an easy solution, but what else can you reuse?

One Pot

Another great idea is using your pot as your bowl or having some utensils that are strictly for camping allows you to reuse and wash. Okay, this may sound like a cop-out idea but I hate dishes! Just check the internet for all those one-pot meals. Now you have one pot for cooking and eating. This is opposed to throwing away items or having to do tons of clean-up.

Dedicated Gear Is Always Ready

Another example, you may have a specific camping mug that you use only for camping. This way, it is never something you forget in the house on your way to your camping site, but it also eliminates you from buying single-use hot cups, lids, and stirrers for every cup of coffee you have while you are away.
For more consistent campers, there are also some great things you can keep track of and save to be reused for camping purposes. Items like tin coffee cans are easily stackable and easy to store things that need to be sealed away while camping. You can also save your grocery bags and keep them in your car to keep trash in one consolidated area. This keeps the cost of camping down, as well as allows you to travel more sustainably.

Sustainable Organization for Camping

Speaking of sustainability, it would be a missed opportunity if the importance of camping responsibly was not expressed. When you are outside experiencing nature and living among it, it is detrimental to make sure to know that you are not in your backyard. You are in the space of other creatures who call that place home. This is not to say that you should be afraid of being eaten by a rabid raccoon or mauled by a bear. It is responsible to learn about your campground, and ask about any precautions you should take to keep the campground safe as well as keep the animals safe. Make sure to always carry your trash with you until you can throw it away in a proper garbage can, keep your animals at home as often as possible and not provoke or disturb the wildlife around you.

Final Thoughts on Organizing for Camping

Seeing wildlife and getting to know your surroundings can be the most rewarding and memorable experiences in a person’s life. It is not an experience that many people decide to subject themselves to so it is a gift to have this desire to be outside your comfort zone. Though that does not mean that the route to fulfill this desire is anywhere near easy. Make it easier on yourself, by organizing for camping properly before leaving and practicing sustainability on your campsite. This way those who come after you can enjoy this remarkable experience.

Obviously, there is a lot to include in organizing for camping? Tell us your organizing tips and tricks in the comments below, on our Facebook, or on Reddit!