It’s often difficult enough to find the time to go camping and when you do make the time, the last thing anyone wants is to spend a lot of time organizing and packing all of the little things that you need. I have found a great way to save time and effort is to have most of the gear already packed up into a container and ready to go at a moments notice. Then, all you have to do is throw your tent, sleeping bags, change of clothes and some food and drinks into your car and your off.
Since everyone’s camping preferences are different, you will probably have different items but the idea is universal. Begin with a sturdy container. Any will do, but I prefer a heavy duty plastic one with a hinged closing and latching lid. I purchased this one nearly10 years ago and we have used it more times than I can count. I don’t remember how much I paid at the time, but I just found one online at Northern Tool for $32.99 that is nearly the same (except it has wheels which is even better). It’s definitely an investment but it should last you for years. You don’t have to go all out right away though. Part of this is really the more you go camping, the more you realize what you use and need when you go camping. Think of your camping gear box as an evolutionary process… start smaller if you want and add things to your box as you see the need. I make lists of all the things we forget or wish we had when camping so I can add it to my box when I get home so it’s there for next time. Here are the contents of my camping gear box after several years of doing…
As you can see, there is a fair amount of items packed into the box. I have taken the time to compartmentalize and organize certain things so that they are easier to find within the box and pack with in it. I have packed things that have multiple purposes. For example, the plastic container with lid that holds the silver ware, knives and cloth napkins doubles as a wash basin for the silverware or as a shallow mixing bowl. Be creative with your items, their uses and how you pack them because weight and space are at a premium. My camping gear box when packed, weighs nearly 40 pounds (thanks in large part to a 14 lb cast iron cook set).
Well, here it is all packed up and ready to go. This container just sits in our garage ready to go at a moments notice. It contains the kitchen items, cooking, lighting and a majority of the kids entertainment items. We have a similar, but much smaller version for our dry food goods such as pancake mix, flour, individual small boxes of cereal, granola bars, fruit snacks trail mix etc. So, if my family decides to do a last minute camping trip, all we have to do is load the 2 boxes up, grab our camp stove, camp chairs, tent, sleeping bags/pillows, and fill a cooler with cold food, drinks and ice and we’re off for a weekend outdoors.