It’s no secret that I’m a busy person (aren’t we all?). I work full-time, go to school full-time, have two kids – all of these aspects tend to hinder adventure preparation. Besides, who wants to spend more time than necessary prepping for something when they could be out there enjoying it?
To make this an easier process, I have a few tips…
1. Create a Camping Box I have a big plastic bin that I put all of my camping essentials in. In my camping box I have other, smaller bins that hold smaller items that are generally used together – for example, I have a small bin that contains my “kitchen” supplies like cutlery, seasonings, a dishtowel, sponge, and dish soap – that way all of those items are together and I don’t have to rummage around my bigger box looking for the dishsoap. I keep a list of supplies that I run out of, so that I can immediately re-supply my camping box so it’s ready for next time. Some other items in my box: coffee kit, hammocks and straps, pots and pans, lanterns, garbage bags, and extra batteries, stakes, and rope.
2. Keep a toiletry bag packed I always have a fully-packed toiletry bag, so I’m not scrambling last minute to ensure that I have everything I need. This does mean that I have doubles of certain things (deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact solution, shower amenities), but I never have to pack and unpack this bag, which is quite the time-saver!
3. Form a packing station My packing station is my dining room table. I lay everything out, so that I can see what I have and what I don’t. It’s at the right height so I’m not crouching down constantly to add or take away items. This packing station comes in very handy when I’m packing for a backpacking trip. It may not look very organized, but it’s efficient!
4. Designate a space for gear I have a great space under my staircase that is my “gear closet”. All of my gear, that’s not already in my camping box, gets stored in this little space to ensure that it’s all in one spot and protected from any elements (heat, rain, cold). In this closet, I also have a large plastic bin that just has camping blankets. When I get home from a trip, I wash the blankets and immediately put them back, so I can just grab-and-go next time.
5. Keep your gear ready-to-use Make sure to fix any punctures, tears, holes and replace missing stakes when you put away your gear after a trip. I learned this the hard way… As I was packing up to head home from a camping trip, I couldn’t take any of my stakes out of the ground – they were embedded in rock, so I had to leave them behind. I got home, put away my gear and thought to myself “I’ll just remember to add more stakes to my gear next time I go camping”. And I never did. So, next time I went camping I only had 3 stakes to work with. Oops.
These tips have helped me get out of the house without much packing or fuss. I grab my camping box and the gear needed out of my closet, put some clothes in a duffel bag, add my already-packed toiletry bag, and we head out. This system has saved me time and unnecessary hassle and has allowed me to be more spontaneous because I can just load up and go!