Unfortunately we only got one camping trip in as a family last summer before my better half took off for work for several months. Which left me unsure if this is something I would feel comfortable to do without him… something to ponder.
Before I made a call on that I went back to the drawing board to sort out a couple things that didn’t work for me on our first camping trip (since I knew there would be camping trips to follow).
First, Clothes! Oh, boy! So what we tried the first time is everyone packing their things in packing cubes and then stacking the packing cubes in a row in a duffle. We have done this for long road trips when we swap out packing cubes from one location to another. They stack very well side-by-side you can see each one and pull them out and put them back smoothly. While camping it worked… okay. Everyone had to stay very diligent about putting all their clothes away when they were done; and all the clothes that weren’t clean ended up in piles all over the floor. It was fine, but certainly there had to be a better option than this.
The other area that needed improvement was the “stuff”. All the stuff that you need for cooking, eating, general merriment, etc. We had packed things in grass baskets that I use all the time and are great for car trips. They stand open and can fit a ton. We knew this wasn’t going to be a long term solution but it worked fine to get us started. The problem was I didn’t know what the long term or better solution was. So I turned to the internet …
This will come to no surprise to anyone but there are more ideas, hints, tips, suggestions out there than any one person could ever use. The common camping organizational system I saw used bins for everything- example: gear bin, cooking bin, etc. I kind of got it, but in my head couldn’t come to term with what happens to all the stuff in the bin when you are looking for something (the answer of course is on the bottom, because that’s where things always are when you need them).
Then I came across this picture and brief description (unfortunately I cannot find the source to this amazing picture):
The picture and the description was enough to get me thinking… and I was off and running: organized camping- this could be amazing!
So after much planning and way more time thinking about the details then is really healthy I settled on these; 2 sets of wide drawers (new), 1 standard set (reused we already owned this):
Top Skinny Drawer – Toiletry Items (everything you need outside of the shower)
Tooth Brushes, Tooth Paste
Face Cloths / Wet Wipes
Deodorant, Suntan Lotion, Etc
Second Skinny Drawer – Supplies (this drawer never gets emptied everything stays stored here when not camping)
Small Flash Lights
Middle, Standard Drawer – Gear / Clothes, This drawer is reserved for all the things that get unpacked and stay out once arriving at the camp site.
Once we set up our camp site and these are emptied out of this drawer then this drawer becomes the place where clothes which aren’t 100% clean live. Once packing up the campsite any clothes left in this drawer get added to the dirty clothes and this drawer is repacked with gear. The gear then lives in this drawer until our next camping trip.
Bottom Drawer – Toys! (Or, this is the drawer that could be clothes for a 4th in a family of 4). Since we only have 1 little one running around this gets to be her toys.
1 Drawer per person to pack their clothes and towel. – Done!
These are our kitchen drawers. 1 drawer for things that live there all the time, Aluminum foil, lighter, fire starter, soap/dish rag, etc. The other 2 drawers are for food.
So how has this all worked out? Well after coming up with this plan I decided we would test run it with just myself and my little sidekick; she’s training to be a “camping pro”. After our first camping trip on our own I figure out two things. The first was, yes indeed we could go camping on our own; and the second was drawers are Amazing!!!
Now when camping, once the tent is set up we move the two wide drawers into the tent and the narrow drawer into the screened in area with a table for our kitchen area. The wide drawers are far less convenient to move then the narrow ones but totally worth it in the end. The only thing that is unpacked is the 1 large gear drawer of stuff that to be left out for use all the time. – Piece of cake! Totally organized, totally easy to use when camping, to store when at home, and to pack and unpack – Who knew this is what camping could look like?