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#1 of 39 Old 06-13-2008, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Its been ages since I posted, but we just got high speed internet, so woo hoo, I am back!

We are getting ready for camping season and I want to find a better way to pack. It seems as if I just go from one weekend to the next packing and unpacking cleaning out the van pcaking it back up trying to find the flashlights and bug spray. It feels frustrating because I just want to relax and have FUN!

I am a creatively organized person, I like lists and routines. HOWEVER, DH is an artistic packrat and so seem to be my 4 and 8 yo girlies.

Currently we pack everything into our van and have a side tent to unload and have a little extra room.

Any one have any creative solutions, like what do you put clothes in? I've tried boxes, backpacks, clothes baskets --by the end of a weekend or festival, its a jumble of all of our clean and dirties mixed...

THANKS in advance!!

me 71, dh 68, dd 00, dd 04
blissfully figuring out how to coexist while homeschooling and living in the woods of northern michigan
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#2 of 39 Old 06-13-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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We have our gear in labeled rubbermaid tubs that we keep in the garage.
That way, if we want to take off quickly, we just chuck them in the truck and grab the fresh food (we keep cans, dried milk, tea, etc with the gear.) and go.
We keep the 'tools' bin in the truck all year ... it's got the stove, lantern, shovel, fuel. We live in a rural area with wicked winters, so it's good to have in case of a roadside breakdown.

OH ... clothes. Everything in ziplocs. Socks in one, undies in another, and so on. In each duffle bag we put a cloth laundry bag to collect the dirties.

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#3 of 39 Old 06-13-2008, 09:19 PM
 
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We keep permanently packed camping boxes. One is dry food goods that we pack at the start of the season and replenish as needed. The other is gear including stove, all cooking supplies, flashlights, bugspray, sunscreen, trash bags, etc. That stays packed as well.

We keep these boxes together in the garage next to sleeping bags/pads, the tent, the lantern, chairs, etc.

I also have a list of everything we typically take so I can mark it off as I load (anal, I know!). That helps me not forget allergy medicine or the dog's water dish...the stuff we don't keep packed.

As for dirty laundry, we have stuff bags we use for dirty. That way it isn't all mixed when we get home. I also tidy up the tent each morning and evening. We're 5 plus a dog in a tent...it stress me out if it is all jumbled up!

Happy camping!
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#4 of 39 Old 06-13-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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I love camping!: Last summer was the first time we took the kids out boy what a mess! I still don't have the tent back in the bag it came in! This year I'm determined to do things alot differently. So this is my idea... (I can't tell you if it will work or not but what the hey its just a plan right? ) 1. I'm going to invest in about 4 of those pop up hamper things from the dollar store to toss clothes in, the way I figure we can put one in every corner of the tent, one for each of the kids and one for me and dh. 2. Designate a rubbermaid just for flashlights, towels and other items only to be used for camping. Right now we search the house for the flashlights and then when we're done camping and the lights go out we're looking for the flashlights in the camping equipment! As far as food having dry goods to use really sounds like a good idea. I have to teach myself how to make coffee on the camp stove (I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to my coffee and the last time we wound up going to Dunkin Donuts for good coffee! ) Like I said I haven't had the chance to see if this works, also my plans may be side lined by my obsessive hubby who feels the need to unpack EVERYTHING the minute we get home! (He used to unpack my precisely packed diaper bag every time we got home! ) Your post made me excited to think that its camping season and now I feel like going into the garage and packing up all my camping gear!
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#5 of 39 Old 06-13-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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What has helped us is having a checklist on the computer that I can print out each time. That way nothing is forgotten! We each have our own duffle, so we keep all of our clothes seperate. I still never pack enough for the kids, but overpack for myself. When we tent camped, we had a tote with all of our cooking gear, etc in it. Now we have a camper, so the bulk of our stuff stays in it.
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#6 of 39 Old 06-14-2008, 01:04 AM
 
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We have a checklist.

I have three or four bins that will fit in my trunk stacked two by two. One has the air mattress, pump(s), first aid kid, meds, large flashlight. One has kitchen gear, including a single burner propane stove. One has food. I can't remember what I put in the fourth. o_O I think the fourth is only for cross country trips, with extra food.

The tent, mallet, ground cloth are all in a large bag that I used to use to keep my hiking pack safe while flying. It's basically outdoor upholstery fabric with a heavy duty zipper and handles.

Our sleeping bags are stuffed into a flight bag. Pajamas get stuffed in there, too, and the dog's blanket goes on top.

Extras that we bring include two woven mats (plastic) that we use as flooring inside the tent. Pillows. An EZ twist screen house. Two camp chairs in bags. A dog lounger (coleman) in a bag. Tie-out for the dog. Two buckets for dishes/hauling water. One 2.5gallon water jug with a tap. One five gallon collapsible jug, just in case water is more than a very short walk away. Extra rope and clothesline. Toolbox. Firestarters.

Cooler. Camp grill.

One backpack per person for clothes/whatnot. Towels or chamois. Small buckets with soap, shampoo, conditioner for the showerhouse. Shower shoes.

As far as cleans/dirties, it all gets washed when we get home.

Chasing DS since April 2007 and pumping for DD March 2013.

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#7 of 39 Old 06-14-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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Oh my goodness, THIS is the topic for me! I was actually thinking about starting one. We went camping last weekend and things felt a bit disorganized, especially because it poured the first day and so we did the minimum we had to. I also have a small house that's ill-equipped for keeping camping stuff completely stocked.

I do vote for Rubbermaid bins for food and kitchen stuff and I bring a laundry bag for dirty clothes. Rubbermaid bins can even be good for clean clothes so they don't get damp in the tent, but they are less squishable that way.

I also always have one or two small bins that sit by the stove that hold the most important, little stuff: firestarter, matches, sunscreen, spoons/knives/forks, plastic bags, garbage bags, ziplocs, paper towel, cloths, etc.

I always print out maps of the campgrounds, local trails, etc and keep them in the car. This last trip was the first time I didn't print out maps, and it turned out the campgrounds weren't officially opened yet so there were no rangers to give us a map!

My biggest peeve this last camping trip was how disorganized the car got - anything random that needed a home or hadn't been unpacked was chucked in the car. I improved that slightly though by taking a laundry basket that sat on one of the seats - most of the random stuff got put in there.
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#8 of 39 Old 06-14-2008, 01:06 PM
 
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Getting this issue under control would be a marriage saver for me . Dh and I love camping but we have a pattern of fighting before a trip because of the stress of packing, which ends up ruining the first couple of days of the trip . Isn't that ridiculous? I think that it really could be prevented by better organization. Part of the problem is that our children will not let us pack in peace, so it ends up being done after they are asleep and can't redistribute everything while we are packing.

Things we do that work:
  • having a checklist on the computer that we print out
  • skipping the frills like tables/chairs/etc.
  • using packing cubes to keep stuff organized in duffels
  • sharing one sport towel
  • using a tiny travel lock to lock up duffels so that kids can't unpack everything before we leave
  • instead of bringing pillows we just use packing cubes stuffed with clothing
  • have the kids wear sunsuits all day
  • bringing books on tape for the car ride (ds loves the Magic Treehouse series especially)
  • bringing a big Coleman cooler for food that we can keep cool with blocks of ice from gas stations
  • planning to do: bring some cooked veggies for snacking on so that we don't end up eating refined carbs excessively - I'm thinking green beans, cooked beets, etc. - dh needs a veggie-rich diet due to a health condition

Things we do that don't work:
  • getting focused on packing and not putting relationships first (me )
  • delegating anything to dh (he forgot a sleeping bag last time )
  • not following the list
  • using some gear for multiple purposes - e.g. flashlights - would be simpler to have dedicated camping flashlights
  • combining the kids' clothing with mine - I think that I want a separate duffel for each person's clothing
  • dd is getting ultra picky about her clothing but she's not super verbal and it's getting hard to pack for her because she throws fits and gets hysterical if something she wants to wear is filthy and she doesn't want to wear a clean item that I've brought - not sure what to do about that...it was a big issue last time we camped

This is something I really want to work on so keep the great ideas coming .

sharing life with | 10 yo ds | 8 yo dd | dh (since 2012)
"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#9 of 39 Old 06-14-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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We have a standard packing list to print out too. Actually we usually write in on a white board where we can both see it.

Clothes wise I've found a bag per person helps. The ones we use have a couple fo zip pockets we can keep smaller things in. We then have a couple of pillowcases for dirties. A bucket/plastic bag is useful for anything wet.

We have a (lockable) plastic tool box for cutlery, kitchen knives etc. It also has salt, pepper, stick cubes, sandwich bags and matches in it. We keep this stocked and ready to go.

When not camping all crockery lives in the cool box. Once we get home both get another wash and are stored away.

We have a large plastic box with lid, this gets packed with food and stuff just before we leave. While camping its useful as the children haven't (yet) learned to open it.
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#10 of 39 Old 06-14-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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We have a camping list too ... we laminated it and keep it with the gear.
We use a dry erase marker that's attached to it by a string. Check it off and then reuse it next time.

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#11 of 39 Old 06-15-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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subbing...we are leaving for our first camping trip with ds in 2 weeks :

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#12 of 39 Old 06-15-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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I was reading camping tips on a web site. One thing that I remember was to pack individual clothes in one ziploc baggie per day. So each kid has socks, underwear shorts and shirt in one baggie. that way they aren't spreading all of the clothes everywhere and they aren't getting mixed up with dirties.
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#13 of 39 Old 06-15-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Christi View Post
I was reading camping tips on a web site. One thing that I remember was to pack individual clothes in one ziploc baggie per day. So each kid has socks, underwear shorts and shirt in one baggie. that way they aren't spreading all of the clothes everywhere and they aren't getting mixed up with dirties.
That's what we do! I write in permanent marker on them (shapes for the little guy who can't read) and it worked out really well, I was able to fit all 4 of our clothes in ONE suitcase,lol. I am using ziploc bags forever for this!

~Rose~ 

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#14 of 39 Old 06-15-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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All great ideas. We have separate totes for food and supplies and duffel bags (with an outfits in grocery bags), but I leave all the camping packing to my husband. He packs all the gear, I pack kids and my own clothes and toiletries. Packing for camping is enough to make me crazy, crazy, crazy...

We have a pop-up camper and that does make it easier, but there is still so much to haul. I would prefer a cabin!
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#15 of 39 Old 06-16-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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We were camping with our DS and DIL just a month ago. We took our small mobile home/caravan which is already set up. But our family all camped out in tents etc. I was awed by my DDIL's set up...even with 2 little kids they were so organized and tidy and relaxed. She takes 2 of those plastic drawer sets, all labelled with what's in them. She just tapes them up for the trip so they don't slide out. She keeps sunscreen insect repellent matches torches etc in one drawer, cutlery plates etc in the other... and so on. One thing that she did that she saw from another camper was to buy about a dozen S shaped hooks. THey hung these around the bar at the top of their tarp, and hooked up the barbecue utensils and pans and cooking equipment. Whatever could be hooked up was, and it kept it all out of the dust and out of the way.
My DS also put in an old welding glove which was fantastic for picking up the red hot handle of the camp oven and kettle and for shifting logs in the camp fire etc, without any burnt fingers.
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#16 of 39 Old 06-16-2008, 09:33 AM
 
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GMTA!

We pack in tubs here, too. LOL. I have packing lists on computer and one in each tub (of the things that go in that tub, with consumables highlighted so I know what to replace). Every year I get more organized. LOL. I loooooooooove using tubs and it was well worth the investment. I even have dedicated "camping tubs" that are empty until we fill them with food, etc - but they have lists just like the tubs that are full and in storage year-round.

I bring empty nylon drawstring sacks for dirty laundry and we just stuff them in the car for the trip home. Usually after wearing clean clothes all trip, we can consolidate the clean-clothes bins to make room in the car for the laundry sacks.

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#17 of 39 Old 06-16-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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Our family does living history events, aka camping without amenities or if you can't carry it in, don't bring it. The kids laugh because when we first started and they were smaller, we brought pj's to change into at night. We don't do that anymore. One bag per person plus what you are wearing. A great source of amusement for us is to watch people set up their things- they bring trailers full of stuff to be comfortable for just a couple of nights. Camping is about roughing it a bit, doing things in ways you don't do them at home, not bringing so much stuff that it is a major job to pack, unpack and re-pack. It's supposed to be fun- sometimes less is more. You can wear the same clothes for more than a day- just bring clean underthings and socks. Most of the men wear the same thing all weekend, though they may change their shirts. If your little girls like to change clothes a lot at home, they will want to do it while camping too which makes lots of extra work for mom. Your girls are old enough to have their own duffle bag of their own things. Keep some empty plastic bags around, when they take off their dirty clothes, put them in the bag and tie it up and put it back in their bag. Not talking about wet or muddy stuff though. The main thing is to teach them to keep track of their own things so you don't have the unhappy job of being keeper of EVERYTHING.
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#18 of 39 Old 06-16-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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We are car campers - we have a vanagon and a big side tent. We use one of those plastic drawer units with 8 drawers (4 small and 4 large) and that holds all of our kitchen stuff and most of the other stuff too - like bug spray, flashlights etc. It all stays in there all the time. It travels quite well in the van, we just face the drawers towards the wall so they don't slide open. Labels on the drawers help so that things get put away where they belong.

We use rubbermaid bins for all the food items and the odd thing that doesn't fit in the drawers - like the big cast iron frying pan.

For clothes, we have a dirty laundry bag and everyone's dirty clothes go in there.

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#19 of 39 Old 06-17-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jennlyn View Post
A great source of amusement for us is to watch people set up their things- they bring trailers full of stuff to be comfortable for just a couple of nights. Camping is about roughing it a bit, doing things in ways you don't do them at home, not bringing so much stuff that it is a major job to pack, unpack and re-pack.
: We are new to car-camping so we basically pack what we would for backpacking, but a bigger tent and enough clothing and bedding for the kids, and some frills like sand toys and some small books.

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#20 of 39 Old 06-18-2008, 02:49 AM
 
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I haven't read the responses....yet....so please excuse me if I repeat. We just moved to camper camping, but when we used to tent camp we kept EVERYTHING for camping in two large rubbermaids (RM) and one large ammo box. Plus one average size back pack for each person.
One RM had the sleeping bags (super tightly rolled), plastic lights-lantern style, flashlights, retractable clothesline and pins, one towel each person and animal.

The second RM has the cooking items, tent, mallet for stakes, camp shovel, trash bags, stuff sacks, miscellaneous, small toys for kids, bug spray.

The ammo box we used for food stuff because it was darn near animal proof and bug proof. We kept table service-one plate and cup and silverware set per person, plastic table cloth, 6 spice container, can opener, cooking utensils, dry food stuff (like pancake mix, graham crackers) non-stick spray, lighter and matches, dried coffee, hunting knife-which was really our all purpose knife.

Each RM and ammo box had the contents Sharp-ied onto the top, so I could glance inside and make sure in 30 seconds that I had all I needed.

Each person had one backpack for clothing. When cloth diapering I did carry an extra bag for diapers.

I hung all clothes/towels after use or rain to dry and diapers were hung to dry and air out.

For pillows we never took any and used rolled up sweatshirt for that purpose. I really liked having the rubbermaid and box because they can be left outside and the weather doesn't hurt them at all and everything stays dry and the rubbermaids have nothing for the animals to get into and they knew it.

For dirty clothing I just repacked it carefully. Now, however, I use one of the folding mesh laundry baskets from Walmart/Target and it gets thrown in the back of the van as we leave.

We typically carried one cooler of food too. I tried to make extra meals during the week and not cook it, bag it and freeze it so that I had dinners that I could throw a bag's contents into a hot cast iron skillet and have dinner ready with little prep or prep cleanup.

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#21 of 39 Old 06-18-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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Yeah, there's a question...all you cloth diaperers:
Do you do cloth while camping?

Ds is half using the potty, half using cloth and using a disposable at night. My plan for camping is having a potty nearby and keeping him out of a diaper all day and him just wear one at night. If if needs to wear a diaper in the day I'll just use a disposable, but I don't think that will happen too often.

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#22 of 39 Old 06-18-2008, 05:41 AM
 
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Dawncayden, I've used cloth sometimes, and disposables sometimes .

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#23 of 39 Old 06-18-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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Some things we do that may be helpful to others: We keep most camping things on a utility bookshelf in this little laundry/pantry/storage room we have. The sleeping bags and their compression bags live in a really really large cotton bag at the top of the bedroom closet (I want to be sure they don’t get damp and aren’t compressed while in storage). When I get around to it, I’ll probably move the tent with the sleeping bags, I’d hate for it to get damp over a long period of time.

When we pack, it’s mostly in those two spots.

The sleeping bags get compressed into their small bags.

From the utility shelf we grab the mats, the tent, the tarp (which is stored folded with the strings still attached to the 4 corners), the stove and canisters and the 2 small rubbermaids (12” by 14” maybe) that hold the kitchen stuff (cloth napkins, utensils, table cloth, a few tea towels and rags, dish soap, cooking stuff, foil, paper towel) and other small items (small dustpan-sized broom, deck of cards, matches, tp, the hammock, extra ropes, a large garbage bag and a couple smaller grocery type bags, some Ziplocs). We grab the empty water jug (to be filled by potable water when we get near the campground). We grab the folding chairs if we’ll have room for them. We grab the axe, hatchet and the camp light.

Next we pack one backpack with everyone’s clothes, toiletries, a few facecloths and two smaller towels for all of us to share. Pjs and toiletries go in last because they’re the first things we’ll need.

A second backpack will hold sunscreen and bug spray, hats, books, knitting, newspaper and any other odd and ends that didn’t fit anywhere else (flashlights, etc) or was a last minute addition.

Finally is the food which probably got prepared over the previous few days (we eat like kings while camping). I put all the food in the cooler whether it needs to be refrigerated or not. I try to make it all fit in there. I prepare as much stuff ahead of time as possible and it all goes into reusable jars, plastic containers, etc. Really reduces the amount of garbage we have to deal with while camping.

A few tips:

I make sure to have a large garbage bag in case it’s raining the morning we’re leaving. We just put the tent and tarp in there to bring it back home and dry it properly. I hate squeezing a wet tent into its bag.

We always pack the tent and tarp last because they’re the first things we want to set up when we arrive.

The paper towel is used after meals to wipe food residues off plates and pots prior to washing them. One sheet prevents floaties in your water.

At home, the flashlights live on the camping shelf.

Having a backpack dedicated to the odds and ends ensures we have no stray objects in the car and makes me feel strangely in control.
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#24 of 39 Old 06-20-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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I'm liking this: http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/summe...mping_kids.htm

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#25 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 09:10 AM
 
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We mostly boat camp and stay in leantos. We also use rubbermaid bins.

Clothing and sleeping bags usually go in a dry bag...one for each person, clothing on the bottom, sleeping bags and bedding on top/ I am usually in charge of seting up the bedding etc. dh is all about the food and cooking etc.
My kids usually wear the same clothes all the time anyway so I don't woory much about diry laundry...

I want to go camping now.....
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#26 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 05:44 PM
 
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we have rubbermade totes. One is our kitchen which as all of our cooking stuff, dishes and dish washing stuff and spices and koolaid mix etc.

we have our tent which also includes tarp, extra rope, stretchy cord, water proofer, tent freshener and tent broom.

one with our sleeping bags and camping pillow, pads etc.

milk crates with smaller stuff-
one with camp toys and one with swimming stuff.
dog stuff in one

towels and bathing stuff in a solid tote bin that we use as a wash tub.

for packing clothes everyone brings their own soft side bags. dirties go into a giant stuff sack. and I never pack extra or at least never consider anything that has been on a camping trip clean . . . so I don't worry about keeping things too separate. Also I make my kids wear the same clothes every day until they are just too gross. That way re-cycle any bug spray that was on them

the only thing we have to pack each time is food and clothes. If you go camping every weekend, every other weekend I would head down to good will and get some cheap camping clothes so you can just repack them right out of the wash. Thats what my aunt and uncle did with their kids. They would actually wash them while they were gone and leave them in the camper.

also pack some easy camp foods (the fantastic brand mixes are great for this and taste awesome. also pasta and jarred sauce, pancake mix etc) and keep a pantry stocked and ready to grab. You can put in canned fruit and veggies. powdered milk and cereal. then all you have to grab is fresh stuff.


and in our car at all time during the summer is sun screen, bug spray, first aid kit, bubbles, side walk chalk and baby wipes. . . . .

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#27 of 39 Old 06-22-2008, 04:03 AM
 
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How do you fit the stuff in the car? That's our big problem. When the kids were little we could roll sleeping bags and stuff them under their feet for extra room.

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#28 of 39 Old 06-24-2008, 03:49 AM
 
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My new and improved packing list is an excel spreadsheet that I can print up. It has these columns:
  1. item
  2. what container item goes in
  3. who is responsible for packing item


Also, my new routine is to tweak my list after each camping trip to add/subtract items. We went camping on the weekend and it was so fun . But I'm thinking that going for two nights isn't worth the work preparing for it .

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#29 of 39 Old 06-24-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaMonica View Post
How do you fit the stuff in the car? That's our big problem. When the kids were little we could roll sleeping bags and stuff them under their feet for extra room.
This is what I'm worried about, we have 3 families in 2 cars going for 3-4 days. 6 adults, 3 kids in carseats, one minivan and one small car. We are hoping to all fit

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#30 of 39 Old 07-04-2008, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in the middle of changing my email and I missed that there were posts, got a little bummed actually...

SO.... I am happy to hear all the responses and am inspired.

I feel like I am doing an "OK" job of this thing called camping.

I just feel a million miles away from backpacking and sleeping under the stars --and that is ok, we have a blast with the kids!!

WE did camping with and without cloth diapers --we had our second outta them as fast as we could just to avoid the camping/diaper thing... but then we needed a porta potty set up to avoid late night runs outside to pee!

This year we are skipping our normal few music festivals to try and enjoy some "real" camping.

Thanks for the insights!

me 71, dh 68, dd 00, dd 04
blissfully figuring out how to coexist while homeschooling and living in the woods of northern michigan
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