Let’s face it, we all know the troublesome feeling of opening up your camping pack or duffel on day three of your trip and finding it a complete and utter mess. Used socks shoved on top of the shirt you were going to wear, electronics tangled in that leaking water bottle, clothes mixed in with your cookware.
Gear management can be a daunting chore, especially when it comes to camping. There’s a lot of moving parts in order for your trip to flow smoothly. Keep these four camping organization ideas in mind the next time you start preparing to hit the road.
1 . Plan Ahead
Packing cubes for camping are a great place to start, but before we get into the nitty gritty ask yourself what kind of trip will you be taking. Is this a car camping trip? Will you be out for multiple days on a long-distance hike? How long will you be living with only the things you’re packing? Answering all of these will help dictate how you can set yourself up best on your next big endeavor—and how much gear you’ll need to organize for your camping trip.
2. Assess the Type of Trip
If you’re heading out to camp in the mountains, it’s nice to be able to keep things that need to be clean separated from things that can afford to get dirty (a clean/dirty packing cube helps with that!). A car camping trip will allow you more flexibility when packing. If you’re not planning on getting too far from the car, the Migrate Duffel is a great all around packhorse. With ample storage inside and a water-repellent coating, it’s still tight enough to not take up too much space for life on the road.
Once you leave the car and set out on foot, though, you won’t have the luxury of taking everything in your Subaru or Tacoma. Thus, keeping your gear organized becomes all that more crucial.
2. Develop an Organization System
Develop a system of packing and organization to use throughout your camping trip. It doesn’t really matter what it is, so long as it works for you. And here’s where packing cubes come in seriously handy for camping. The Pack-It Original cube set is versatile, offering three bag sizes perfect for separating gear into similar categories (if you’re a minimalist camper, the Pack-It Specter packing cubes are lightweight options).
I like lumping socks and underwear into one cube and keeping base layers for top and bottom organized in another. If you like to keep it clean, like I do, a separate packing cube can be used for dirty clothes as well, or you can use a specialized clean/dirty cube.
Electronics can be stored in a smaller packing sack and should be placed in a secure area in your pack—store your camera and other essentials in a waist bag to use during day hikes or around your campsite.
Toiletries are another department where packing cubes are a helpful camping organization idea. It can definitely sour a day to find that your toothpaste opened and stained your backpack along with your week’s worth of clothes—organize your toiletries in a small toiletry kit perfect for camping since you can easily tote it to the river or hang it from a nearby branch.
4. Evaluate Your Efficiency
After a few camping trips, reflect on your organization process. Did you pack for the adventure planned? How was your organization based on what you anticipated it would be? What worked, what didn’t, and how could you improve?
Packing competency only comes with time spent camping, so get out there! You’ll know you’ve found your system when planning for the next trip no longer feels like such a task. At a certain point, jetting off to the trailhead for a weekend will feel like second nature.
When you’re on a trip and your packing game isn’t on point, it’s often not just your bag that’s a mess—a bad pack job can easily lead to a cluttered mind. Do yourself a favor, pack to perfection, and hit the road clear-headed.
Packing cubes can even help you organize a traveling camping kitchen !
Related Eagle Creek Products:
Packing-It Original Starter Set
Stash Waist Bag
Related Links (from the Eagle Creek Blog):
Camp Safely: 5 Dangers To Avoid
Beach Camping Packing List
The Ultimate Packing List for Camping Beginners