5 Tips for Getting Organized for a Camping Trip


Pack Light

You don't need everything in your camping arsenal for every trip.
You don't need everything in your camping arsenal for every trip.
Chase Jarvis/Getty Images

It's tempting to pack everything you might possibly need in a variety of unlikely situations on your camping trip. Even experienced campers succumb to "packing creep," a phenomenon in which you add small items to your camping loadout over the course of several years, only to one day realize that your camping gear has grown out of control.

If you're a rookie camper or a veteran looking to do a gear purge, take a close look at the things you want to bring. Do you really need them? How you been bringing them along for years and never once used them?

Most campers can get by with fewer clothing items than they bring with them. You definitely want clean socks and underwear for every day of the trip, plus spares, but you really only need one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, one hooded sweatshirt and a couple of T-shirts. They might smell a little funky by the end of the trip, but so will everyone else. If it's a long trip, you may have access to laundry facilities; in fact, many state and national parks offer coin-operated laundry rooms.

Some items are a matter of preference. If you're OK with cooking all your meals over the camp fire, you can save a lot of weight and space by leaving the propane grill or stove at home. Some campers enjoy sleeping in a sleeping bag on the hard ground – others need an air mattress or foam pad. Go over your camping list and evaluate everything on it before it's time to pack. Keep in mind that you may have to make compromises, especially if you have a large family.