Bins, Buckets & Beyond: The Complete Guide to Camping Organization

A large part of any activity being fun for me is organization. I have found this is especially true for camping. Camping is a lot of work with a family and the more organized I keep my gear and planning, the easier it is to prepare for our trips. And on the flip side, the more organized I keep things at the campsite, the less I have to do when we get home. Here are the best tips I use and information I found on keeping camping trips organized.

At Home

These ideas help keep camping equipment clean and organized at your house. But if gear is organized at home it will most likely serve you well at the campsite too. Bonus: Restock used up items when you return home from your trip. Makes getting ready for the next one much easier and you are less likely the forget something.
  • Buckets: I keep our odds and ends organized in buckets. I love them because buckets can be used as extra seating, they keep gear protected because they are water proof and durable and can be used to carry water. The disadvantage is the shape. The round shape isn't as bad during storage at home but sometimes it make packing the car a little more tricky. 
  • Bins: If you have the space, this is an amazing way to organize for camping. Use as many or as few tubs are you need. I just recommend buying good quality tubs. They will take a beating on your trips and you don't want them cracking and falling apart after only a few uses. 
  • Tool Organizer: Another brilliant way to organize camping essentials. This one is the Stanley FatMax (aff. link). When our buckets wear out I will be doing this. I love that it doesn't have to be on a table to be useful. 
  • DIY Camp Kitchen Chuck Box: For the hardcore DIYers out there, this one is for you. 
  • When we pack up at the end of our trip we clean out the tent so we won't have to do it when we get home. It takes us longer to get packed up to leave, but I feel like we save time over all because we don't have reset up the tent when we get home. If there is a lot of dew on the tent we wipe it off the best we can with a towel, pack up everything else and go for a hike. We generally bring a hand towel for this purpose. When I had a smaller tent it didn't bother be cleaning it when we got home. 

Planning The Trip

  • The Ultimate Family Camping Checklist - I used to forget something every time we went camping until I started using a checklist. I was a little arrogant and I thought I didn't need one because I had been camping so much. I was wrong. It is no fun camping without an essential item. 
  • 8 Space Saving Tips For Family Car Camping - This is one of my most popular post and has lots of ideas for cutting back on the amount of stuff you have to bring on your trips. 
  • 5 Ways to Simplify Your Next Camping Trip - Camping trips don't have to be long or at an exotic location to be memorable. If camping close to home means you can go more often, then stay close to home. More ideas in this post that will make camping less stressful. 
  • Camping with Kids: The Essentials - If you are new to camping with kids here are a few things to consider as you are planning. The first time we went camping with our toddler we left the stroller at home and didn't bring a high chair. Mistake! It is very nice to have a place to put the child, with a snack, while you pack and unpack. 
    A small walker is a great way to keep toddlers happy. They can mover around a bit and have a tray for eating. Takes up less room than a stroller too. 
  • Tips for Finding New-To-You Recreation Areas - Feeling blah about your go-to camping spot or have you recently moved to a new area? Here are a few of the resources to help you find new campsites.
  • The Complete Guide To Campfires - Campfires are one of my favorite aspects of camping but they can be a pain if you don't plan ahead. Like the time we showed up to our camp ground to find the office had closed EARLY, like 3 p.m. instead of 5 early. Therefor, we didn't have anywhere to purchase firewood and our meal that night had to be cooked over the fire. No fun! We ended up having to drive back to town, 30 miles round trip, and had a very late dinner. If you are camping in the off-season, call the park ahead of time and make sure you are going to be able to get what you need. 
  • Tips for Creating Family Outdoor Adventures Anywhere & on a Budget - The name speaks for itself. We have been able to see some pretty cool places just by following these tips. We visited the Petrified Forest National Park two Christmas's ago on our way to see family. 
    Large petrified log.

On The Road

  • Thule - We have the Thule 846 Quest Rooftop Cargo Bag (aff. link). We use it for light weigh items like sleeping bags and pads. We feel like it not only saves space but time as well because we do not have to fit items individually into the car. We load it in the house or tent then transfer to the roof. This particular bag is not waterproof (they do have bags that are). We just wrap the items in 32-33 Gallon Contractor Bags (aff. link), not trash bags, and they stay dry. We reuse the bags; they are very durable. 

  • Trailer - Rent or buy if you are going on a LONG trip. Makes the car ride more comfortable. 
  • Road Trip Hacks for Kids - Not all of these will work for camping but a lot will. My favorite are these window caddies. Why didn't I think of that?

At The Campsite

I will admit, it can be hard to keep things organized at the campsite but it is possible. Here are the best tips I could find.
  • Shoe organizer turned camp kitchen. They recommend using a plastic organizer because it is more durable and somewhat waterproof. I would disagree. Plastic would hold water and the entire thing would have to be emptied out and hung upside down to dry. Cloth would be able to dry on its own and could be washed in the washing machine. Either option is a great idea.
  • Camp Shower Lanyard: I have been in more camp showers that I care to count and I wish I would have had this in every single one. Make it fun and let the kids pick out the different items in their favorite colors. She made her own lanyard but a store bought one could work too. 
  • Organizing the Tent: This is one of my most popular pins in Pinterest. I wish I could say our tent was always this organized, but I admit it usually isn't. I find the most important items for keeping our tent organized are a Whitmor Mesh Laundry Bag (aff. link) and a clothes bag that allows easy access. Digging through a bag to find what I need it annoying and I never get things reorganized. I love using my backpacking pack because it has great access and plenty of compartments for keeping things organized. Plus, if it gets dirty I don't mind.
  • Over 20 Ideas That Will Make Your Next Camping Trip Amazing! Fun post with lots of good ideas for organization and more. For our next trip we will be trying the Mystical Fire Flame Colorant (aff. link). Not related to organization but fun none-the-less. 
Your turn. What are your best ideas for organizing for camping trips?


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