Camping & Survival

How to Organize Your Camping Supplies: 5 Basic Rules

camping supplies - backpacks

Whether you’re a first-time camper or a veteran explorer, it’s essential to prepare ahead of time.

Before you embark on your next trip, you’ll want to make sure you have the correct gear – and that you organize it properly.

After all, there’s not much worse than a bag or trunk full of mismatched supplies.

Take a look at these basic rules so that your upcoming adventure is both enjoyable and comfortable.

camping supplies - tent

1. Visualize All Your Equipment

You shouldn’t toss a bunch of items into your backpack. That’s how you manage to bring four bottles of bug spray and leave your cookware at home.

Instead, you’ll want to lay out your equipment so that you can visualize its purpose. Feel free to use a camping checklist to make this process easier.

As you work through each item, make sure to create two piles – one with gear for your trip and another with leftover equipment.

You should also stock up on plastic bags, which are excellent for storing toiletries. If something explodes or leaks, it won’t affect the rest of your stuff.

2. Pick the Right Containers

Now, it’s time to decide how much space you’ll need.

A family-friendly weekend excursion requires more storage than a solo trip to the mountains, so think about the number of people that plan to attend.

If you expect to drive to a campsite, large plastic containers can be useful. You’ll be able to fill them with necessities like sleeping bags and foldable chairs.

They’re also helpful for food and drinks. In any case, each person should carry a small backpack.

When packed properly, a bag’s hip belt pocket can hold items like snacks and lip balm, while water bottles can stay towards the base of each side.

When everyone’s responsible for their personal gear, you can free up space in your vehicle.

Additionally, hikes become a lot more fun when your group doesn’t have to lug around equipment.

camping supplies - gear, clothes

3. Buy Functional Gear

If you want to stay organized, it’s necessary to invest in functional camping gear.

You can use everyday items for some trips, but dedicated supplies make your preparations more straightforward.

Plus, you’re able to pack up your stuff ahead of time so that you and your friends can get on the road faster.

There’s a ton of different devices that work well for any situation. For instance, you’ll want to grab a set of utensils, plates and cups specifically for your trip.

If you take your ordinary kitchenware, you could break or damage them. Plus, once you return home, you won’t have much to use.

You don’t have to purchase a new version of every item, but you should do so for essentials.

Also, you’ll need to check off a few more boxes if you’re bringing your dog along.

They’ll require their own list of gear to stay safe and comfortable on the trail, so it’s necessary to account for these items beforehand.

These include a hiking harness, a dog backpack and booties if there’s rough terrain.

4. Remember to Label

Whether you plan to use boxes, backpacks or a combination of both, it’s crucial to label all equipment.

Of course, you don’t need to place a sticky note on your water bottle that reads “water bottle,” but you should create designated groups. This step makes your gear accessible at all times.

For more extensive, in-depth trips, you’ll want to use containers. Try to place similar items together, as each type of gear should get its own box.

In one, you’ll organize sleeping bags, along with pillows and blankets.

In another, you can arrange toiletries, such as hand sanitizer, prescription medication and toilet paper.

If you plan to bring several tents, you can label them on the outside of their bags.

If there’s no need to take a bunch of items, use this method on a smaller scale. Allocate each pocket of your bag for a particular use.

You can also use all-weather stickers for waterproof labels – or design a color-coded system with duct tape.

5. Don’t Pack Damp Items

You never want to open your bag and smell mildew or mold. It’s necessary to make sure that your gear dries thoroughly.

A damp object that’s packed into a tight space can create lots of issues. Plus, when you take care of your equipment, it lasts a lot longer.

Before you leave for your trip, follow the proper steps to repair and clean all of your supplies.

If your leather hiking boots begin to absorb water, for instance, it’s time to clean them. You’ll need to scrub the exterior with a cleaning gel and then apply a waterproofing wax.

To clean a sleeping bag, you can throw it in the washing machine without the agitator setting on.

After, toss it in the dryer with some tennis balls, which help break up clumps and allow the bag to dry completely.

camping supplies - fire

Conclusion: Organizing Camping Supplies

A memorable adventure starts with your gear. Before you head out on your next camping or hiking trip, be sure to organize your items properly.

Do you have any tips for organizing your camping supplies? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Dylan Bartlett

Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about the outdoors, survivalism and similar topics on his blog. He's an avid hiker and enjoys roughing it in unfamiliar territory. Check out Just a Regular Guide to read more of his work, or follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for updates.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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