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Camping Made Easy: Organizing Your Gear

Alex is a Virginia Beach local that enjoys the wondrous natural beauty of Virginia and sampling local food and drink.

This is our main storage tub. It has several smaller containers that nest inside. It makes for much easier packing and storage.

This is our main storage tub. It has several smaller containers that nest inside. It makes for much easier packing and storage.

The Need For Better Storage

We love to go camping but our first trip as adults was a little silly. We had packed a bunch of reusable grocery bags and a duffle. We shoved everything into my sedan and off we went. Packing for that trip was a bit of a nightmare. All our gear was stored in our shed in giant totes, like the ones you'd store Christmas decorations in. Those totes were too big to easily fit either of our cars and they had a bunch of stuff that we just didn't need. Most of our gear was second-hand, given to us from various family members, and for some reason, they had a bunch of rope.

Each trip after that we gradually got our own gear, but the storage situation just didn't get better. Before each trip, we'd have to drag out the totes, go through the stuff, and then pack it into smaller containers. Then when we got back we'd have to put it all away. After one trip we'd had enough. We had stuff we didn't need, with storage that was too big and taking up precious space in the apartment. Not to mention the storage totes didn't fit in the cars and forced us to repack before and after our trips. That's too much time.

We went to Target and went shopping. We found a massive, clear storage tub that had latches and would fit in my car. We also found several smaller containers that could house little things so they wouldn't get lost in the big tub.

My Medium Containers

Our System

We have two storage tubs that come with us camping. These tubs also store all our gear between trips. It was amazing that we were able to reorganize our gear and got everything into much smaller containers and have such a better system. And we only got rid of a few things, the battery-powered heater being one. We aren't a fan of cold weather camping so we wouldn't be using it anyway.

The smaller tub is where all the dishes, cutlery, mason jars, and cooking utensils go. To help keep them from rattling and keep the glass from breaking we have our camp towels wrapped around them.

The larger tub is something I am very proud of. It has a lid that's raised so there is more storage space, and the latches on each side are very heavy-duty. Then we have two medium containers and two small containers that fit nicely inside it.

What all can we fit into the new and big storage tote? Nearly everything! The two-burner camp stove is put on the bottom. We have a single burner attachment and a propane tank. We store the solar lights (all 4 strings), the tarp, the hammocks, lanterns, our camp chess set, the s'mores forks, the first aid kit, and the fold up camp table. The medium containers house the egg carton (when not in use of course), cutting board, paper towels, fire starters, lighters, and matches, fire mitts, and ponchos. Lastly, the two small containers house the flashlights and batteries, our bottle opener, dish soap, sponge, and trash bags.

Essentially, the only things not in the tubs are the camp chairs, firewood, tent, cot, and sleeping bags. Oh, and the cooler of course.


Having a system that works for you will help the packing process, the unloading process, and the in-between storage process. It will allow you more time to relax and keep better inventory of your gear. Maybe the system that works for us won't be enough for your family of four. That makes sense. Maybe you need two of the big tubs or more of the smaller containers. But either way, I love having everything together in one place. We can just grab it from the shed and put it directly in the car. Then we just take it out of the car after we've reached our campsite. As we're camping we just take things from the tubs and put them back when we're done.

We'll most likely be changing our setup to make it even more streamlined. On our last trip, we used hobo packs for all our dining. I had no need for cooking utensils, pans, bowls, and most of the cutlery. After each meal, the only washing up was the forks and in the morning we had coffee cups to wash. This means all the items for cooking could be removed from the larger box and moved to the smaller one for long-term storage. We'll just need to bring the one single big tote with us on trips. This will also free up car space, which is always a nice thing!

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