If you’re looking to get away, camping can be the perfect retreat. While it’s a great way to relax and enjoy Mother Nature, camping is not always the easiest adventure to prepare for. Unless you’re a minimalist camper traveling alone, you’ll need to cram a fair amount of gear into your car. Here are some ideas about how to efficiently pack a car for camping.
Precook meals. Precooking meals means you’ll need to take fewer bulky kitchen utensils and supplies with you. Prepare foods that will travel well like sandwiches, trail mix, or chili. Of course, you shouldn’t precook all food. Burgers and hot dogs are probably not the best foods to cook before your adventure.
Learn to use your fire. Using a fire to reheat or cook your meals saves you from having to lug a gas grill. Remember you’re cooking over the coals, not the flame. Ensure your coals are glowing and evenly proportioned under the grill before you start cooking.
Get firewood at your destination. Plenty of campgrounds have firewood for sale upon arrival. In fact, most places won’t allow you to bring your own firewood because it could carry diseases or insects that are potentially harmful to the area. Research your campground before your departure. If they don’t sell firewood, they will likely suggest a nearby spot where you can buy it.
Watch the weather. You can save space in your car by doing a final weather check a day (maybe two days) before your trip. Say, for example, you’re expecting nothing but sunshine – you’ll be able to ditch most of your rainy weather gear to save space.
Bring reusable cooking materials. Paper plates and plastic utensils will take up much more space than reusable plates and silverware. Only bring the amount of plates, forks, and knives necessary for each person. As long as you pack a sponge and a small bottle of soap, they’re easy to clean and reuse for every meal.
Pack neatly. You’re going to waste a lot of space by just tossing gear into your trunk. Aim to pack your car as neatly as possible so every available space is used (you don’t want any “voids” in your packing space). Pro tip: Unroll your sleeping bags and put them on the bottom or the top of your packing pile.
Purchase consumables later. Make a list of things to buy at or near your campsite. Things like water, snacks, and meats can be purchased at nearby grocery or convenience stores.
Packing light will make the car ride easier and safer. If you are looking for more information on how much weight your car can carry, check here.