Checklist for Family Tenting Road Trip
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  1. #1
    Moderator monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    Default Checklist for Family Tenting Road Trip

    We are attempting to get back in to tent travelling, which we used to do extensively before the kids came along. I have been working on compiling a master packing list based on past camping experience, family road trips, and notes scribbled on previous vacations about what I wished I had.

    I had looked online for camping checklists but didn't like the format of any that I found, basically because they were all one giant list of stuff. This one is organized as a series of lists - starting with a list of what to put in the car on departure day (ie. 'suitcase'), and what I should already have in the car, followed by lists of what should be packed in each bag or box. This is just a format that works better for me, because I can pack and check each individual container in advance.

    The list is attached in case anyone else may find it useful. It is extensive and not everything is applicable to all trips, nor obviously to all people. But it is a word document so you can edit as you like.

    An asterisk means there is a list following for that container.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Registered User StaceyS's Avatar
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    I'm logged in but when I try to open the link it brings me to another page telling me I'm not logged in... not my day with regards to computers I guess..
    Stacey

  3. #3
    Master Dollar Stretcher aka AngeleeBob mylittle4's Avatar
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    Thanks! I am a single mom of 5 children and we tent camp a lot but just a weekend at a time. We are planning an 8 day trip traveling and camping along Route 66 from Arizona to Missouri and your list will be very helpful!

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    Unix Ninja Gabe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StaceyS View Post
    I'm logged in but when I try to open the link it brings me to another page telling me I'm not logged in... not my day with regards to computers I guess..
    Not sure whats wrong. It's working fine here. Log out. Clear cookies. Log back in and try again?

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    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    thanks MW! Great list. I like how you have it laid out. Have fun on your trips!
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    Registered User NicJean's Avatar
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    Smile

    Great list - thanks! I keep modifying mine, then have ten or so slightly different ones, argh!

  7. #7
    Registered User Shelli_wnj's Avatar
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    Thank you so much! We will be going on our first camping trip this year and I was feeling overwhelmed. This list really helps!

  8. #8
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Great list! Thanks for sharing.

    Shelli, break it down to simplify things. When we got our first pop up camper, I split everything into 'rooms' even though of course our camper only has one room. Kitchen stuff was one list, bathroom stuff another, bedroom stuff another, outdoor stuff, trailer set-up stuff, etc. It sure made things a lot easier. Be sure to label containers so you don't have to pull the lids off 57 different containers to find what you need. Don't be afraid to sub-divide containers, too, so the forks don't all end up at the bottom of a big tote underneath the pots and pans. Use plastic shoe boxes or Tupperware containers to hold small items inside larger containers.

    Whatever you use for storage for food items, keep in mind how savvy wildlife can be at a campground. Be sure your food storage is critter-proof. No need to fear animals, but ask the park staff when you check in, or better yet, before, the best way to avoid having critter problems in camp. Keep a clean camp so as not to leave anything around to attract critters. Although we once spent an afternoon being entertained by a flock of ravens who were completely trashing a neighboring campsite, where the campers had left their dirty dishes, bags of chips, and all kinds of goodies out and then gone off somewhere, that's probably not what you want to do. A friend of ours accidentally left a cooler outside his trailer once when we were all at an RV rally. He still mourns the loss of his peanut butter cups to the masked bandit who stole them. Other friends had bacon stolen from their cooler. If you want to leave coolers outside, put a strap around them, which won't help if you camp in bear country. Campground critters learn that coolers = food. Don't leave coolers in tents or screen tents where they can be seen by critters, because they may damage your gear getting inside.

    I also make separate lists for food and further subdivide that into staple foods, dry foods, and cooler foods. I plan menus in advance and make detailed lists of what's required for each meal so things like catsup and pickles don't get forgotten. It's helped a lot, especially for long trips. Then I take along our food for the first week from home, and before we leave, make an extensive list for grocery shopping in the second week. That cuts down on time wasted grocery shopping when we should be sightseeing, and helps me stay on track and not spend too much. Although of course I'll flex if I find a sale or if something available here isn't available once we get where we plan to shop, or if there is a local specialty food we can't get at home but looks interesting. None of this is carved in stone but it helps keep the stress to a minimum when we get back to the trailer at the end of a long and busy day and know what's for supper, and have it prepped and ready either to throw on the grill or just eat.

    Be sure to bring along pen and paper, so you can list the things you forgot, or would like to add to your gear. Then when you get home, you'll remember what you thought of during the trip.

    We've found cat litter pails are very handy for organized storage. They're sturdy, waterproof, easy to handle, and fit between vehicle seats. We store electronics in one, so it's easier to find small items like chargers, spare batteries, DVDs, etc. Another holds charcoal. Another holds dog food and treats, if it's a long trip. In our case, our two dogs use the rear seat in the Avalanche and the pails are the perfect height to act as seat extensions, giving them more space. A rug over the top provides some padding for the dogs and keeps nosy bears from seeing something food-source-like. Five pails fills the space nicely.

    I'd suggest a couple items people often don't think of: Laundry detergent and dryer sheets, along with a roll of quarters for various machines. We had an incident once where our dog wet the bed in the camper. I needed to wash several loads of bedding at a local laundromat, and was really glad I had the quarters, detergent, and dryer sheets along so I didn't have to either pay the expensive prices at the laundromat or go searching an unfamiliar town to buy large packages of things I didn't need to buy in a large quantity and not on sale. Dryer sheets take up no space and I used to re-pack liquid laundry detergent into a plastic bottle that would hold a couple of cups or so. Then I discovered those 3-in-1 sheets (Purex?) that has the fabric softener, detergent, and dryer sheet all in one sheet. Since it's all dry and not even a powder, those eliminated any chance of spilling. Even though they're expensive, I'm not looking back! We use them only for camping and then maybe only 2-3 per year, so it's worth it to me. Although lately I've been thinking I could probably saturate a terry cloth rag with detergent, dry it out, and then store it in a Ziploc and then just bring along dryer sheets to go with it, but I digress.

    Have fun!
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    “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you.” -Mildred Lisette Norman
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  9. #9
    Registered User low-1's Avatar
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    Can't open the attachment, but along the same lines as Spirit Deer... We usually break it down into "functions" rather than "rooms". Your big three are water, food and shelter.

    I'm imagining you are visiting campgrounds, so water *should* be available, but I always bring a backpacking water filter (a Katadyn Hiker Pro) and a pot to boil water in as a bare minimum. You also have to think of water jugs, cups, coffee mugs/travel mugs, etc.

    Think of everything that you will need to cook with. I always find menu planning helps out a lot with this. Pots, pans, ladels, spatulas, cutlery, plates, salt, pepper, condiments, go through absolutely everything you will need to cook a meal and eat it, from start to finish. Don't forget a wash basin, detergent, dish cloth and towels, etc.

    Then think of the tent itself and everything you need to sleep: sleeping bags, pillows, air matresses/cots, battery operated lanterns and flashlights, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss... Think of your routine of going to sleep at home then decide what you need.

    After that, imagine what else you will need to be comfortable, protected and entertained. Tarps and rope are absolutely invaluable, you can never have enough. Same with a good knife and axe/hatchet. I prefer a full size axe. Also lawn chairs, cards, dice, games, stuff to do both outside, and in the tent (or dining tent <- very nice to have if in a "buggy" area) if it's raining or otherwise crappy out. Try to think of all the stuff you want to do while camping. For example, if hiking, a good water bottle or camelbak backpack is a definite. Spare shoes and rain gear and boots is also something I never go without.

    Again, campground camping *usually* means there's a picnic table available, but I always have a small sheet of plywood that I can throw on top of our packer tubs to make an improvised table.

    Once you get all of your "functions" taken care of, you can look for ways to make items perform double or triple duty to thin down the packing a bit. And it's almost inevitable that you will forget something, so a pen and paper as SD mentioned is an excellent idea.

    Don't forget the camera!

  10. #10
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, and also don't forget the specially purchased at $10/card on sale, four-gig camera cards at home, so you have to buy the two-gig card at Yellowstone for $25 when you only have one day left in the park! Don't ask me how I figured that out.

    If you're camping with a dog, include a small duffel dedicated to dog gear such as a brush, extra leash and collar, dog pick-up bags, bowls, food, etc.

    Always pack a spare oversized sweatshirt for each person. Nights can get cooler than anticipated, and a sweatshirt will be worth the space it takes up if you're cold. It's miserable trying to sleep when you're cold, and a sweatshirt is great to wear on your body or wrap around your feet if you're cold.

    Use a ground cloth under your tent. It'll help you stay warmer, help protect the tent floor from damage, and help keep dampness from seeping up into the tent from the ground. Be sure to fold the ground cloth so it's just slightly smaller than the tent floor, so if it rains the water won't be directed under the tent.

    Camp Backyard is a good place to get some experience, and the kidlets will love it. Set up the tent and sleep out in it, doing everything you'll do at a campground. Pack your stuff according to your checklist and then use it. Keep a pen and your checklist handy, and whenever you go back into the house for something you forgot to put on your list, add it to the list.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you.” -Mildred Lisette Norman
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