Road Trip and Camping Checklists

Road Trip and Camping Checklists

Road Trip and Camping Checklists

  We’re going on a 15-day road trip and we’re taking…. everything but the kitchen sink? Nope, not this time, because I’ve made some Road Trip & Camping Checklists to get us there and back again without bringing along the whole house. We’re not novices at this. We’ve always done a lot of camping in particular, so you think we’d have it down by now, but no. We still bring a lot of stuff. And for a 15-day cross country adventure, we want to be prepared, of course, but not overloaded. It’s a fine line seeing that our van can feel crowded after a trip to the grocery store. So to make sure I’ve got all the essentials, plus a few things to make the trip as comfortable and enjoyable as possible and not load us down. Here’s what we’re bringing and you can download a printable version for yourself right here. It’s going to be the five of us… in a car… for fifteen days.. traveling across the US from Georgia to Colorado, Arizona and back again. And we’re going to be camping, staying at hotels and staying with extended family, so as you can see, there’s quite a list of items we’re going to need and want. As I mentioned, my husband and I both  have done a lot of camping together and both grew up camping (both from good sized families) as it was a means to go and see things without breaking the proverbial bank. And since our littles came one right after the other and I stay home with our kids, we live on a pretty tight budget. So even though there are many times I’d prefer an air conditioned hotel or condo, camping has been a means to an end. It’s camp or not go, so we camp! And we have great stories as a result. Not all sunshine and roses, mind you. Some of the shenanigans include:
  • A raccoon invasion when we left our van door open over night with all our food inside
  • Lost car keys that turned out to be not exactly lost after the locksmith was called
  • A nasty outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease
  • Pee-soaked jammies and sleeping bags and not a laundry room in site
Yep. Good times. Some of the things that work for us though are :

Road Trip and Camping Checklists

Making Lists

I’m not a die-hard organizer. I don’t own a label maker (although, okay, I really want one). But if you don’t want to end up spending twice as much as you planned picking up forgotten things along the way, you’ve got to channel your inner Martha and plan out everything you’re going to need for the trip; eat, wear well before it’s time to go. I can still remember my mom with her list before we camped our way out west to the Grand Canyon and back when I was 12. Our living room was the loading zone, slowly being piled with camping gear the weeks before. My loading zone is our dining room. I’m laying everything out on my dining table as I think of things I can pack in advance. Obviously, some things will have to wait until last minute, but I can do quite a bit beforehand.

Make a Camping Bin

And keep it packed. Our camping bin is kept packed in the garage. It’s got our tarp, a table cloth, rope, camping utensils, lantern, clip on lights… basically all the things we always use on camping trips. We pull it out before each trip and check if anything’s damaged, missing or in need of washing, then re-pack, add to it if need be and it’s ready to go. I have also implemented an idea I saw on Pinterest a few years ago of labeling grocery store cloth bags for each meal plus snacks, so that at lunch time, for example, you just grab the “lunch bag” with your bread, chips, cookies, etc. and you’re ready to go. Same for breakfast, snack time, etc. When I get those packed up for this trip I’ll snap a pic to show you. (Um yeah, I kinda need to get on that. :-/) It really saves you time as opposed to digging through a big tub filled with all of your food. Plus, your crushable items tend to not get so smushed if they are in their own bag.

Keep Food Simple

I know I sound like a caveman when I say that, but hot dogs and canned baked beans taste just as good as fancier fare when you’re tired and hungry after a day of camping. That being said, you’re not going to want to eat that every night of your trip. One idea that has worked is to make one or two dinners ahead of time like chili and freeze it, so it’s ready to be heated up at dinner time when you arrive. We are doing that for our second night on the trip (first night is a hotel stay). So the chili will stay frozen in our cooler until dinner time on day two. Then we’ll heat it up and serve over Fritos with cheese and sour cream. Easy peasy. As for the road trip part… this is our first long distance trek for our kids, so I’m prepared as I can be with a host of activity books, homemade Lego kits, drawing paper, crayons, books on CD and of course we’ll be bringing game systems and a DVD player (kids these days). One friend gave us the tip to stop at a Redbox in one town and drop the movie off in the next. We may do that once or twice on our trip to change things up. So that’s our plan. I’m so excited to give it a try, a little nervous about how it will all work out, but overall really grateful I have a husband who loves to plan these things, is full of adventure and excitement and is ready to share the world with our kids. You bet I will be blogging about result right here!
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