Tight Gear, Loose Plans — How To Pack for a Camping Trip
by Jamie Bond on Apr 30, 2021
Preparing for a camping trip embraces the RUX ethos of “Tight Gear, Loose Plans”. The camping mindset needs to be one of embracing adventure, expecting uncertainty and celebrating unexpected opportunities. If you’re busy trying to remember where you packed the firestarter, or unsuccessfully whittling spoons to replace forgotten cutlery while your children eat with their hands, the unscripted moments that make spending time in the outdoors so amazing will pass you by.
They say “Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance” (or “PPPPPP”). When packing for a camping trip, this is critical. It’s not a matter of just throwing a bunch of camp-like items into a few bags and heading out the door. Camping is made up of specific “events”, and the best way to prepare for a successful outing is to anticipate these events.
Make sure you have all required meals for the trip and plan your meals. We like to create a list of dinners, with all required elements. If a certain spice is needed for dinner #2, write it down, and make sure to pack it. A real pro move is to separately pack each dinner in large ziplocs. Want to spend less time prepping and more time fishing? Chop up your veggies at home, so they’re ready to go when you need them.
Create a “spice bag” with any general spices, oils, etc that you’ll need for multiple meals. We like to decide on one or two breakfast options to make life easier, and usually go for ones that require limited dish washing and prepping. We’d rather spend more time having fun with our days, than cleaning up after breakfast. Same goes for lunch.
Hopefully you already have your Camping Kitchen Kit sorted. You’ll want to adjust it depending on the camping objective. For example, if there’s not going to be any campfires where you’re going, the Kit better reflects the need for gas stove cooking!
Pack all sleeping stuff together, in a waterproof container (RUX, anyone?). No-one likes a soggy sleeping bag. When tenting, we love inflatable pillows. Lightweight, and adds a bonus element of comfort, i.e. you might actually get some sleep.
When at home, it’s great to store all this stuff in one place, so there’s no mad rush to find that last sleeping mattress before you head out for the weekend. When storing gear, decompress your sleeping bags. This will add years to the life of the sleeping bag. Lastly when you have enough room for it, splurge on a sleep system setup like what HEST has cooked up.
You have limited time when you’re in the great outdoors. Maximize that time by having your recreational gear sorted before you leave the house. We like to set aside duplicates of items to keep ready and waiting for camping trips. It’s easy to have a beach RUX set and ready to go, with towels, sunscreen, and beach gadgets, rather than tracking those things down in the house before a trip. It’s less reasonable to buy duplicates of all your mountain bike stuff, for example, but we’ll set aside a RUX for that, with a quick paper checklist attached or a preloaded checklist in our RUX app, so the “load and go” is worry-free.
Ever overpaid for wet firewood at some shady roadside stand? We have. That’s why now we always keep a RUX Fire Kit ready and waiting.
A roll of tinder, dry kindling, some nice choice pieces of firewood, newspaper, commercial fire starter, a couple lighters, a few roasting sticks and maybe even a sneaky bag of marshmallows, and you’ll never be left with a smouldering heap of wet wood. Happy family campfires, here we come! We keep a Fire Kit packing list handy for the next outing.
In short, the tighter your gear, the looser your plans can be, and more opportunity for fun adventure and happy memories when out camping. No reason to be carving spoons or sleeping on pine boughs if you do the proper preparation ahead of time.