Car Camping? Get Organized!

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I would not call myself an organized person. I’m the kind of laundress who throws clothes in drawers instead of folding because once they’re closed everything looks great. Behind my kitchen cupboard doors bowls and cookware pile on top of each other. I often lose my keys and misplace my cell phone at least once a day.

I knew living out of the Ultimate Adventure Vehicle full time on this National Park to Park Highway tour would require that I step up my organizational game. With over twenty national parks and monuments to visit in seven weeks, we had to come up with a system. How could we organize our gear, clothes, bedding, food and emergency equipment so that we could easily access what we needed when we needed it? 

Gear on the Outside, People on the Inside
Our Yakima SwingDaddy bike rack allows us to pack up our WOOM bikes in an easily accessible way. I really like that you can swing out the fully loaded rack and have access to the back of the vehicle without having to unload the bikes every time. This trip would not be possible without the Yakima SwingDaddy. It’s been a convenience lifesaver.

In addition to the SwingDaddy, Yakima gave us a discount on their LoadWarrior Cargo Basket. We use the basket for the bulky items like our Burley bike trailer, helmets and life jackets. We clip our helmets together and have a mesh bag to store life jackets for added organization under the cargo net. Getting all that gear outside the vehicle gave us more room for people on the inside.

Decked Out
Decked truck bed drawers keep all of our camping equipment organized. One drawer holds camp chairs, our two burner camp stove and tools while the other holds our pantry, cookware and emergency supplies. The Decked drawers pull out easily and the sturdy platform above is perfect for Mountain Dad and I to sleep on.

You may not have the space to install a Decked system in your vehicle, but you can use a similar idea to keep things organized at home. Use a tupperware storage box to pack all your camping supplies, then just transfer it easily from the garage to the car. Not only will it keep gear organized but the sturdy container can double as seating while at camp.

Pack Up
When organizing our Sam T Evans truck cap Mountain Dad and I packed UP. Literally. We used as much space near the ceiling as we could to free up sleeping space in the truck bed. An interior cargo net attached to the ceiling gave us a place for dirty clothes. Velcro straps held our Lightspeed Tripod Canopy to the roof as well as giving us a place for toiletries. Hooks and caribeeners lifted our clothes bags out of the way.

A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place
Don’t forget the areas under seats or in seat pockets for organization. We kept rain jackets and warm hats under the seats so we knew where they were at all time. It made warming up easy. Also, my kids were allowed to bring any toys they wanted as long as they fit in the seat pockets in front of them. That made weeding out the big toys easy.

Be Prepared
As with any trip planning don’t forget your emergency supplies. Luckily we’ve only had to use our Lifeline Truck Road kit once on the National Park to Park Highway, to give another camper a jump, but it’s good to know it’s there just in case.

In addition to the truck emergency kit, we keep a Lifeline Trail Light 5 First Aid Kit in the glove box and we use it ALL THE TIME. We’ve gotten out medications, band aids, antiseptic wipes – we even gave my brother-in-law the elastic bandage wrap after he sprained his ankle surfing (Well, trying to surf). In addition to what came with the Trail Light 5 we added children’s ibuprofen, a forehead thermometer and an EpiPen Jr to our first Aid supply. I like knowing exactly where our medications and emergency supplies are because when someone’s in pain, it’s not a good time to rummage around searching for what you need.

Staying organized while car camping is a challenge for everyone but with these tips, hopefully your next camping adventure will be a success. Do you have any other car camping organization tips? I want to hear them! Share them with me on facebook, twitter or instagram or just leave a comment here.

Yakima, Decked, Sam T Evans and Lifeline First Aid gave me a discount on their products or gave me the items above for review. My opinions are my own. This post also includes affiliate links. See all of our National Park to Park Highway Sponsors here.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

4 thoughts on “Car Camping? Get Organized!”

  1. We've always had a camp box and a kitchen/food box. Both are large totes which we easily transport from garage to car and back. We never lose anything. Makes it easy for last minute camp trips!

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