Working full time, and having after school activities for 2 kids during the week, presents a challenge when making camping preparations for a weekend trip. Especially when we don’t have the luxury of parking our camper in our yard. Below is how we go about accomplishing this difficult task. We typically camp 1-2 times per month, and have refined this process over the last several years, but perfection is a “hope”….not an achievable destination.
Goals for our Camping Preparations
- Minimize last minute loading of the trailer
- Be ready to go, and hit the road as early as possible on Friday once the kids are out of school
Setting Up Areas for Camping Preparations
We setup two (2) areas during the week that are dedicated to camping preparations. We populate these areas as the week goes on, so when it comes time to loading up, we can load and go.
- An area inside the house for dry goods
- Our area is a high top in our bar room (aka Dining Room)
- i.e. linens, blankets, paper towels, beach towels, etc.
- An area in the garage for larger items
- We say one area, but its more like an entire 1 car garage by the time we get done lining everything up
- i.e. firewood, extra propane cylinder, bicycles, scooters, etc.
Developing a Meal Plan as Part of Camping Preparations
Starting early in the week (usually Sunday or Monday), we utilize Google Keep (shared lists between my wife and I) to create two (2) lists:
- Meal List – what meals we plan to make for each day (i.e. Friday, Dinner – Pre-made chili, Saturday Breakfast – Bacon, Egg, Cheese on a Bagel, etc.)
- Grocery List – we cross check what we already have in the fridge to satisfy each of the meals and put any missing ingredients on the grocery list
If you’re not familiar with Google Keep, its awesome! It’s super easy to use and works well on the PC or your smart phone to create/complete check lists…and it’s free. Check it out at https://keep.google.com.
Schedule for a Friday Departure
Meal Planning (Monday)
The wife and I usually send a couple of text messages back and forth during our downtime working on a Monday to get meal ideas flowing. Ultimately one of us usually takes the lead and starts populating the Google Keep list with meal ideas. Since I work from home, I typically start cross checking the list of meals with what we already have in the house to determine what needs to be purchased. From there we start populating the Grocery List.
Tip: We usually use a previous camping trip meal list and build on that. We don’t typically change the menu more than 25-50% with each trip, but we do try to work in one new item each time we go for some variety.
Grocery and Laundry Check (Tuesday)
With the meal and grocery lists finalized we take once last walk through the kitchen to verify we have everything on the grocery list that we need. From there we hit the grocery store and pick up the necessary items.
Tip: We try to organize the fridge with items for camping to one side, so we aren’t guessing if we missed something when we load up. For items that we know won’t be utilized during the week, we’ll leave them in the plastic grocery bags in the fridge to clearly identify them for the camping trip.
Tuesday is also the day to check the laundry situation. The big items are always the kids clothes and linens for the beds. We typically take all the linens off after every camping trip but that laundry doesn’t always get in to the normal laundry rotation. If there’s something needing to be washed, Tuesday is early enough in the week to avoid any last minute stress with the rest of the preparations.
Camper Preparation and Final Check Day (Wednesday)
Mid-week is time to put the plan in to motion. We head to the storage lot, and turn the fridge on to get it to start cooling down. Down here in the Florida summer 24 hours sometimes isn’t enough to get the fridge and freezer down to temp, so we give it an extra day.
We double check everything on the grocery list, and start getting the kids clothes in order and stacked on the table.
Loading Day (Thursday) – The Final Major Action for Camping Preparations
We’ll bring the camper from storage lot to the house, and load everything we can get in on Thursday night. This includes the groceries, clothes, and various items from the garage. Items that wait for loading day (because we don’t want someone stealing them out of the back of the truck or off the back of the camper) are:
- Extra Propane Cylinders
- Groceries that we might be using for breakfast on Friday (i.e. Milk, cereal, etc.)
Tip: To speed up the transfer of items from the house to the camper, we use a large wagon to load small items in. We tag team the loading from the wagon in to the camper to avoid going up and down the stairs 800 times.
Departure Day (Friday) – Last Minute Items for Camping Preparations
Try to minimize the amount of items you have to load on departure day. This will reduce the risk of forgetting something. We typically load the following:
- Remaining grocery items
- Our clothes/toiletries
- Bicycles (and anything going in the bed of the truck)
- Fishing Gear
Hope this helps in your camping preparations.
Check out other Tips and Tricks – Click Here