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Take command of your adventure
 
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By:    On: 2011-10-19

Camping, whether it’s one person on an overnight trip or five people staying two weeks, requires gear.  Gear requires some form of storage during travel and when it’s not being used.  Hikers use large backpacks and bring only what they can carry on their backs.  Most families pack Rubbermaid totes. RV folks put their homes on wheels.  Everyone has a different way to keep their gear organized (we won’t talk about the poor souls who don’t organize) and they will all swear by their methods.  Today I will explore a few options for gear storage and transport.

The Hiker’s Backpack

As you can see from the picture, this is not the kind of pack you’ll find on a grade-school kid.  These packs are designed to hold all the gear a hiker would need for one to three days on a trail: clothing, food, first aid kit, cook stove, etc.  Most have straps at the top or bottom of the pack to hold a small pup tent and/or a bed roll.  They have a frame to keep the pack sturdy and to protect the wearer’s back and spine and their closures are generally around the waist – although I have seen some that even strap around the thighs in a harness fashion.  This kind of storage is great for someone who is on a constant hike and only stops to make camp overnight.  Everything is one pack and easily accessed and each person has her/her own pack. 

Rubbermaid/Plastic Totes

This is the option I use for my family’s gear; we usually use three totes for a trip lasting more than two nights.  I have found the best way for me to keep these organized is to dedicate one tote for each of three main gear categories: non-perishable food, kitchen gear and miscellaneous.  Each tote has a plastic sleeve – the kind you might use in a binder to protect a page of paper – taped to the lid and I slip a list of everything inside the tote into the sleeve.  This way I can look at the lid of tote #1 and see that’s where my dishes are.  Totes are really great if the weather turns bad because they’re waterproof and if you have the kind with lid-locking handles their wind-proof too.  I do suggest, however, that any tote holding food be stored in a vehicle when not in use.  I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that squirrels and chipmunks can and will chew through the plastic to get to the food inside. 

There are totes of all sizes – the flat kind that are made to side under a bed, little shoe box-sized boxes (great for spices, napkins and cutlery!), file boxes, and of course the 30-gallon big boys.  The tote(s) you choose really just depends upon what your needs are and how you prefer to organize your gear.

Rvs/Campers

(Let me first say that although these aren’t my personal preference, I do understand the draw to them, especially for those who like the outdoors but who don’t want to sleep in it.)

Ahh, the miniature house on wheels.  Rv’s and campers are just that – transported homes.  They still present a storage issue, just like any home needs storage help.  Yes, there cabinets in the kitchen and there is usually at least one closet, but if the stuff inside the little house isn’t organized, the whole place can become chaotic pretty quickly.  I know a few people who use small plastic baskets and boxes to hold their things inside the cabinets; plastic rods which hold 5 hangars can be found in their RV closets.  Even the bathroom needs storage: small boxes are great to hold toiletries and the like.

Whatever your preferred method of being outdoors is, you’ll have gear.  And you’ll need a way to store and transport your gear.  Although I’ve covered a couple of options here, check out your local outdoors store.  There is always some new storage gadget hitting the market; some things will be useful and some will be fun to laugh at.  And you might just want to build your own storage option (I keep toying with that idea but the thought usually stops before I get down into the basement.).

What do you use?  Drop me a note and share with us!

Happy camping,

Jen

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