One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go camping. My hubby and I both grew up camping, so it was just natural for us to spend many weekends blazing new trails in our first year of marriage. When our first child came along we strapped him to my back and never stopped loading up and taking off for a week in the dirt.
Now that we have six children, organizing and packing has taken on a life of its own. Thankfully, it has been a gradual process, but it is more work than ever to make sure everyone has everything they need.
The first thing I always do is compose a list. I know that I need to graduate to one of those fancy lists on my computer and print it out and mark it off; but because our needs are constantly changing based on the ages of the kids I usually make a new list every time we go on a trip. This is my list for the beach this summer (as you can see my two year old got a hold of my sharpie when I wasn’t looking).
One of the easiest ways to make sure that every child has their gear is to use a clear tote with a lid that clasps. While I am packing I line them up in the hallway with each of their names on the front, and then I load them up according to my list. These are also much easier than duffel bags when you are trying to find something specific. The kids can cart them around and we can stack all 6 on top of each other if we need the space. They keep the moisture from the ocean out, so when we camp at the beach everything inside stays dry.
For dirty clothes I bring giant warehouse size reusable grocery bags. As the bag fills up, the straps get tied together and it gets thrown in the back of the van. A new bag comes out and we start again. When we get home from our trip I take all of the bags to the laundry room and start washing. The empty totes work well for packing at the end of the trip for all of those odds and ends that don’t have a place.
Do you camp? Any tips you’d like to share?