How To Make Setting Up And Packing Up More Efficient During Camping

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I know the pain of setting up camp and the frustration of packing it all back up. It’s horrible! So I’ve done a ton of research on how to make setting up and packing up more efficient during camping.

Table of Contents

Organize Your Gear Ahead

It’s important to organize your gear ahead of time so you can make the most of your camping trip. I keep things in bins, and try not to buy anything that’s overly complicated to set up or assemble.

Make packing easier by color coding your bins. Put all food in red containers and clothing in green. Put the labels on each bin, this will save you time when unpacking at camp

Store your gear inside the chuck box on wheels, then roll it to the site when you’re ready to camp. I have a kitchen on wheels that comes equipped with everything you need to cook, wash dishes in one spot and even includes handy storage area for pots, pans and more.

My pocket knife, matches, bandana and fishing reel are all in one convenient storage container that I can pull behind me anywhere. When I get to the site, I pop it open and set up camp before having a bite to eat and sleeping great because I’m not exhausted from lugging so much stuff around. Plastic drawers are a great way to keep things tidy and organized. You can also use them as tables inside your tent, so you never have to dig through suitcases or bags again.

Plan Your Menu

Start by planning out your entire menu and then take only the pots and utensils that you’re going to need for that menu. If you are going to be boiling water, then take a pot with a lid that fits securely and a stove top fire starter. If you’re grilling something, take skewers and tongs. Using these items will help save space in your camping gear while also enjoying delicious camping food. You’ll also want to keep any ‘wet’ ingredients sealed in plastic bags if you don’t want them getting soggy.

Use Foam Squares

Foam squares (the playmats) were TOTALLY worth it for the tent made a world of difference especially with kids and a dog. As an added bonus, it protected our stuff as well. I would definitely recommend them for any size tent. We have an 8-person tent but don’t need to use all of that space so cutting the mats to fit our footprint took no time at all (5 minutes).

Use Collapsible Items

When camping, it can be hard to fit all your gear inside your vehicle. But with a little creativity, you can make it fit more easily and still have room to spare. One of the best ways to do this is to use collapsible items like chairs and tables. Check out our recommendation for camping chairs and camping tables for a more comfortable outdoor experience.

This way, you save space when packing, but still have enough room for bulky items like sleeping bags. And once at your campsite, you won’t need a lot of help setting up these collapsible items: they’re not difficult to set up, nor are they difficult to pack away again at the end of the trip.

Be Resourceful

If there’s one thing that makes you a better camper and backpacker, it’s being more resourceful. It boils down to the principle of having multi-use items in your gear instead of bringing extra things. For example, bring an axe which can be used to cut wood as well as used as a hammer instead of bringing a separate axe and hammer. You can save space as well as weight by doing so, and become more efficient.


When camping, it’s best to embrace simplicity. Rather than overpacking and bringing unnecessary items, focus on the essentials. Camping is all about getting back to basics and you don’t need to bring all the comforts of home.

Plastic Bags

If you’re driving to your destination, use plastic bags for items that may leak – toiletries and dishwashing liquid, rubbing alcohol in the first aid kit, etc. This way, if things start to leak, they will remain in zippered bags and not all over clothing or sleeping bags.

Roll Your Clothes

Rolling your clothing will reduce the amount of space it takes up in your backpack or duffel bag, and make it easier to gather together the items you want. It’s also much easier to sort through a stack of rolled clothes than a pile!

Create a packing routine that works for you and make sure to follow it consistently. Find out what works best for you, and use the same method for packing and unpacking every time you go camping. Get organized now so that you have less to stress about when your gear is packed efficiently, your campsite is organized, and your family can spend more time together!

About Us

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Jules and Ken

Hi! We are Jules and Ken. We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

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