In the bar, at dinner parties, and over coffee at work, I often get asked how I handle camping.
It’s an understandable question. People are always curious about what they see as more primitive living conditions. Many people think it must be hard to deal with temperature, rain, insects, and thorns. Honestly, I’ve found camping is easy once you get into it. You just need some practical tips on how to make things easier or safer for yourself, and then you’ll be all set up to enjoy the great outdoors in style!
These days, after several years of experience, I can pack everything up quickly enough that my wife doesn’t even bother helping anymore (she prefers cooking while I’m doing the clean up! Hmpf!)
The best way to get your household organized for camping is to use common sense. You need to gather everything together in one place so you can inspect it all and make sure it’s in good working order before you head out. It’s also a good idea to practice assembling your tent at home first, even if it means setting things up just on the patio. No harm done – especially if you wind up with all this stuff flapping about while there are still mosquitos around!
Of course, because of the large amount of equipment that comes into play when dealing with camping gear, there are always going to be unexpected problems that pop up right before you leave. As long as these are dealt with before you leave home, they shouldn’t cause you too much stress when it’s time to pack up for real!
The main thing is to have a plan, so you know where everything goes. This way, when the last minute ‘oh-no’ moments occur, such as a rainstorm, you don’t have to worry that half your stuff will get wet because it’s all in its proper place! It sounds simple, but the trickiest part of camping, in my opinion, is keeping track of what key goes in which lock of our storage containers and not winding up with two identical keys when one would do just fine. Another thing I’m sure many campers are guilty of at least once or twice is leaving something out by mistake. What you might not realize about this is that the next morning you’ll discover it lying there in plain sight, just where you left it. That’s usually when I start thinking about how much more organized my gear would be if everything were labeled or color-coded.
Color coding makes identifying things quick and simple, but it also helps you know what each piece of equipment can do, literally! This is especially true when it comes to tent poles. They’re all different lengths and go into different slots. Color coding makes that much easier.