Mac and I started out camping together in a tent, then out of the back of our truck camper, and finally, now, with a kiddo in tow, we camp in our vintage 1976 Kit Companion pull behind trailer. Both of us are planners and over-packers, so we’ve developed thorough camping checklists for all of these situations – which we’re happy to share with you now! My Ultimate Camping Checklists are linked below!
Tent Camping Checklists
When I say tent camping I mean drive to the campsite and set up a tent, not backpacking! I’ve never been much of a backpacker – I just really like having my stuff with me at all times, honestly. We’re hoping to backpack with Bowman in the future so I’ll definitely be writing about it when that happens.
When tent camping, some considerations are:
- Food storage
- Bear country or not, it’s important to keep food out of your tent and somewhere hard-sided to not let the critters in. Do you have the space in your vehicle to store your coolers and camp cookware?
- Inclement weather
- Make sure to choose a space where water isn’t going to collect! One time on the Washington Coast we setup the tent, went to town for dinner when it started raining, and came back to our sleeping bags floating on Therm-a-Rests in a newly-formed lake! This was even on the tent pad – so don’t always trust the campsite engineers. Also make sure you have a rain fly, no matter what the weather, and stake that tent in good to prevent fly away situations!
- Thoughtful storage
- Most of your camping supplies will need to be stored in your car once you get to the campsite, including food! How are you storing it and keeping it organized?
Truck Camping Checklists
We loved the freedom of truck camping! Wherever the truck could go, which is almost anywhere, we could go. We didn’t need to worry about campsites and dispersed camped wherever we could. This chapter in our lives is best described as … pre-kid. We truck camped one time with Bowman and I said never again. I don’t have the constitution for life including naps and sleep with a baby or toddler in an eight-foot truck bed, no matter how well kitted out it was. You may be different, but Camp Bones was not destined to camp in the truck.
When truck camping some considerations are:
- Thoughtful storage
- If you’re living in the truck bed, all your stuff is going to be living elsewhere. Do you have a plaform under the bed? Does everything fit well in the cab? Do you have hardside storage boxes on top the truck?
- Don’t drive somewhere it will be hard to leave if the weather turns! Mac and I did this once. It started to sprinkle and we threw everything – including the skillet cooking our breakfast – into the truck and raced out knowing we would be stuck for a couple days if the road got wet. Also make sure you’re on a level spot.
- You may love your partner and your family – but have you tried living out of a six or eight-foot truck bed with them? Make sure you’re using the truck space thoughtfully.
Trailer Camping Checklists
One week after our truck camping experience I swore to not do again, we found an amazing vintage trailer for sale locally and before we knew it we were trailer campers! We love our little camper, nicknamed Kit, and have taken her on all kinds of adventures. Our favorite thing about having a trailer is that most of our camping gear is inside Kit year-round! That means less tubs, less storage space needed, and an easier way to camp spontaneously!
When trailer camping some considerations are:
- Trailer limits
- Total tow vehicle length and height will determine where you can go! We love our small trailer because we can still get into the out-of-the-way camping spots.
- Are you dry camping – that means no water or potty on board – or are you going to use all the facilities? You’re going to need to fill with potable water and find a place to dump at the end of the trip.