How to Organize Camping Tents

How to Organize Camping TentsOrganizing your camping tent should be a high priority for an enjoyable camp out, whether you're out in the wilderness for a weekend or a whole week. Without organization, your tent will quickly resemble a giant rat's nest of gear and dirty clothes. It's especially important to keep your belongings organized if you share a tent with someone else, or you'll spend your last morning trying to sort out whose gear belongs to whom.


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Large duffel bag
  • Tote box
  • Large zipper bags
  • Labels
  • Permanent marker
Step 1
Pack your gear sensibly--a well-organized tent starts at home. Keep in mind what you'll need first at camp and pack that on top--this will prevent digging through your duffel bag when you first get to camp and immediately ruining your organization efforts. If you'll arrive at camp right at nightfall, pack your sleeping clothes on top. If you plan to arrive in time for a float trip, then pack your swim gear on top. Pack your flashlight and extra batteries in a side pocket so you won't need to search for them in the bottom of the bag.
Step 2
Pack your clothes in zipper bags. Buy extra-large zipper bags and pack a complete change of clothes in each bag. This will prevent your clothes from being strewn about the tent as your search your duffel bag for equipment, and will keep clothes clean and dry. You can quickly unload zipper bags from your duffel, sort through through them, then stuff them back in the bag. Place dirty clothes back in the zipper bags for the return trip.
Step 3
Pack gear in plastic tote boxes with lids. Tote boxes are good for storing extra boots, hats, first aid kits, games and cooking gear. Tote boxes are easier to sort through--and keep organized--than storing gear in shopping bags. Label each box with its contents so you know what gear is stored in which box. Stack the boxes neatly inside your tent.
Step 4
Divide your tent. If you are sharing your tent with another camper, divide the tent into sections. Place your gear at the foot of your sleeping bag to keep it separate from your tent mate's. Even if your tent mate is family, keeping your clothes near your sleeping bag will prevent having to climb over your fellow camper to find your belongings in the morning, or in the middle of the night.
Step 5
Label all your gear if you're sharing your tent with nonfamily. This will make it easy to figure out what is yours and what belongs to someone else when it's time to pack up. Bring extra labels or a permanent marker to tag items you missed labeling at home. Labels will also ensure that your belongings return to you should they still find their way into another camper's bag.

Tips & Warnings

Look for extra-large zipper bags in the storage, laundry or luggage section of your store. Space-saver storage bags--meant for long-term storage or travel--are good for packing camp clothes. Small children's clothes can fit in normal gallon-sized food-storage bags.

Article Written By Denise Bertacchi

Denise Bertacchi is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from Southeast Missouri State University. She is a St. Louis suburbanite who has written for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Boys' Life, Wisconsin Trails, and Missouri Life.

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