How to Pack Your Camper Without Losing Your Mind

Have you ever felt like you spend more time preparing for a camping trip than enjoying your vacation? We LOVE camping but the process of packing and preparing for each trip can be difficult.

We’re weekend camping warriors, juggling work, school, and kids’ activities. We knew there had to be a way to make whole process easier and faster to allow us to camp every weekend.
So, we developed a method we call, “Turn and Burn”. We hope sharing our method will help you too!

Identify your biggest pain points

What are your packing pain points? Tackle those first.

Our biggest issue was packing clothes. We tried a few different ways of packing those items until we discovered the best way to save time. More on that below.

Is your biggest issue is packing outdoor items? Packing groceries? Start there!

Keep the essentials in your camper all season

We stock our camper with the items we need for each trip at the beginning of the season. This saves TONS of time packing for each trip. From pillows to shampoo to towels – it’s all in there all season.  Check out our complete list here. 

We’ve been able to stock our RV with extra items from our house to avoid spending a ton of money. Anytime we upgrade something in the house we consider if it’s something that would be good to have in our RV

When our kids receive new toys as gifts we take a few of the old toys and put them in the RV. It’s a great way to re-purpose items in your home that aren’t getting much use.

Utilize online grocery ordering

Packing food was SO time consuming until we discovered this trick.

Our favorite is Kroger Clicklist. There are many options depending on where you live (Shipt for Meijer and Target or Instacart to name a few). Ordering groceries online saves us time and money!

We schedule the order days ahead, pick it up, and put them right in the camper when we get home.

Using the same basic menu for all our trips also saves time because we re-buy the many items from our last order. We also only order items for our camping trip so we’re not sorting groceries while we pack.

Dedicate a basic set of clothes for camping only

When we get home from a trip we carry the dirty clothes right to the washing machine! As soon as we pull in the truck we look at each other and say “Turn and Burn!” and grab the laundry. The clothes go right back to the camper when as soon as they’re clean and dry – many times the same day we return.

We live in Michigan so we switch out clothing as the weather or our destination changes. This year we started with snow boots and long underwear! Within two months we were swapping it our for swimsuits.

Clean before you leave your campsite

Clean the camper right before you leave. It takes a few minutes to do a basic wipe down and cleaning of the camper while you’re getting ready to go. And, it’s one less thing to do right before your next trip.

Schedule the work throughout the week

Don’t save everything for the last minute. Schedule out the things you need to get done so it’s not one big, stressful packing session.

We schedule out our work over several days. This way there’s never one day where it seems like a burden holding us back from our trip.

Example:

  • Sunday: Clean clothes go in the camper
  • Monday: Vacuum camper
  • Tuesday: Submit the online grocery order
  • Thursday evening: Pick up groceries and pack them in camper

Relax. Accept that you’ll forget something and move on

Striving for perfection is stressful. Do a quick “I forgot something” risk assessment ahead of your trip. What stores are near your destination? How big of a deal is it if you do forget something?

We pay closer attention to our packing checklist if we’re traveling to a remote location. And, we relax more if we’re going to an area stores are nearby.

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