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How do you pack all the stuff?!

(19 Posts)
overwhelmedbyitall Mon 08-May-17 07:17:05

Hi, we're relatively new to camping and have just been away for the first short distance trial run with our new gear. We loved it but already have a list of things to tweak/ things we need.
However, our car (kia carens so not small) was rammed with what we already have: 5 man tent, footprint and carpet, fold out picnic table, 2 camping chairs, single ring suitcase cooker, kettle, 4 camp beds. We took no pans or other kitchen stuff this time and one small bag of clothes.
We need to figure out how to organise stuff in the tent a bit better. Any advice gratefully received!
And how are we going to manage with another stove, ice box, clothes for a longer holiday etc etc. And ideally we want to be able to take 4 bikes too...
We have decided to get sleeping bags instead of taking duvets so they will pack smaller but I seriously don't know how to fit everything in!!
Please tell me how you do it! (Trailer not an option, roof box possibly)

SweetieBaby Mon 08-May-17 07:23:06

We used a roof box too plus, although it's a pain, try and leave smaller stuff loose. It's amazing how much you can stuff in between spaces in the boot. We took a 5 man frame tent, Lilo's, sleeping bags, chairs, table, cooker, camp kitchen and fridge plus 4 bikes and clothes and food. Use all space in the car too. I found it easiest to have everything by the car and then fit it in. Roof box definitely makes it easier though.

SoulAccount Mon 08-May-17 07:39:23

Do you need 4 camp beds?
Tent carpet?

overwhelmedbyitall Mon 08-May-17 07:49:54

They certainly make it more comfortable, which is important to keep us happy and well rested! I get not everyone wants them but having borrowed different things in the past (mats, air beds for example) or gone without we have decided that for now we do, yes!

MrsHathaway Mon 08-May-17 07:51:21

We have a trailer and a (full width) roof box. We can go without the trailer but it means packing to the rafters, and we prefer to be able to see out of the rear window when driving wink

Shame trailer isn't an option. We are now leaving most of our heavy stuff (tent, beds, table etc) in the trailer for the season as we are going to be doing four camps in as many months and cba going up and down to the loft too much.

littlemissneela Mon 08-May-17 08:16:10

We have a Mazda 5, so quite large, and it is packed to the rafters when we got camping, and its just me, the dh and the dog! That said, when we used to go with our three kids, it was about as packed. We have a full roof width roof box which can take loads. We put all our kitchen food stuff in one large plastic box, and the rest of our bits and bobs are in jute shopping bags. We use a sleeping bag, and now its just us, we take our duvet along to sleep on the self inflating airbed. We have a dog crate, table, stove, kitchen, 4 chairs (2 for relaxing, 2 for eating). We took a small parasol but that will stay home this year, as will the spare tent bags (we took them with us last year as we couldnt remember which bags were the right ones to take!), a huge cool box which is packed with ice and ice packs and a frozen dinner and frozen food for the first mornings breakfast, we then either go out for dinner or buy food when we are there.
I need to get our camping gear out and see if I can whittle it down a bit as we are off at the end of the month for just 3 nights.

SoulAccount Mon 08-May-17 08:28:52

I'd love to be able to keep a trailer packed, but I presume that depends on having a garage? We haven't even got off-street parking.

So I go 'minimal stuff'.

OP: it seems like a roof box is your best bet.

MissWimpyDimple Mon 08-May-17 12:34:44

We use a handirack and handi hold-all thing.

It's pretty easy to fit and it's waterproof (well tested on a number of occasions).

Otherwise I really don't think we would get everything in either. That's in a Qashqai.

I'd love a trailer but no tow bar and no garage so it's out.

MrsHathaway Mon 08-May-17 16:59:43

Trailer has lockable roof and then is D-locked to a post by our house (like a bike stand, inverted U-shape, concreted in). Roof box lives in the garage, slung to the ceiling.

Some people go camping by train. I have literally no idea how.

KingLooieCatz Thu 11-May-17 12:30:04

I know. We just got a new tent. The pack is so big I'm glad we never had a second child. That's saved us a load of space right there. To be fair, the tent was going to be a Mazda Bongo Friendee camper until a few weeks ago.

We had thought about coolbox, possibly a plug in job, but now I'm thinking there won't be room (Ford Focus), so we'll get by with a squashy coolbag, got great tips on a thread on page 2 about camping without a coolbox.

We carry the loose items in bag-for-life-bags, easy to ram in corners and re-arrange. DH is a terrible packer, it all works better if I just do it.

isittheholidaysyet Fri 12-May-17 22:05:59


You need to think compact.

We don't take camp beds, too bulky. Airbeds take up no room.
Sleeping bags, definitely, with the compression straps pulled.
We sit on blankets in the car.
If anyone wants a real pillow, (I bought some compact camp ones) They have to have it with them in the car.
Pans, we bought a camp set that fit inside one another with detachable handles.
Pop-up laundry baskets (from £1 shops) take up no room, but give storage when you get there. Those and reusable shopping bags.

(I wasn't joking about the trailer!)

MrsHathaway Fri 12-May-17 22:18:56

We sit on blankets in the car.

This is a really bad idea if you want your seat belts to work properly as they mean you can slide under. Definitely agree with the principle of putting stuff in the "cabin" though and pillows and blankets are prime candidates for footwells.

We use inflatable u-shaped cushions (eg the flight ones) as they pack small and are useful for squirmy sleepers ... of which I have four!

TheoriginalLEM Sat 13-May-17 23:10:07

MRs H I am glad you pointed that out re the blankets as I thought I might do that, but you are right.

We have a Mercedes C class estate so not the biggest of cars (its old) and we couldn't manage without a roof box, in fact DP is bidding on a larger box on ebay as we speak.

We take 6 man tent, three camp beds, SIMS x 2, sleeping bags x3, 2 single ring gas stove thingies, three camping chairs, a fold up camping table with chairs, fold up table, one large suit case, one small, extra fleece blankets, couple of back packs, cool bag full of food/drinks, crockery and bbq equipment, of and a firepit.

Actually I lied we don't have an average estate car, we have a tardis

I forgot two dogs and their cage, oh and one dog basket that they share.

DP does an amazing job of packing the car, there is only 3 of us so we put the tent (its huge) in the front seat and bits and pieces on the floor.

We are going camping in a few weeks and have more stuff this time - I honestly don't know how we will fit it all in.

We are thinking of getting thicker self inflating mattresses (fecking costly) and sacking off the camp beds, but DD still really needs one, I think we can manage without, so that will be a bit more space. Also what do people think? suitcase v's holdalls?

We struggle with getting the amount of clothes right - am going to have fleeces instead of coats and use pac macs to try to reduce bulk.

ARrrgggghhhh - I love my tent (I spend more on camping equipment than I do on my house!) but the packing makes me want a caravan!

We are considering a trailer or trying to buy a Mercedes vito van that we can use for DPs work and a camping Sherpa!

KingLooieCatz Sun 14-May-17 08:05:27

DH is a bugger for packing thick jumpers x several. I favour lots of layers, including s thermal vest and lightweight fleece. Pacamac is a good extra layer even in dry weather, very good at keeping the wind out. This is relevant when not camping also. An day spent outdoors in Scotland can range from waterproofs and fleece to sunhat and suncream! After a surprisingly chilly week in France I might start making long sleeve thermal base layer standard kit for holidays generally.

Ylvamoon Sun 14-May-17 08:20:07

Trailer & Roofbox for camping trips. Everything (kitchen, sleeping bags air beds, clothes...) is boxed up in storage boxes that fit easily into boot / trailer. Some items, like folding tables& chairs go into the roof box. We also have one of these mini fridges which are great for 10 day + trips!
I usually keep the plug in cool box between the kids in the back...

MrsHathaway Sun 14-May-17 11:58:44

We take cases because they stack well in our car, but we don't keep them in the tent - we transfer the contents into IKEA bags per person and keep them under the camp beds (as an additional insulating layer but also space saving). Also use Ikea bags for towels and for dirty laundry.

We find that soft bags don't pack into the car as well because they bulge iyswim. We do have a 4x4 though.

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Sun 14-May-17 19:35:49

We camp in France, 4 of us in 3 tents.

In the cabin overnight bag between teens in back seats with their pillows on top, they then use these to sleep whilst travelling. Those who want an extra fleece blanket camping sit on it during trip. I like a cushion (or two) so have those in the front with me, hubby drives. Essential is our large flask of coffee grin

Boot space, dog crate, fridge (table top one), tent poles, event shelter poles, picnic for first leg of trip, coats.

Everything else goes in the trailer.

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Sun 14-May-17 19:42:56

Our clothes go in those big bags from Home Bargains.

Shoes go in pop up laundry containers which then become storage whilst camping.

Majority of things go in lidded boxes which go on the base of the trailer forming a flat(ish) area to load everything else into trailer.

I'm the one that wants to go camping hubby is willing as long as its comfy which is why we take so much.

overwhelmedbyitall Mon 15-May-17 10:47:23

Thanks for all the replies. Nice to see it's not just us that struggles then!
We are definitely looking into the handirack roof bag thingy. Also seen an inflatable cool bag on another thread which looks interesting as I'm concerned about buying a rigid coolbox and it not fitting in the car...
Now I know why I've been hanging on to the ikea bags too!

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