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Transitioning to a camper

Once we placed our order for our camper, the excitement of gear and storage amped up. Of course, we wanted to use gear that we already have, but what should we keep, what should go, and what are we missing? Oh, and how do we make it all fit?

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Endless Possibilities

First, we evaluated what we already have. We decided to keep sleeping bags for the kids, as their sleeping arrangement could be a table and benches by day, so we want the ease of moving them as needed. However, as we would have a permanent bed, we wanted something that was easy to make and maintain. After diving into the web for the most recommended options, we decided to go with Beddy’s. We already used Beddy’s at home for our kids, so we knew what to expect. Making the bed in a camper with a corner setup would never be easy, but at least with a Beddy, we could keep it self-contained with minimal maintenance; you just zip it up!

Once we evaluated the sleeping situation, it was on to our core gear: cookware, dinnerware, and miscellaneous basics. The majority of this collection was items that we had outgrown in the house and transferred into camping bins. We wanted to be efficient in our storage solutions, so we kept what was regularly used, upgraded to a few sets that could nest or be consolidated into multiple uses, and donated the rest on our local buy/sell/trade classified pages. Some of my favorite items that we acquired during this period were:

  • A bundle of camping cookware: it nests within itself, stores in a mesh bag, and doesn’t take up a lot of space due to the stacking capabilities.
  • Multipurpose tubs: They can double as a sink or wash basin, cutting board, or general storage. They fit in the sync and collapse down ‘flat’ and can be stacked for easy storage.
  • Smart cutlery: Durable spork combos from REI, and zippered knife containers that include cutting boards and cleaning supplies. We reach for these items the most and store them in the drawers within our camper, or in a collapsable kitchen bag that we suction to the outside of our camper.
  • Toiletries: Our first camper didn’t have a toilet, so we used the pop-up shelter and portable camping toilet from our tent camping days. We also carried around Travel-Johns to make it easier for middle of the night or rainy downpour moments when you just need to go. I still carry them in our car emergency kit because you never know when your young child may need to heed the call of nature. Since moving to a camper with a bathroom, we make sure to keep a supply of RV toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and soap at all times. I’d say these are generally good to have as you never know when a campground will be out of one of the three items when you most need it.

constantly learning

With each trip that we take in our camper, we find what we are actually using and what we are not. For example, I got a pour-over for coffee for my husband. It turns out, he prefers percolator coffee and the pour-over sits collecting dust and taking up space. Additionally, we found that we have a large amount of camp chairs. An unnecessary amount. We consolidated down to some favorites and those that we are most likely to use.

After a few trips where various maladies and ailments occurred, we realized we should also up our first aid kit game. It never fails that you get out for a long weekend and your kid gets a stuffy nose, headache, or injury that requires more than just a band aid (ice packs are regularly requested). Depending on where we are camping, we also need an abundance of bug spray and anti-itch cream or allergy medicine. Honestly, our camper first aid kid is better stocked than our home kit. You know what works best for yourself and your family, so consider those factors when stocking your kit.

favorite things

I’ll keep an updated list of our favorite supplies and gear on the Resources page.

What are your must-have camping supplies in your camper?

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