Camping Storage Ideas

Good camping storage ideas will take your camping trip to the next level
Good camping storage ideas will take your camping trip to the next level

If you’ve camped in the past, you know that one thing that can really upset you is trying to pack all your stuff and not being able to because you have no space left.

Does that mean that you always need to pack less gear when this happens?

We’re glad you asked—not at all…

…If you learn some tips to increase your efficiency and improve your storage skills.

What are you waiting for?

The Art of Packing for Camping Trips

There are so many easy wins when it comes to storing items while camping - just pay attention
There are so many easy wins when it comes to storing items while camping – just pay attention

Packing for a camping trip is like a delicate dance: you want to bring all the must-have essentials without cramming. That’s where some genius storage tricks come in clutch.

By maximizing every nook and cranny, you can keep your camping vibes chill and enjoy the great outdoors without stressing over clutter.

Planning and Prioritizing Camping Gear

Plan and strategize if you want everything in its place, and you can just grab and go
Plan and strategize if you want everything in its place, and you can just grab and go

You need to spend time planning and prioritizing your camping gear. There’s just no way around this.

Having a solid game plan for packing and storage actually prevents SO MANY unnecessary headaches.

Make That Essentials List

  1. List the most important items in your camping journey

  2. From that list of essentials, you can prioritize and add first the more important items, and then add the other things until the bag is fully loaded

  3. Obviously, you need to prioritize things like medications versus other items like sleeping bags

And here are the stuff you cannot survive sans, like:

  • Proper outdoor clothing/footwear

  • Shelter (tent, tarp, etc.)

  • Sleeping bag/pad

  • Enough food and water

  • Medications or medical supplies

  • Fire starters

  • Navigation tools

Get those vitals accounted for and prioritized at the very top of your packing list.

Categorizing and Grouping Camping Gear

How are you planning to keep things organized if you're not categorizing your stuff?
How are you planning to keep things organized if you’re not categorizing your stuff?

Creating categories of your camping gear is a solid option in the universe of camping storage ideas, as it helps you locate your essentials easily when you reach your camping spot.

A good idea is to categorize the items based on their uses or the space they take. For example:

  • You can pack sleeping bags and tents in one pile as they will take up most of the space

  • Place cookware in the same spot

  • You can also put flashlights and batteries in one pile

This simple system keeps things stored from the start, saving you tons of headaches down the road.

Formulate a Pack Plan

With essentials prioritized and categories defined, it’s time to formulate an A+ pack plan. Think about how to divvy up the different categories across your bags and containers.

  • Larger, bulkier items may need to get their own dedicated bins

  • While smaller goods can intermingle in zipped storage

Having a strategy makes loading smooth.

Interior Storage Solutions

Having a killer interior storage game is the key to a stress-free camping trip
Having a killer interior storage game is the key to a stress-free camping trip

Alright, now that you’ve planned your approach, it’s time to execute in the most space-efficient ways possible. Get creative with these hacks for maximizing every nook and cranny inside your tent or vehicle:

Modular Storage Systems

Another great hack is to opt for a modular storage system.

A modular system offers easy-to-handle compartments where you can separate and place your things, instead of mixing them all (which is never a good idea).

The best part? These camping storage systems have handles to move them from place to place easily, making it easier to travel with them – especially useful if you are not car camping.   

Transparent Bins and Storage Bags

Clear storage bags are not even expensive... what are you waiting for?
Clear storage bags are not even expensive… what are you waiting for?

Next on your list should be clear/transparent storage bags.

With a good price tag, these are really a no-brainer:

  • They will save you a lot of time searching through your gear, as items don’t get misplaced while in transit

  • You can see inside the bag, so you don’t have to search for hours for something (especially with small items)

  • They make it easier to check for any spillage or leakage

Seriously, ditch the opaque bags and containers and go clear.

Vertical Space, Hooks, and Hangers

Using vertical space with hangers is another great way to create more space inside your backpack.

A simple hanger does wonders in your tent
A simple hanger does wonders in your tent

Vertical space is super underrated while camping storage, which is a mistake since you can save A LOT of space with hooks, hangers, and mesh organizers.

These can be hung inside or outside your tent, depending on the size & weight of the item you want to store. You have a lot of flexibility: you can make a hanging shoe rack or use it for clothes instead, and so on.

Hooks & hangers provide extra camping storage capacity while keeping things neat & tidy & off the ground, so don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. 

Double-Duty Storage

Double duty solutions that'll have your gear working overtime
Double duty solutions that’ll have your gear working overtime

Why settle for single-purpose storage when you could invest in convertible, multi-tasking solutions that pull double duty?

Hanging Shelves

First on the list, we have hanging shelves.

They are a great way to maximize storage capacity inside your tent and are very easy to prepare with just a few basic supplies, such as rope, hooks, and a sturdy piece of wood.

After you’re done preparing them, you can store items like clothing, toiletries, kitchen supplies, or anything else you want.

Pro tip: they are also very useful if you want to free the floor space of your camping tent.  

Under-Bed Storage

Under-bed storage is another great hack to use space efficiently
Under-bed storage is another great hack to use space efficiently

Most campers know this hack and usually come equipped with built-in drawers underneath each bunk bed where they store clothing, shoes, and other items.

Also, most of the camping vehicles we carry along on our camping trips have hidden compartments underneath the seats, which we use to easily store smaller items, such as snacks or electronics.

Vacuum-Sealed Bags

These bags are designed to compress bulky items easily, so you save more space.

Not only do they make packing easier, but the contents inside the bag also remain dry and protected from damage. 

It’s literally a win-win situation.

Nesting Cookware

If you’ve packed before, you know that cookware can take up a lot more space if it’s individually packed.

That’s why you need to consider nesting cookware or kitchen utensils: pack them inside each other and nest them together and you’ll see the difference.

Exterior Hauling Solutions

Even with all the interior space maximized, you’ll likely still have some larger, oversized pieces of gear that just won’t squeeze inside. That’s where exterior hauling solutions come in.

Roof Racks and Hitch Carriers

Use your roof rack to haul your gear trailer one weekend, and your hitch carrier the next
Use your roof rack to haul your gear trailer one weekend, and your hitch carrier the next
  • Roof racks are often considered a secure platform on top of the camping vehicle where you can easily store large pieces of equipment and strap them down during transport if needed. Who hasn’t seen bikes attached to the roofs of cars?

  • Hitch-mounted cargo carriers can be easily attached to the back of the vehicles (we’re sure you have seen those on the road) via a hitch receiver. These carriers can provide ample room for carrying multiple large pieces of gear simultaneously without overloading the interior cabin area with too much weight

These external storage tools are super convenient solutions that give travelers more flexibility when packing their vehicles before they hit the road.

Multipurpose Furniture

Investing in multipurpose furniture is last on our storage hacks list
Investing in multipurpose furniture is last on our storage hacks list

We bet that you’ve thought about taking a sofa or a bed to a camping trip, but had trouble doing it because of how hard it is to transport these.

Good news: you can use multipurpose furniture (convertible furniture, so to say) as a sofa when you need to sit on it or a bed when you need to lie down.

This convertible furniture has hidden compartments for additional storage areas within their frames where smaller items, such as books or electronics, can be stored securely out of sight.

Repurposed and Upcycled Storage

Once you start thinking about repurposing items, you'll unlock a lot of combinations
Once you start thinking about repurposing items, you’ll unlock a lot of combinations

Instead of just discarding items that have been used, why not use them for a different purpose than they were created for?

Household Items to the Rescue

Old milk crates can be used as shelving units, and you can store food and other items in them.

Used plastic or grocery bags can be reused by hanging from the ceiling using clothespins, where you can store small items such as toiletries or flashlights.

The options here are virtually endless – it all depends on how creative you are!

Container Compartments

For bins and totes you already own, customize compartments using cardboard dividers, pool noodles, or even aluminum foil separators to create designated sections for different supplies.

Packing Food Supplies

“With great food, comes great responsibility” – Rtivities

Choosing Food Containers and Coolers

Food containers are not optional when camping in 2024: you need them.

The best bang for your buck will be lightweight but also durable containers, so look for tight-fitting lids to prevent any leakage while you’re traveling.

One last thing: if you carry perishable items with you, like meat or dairy products, an insulated cooler is a must-have item.

Dry Goods, Spices, and Cooking Utensils

For dry food like grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, you can use smaller containers within a larger one or small storage boxes inside larger plastic bags.

Nesting saves storage space for kitchen utensils or cooking equipment, so don’t neglect it.

Dealing With Expiration Dates

Have you ever eaten expired food? Now picture that in the middle of a campsite
Have you ever eaten expired food? Now picture that in the middle of a campsite

If you’re taking food on your camping trip, don’t skip this.

For safety reasons, you NEED to label your food correctly and look for the expiration dates, otherwise, you’re in for a treat in the campsite’s bathroom.

Two simple tips can make your life much easier:

  • If you have near to expiring food items, just don’t take those on your camping trips

  • Consume the food supplies that can spoil quickly first and then consume the other ones

It’s a small effort that could seriously save you from some wildly unpleasant camping memories. You’ve been warned!

Final Bonus Tips

Okay, let’s rapid-fire through some final bonus tips and reminders to really cement your status as an outdoor organization master:

  • Invest in multi-use gear: the more items can pull double-duty, the less total stuff you’ll need to bring.

  • Embrace minimalism: while you don’t wanna lack essentials, there’s also no need to go overboard packing your entire bedroom. Stick to just what you’ll actually use to save space.

  • Maintain your storage gear: do regular checks and cleaning of your camping storage containers, bins, coolers, etc.

  • Always pack a repair kit: duct tape, cable ties, bungees, and basic tools can fix virtually any broken or improperly secured storage situation in a pinch when you’re off-grid.

  • Share the load: if you’re camping with a crew, strategically divide and conquer packing duties so the burden is distributed across multiple people and rigs.

Final Thoughts

There you have it – a comprehensive brain dump of all the best camping storage strategies, solutions, and hacks to ensure a stress-free adventure for your next big trip.

Will it require some extra planning and effort upfront? For sure. But those few hours putting in the organizational work pay dividends once you’re actually out exploring nature without your gear in total disarray.

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