You can pack a lot of items to take camping and before you know it you are practically taking the whole house with you. In that case I’d rather just stay home. Through trial and error I’ve found that I take a whole lot less than what I used to. The biggest reason is because I pack things that I can use in a variety of different ways.
My cutting board is quite large. While I can cut up just about anything on it, including a watermelon, I also use it to cover the sink in the trailer to give me more counter space when I’m cooking as well as to set on top of the stove to hold my dish drainer while I do the dishes.
The big tote holds our pillows and bedding for the trailer. On a long trip we use it as a bathtub and then on the last day we load it up with all the dirty laundry for the ride home. It makes it super easy to haul all that into the house too when we get home. Once the laundry is done I clean the tote and re-pack the bedding, then stick it back into the trailer. Keeps everything neat and dust free until we need it again.
My big vintage dishpan was a $3 thrift store find quite some time ago. I was thrilled when I found it. I use it to transport breads in. Once we get to camp I unload it and set up our “Sanitation Station”. I love having it ready for anytime someone needs to wash up. I hang a hand towel on one handle and set it on a small folding patio table next to the trailer. A milk jug of wash water is at the ready along with soap in a pump. I like that the milk jug, when set in the sun, allows the water to get nice and warm.
Frozen milk jugs are great for cheap ice plus as they thaw you don’t get much water in the cooler other than what occurs from condensation. The water will also make great drinking water if you run out. The milk jugs can be refilled and frozen time and again so they are recycled before they are recycled. They fit in the freezer nicely and I think they last longer than a purchased block of ice.
A big pan can be used to cook with, heat wash water and be used as an extra dishpan if you need one. A five gallon bucket not only can haul firewood, tools, rope or just about anything you throw in it but is also much needed for hauling water. You can even buy a snap on toilet seat and make your own port-a-potty. I do think if I used one as a port-a-potty that would be its use exclusively, however.
Use a food safe bucket for hauling water if you plan to drink it.
Snap on toilet seat and lid fits on a five gallon bucket for a port-a-potty.Shower curtain liners from the dollar store are a fantastic and thrifty investment. They are thick enough to use as a tarp or a rain fly for a tent. I love to use one as a table cloth on a picnic table. They hold up great and are the right size to cover the table completely. You can use it to cover your firewood or lawn chairs if it rains. They make a great shade cloth or wind breaker too.
Clothespins do more than just hang up your clothes. They’ll help you put up your shade cloth or wind breaker, clip an open bag of chips, make a nice improvised clamp and help you post a note on the tent if you need to. They also work well to secure the shower curtain at the corners of the table to keep it from blowing off.
Duct tape – need I say more? Charcoal lighter will take pitch off your hands. You can make a toothpick out of a matchstick. Bacon grease makes a great fire starter. Trash bags can be made into rain ponchos. I could go on and on but I guess I’ll stop for now.
Do you have any great tips to share? If so I’d love to hear them.