The next post in the HOW series discusses the packing strategy for a recent trip that was destined to involve a lot of stuff – beach camping with a paddleboard, bikes and toddlers. We traveled overnight to Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys and experienced beautiful weather from 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night to about 80 during the day. It was near impossible to lighten the load with this many activities planned, but we made an attempt and have a few tips to share with you. Enjoy!
Set Limits: For each activity that we planned for, we set a limit to how much we could pack. For sleeping, we had one large bag to fit our bedding, pillows and air mattresses. For cooking, we limited ourselves to one large bin. For eating, it was one cooler. Our clothing for the family was limited to one dry bag. This strategy put a limit on how much we could pack from the start, and we did a good job of staying within these limits. With these limits set, we had room to pack the items we took along for fun – a paddleboard and bikes for the family.
Get Creative: We were extremely creative in our packing to bring what we needed without taking on too much of a load. For example, we used the pockets in our backpack beach chairs to bring along a water hose and some beach toys. The boys even used the back of the truck cab as a tent so we didn’t have to bring along a larger tent (and so the baby could go to sleep without being disturbed by her brother!). Overall, we used all available space and options to maximize efficiency in our packing.
Avoid Duplicates: Since we were traveling with another family, we worked together to avoid bringing duplicates. This was especially helpful when packing kitchen supplies and food.
Pack UltraLight Items: We brought along many of our ultralight travel items with the most useful being our pretty awesome light Turkish towels. We are looking forward to expanding our supplies in this area and expect our next camping trip will be filled with even more ultralight items!
Use What You Have: We try not to buy camping specific supplies, but rather bring along what we already use and own – pillows/blankets replace sleeping bags and we use supplies from our home kitchen for cooking and eating. This helps to streamline our packing and keep our home minimal. As already mentioned, we are working on replacing items in our home with more efficient ones, and then use these items for our camping and other trips as well.
Easy Meals: Obvious but worth mentioning – if you plan for easy meals, you won’t need as many supplies. We stuck to hot dogs for dinner, smores for dessert, bagels for breakfast, and lots of easy and healthy snacks to balance out the camping treats!
Don’t Pack What You Don’t Need: As we do for all trips, we seriously evaluated each item’s use and only packed what we knew we would need. We monitored the weather and planned for our activities. A good example is that we all wore our beach gear on the drive down to the Keys so that we would only need to pack sleep clothing and outfits for the next day. We only packed the kitchen supplies needed for the meals we planned. Planning ahead always helps when your goal is to pack ultralight!
Stay tuned as we evolve in our travels and packing philosophy! Please comment with your tips and experiences so we can all learn together.
Happy (and Light) Travels!