In those few days before a short trip or weeks leading up to a long trip, I find that the best way to get (and be!) prepared is to make lists.

I have three main lists that are critical to my camp preparedness:

  1. A “Camp Prep” list where we keep track of all the things we need to do to prep specifically for camping. This list is for things like: wash the camper, get the car tuned up, call and change that reservation, or check the kayak gear.
  2. A “Camp Meals” list where we keep track of meals we might want to eat while we’re away and list them by breakfast, lunch, dinner, ​and snacks. This list is super useful while you are actually camping too, to see what options you have when you are tired and hungry.
  3. A “Camp Checklist” where we keep track of all the gear we want to make sure we have with us. This is something we use in the day before as we pack to make sure everything made it into the car and camper. Buffs and warm socks can be easy to forget in the summer, but super useful when you get to somewhere chilly at night.

These three lists feed into other lists that I keep in life generally:

  • Errands
  • Groceries
  • Home Admin

If that Camp Prep list has something we need to pick up, I put it in my Errands list. And the Camp Meals is used to populate the grocery list and then becomes a checklist of its​ own. This method has really helped us to ensure that we get somewhere and have what we need so we can enjoy our time there rather than looking for places to buy things.

I use a combination of software for list making, but do most of it on my iPhone and iPad. The tools I use the most are Nozbe and Clear. Both allow you to sync lists across devices. Nozbe has more of a service and allows you to share lists with other people. This is great when we are trying to coordinate the “You do this. I’ll do that.” moments of getting ready to go.

But it doesn’t really matter where you do your list making, as long as you have a method for your madness and a way to check things off and reuse them the next time around!

And it doesn’t hurt to make a list while you are camping- a “For Next Time” list of the things you forget or need to fix or need to restock. It makes it a heck of a lot easier to write down “Restock baggies” at the moment you run out rather than having to remember later or forgetting them altogether on the next trip!