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Packing up camp to get on the road is always a chore, but it doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming with a teardrop.  It helps if you’ve stayed relatively organized along the way and there is still a place to put everything that has to be tucked away. But likely you’ve bought a few new pieces of gear or some souvenirs or something just doesn’t pack as tight as it did on the way out the door.

And if you’ve left yourself with that classic morning of: must do, must eat breakfast, must shower, must pack camp, MUST GET OUT BY CHECKOUT AT 11 AM!! Don’t beat yourself up. Look around. There are at least a dozen other campers running the same fire drill and it is rare the camp that would fine you for being a few minutes late. And if you are like us, you pay for an extra night (at least where the camps are only $20) and don’t push yourself too hard.

Here are some tips for making this all easier (and less stressful):

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The day before you leave: 
  • Tidy up the items in the car, but don’t go crazy repacking unless things are really tight
  • Buy your last bag of ice and tidy up the cooler
  • Tidy up your clothes bag and pick out outfits for the last night/day home
The night before you leave:
  • Tuck away what you can- lights and any gear you won’t need in the morning
  • Burn as much of your firewood as you can and identify what you will do with the rest (take it? Leave it with a neighbor camper?)
  • Check the weather and decide whether to hang out things to dry or tuck them in the car
  • Don’t bother with doing dishes- pack them to take home and wash

The morning you are leaving:
  • The tidy this morning is about not just cleaning camp, but noting what you need for breakfast and packing other things
  • Prep whatever you might need for snacks or lunch on the way home
  • Consider whether the shower time is worth it- you might want one to feel better, you might just want to wipe down and get home to your own shower
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Spend some time savoring camp and taking pics to remember this site and place
  • Make the bed and tuck away things in the camper
  • Roll up the rugs and put them back in their bag
  • Pack up the bug gear
  • Pack up the chairs
  • Pack the fire tools
  • Pack the little tables
  • Pack the shade/rain shelter
  • Pack the tablecloth last- it gives you a good surface to fold and prep things
  • Be sure to shake the bugs loose from everything- those spiders don’t need to come home with you!
  • Pick up any stray trash on the ground, even if it didn’t come from you
  • Prep your trash to take to the trash area on the way out
  • Give away your firewood if that was your plan or pack it safely so it doesn’t get tossed around
  • Hitch up the camper
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As you finish packing- check for things: 
  • Don’t forget to take down your camp sign (it’s terrible to lose these!)
  • Did you get the clotheslines? (we’ve lost a few in our time)
  • Did you close and lock the ceiling fan and the screens on the camper doors?
  • Is the camper locked up?
  • Are the blocks tucked away?
  • Is the camper properly hitched?
  • As you check the taillights on the camper, check to make sure nothing else was left
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As campers and hikers like to say, “take only pictures, leave only footprints”. Leaving a clean camp is a great service to the camp workers and the next campers.

And now get on the road! Your next campsite (or home!) is waiting.