So you’ve just returned from your camping trip, and you have all kinds of gear and camping specific clothing to unpack and put away. But where does it all go? You can store your camping gear in even the smallest of spaces with a few innovative and well-planned storage solutions. You just need to choose the right place in your home and choose a storage system.
Choosing the Right Place
Before you even go camping, you should choose the right place for your camping gear. Here in the USA, it is common to use extra garage space, closet space, or basement space. If you are limited on space, you will need to find the area of your home that provides the most space possible, and then choose a storage system that does not overwhelm that space.
For example, when I lived in my apartment in Texas, I had an exterior storage closet which I used to store all of my outdoor gear. It was quite a tight fit, but I made it work by using appropriate storage systems. In some instances, you may find that most of your camping items belong in a basement or garage, while some of them will belong in your closet. While I personally recommend keeping all of your camping gear together, you need to determine what will work best for you.
Choose a Storage System
A storage system, simply put, is your universal method of storing your camping gear (or anything for that matter). You might use only one storage system, or you might use multiple. Either way, if you stick to your storage systems, you will find that you are much more organized.
Clear bins work well to store items. You can see all or most of the contents from the outside, if you are ever unsure of what is on the inside. I like to keep a master list, which labels the contents of each bin. It is important, if you do this, to make sure that things are returned to the appropriate bins as well. Otherwise, your master list will be useless. These can be stored on shelves, or stacked on their own.
If you plan correctly, you will have perfectly packed bins for whatever your needs may be. For example, a camp kitchen bin, a camp toiletries bin, a car camping bin, a camp clothing bin, etc.
If you car camp more than you backpack, using plastic drawer space is ideal for storing your items. This way you can pack up three separate “bins” at once through the use of a plastic drawer set. These are also easily stackable to optimize your in-home storage space.
If you have tools that you use regularly both at home and camping, you can have designated garage drawers for these items. This will ensure that they are always where you need them when you need them. I don’t really recommend using your camping gear for your home equipment, but if you don’t want to splurge on duplicates of the same items, you don’t have to.
Pegboards are great to hang in garages, storage closets, and basements. They aren’t visually appealing, so you may want to keep them out of your personal closets and living spaces (unless you just don’t care). These are functional to hang all kinds of items from axes to knives and even sleeping bags. Pegboards are great use of space when you are already short on space.
Shelves are the obvious solution. Take your shelves to the next level by combining shelves and bins with a master list. We store most of our camping gear on shelves, in bins, or on pegboards in our garage. It just makes the most sense for us. And that is what is all about: sensible solutions. If our solutions don’t make sense for you, use what solutions DO make sense for you.
Hanging racks mean two different things to my husband and me, so I will share both with you today. Hanging racks, to me, are places that you hang clothing. And if you are looking for a camping clothing storage solution, there are portable, rolling hanging racks that you can place in your garage, your storage unit, or your basement.
To my husband, hanging racks are ceiling bins or canopies to hold items. These are great if you are short on space! You can optimize the space by using every inch of it, from floor to ceiling.
Storing Specific Camping Items
Camping chairs fold up nicely and should be easily stored in whatever space you decide to use. Since we stick ours in the garage and they are prone to dust collection, we often “store” our tarp over top of them, so that the tarp collects the dust and not the chairs. You could also hang these from pegboards, or make your own rounded wall rack out of PVC pipes to place your camping chair bags.
Tents should be dried completely before storing, and should never be stored in a tight space. This puts unnecessary stress on your tent fabric. Consider rolling the tent up and placing it inside of a large pillowcase. Avoid folding it, packing it up too tightly, or packing it in hot or humid places.
We have different bags for different kinds of camping trips. The best bag storage technique that we have ever used is simply to store them within one another, kind of like the way that bulky luggage sets come. We have a large duffel bag that acts as a home to all of our other bags. Although most of our camping items are in the garage, this bag of bags stays in our closet. Since we have to pack our private clothing in there, I feel that keeping them in the closet is cleaner.
You might also find that it is better to leave bags packed. If you backpack often, consider using your backpack as your storage unit, and keep that thing nicely packed for your next trip. You can just throw it over your shoulder and go.
Most people just hang their camping clothes among their regular clothes. But if you find that you literally never wear them unless you are camping, you might consider using a compression bag to keep them in. After you return from your camping trip, launder your clothes as normal. Then pack them away inside of a compression bag and forget about them until the next trip. You will already be packed and ready.
Camping kitchens seem impossible to store. Do you bring it all back into the kitchen and then pack it all up again on your next trip? Do you leave it sitting out in a garage or a basement to get dirty or dusty? If you have a camp kitchen chuck box, then storage is easy. You will simply clean the items, close up the box, and place it in your designated storage location. I can’t praise the chuck box enough if you aren’t backpacking. It is a convenient holder for everything you could need while camping.
But if you don’t have a chuck box, plastic bins will do the trick. I don’t recommend bringing everything back into your home kitchen. If you have perishable items, absolutely bring them in, but everything else should stay somewhere easily accessible. This will make your next camping trip a breeze.
Sleeping bags can be rolled up and stored in their original bags. But if you’re like me, you hate trying to stuff a sleeping bag in that tiny little nylon bag they provided. You could also hang them in your closet or on a pegboard. We store our sleeping bags inside of pillowcases, just like our tents. I don’t have to wrestle it into a small bag, and I don’t have to look at it every time I walk into my closet. That’s a win for me.
We only have a handful of tarps and we actually just “store” them by throwing them over top of our other camping gear. It keeps everything underneath from getting super dirty and dusty in our garage. But if you have quite a few tarps, or you don’t like the aesthetic of tarps laying over all of your things, you can fold them up and place them in a bin or on a shelf. Or, if you are my husband, you can just crumple it into a ball and place it on the shelf. Same thing, really.
Just like camping, storage solutions are a very personalized experience. You know best what kind of space you have to keep your camping items. If you find yourself extremely tight on space, consider buying less camping gear, or selling some of the things you don’t use as much. If you find it hard to part ways with your camping items, and you are still short on space, you might even consider purchasing a small storage unit just for your camping gear.
Are you struggling to store something that we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments and we will get back with you!
Start storing your camping gear at home the correct way with the help of these little useful tips.