What to keep.. What to toss.

In case anyone else is looking for info about moving from a household of stuff to a camper, for whatever the reason, here are a few bits I’ve learned in the past weeks.

Some items you need:

These items are so essential they come before numbers…
Underwear and Socks – change them every day even if you wear the same shirt and jeans for a week straight.

1. a piece of silverware and a knife
– I have a titanium spork, originally made for camping. I also have a simple everyday sheath knife (homemade in my case as I used to make knives), and a pair of stainless steel chopsticks. Every thing else is too much.
I originally kept a fair amount of my silverware and utensils, then realized I had no place and no need for it.

2. A pot
– again I am using a piece of hiking gear from my previous life. But if you don’t have any then any small 5″ diameter saucepan will do. You can get simple pots with lids in the camping sections of walmart even. My pot is titanium and hangs next to my titanium spork.

3. “A” towel.
– I originally brought 3 traditional towels and my two hiking pack towels. What the heck are you going to do with 5 towels? And they take up a lot of room that would be better served storing your blankets during the day.

4. Toys
– seriously. What toy do you love the most, even if it isn’t pack friendly? For me, it was my soccer ball. Yes, it takes up a lot of room but it also makes a handy footrest when I’m sitting down typing on my iPad.

5. Bungie cords
– a whole pack of the multi-sized ones. Storing your gear in a small space means making the most of the vertical space as well. If you have corner braces available string a long bungie cord from corner to corner so you have a cord the length of each side. Then hang your pot, spork, lantern/flashlight, etc.

6. Carabiners or chain links.
– if you keep your eyes open you can find small inexpensive carabiners for sale almost anywhere. These are nice for things that you want to move from location to location. For items that you really only want to slide along one cord, you can use a chain link, oftentimes cheaper than the carabiners depending on your location.

7. A water “bucket”
– this is pretty open. I again am using something from my camping life, a Sea To Summit “Kitchen sink”. It’s just a 10 liter cloth leakproof bucket that I can hang or sit flat. this is used for almost everything. It holds my wash water when I want to bathe, it holds my fresh fruit when I buy it in the morning so the fruit isn’t at risk of being bruised, it holds my last bit of whatever I was doing from my hammock right before I drift off to sleep. This is a very important piece of equipment, get something that works well for you.

8. A water tank/carrier
– I originally started out with 5 or 6 one gallon jugs of water. This quickly became frustrating. The little tear off lids never sealed securely again once they’d been opened. There was no way to store them efficiently, ie. they took up a full 1/4 of the floor space available. I purchased a 7 gallon water tank from the local camping store. You can get very cheap ones for a few dollars or a very durable one for about 20 bucks. I bought a durable one because I need to carry enough water for me and my dog. Mine has a leakproof spigot on it, Ann air hole, and can sit up on one end taking less floor space. I fully expect it to last a good 5-6 years if not longer.

9. At least one sealable clear container
– this depends on how your space is organized and if you have cabinets built in. I don’t have cabinets. While most stuff can be put into bags or buckets there are a few things that you will want to keep in a sealed container so they don’t get lost, squished, or come into contact with something that they shouldn’t.

Then there are the things that are nice to have.
I won’t describe all of these, they run the gamut from $3 items to $300 items.
1. A solar panel / battery combination
– depending on how reliant (addicted) you are to modern communications there is nothing like having a solar powered battery to charge your small electronics and keep you connected with the world.
2. A citronella candle
– camping stores have the nice little candle lanterns that offer a citronella candle as well as a pure white light candle. or you can go to your local big box store and get a citronella bucket candle for a couple dollars.
3. Shelves with buckets screwed into place.
– I use the buckets for small tools and anchoring supplies, for clothes, one bucket on the highest shelf (waist high) holds the 3 or 4 library books I have checked out, another bucket holds the fuel canister for my camping stove. Some of these buckets have their lids on, some don’t.
4. A lantern, either battery powered or liquid fuel powered
5. A camping stove.
– while you can do just fine without hot water there are times when having some hot water makes life much more comfortable. Camping stoves have come a long way in the past few years. Mine is small enough that it fits inside of my little pot and doesn’t take up additional storage space.
6. Hanging pockets
– I’m not sure what thee are really called. I’m a girl so had them for storing hosery. They work just as well storing underwear, and they hang from a rod or wire or cord, using vertical space instead of horizontal shelving space.

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1 Comment

  1. Microfiber towels? I found I couldn’t manage with less than two – three was better. (If I’d cut my hair off I could manage with one and a large washcloth) The micro towels, one washcloth and the silk sleepsack all fit in a 6x9x1″ pouch. If I can find the spare sleepsack you want it? Takes no space, feels indulgent, washes and dries in mere moments.


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