Always Prepared

I grew up in a very tiny house with seven sibling (and two parents).  The home has barely 1000 square feet. My mom was a genius. She packed a two year supply of food somewhere in that house. All the camping gear was always ready (or at least it seemed it was to me). She was very organized.  I remember after May 18, 1980, the day Mt. St. Helens blew up that she got even more organized.  I learned well from her that summer as we sorted, stacked, cleaned, repaired and got ready for whatever might come our way. My mom wanted our family to be ready to be able to pack the car in 10 minutes and be able to "live" for a while. We never tested it, but she taught me a few things.

Today we got home from a WONDERFUL three days at our family's little secret location: LONG BEACH, WASHINGTON. 

Sunset our first night!

Dang if this isn't the most beautiful place on earth!

We always stay at the Stake Park there in Ilwaco. The beach is but a minute walk from our camp site. The little town (which has seen better days) is a short five minute drive up 101--yes, highway 101! The best wind is right there and most of all we have no cell reception!  We actually have to talk to each other.

Side story: We ventured down to Cannon Beach, Oregon this year and while I was watching my kids play in the sand I noticed a couple sitting on a piece of drift wood. They both had their heads down looking at their cell phones the entire 15 minutes I watched them.  He NEVER looked at her. They NEVER talked. I can just hear their evening conversation now:

"What a day at the beach! The sun was so bright I could barely ready my twitter feed."

"I know!" she replies, "I wasn't quite sure if Mary posted a pictures of her husband's face or was it a picture of their new baby."

"Hey, but I got three stars in the latest Angry Bird!" as he fist bumps his wife and plugs in his phone before he turns off the light.

What a way to experience the beach!

But I digress. I'm posting this post because my friend Laurie wanted a follow up to my Facebook post that said this:

Just in case you really cared about what I'm doing today; Car unpacked, garage cleaned out (still need to do "dad's work bench--but I think I'll make him do that so he can't yell at me that something is in the wrong place), camping gear "stored" for four more weeks and my list is made to replenish what was used!

I make sure that I pack my camping gear so that all it takes is kids loading it into

the car and we are off! That way if we have to leave for whatever reason (Mt. Rainier, St. Helens, etc) then we can be out the door in ten minutes! GO BLANDING KIDS! YOU ROCK!

Kray, Mike, Matt, Chris & Jessie!

(Jason went to work so he missed out on the fun, camping and putting away.)

Now you are totally informed as to what I am doing!--feel better? I do (break's over anyway).

Laurie wanted to know what I did so here is it! 

First you need to know that our gear usually gets stored in our little shed, but since we are going on another family camping trip in four weeks I thought I would leave it in the garage. But it all fits in the left hand back corner of this shed. Christmas/Holiday to the right, camping to the left with yard tools and painting supplies in front. The painting supplies are out too because I'm supposed to paint the house this summer.


Our little shed with a big hole where our

camping gear belongs.

I put all the gear in Rubbermaid containers. I use the big ones for most everything, but have a small one as well. I've marked them all with silver duct tape so I know what is in them. See them stacked so nicely in my garage right now?

Stacked and ready for the next adventure.

I have seven containers right now. Here is the break down:

Box #1

Paper Products

: paper plates, plastic wear, bowls, cups, garbage bags, hot cocoa cups, paper towel, assorted zip lock bags, & salt and pepper.

I replenish this as soon as we get home so I don't even have to think about it. Just grab and load.

Box #2

Kitchen Supplies

: 2 dish pans, cups, dish rack, big pot, 2 scrubbers and dish soap.

I clean these when we get home and put them right back in. I also replace the scrubbers so they are clean & dry (they are still in their packaging). I have two because one if for my dutch oven and will not have soap in it. Dutch Ovens are porous and your food will taste like soap.

Box #3

Kitchen Supplies

: 3 griddles, pot & lid, 2 skillets, 3 cutting boards, roasting sticks, camp cups, table cloths, tin foil and utensils.

Again, I clean these right after we get home and restock. Don't ask why three griddles--I think they go on sale and I buy another just in case. My mom had a tub similar to this one. She called it her kitchen in a box. She wanted to be able to cook just about anything from it--and I can.

I've gotten to the point there I'm using my dutch oven so much that I might just leave most of this stuff home, but I'm chicken. Of course I will need my table cloths, utensils, cutting boards (maybe), tin foil and of course the utensils. 

Box #4


: Newspaper, broom, bugs spray, rain ponchos, sun screen, duct tape, rope, gloves (leather work kind), mallet, hammer, tools (basic screwdriver etc.), hatchet, matches, lighters, propane burner, and a FIRST AID kit.

This one is easy to clean out and replenish. I have two smaller containers--shoe box size--inside this box that hold the bug spray and sunscreen separate. I also slip the two long handled lighters in with the bug spray. I just replace the used newspaper and make sure the lights are OFF and throw in a pack or two of batteries.  And it should be noted that the lighter fluid is always in a ziploc bag.

Label on side of container. This is Box #4 out of 7.

If I don't have seven boxes in my trailer then I know I'm missing one!

The top of a box so you can see the wonderful labels.

Just sharpie and duct tape; handyman's secret weapon.

Box #5


: Chimney, Lid lifter, Lid rest, Lanterns, flashlights, Lighter fluid, newspaper, long oven gloves.

This is the only small one I have. I would love to add another chimney to this, but I've done so well with one that I might just stick with my one chimney dinners.

Label down the side.

I've labeled both sides and the top.

The label has everything that is in the box on it.

Box #6:


: Air mattresses and pump.

I have four air mattresses and a foot pump as well as a battery operated pump. I camp in style!

Box #7

Tarps & Stakes

: It has seven tarps of varying sizes and lots of tent stakes. There is also some rope--you always need rope.

I live in the NorthWET and you can NEVER count on the weather report. In fact for this last camping trip  we left Redmond with rain in the forecast for the whole week ~frown~. We only saw a few sprinkles while we were setting up and only white puffy clouds the rest of the week! We didn't even need to dry out our tents and tarps this year: they were dry when we broke camp!

Two 10 persons tents (boy and girl/parent tents) two dining flies and our propane stove.

My two tents, propane stove, two dining flies are always ready to be thrown in the car and go! Right now they are in the middle of my garage waiting for our next adventure in four weeks. There usual home is in the shed.

Enjoying a morning sunrise on North Head Light House.

We grab these seven boxes, our tents, personal stuff and some food and we are off. Maybe in my next post I will tell how to make cooking while camping EASY and you still have GREAT food!