Spontaneous Camping

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I made a last-minute decision to go camping over the weekend — spontaneous camping, as we like to call it. We had a wonderful time, but it could have been terrible if we hadn’t, in essence, planned our spontaneity.

Since camping can be time-consuming (and somewhat troublesome) to prepare for, we developed a system that enables us to leave last-minute without fear of leaving anything imperative behind. Instead of storing all our camping gear scattered about the attic or garage, we leave all our essential items in a Rubbermaid bin, so all we have to do is grab it and go. Our camp chairs and a small tent stay in the trunk of our car the whole season.

Once we’ve decided to go, we toss an extra set of clothes into a bag, grab our bin and sleeping bags, and we’re on the road in 10-15 minutes time. On our way out of town, we’ll pop into a grocery store for some food (and possibly water depending on where we’re headed). If you’re curious, here’s what we keep in our camping tote:

  1. Cooking and eating utensils (pot, pan, silverware, bowls, cups, etc.)
  2. Backpacking stove
  3. A deck of cards
  4. LED lantern
  5. Exchange-blade knife
  6. Multi-tool
  7. Frisbee
  8. Lighter/matches/fire starter
  9. Candles
  10. First-Aid/Emergency kit
  11. Toiletries
Even if you’re not prone to spontaneity, keeping things together and organized will be a real help for future trips. With less preparation and packing, you’ll have more time and energy to enjoy the experience.[Illustration:┬áNina Frenkel]
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