"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Organize My Tent

Obviously, with all of this snow and ice on the ground, I just can't stop thinking about...Mexico.

While I'm not usually very organized, one thing I'm very good about is thinking about planning. After all, we have only four short months left until our mission trip [gasp]. While some mission trips involve staying in local hotels or dormitories with flushing toilets and such, ours will be spent living in a tent just a short walk from that hole in the ground called a "baƱo."

In order to make this the most pleasant experience possible for our whole family--three of whom have not been on this particular kind of trip--I'm trying very hard to think of anything to improve our quality of life. We have a huge tent to fit us all, and we also have a couple of air mattresses; one of them actually folds to be a couch with arms and all...cool.

What I'm looking for now are ideas for organization and storage. We can fit 6 people in this tent, but when I think about 6 suitcases and everyone's dirty clothes and clean clothes, I shudder.

If anyone out there has experience with tent organization or cheap, light-weight solutions, I'm all ears.


javamamma said...

I'm interested to read other's thoughts. We're not really camping sorta folks but organization is the thrill of my life!

mom huebert said...

This question has "scope for imagination." Makes me want to go camping again!

We are a family of six, and we go camping fairly regularly. However, we usually have at least three tents for the six of us, which doesn't necessarily give us lots more room, but it does keep the disorganization in smaller areas.

For what it's worth, here's what we do: each person gets one med/large backpack and a "shower bag" (with everything you need for the shower house, including an "absorber" for a towel). Each person also has a large plastic bag. Dirty clothes go in the bag, in the backpack, and everything that came in the backpack stays in the backpack when not in use.

Also, when living in a tent like that, it's nice to have all the sleeping bags laid out straight and smooth when you're not sleeping. It feels so much tidier. If you need the living space, you can just roll everything up for the day.

I guess it boils down to this: Don't bring too much stuff, and keep it all put away.

(We're actually pretty good at this. We can even pack everything our family of six needs for a week of camping --including food and cooking supplies-- in a minivan!)

keeperathome44 said...

I don't camp (tried it once...it didn't agree with me) but I do have a suggestion.

pack everyones daily clothes (shorts, shirt, unmentionables) in large ziplock bags. (one bag per person per day) and then put all the dirty clothes in plastic bags (until you load them back up in your suitcases at the end). That way, errant clothes don't get dirty and it's a quick change in the morning.
enjoy the bano!

Renae ( a virtual but wannabe real friend of your wifes)

Tessa said...

Ooh ooh! Organization? My obsession! And, I happened to also be an "experienced Mexico FamilyCamper"! So, if you aren't already planning on this one, here's a tip I learned after our first year out there...

If you have available corners/rooms in your tent, designate one as the "dressing room" where clean clothes live in Ziploc bags. Designate another as the "laundry room" where dirty clothes live, also in Ziploc bags. Keeping these two separated helps not only organize your stuff, but also helps with crowd control inside the tent! I would advise, however, that the "dressing room" NOT be by windows that could be mistakenly left unzipped!

Anonymous said...

I worked for a summer camp where there was a group who always did a Boundary Waters Canoe Trip....very rustic.

Plastic bags are good, and those space bags are better. There are some that you can actually roll up to squeeze out the air so you don't need a vac. to pull out the air.

I would also take along a bag that you can dump all the "no-way-that-I'm-wearing-that-again-until-it-can-be-put-in-the-wash" bag. Maybe a duffle (and I would also toss in some dryer sheets to help keep down the smellies!)?

To make the trip comfortable, having the kiddo's (and adults) bring their own pillow does the trick. Depending on the size of your air mattress, your own sheets from home work. And I would also suggest unzipping the sleeping bag. It will make it feel more like a bed (I promise!).

I would also include a small broom and dustpan. Let's face it--dirt will be everywhere and the more you can brush it out will make it more comfy.

Good luck!

Cindy@Still His Girl said...

If it would save space, I could stay back. You could take the four kids and I could stay here for a quiet ten days ALL BY MYSELF. Just think of all the STUFF you wouldn't have to have crammed in there.

Anonymous said...

As a mom and grandmom of campers, and participant in primitive missions trips, I would suggest letting the girls practice "using a bano" in the privacy of their home (or backyard) so there aren't any horrifically embarassing incidents at camp. And Ziplocs are fantastic as is NOT TOO MUCH STUFF!

Big Doofus said...

Are you making all of your own images now? If so, they look really cool.

I don't know much about tents. Just make sure you have a place to pug in the air conditioner and find a good level place for the TV.

Tim said...

As you may know from our camping blogs, we have a wealth of experience to offer in this area.

One thing we really appreciated was the Dome Tent Light, very convenient for getting everyone settled and/or doing any reading.

It is nice if your tent has little pockets on the side to keep stuff, like ours does. If yours isn't as cool as ours, feel free to drop by and borrow ours on your way to Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can only bring those clothes and things you don't mind leaving. So instead of bringing back bags of dirty clothes, give them to the people there. Maybe they can wash them and wouldn't mind keeping them??? I am going to post this anonymous in case you think it's a dumb idea.lol

Scott said...

The idea to leave clothes behind is a great one. Our group does that each year, but I usually forget to take that into account in advance when I pack my "favorite" work clothes. I will remember this year! Perhaps stuff that we were getting ready to truck over to Goodwill we can save to be a wardrobe for this trip. Thanks.

All these ideas are great, by the way, especially Big Doofus's. I wouldn't have thought of leveling a spot for the TV.