Whenever you head on an adventure into the outdoors, whether you like it or not, it’s going to be a communal experience. Whether you’re travelling with family or friends, sharing a site with your neighbours, or visiting an isolated spot that someone else will eventually occupy – there is always a sense of community in the outdoors. This sense of community is what allows us to create memories that last a lifetime, which is why it’s important to ensure that we leave spaces as we found them – ready for the next person who comes across it.
It’s not a pleasant experience for anyone when there’s rubbish left at the campsite, when toilets haven’t been packed down properly, or when campfires are left full of glass, tin and foil – and it makes it really hard for the next set of campers to have a great start.
As a camping nation, when it comes to packing down – we’ve got to make sure we work together to get it right! With that in mind, here are 5 tips for packing up properly at the end of your trip.
Take your time packing up, and clearing up your campsite – that way you can get it done right!
1. Be conscious of time
You’ve had a great time camping, and sadly the time has arrived to either move on or go home. While you want to avoid the thought of pack up for as long as possible, it’s important you give yourself enough time to ensure you don’t rush.
Rushing only results in mistakes…you get into the car, ready to drive off and then it hits you, your keys are still in the tent pocket, which is packed up in its bag – which is buried at the bottom of your trailer! Not taking your time can also result in breaking things – snapping your tent poles because you’re deconstructing them the wrong way to get home faster is not ideal. Or, you go to use that expensive torch you bought and find that actually, you can’t – because you left it at the campsite!
Not only is your time important to consider, but so is the time of others. Many people love to get an early start on the journey home which is no problem – unless you involve everyone in the process. Nobody likes being woken up to the sounds of people packing up, especially when it involves sounds of pots crashing into each other or cursing because the tent won’t fit into the bag. If you’re leaving super early, start packing the night before – so that your morning efforts are minimal and will cause the least disturbance.
2. Take your rubbish with you
The idea of dealing with your own rubbish properly seems obvious and straightforward, but sadly in my experience, it quite frequently isn’t. The approach is simple – what you bring into your campsite, you need to take home with you. Having a bag of smelly garbage in your car isn’t pleasant, however – it is a part of camping. If you’re lucky enough to camp where bins are provided then feel free to use these, but once they’re full… the responsibility is on you to deal with your rubbish, not the people who placed the bins there.
Please don’t be that person who leaves rubbish next to a bin. Please also don’t be that person who buries rubbish either. Rubbish attracts animals, and even if it’s buried – they will still smell it out and dig it up, which results in a rubbish strewn campsite. Not only is this something unpleasant to come across, it can also result in bad habits for the local wildlife.
There’s nothing better than a roaring campfire, but make sure you take the steps to clear it out.
3. Clear your campfire
Dealing with your campfire is not only important for your fellow campers but the entire community more broadly. The simple reality is that a badly managed fire has severe consequences.
When it comes time to depart, ensure that your campfire is completely extinguished (even the embers that aren’t glowing). If you have any fluids left over that you don’t need for the journey home, pour it over the campfire. If extra water isn’t available, then you can suffocate it by turning dirt over onto the campfire. If there are no other options available, find water from a source close by to extinguish the campfire. Even once you think the campfire is extinguished, throw another splash or turn another shovel of dirt just to be sure – there is no harm in double checking!
Once you’ve extinguished your fire, also ensure that you’ve left no rubbish in the fire pit. While we discourage you from trying to burn glass, tin, or foil – if you do choose to do so, ensure these are pulled from the ashes and placed in your rubbish bag before departing. Like rubbish in general, nobody appreciates coming across a fire pit full of dangerous debris.
4. Clean your gear at the campsite to avoid double handling
Naturally, you’re probably tired toward the end of your camping trip, and the thought of getting home to a hot shower and your own bed is becoming more appealing by the moment. But, you can’t be complacent when it comes to packing down your gear!
You’ve paid good money for quality equipment (hopefully at Snowys) and to maintain it’s quality, you need to take good care of it. The best thing to do is to start this process at the campsite to limit the amount of double handling you’ll need to do once you get home. It doesn’t require a whole cleaning cupboard, but you can do the little things like shaking out the dirt, drying out your gear, and washing your cutlery and crockery before you hit the road.
That way when you get home, you now only need to do take care of the small tasks, rather than starting everything from scratch.
Note everything down – this way you can plan for your next adventure!
5. Keep a list to make next time better
During your camping adventure and especially during pack down, you’ll undoubtedly remember things you’ve forgotten, come up with ideas on how to make improvements, or discover your gear needs repairing or replacing.
Take the stress out of all of this by having a sheet of paper or notebook handy, so you can record all these notes before you forget. That way you can get everything sorted before your next adventure.
This is especially important if you need to repair or replace any equipment, as sometimes spare parts can take some time to source, or new products may take a while to get used to.
Give yourself the peace of mind that when the next adventure calls, you have prepared and organised yourself better than your last trip, and you’ll be ready to hit the road again!
Are you a master of leaving no trace? Let us in on your best packing tips below.