Whether you’re on a holiday or living on the road, the amount of gear needed for a caravanning or camping trip can very quickly add up. There’s sleeping gear, cooking gear, adventure gear, emergency gear, as well as personal items such as clothes and toiletries.
Whilst camping might be considered a simple way of holidaying or living, things change as you start to play a Tetris-like game of fitting it all in!
Tubs become your new best friend when caravanning or camping, especially with 3 boys!
Smart packing and storage can make a massive difference to your trip. A place for everything, and everything in its place. A neat and organised space means you can spend more time exploring or relaxing, and when you need to reach for something, you’ll know exactly where it is. So, here are our 7 caravan storage tips for life on the go.
Before you hit the open road, have a think about what you really need to take with you and how it all might fit in.
1. Only take what you need
This one might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how those ‘just in case’ items add up. It’s a popular belief that when caravanning or camping that every item must be dual purpose, and this certainly helps a lot when you’re trying to cut down what you’ll take in your caravan or camper.
Lay out all the items you need, then aim to halve the lot! Do you really need that backup bottle opener or extra saucepan?
We used to try to take it all, but we soon learnt getting it in the first time doesn’t mean it will fit on the way back!
2. Organise your gear into categories
You want to be able to locate your items as quickly as possible when you need them. Grouping them into categories for storage means you know exactly where something will be. Consider your kitchen, bathroom, clothes, shoes, sporting gear, tools and technology.
Next, think about how these might be best stored. This will depend on your set up and might include tubs, cupboard space, drawers, bags or space in the car.
We live full time in our van with 3 children. We have a stationary and school accessories cupboard sorted out into easily accessed tubs.
3. Tubs are your best friend
When you’re travelling in the camper or caravan, you want everything to be secure so it won’t roll or rattle around. If you are camping in a camper trailer or tent, large waterproof tubs might be best. These can be packed into a trailer and then stacked to form part of a camp kitchen or even a bedside table. If you have cupboard space in a caravan, flexible tubs are brilliant as they mould into those awkward spaces.
Tubs are great for keeping items neat and organised and can be removed to find what you are looking for, fast. Even kids find tubs easy to use, as they don’t have to pull out everything, every time.
We use small tubs like these throughout the caravan. These are our bathroom and toiletries tubs, safe and secure.
4. Think about where you will keep your shoes
Shoes need to be treated separately to clothes. They can be bulky, and most likely, at some stage will be smelly! We’re a family of 5, living full time on the road, and pairs of shoes swiftly add up. Many people prefer to keep them outside the caravan or tent, as this keeps the floors clean and the odour out!
However, there is nothing worse than a missing shoe that was flung away or discarded at the door. This can also be a tripping hazard. Consider a tub to place shoes into, preferably with a lid to prevent unwanted bugs, or worse, slithery friends making your shoe into a cosy home overnight.
Limit the number of pairs of shoes, remembering that when camping, you will often live in your favourite pair of runners, sandals or thongs for the majority of a trip.
We have a shoe tub we keep by the caravan door. It also houses sporting equipment for easy access.
5. Setting up your outside space
A huge part of camping is spending time outside. Your outdoor living space is central to camping. Consider if you will set up an outdoor kitchen, dining or living area, and how you will use the space. If an outdoor kitchen is important, consider a portable pantry and washing up space.
These can also double as storage when travelling and can be made from tubs or other items you already have. Remember, every item needs more than one use! In a caravan, items may be stored securely beside, under or at the end of a bed, and taken outside upon arrival.
When we camp in tents we set up our gazebo as a camp kitchen. Everything lives in tubs making it easy to move around and secure from unwanted pests.
6. Don’t forget wall space in a caravan
Every nook is important when setting up an organised camping space. Walls are no exception. No, we’re not talking about an art or photo gallery (although that would be nice!). Walls are great for hanging hats, bags, remote controls, even brooms and mops. There are a huge amount of hooks, both screw in and removable stick on hooks, that can be used for almost any purpose. The limit really is your imagination!
Sticky Velcro is brilliant for remote controls and walkie talkies, keeping them secure whilst travelling. If your caravan came with a lot of keys, think about how you might store them on the walls for easy access.
Get creative, office supplies can be used to store technology and travel magazines. We have even used bicycle drink bottle holders next to the kid’s beds to prevent drink bottle spills. If there is a gap, use it!
We’ve never used so much Velcro! Remote controls, walkie talkies and a whole range of other items can be stuck to the walls to keep them in place, but readily accessed.
7. Be creative
There are lots of nooks and crannies in cars, caravans and campers. Think about wasted space and how you might be able to use it. You can also be creative with other items, like your bin bag.
Bin bags can be used as additional storage for things like grey water hoses. We use ours for that and taking out our rubbish when visiting free camps or national parks.
Storage for a camping trip is more about every item having a safe space to be kept, and less about keeping something ‘just in case’. Of course, emergency first aid and repair items are necessary, but when it comes to clothing, kitchen items and entertainment, only take (and keep) what you use regularly. Generally, we need less than we think.
Everything should have 2 uses. Yep, that’s our dishes tub and our awning pole currently in use as an ‘octopus retrieving system’.
8. Remove clutter
If you find yourself not using something, make a note to leave it out next time. If you are travelling long term, try to donate it if possible, or bin it if you have to. Carrying items that you are not using creates clutter and adds unnecessary weight.
Try to keep it simple when getting outdoors. Nothing beats a beer and a firepit at sunset!
9. Be flexible with your storage options over time
Your needs may change over time, so be flexible with your storage options too. Remember, camping is about simplifying, so reduce what you have, always keep it in its spot, and spend more time doing what you set out to do without hours of unnecessary tidying up.
If the boys keep catching whiting like this we can definitely cut down on the food we take along!
An organised space makes for a quick pack up and set up too, This means you have more time to get out and explore, sit down to read your favourite book…or have a sneaky sunset fish!
What are your great storage tips when caravanning or camping?
About the writer...
Hi, we’re the Todoing Family! We’re all about family travel and adventure, currently road tripping our way around Australia in a caravan. We’ve never caravanned before and are sharing our experience as we go. We’re a family of 5 with a big ‘to do’ list. Follow along on our adventures on our website, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube @todoingfamily