Our NorCal/Oregon trip planning has been an exercise in packing skills, minimalism, and Dollar Tree recon missions. First, as mentioned in a previous post, we’re flying to Sacramento to pick up the RV. Second, the RV has NOTHING in it for gear – no plates, no pans, no sheets, nada. So we need to bring all the gear we need to have an enjoyable trip. Luckily we are flying Southwest so we will have 2 free checked bags each which is critical since we have the hiking backpacks that already take up 2 of our 4 bags. So now we’re down to 2 bags to bring all the rest – clothes for 2 adults and 2 babies for 10 days plus camping gear… this is doable, I promise.
We took a good hard look at our camp box and made some cuts so that we could get it down to a Tupperware roughly 12″x16″x8″. This container also doubles as our bathtub for the girls. Here’s what we were able to get in there:
Big ticket items that you don’t see are dishes and a larger pan to cook for 4 people. For those things, with space and luggage weight considerations, we decided to do a little recon trip to Dollar Tree to see what our options were. We were not disappointed. The frying pan we’ll probably need to get at Walmart or Target but there are so many gems to be found at the dollar store it isn’t even funny. We can get some cheap washcloths (that we know will get destroyed based on how dirty we expect the girls to get), we can get dishes, perfectly sized laundry detergent, single rolls of TP, single sponges, etc – I mean it is a holy grail for appropriately sized items for trips like this. And everything is a dollar which means we get maximum use for minimal investment. We decided that any items that are still in reasonable shape at the end of the trip, like plates or a frying pan, can be donated to the Salvation Army or Goodwill in Sacramento before we leave.
The camp box will go in a giant duffle for our 3rd piece of luggage. Also in this bag: a tablecloth since the girls have taken to throwing food and it’s easier to clean up a picnic table at a campsite when it’s covered in vinyl, compression pillows for me and Sean, tripod, camp table, hiking poles, sheets for the bed, water bottles for the girls, and last but definitely not least, their booster seats. We considered leaving them home but mealtimes are way more enjoyable and civilized with the girls contained so in the bag they go. With all of that covering our day to day, all that’s left is clothes.
We have been thinking about packing for this trip as if we are going backpacking in a sense. I know that seems kind of crazy based on the amount of stuff I just laid out above, but in reality I think we’re pretty close, minus the booster seats of course. We’ve tried to be really strategic about what clothes we are bringing and we are not fooling ourselves in regards to how many times we’ll probably have to wash the girls’ clothes. It’s just a balancing act when you’re tackling trips like this and you only have so much space.
We managed to pack all of clothes for 10 days (for 4 people) into a 40 liter backpack. Here’s what we’re bringing:
Wish us luck as we start our trip! We’ll be sure to let you know how all this planning plays out and if we packed enough, too much, or just enough…