Labor Day weekend. 5 minutes prior we pulled into the parking lot at the ‘Bread Loaves’ area in City of Rocks National Reserve. The kids were running everywhere, climbing the rocks, throwing the rocks, and generally gleeful to be out of the car.
The moms and I made a collective sigh and huddled up to talk about the not so easy task of getting there with all our gear, all our kids, and all of our brains intact! Recently I took a survey of a few moms I know asking what the hardest part was about having kids and getting outdoors. Overwhelmingly the response was, “getting out the door with all the STUFF.”
As we sat around looking at white granite towering to the east of us, we began talking about just this subject. Here are some tips I receive and some I gave:
- The “packing list”: One mom (or maybe a couple) have their packing lists saved on their computer so they can print it off before every trip and start the packing. No more brainstorming, no more forgetting (unless it never was put on the list). Honestly, I was thinking, why have I never thought of that before?!?
- Gear bins: Pre-pack your gear bins. We have camping bins. One for all cooking related items, one for sleeping gear/headlamps/batteries/etc. They are stored that way in the garage and packed that way when we leave. Simply toss them in the car and most the stuff is packed. On a larger scale, thanks to my parents, we now own a little trailer that houses our camping/outdoor gear. We can simply hook it up and go, with very little sorting and stowing.
- Pre-packed bags: Similar to the bins, in bag form. For example, we have a large Solomon gear bag for our helmets, mittens, goggles, and hats (and kids boots, now that they were forgotten once). Next to it on the shelf in the garage are all the boots, skis and poles. When it is time to ski-we get everyone dressed (this is hard enough), toss in the boots, the skis, and the bag…and we are gone.
- The stash: On short trips we tend to forget 2 significant things. Snacks…and water. This last summer we stowed a gallon jug of water and a Costco box of granola bars/fruit snacks in the back end of the Xterra. It has saved us numerous times and is one less thing to worry about on the way out the door.