Are You Packing Too Much Gear?

The more you go camping, the better you understand what you need and what you don’t need to pack. You’ll ditch the camping pack list and instinctively know what to grab from your gear closet. It can take years of trial and error before you dial in your perfect camping setup, however. You may find yourself packing things that you never once touch during your camping trip. Here’s a tip to help you know if you’re packing too much gear.

Backpacking vs. car camping

You can overpack on a backpacking trip as well as a car camping trip. Of course, overpacking is a bigger deal when you’re hauling everything on your back for miles on end than it is when you drive right up to a campsite.

Generally speaking it’s OK to pack too much gear while car camping, but you really don’t want to carry unnecessary weight while you’re backpacking. The process to determine whether you’re overpacking is same for both car camping and backpacking, however.

Make a master packing list

Create a master packing list for car camping and a master packing list for backpacking. Put down absolutely everything that you realistically think you might want or need. Use these lists every time you pack for a camping trip.

Take a mental note of the things that you end up using while you’re camping. Don’t make a point to use things simply because you brought them. Just be aware of the things that you naturally use during the course of your camping trip.

When you get home and start unpacking from your trip, get your master packing list. Put a dot, star, smiley face, or whatever next to the items that you didn’t end up using, and tuck the list away for your next trip.

You want to repeat this process a few times, and then take a look at your master packing lists. If there are items that you consistently do not use, you can start removing these items from your list.

Obviously, there are a few items that should stay on the list even if you don’t use them. A first aid kit, emergency rain poncho, space blanket, and bear mace (if you’re in bear country) should make the packing list even if you don’t always have to use them.

While not a perfect system, using these check lists and removing gear is a good way to start paring down your pack list. Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for any outdoor gear, backpacking gear, or camping supplies in Northwest Arkansas!

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