We’ve been honing our family camping trip Checklist for a few years now. Some of the stuff on this list resides permanently in the cabinets in the Vanagon so I simply run out to the van and check supplies before we leave. Other items are stored in easy-to-locate plastic bins in the basement.
No matter how often we check and double check the list before heading out camping, we always find that we’ve either left something at home or get to the campground and realize we need to add something to the list. Even with these oversights, we come back alive and generally happier than before we left. So think of the list as more of a guide than a “must bring or you’ll die” kind of document.
Also note that we keep a separate list for food items (hint: first two items on that list are Wine and Beer), I will post an example when I can dig one up.
As you can see from the picture above, we sometimes bring a small two-man tent to set up at the campsite. This isn’t for sleeping in. Instead, if we’re going to be at a campground for a couple of days, we’ll keep bulky items in (sleeping bags, etc.) in the two-man tent so that if we want to explore the area by van, we can drive around without the van being packed full of stuff.