Camping Bins - Part II: The Everything Else Bin
In a previous post we talked about how having a few pre-packed camping bins makes the camping experience that much more achievable for even a short weekend. These bins should always contain the essentials no matter if they are packed at home and waiting for the next adventure or getting unpacked at the campground. The items in these bins should be for camping purposes only and not unpacked when brought home. If you have not already, take a moment to read the post about the 10 items we recommend putting in your Kitchen Bin – please take the time to read it – it is a lifesaver for our family!
It is important to keep these bins to the essentials and not pack things that will only get used on every other trip or "only if" situations. You can always bring those extra items along if you feel so inclined, but the bins themselves should only carry what you would use for a weekend to week-long trip. They should contain nothing that will go unused.
In this post we will run down the top ten items to store in your Everything Else Bin. This is not your kitchen bin or your bedding bin, nor does it include the items you would use to entertain yourself while camping, such as fishing gear or games. These are the essentials to make sure your trip is comfortable.
1. A Stack of Rags
Paper towel is great, but a stack of rags will serve you for longer and do a better job. Being able to wash your dishes, hands and face, wipe a picnic table down or dust off items, a stack of rags will get the job done all day long! Remember, this is one item that will definitely need replenishing after each trip! Though it would ruin the ‘Top Ten’ idea. I would still recommend carrying a roll of paper towel!
2. A Lantern
We prefer to keep a lantern on our picnic table when camping rather than relying on headlamps or flashlights. Lanterns light up a broader area of the campsite and provide a nicer glow of ambiance for the experience, though I would also throw in a good Headlamp or Flashlight under this category as well (remember to pack one for each member of the family). If you opt for items that take sources of power, such as fuel or batteries, carrying backup fuel and batteries is a must.
3. A Knife Sharpener
A knife will not be included in this list as we have included a kitchen knife in the Kitchen Bin post, we would also assume you carry a knife on your person and/or in your pack. Check out Good2GoCo for a great selection of Knives. This would mean that you need a way to sharpen them! Keep a small sharpening stone or preferred sharpening system in your Everything Else Bin to keep those blades tight! Sharpening knives is also a great camping activity! Our knives and chainsaws usually receive a little bit of TLC while we are relaxing in the bush.
4. Disinfectant wipes/Baby wipes
Toilet paper could also be considered for this category, but if I had to choose between carrying toilet paper and baby wipes I’d choose baby wipes. Being able to wipe your hands, face and feet down makes a huge difference when camping for more than two nights! Baby wipes also keep moist for a long time and can be purchased in resealable bags containers.
Keeping a decent length of rope in your camping bin will save the day when putting up a tarp, hanging a clothing line, tying down a tent, or countless other small tasks. You may be the type of person to keep rope in your vehicle or with your tent or gear but having a variety of rope on hand will prove to be useful! If you do store rope in other places, choose a rope for your bin that is a different variety assuring you options when the time comes. Check out Good2GoCo for varying lengths of Paracord. Paracord is a great type of cording for your outdoor adventures. It is lightweight and durable!
6. Garbage Bags
Another often forgotten item! It could be a few grocery bags or kitchen bags, but we recommend keeping a small roll of large black garbage bags (the big ones!) on hand. Even if it is just to toss the laundry in at the end of the trip, having a few large garbage bags on hand has always proven to be useful.
7. Toiletry Bag/First Aid Kit
You might think this is something to get packed along with your clothing, but how often have you gone on a trip only to realize you brought toothpaste but no toothbrush. Having a toiletry bag in your camping bin at all times will assure you never leave without these essential items! Again, this is an area that can get out of hand, but bringing just the basics of a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand lotion, a bar of soap, lip balm, tweezers (for slivers and the like) and nail clippers may just save the trip! Please check out our Survival section for first aid kits and other accessories that could be added to your bin!
8. Bug Spray
Choose your weapon, citronella candles, aerosol cans, or thermo cells. Bug spray is the very worst thing to leave behind! You may also opt for carrying a bug net as well. Lots of people attack insects in different ways, all claiming to have the best method, so pack whatever makes sense for you and the areas you camp in. Good2GoCo carries a line of Bug Armor socks which provide ankle and lower leg protection from mosquitos and ticks.
9. Dish Soap
An obvious but also overlooked item. Purchasing a medium sized bottle of dish soap to store in your bin may not only save the day with dishes, but also with hand washing and face washing. Some brands of dish soap can be harsh on skin so consider choosing a dish soap that is more sensitive on the skin so you can use it for multiple purposes.
Choose a washbasin that will fit nicely in the bottom of your camping bin. This way it can be filled with items and not take up too much room when packing. This bin can be used for dishes, personal clean up, or carrying water from a source. Choosing a metal one means you can pop it over the fire to heat it up, or choose a plastic one to keep the camping bin weight down. A basin can also come in handy when putting the fire out at the end of the trip!
The purpose of maintaining these bins is to keep camping seamless, making sure no important items are left behind. Check the inventory of the bins when you are packing up at camp to make sure nothing is running low. We usually make a running list on a phone of anything we are missing or anything that is running low, such as toothpaste or dish soap. Items should be topped up when you arrive home so that the next time you go out you are not short of supplies.
If these bins are stocked right the only things you should have to pack for your trip is food, clothing, bedding, shelter and tools! Happy Camping!!!
May God bless you and your families,