The Mother of All Lists

by Yvonne Johnson

I'm pretty sure it would be impossible for me to go camping without making a list - well really, not "a" list - lots and lots of lists - so many lists, that I have to have a list of lists. This is the list I call — The Mother of All Lists — MOAL for short. Of course, the MOAL has the lists of things I need to take on the camping trip, but it also has the lists of things I need to do to get ready for the trip. I like to be prepared!

Delving Deeper into the Lists

I know you are dying to know what lists are on the Mother of All Lists. So, without further ado, here are the names of the lists.

Camping Menus
(preparing menus ahead of time will help with your grocery list)

Groceries to Buy
(refer to the Camping Menus list to help with this list)

Food to Take
(everything on your Groceries to Buy list plus marshmallows, Hershey bars, and graham crackers (for sure). Refer to the Camping Menus list to help with the rest of the items that should go on this list too.)

Food to Buy When You Arrive
(more marshmallows, Hershey bars, and graham crackers, in addition to food that wouldn't keep well as you travel.)

(water, paper towels, aluminum foil, zip-lock bags, garbage bags, dishwashing liquid, toilet paper, campstove fuel, portable heater fuel, etc.)

(Make a separate list for each person. Limit women to packing NO MORE than two pairs of shoes or you will never have room for everything else. List activity-appropriate clothes such as bathing suit, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, jacket, water shoes, hiking boots, etc.)

Prescription Medicines and Vitamins
(take these in their original RX bottles if possible)

First Aid Items
(aspirin, bandaids, Neosporin, tweezers, snake bite kit, alcohol, etc.)

Toiletriesand Sundries
(soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, chap stick, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, Calomine lotion, etc.)

Recreation Gear
(hiking gear, fishing gear, hunting gear, outdoor games, beach towels, kazoos and other musical instruments, etc.)

Camping Gear
(tents, canopies, sleeping bags, tarps, coolers, flashlights, camp chairs, port-a-potty, etc.)

(shovel, hammer or mallet, hatchet, tire iron, jack, anvil for making horse shoes, etc.)

Campfire/Cooking/Eating Equipment
(skillet, camp stove, matches, utility table, utensils, dishes, etc.)

(site reservation, proof of insurance, ID's, map of the area with built-in satellite phone to call for rescue, etc.)

Miscellaneous Electronics
(cell phones, charger and cords, camera, extra batteries, waterproof bags to protect cell phones if you drop them over the side of the canoe, etc.)

Pet Items
(food, leashes, toys, vitamins, kennels, muzzles, etc.)

Rainy Day Items
(books, cards, board games, straight jackets, etc.)

Everything Else
(bath towels and wash cloths, sunglasses, prescription glasses or contacts, pen and paper, pillows, pocket knife, binoculars, clothes line and clothes pins, etc.)

House Departure Check List
(set thermostat, take out garbage, lock windows and doors, flush all toilets and wait until they stop flushing to be sure water doesn't run the whole time you are gone and cost you a fortune on your next water bill, etc.)

Arrival at Site Check List
(make sure all hook ups at the site are working, locate the nearest facilities, check the area for obvious signs of bears or skunks, make sure your neightbors don't look like they just came from the set of The Zombie Apocalypse, etc.)

Final Word

Being prepared is good, but let's not be "over" prepared. Don't take larger quantities of things than you will really need. For example, instead of taking a change of clothes for everyday, just take a change of underwear for every day and wear the same outer garments over and over. After all, camping is not the equivalent of a fashion show. And if you have little boys, you won't even need to take a daily change of underwear for them. (Didn't they come home from two weeks of camp last year with everything you packed for them still clean and unworn?)

By packing everything you might need for any eventuality, you might take all the fun out of the adventure. And you surely will put the campers in a bad mood from the get-go when they see the mountain of gear they have to stow in the tow vehicle or camper and then drag out again at the camp site.

To avoid amassing a mountain of stuff to take on your camping trip, invest some money in things that nest, fold-up, are smaller, have multiple uses, are lightweight, dry quickly, are made especially for camping, etc. Then pack everything in as little space as possible.