Box # 6 – The Camping Box
Container: A wooden box would be the most durable.
(If you jumped into this series on this post, you’ll want to head back to the beginning so it makes sense. The first post in the series is here, then follow the links for the rest of the series.)
Of all the boxes so far, this one will need to take the most beating so make sure it’s durable. It will hold a bunch of things and will probably also be used as a step stool, a chair, a counter, a chopping block etc. Make sure that the container you buy or build can hold up to that kind of abuse.
Eric P, shares the following recollection;
When I turned 12 and joined the Boy Scouts, my dad was asked to be the scoutmaster. He went to town and contracted a carpentry shop to make two nice, very sturdy, foot-locker-sized plywood boxes: one for him and one for me. When they were ready he brought them home and together, we painted them. That was my introduction to the concept of camping boxes.
I still have mine, and when Dad passed away a few years ago, I got his too, which he was still using to go camping until the time of his death. What a sacred experience it was to go through his camping box , and find relics of our experiences, spanning forty years, in the mountains together.
As a scout I appreciated that our boxes were long enough for a large axe, but I discovered after his funeral that Dad had actually designed the boxes just long enough to hold his favorite hunting rifle – a 30-30 carbine. His box had special cleats on the inside to hold the rifle out of sight and out-of-the-way, yet easy to get to.
Eric’s box was foot locker size (12x18x39 inches) and would hold all the gear, food, and winter clothing needed for a week-long camp-out. This size is a bit large for one person to load in an evacuation, and a bit awkward, (think back pain here) A smaller box or differently proportioned would work better in an emergency.
Prepare a rain-resistant box that will hold all of your essential camping supplies. This allows you to go ‘camping’ fully provisioned with as little as five minutes notice.
This box would hold things like:
- Fire starting supplies
- strike anywhere matches,Your local grocery or variety store is the best place to get these, just put them on your grocery list.
- Fire starters, these ignite easily and hold the flame until the fire sticks or wood catch. There are many easy DIY options for these, post soon to come.
- butane lighter, has temperature limitations, if it’s too cold it won’t light
- flint and steel: my personal favorite because of the coolness factor, primitive fire-starting methods are a big confidence builder when mastered :) Watch for an upcoming post on that.
- Lantern, flashlights, and glow sticks for the kids (The dollar store is a great place to get these)
- Small shovel, make sure this fits in your box, The ‘special forces’ types can also work like an axe.
- Tarp, to make a quick shelter from sun or rain
- Rope or 550 Paracord (such a handy item to have, for many reasons)
- Rain gear
- Hatchet and/or Axe
- Small backpacking stove, a #10 can works well here too if you want the DIY version.
Other things will be part of this ‘box’ but won’t fit in the actual box.
- Sleeping bags, or a fleece sleeping bag liner at the very least. (A liner will add 10 degrees to whatever sleeping bag you use, and they are so cozy) I often find these at thrift stores but you can find them at Walmart or online for about $15
- Cots for sleeping on, if you have space and extra money. This falls in the “Nice to Have” category but there is much to be said about a good nights sleep especially in an emergency. They can be pricey, even more so if you have a large family so plan these one or two at a time.
- Small folding table
- Tent, large enough to hold your family + 2. The ‘plus 2′ will leave space for gear and give you elbow room. The person ratings you find on tents are for those crazy families that like to spoon :)
The links above are to give you ideas for items that you could include in your supplies and for your convenience if you want to buy online. If you are patient, you can find most of it at your local retailer and sometimes at thrift stores. Whichever way works for your family, Great! Just do it, and if you can’t do it now, ( I know how that is ) then make a plan and work them in your budget for the near future.
There will come a time when these things (supplies and skills) will suddenly rise up the priority scale, and you’ll wish that you had given up that movie night or pizza delivery and purchased supplies and learned and taught skills.
After you start gathering your Camping Box supplies, please get them out and use them, even if it’s in your own backyard. Learn your equipment so that when you are under a bit more stress, like an evacuation, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to work properly and safely.
Another thing I’d like to stress is to involve your children now when things are normal. Teach them how to set up the tent, or if they are old enough to start a fire or gather firewood. These skills will go a long way toward reducing their stress over situations they can’t control and if you are injured or incapacitated in some way, they won’t be helpless.
Some of you camp regularly and have your must-have items. Please share what you can’t leave home without in the comments below.
Be sure to enter your email in the box in the sidebar to be notified of all the new posts.