Organization Series 2 of 5: Car

At long last, I am sharing an overview of camping items loaded into our car. We do not intend to take everything each time we head out. (For instance, we may take just one RV mat or tent on a short trip.) The goal is to plan well once and be prepared for different types of trips.

Prior to planning, I made several command decisions.

1. Items in the very back of the car will fit under the hatch cover, protected from sunlight and prying eyes.

2. The back seats will not be laid down. I want it to be easy to clear the seating area for passengers.

3. The driver’s sight lines must remain clear.

4. The car’s contents have to be kept in order, because we both need to be aware of every item’s whereabouts.

A few of the labels are still being worked out, but I did not want to delay this post any longer.

Driver’s Side

Back of driver’s front seat: – 8 Hanging Pockets
What was originally a door length pocket organizer was shortened for the back of the driver’s seat. (At a campsite, it can be transferred to hang in the corner of the shelter. It holds items we do not want to store in the heat of the storage room, so it is convenient that we can also hang the pockets in a closet at home.)
1. Pain Relief pills & Salve
2. Bandaids & Tissues
3. Neosporin
4. Insect Spray
5. (As needed)
6. (As needed)
7. Sun Screen & Chapstick
8. Hand Sanitizer & Wipes

Image: Behind Driver's Seat

Behind Driver’s Seat

Floor behind driver:
1 – 2 folded 8’X5′ RV mats & 2 runners

Back seat behind driver:
Portable toilet in box (covered with old blanket, cut and sewn to fit)

Image: Driver's Side

Driver’s Side

Center of Back Seat

Medium sized cooler & 3-4 Blue Ice Blocks
(To delete the mess and expense of using bags of ice, we will keep 3 Blue Ice Blocks in the cooler and 1 in the Vistabule freezer at all times. In rotation, a Blue Ice block will be moved to the bottom of the Vistabule freezer before breakfast and after supper – about every 12 hours. The cooler is lined with Reflectix, so we hope that the mass of 3 Blue Ice Blocks will keep drinks chilled in the cooler by using the rotation plan. That saves the galley refrigerator/freezer for food items.)

Passenger’s Side

Back of passenger’s front seat:
2. In Net Pocket: Rain Coat

Floor behind passenger:
1. Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker
2. Soft Bag (Black) for Electronics:
A. Solar Chargers
B. A/C Chargers
C. External Battery Pack
D. Spare Electronic Cords
3. Small Soft Bag (Green) for Batteries, packed as needed
(not seen in photo)
4. Attaché Case
(Holds iPads, maps and trip related information)
5. Folded Rain jacket
6. Small Sun Hat

Image: Behind Passenger's Seat

Behind Passenger’s Seat

Back Seat Behind Passenger:
1. Two stacked plastic boxes (while in transit) to stow a rotation of shoes: shower shoes, sneakers or hiking boots & slip on shoes
(These boxes can go on the TDT’s fenders or beneath the TDT’s doorways while in camp. The boxes keep shoes dry and bug free. If heavy rain is expected, or the camp does not allow loose items outside, the shoe boxes are taken inside the cabin and stacked between our feet or can be set on the galley counter and reached through the pass thru.)
2. Large Sun Hat

Image: Passenger's Side

Passenger’s Side

Hatch Area

Behind passenger seats:
2 plastic totes
(These are stored at home between trips.)
A. Colleen’s clothes, towel and toiletries bag
B. Earl’s clothes, towel and toiletries bag
C. Zip Bag (to hold soap and plastic bags for dirty laundry) atop one of the totes. (Filled dirty clothes bags will share back hatch space with tents.)

Image: Totes for Clothes and Toiletries

Totes for Clothes and Toiletries

Between wheel wells:
Top: 3 plastic storage boxes (across top of drawer units)
1. Driver’s Side – Games, Books and Writing Supplies
2. Middle – foil, extra paper towels, storage bags & napkins
3. Passenger’s Side – shower curtains and shower curtain rings (used as side walls, also as an outdoor projection screen. There is one additional liner, stored in the cabin, that is cut one down to size for an indoor projection screen.)
Bottom: 3 units of storage drawers (3 sallow drawers each)
1. Driver’s Side – Site supplies
A. Top – Art Supplies / Dry Eraser Sign Board & Manuals Folder)
B. Center – Hooks / Table Cloths
C. Bottom – Clips / String Lights
2. Middle – Dry food
A. Top – Dry Cereals / Dry Grains
B. Center – Dry Sauces / Dry Starches
C. Bottom – Canned Meats / Dry Vegetables
3. Passenger’s Side – Small Tools and electronic cables
A. Top – Microfiber Towels/ Set-Up (various tent stakes)
B. Center – Tools / Flash Lights
C. Bottom – Sports Radio / Electronics

Image: Storage Between Wheel Wells

Storage Between Wheel Wells

In back of wheel wells, next to hatch door:
1. RV Fire Extinguisher #1 (A second extinguisher is carried in the Vistabule’s cabin.)
2. REI Alcove Shelter Bag
3. Small Bags for 2 REI Side Walls
4. Changing Tent Bag
5. 12X12 Screen Shelter Bag
6. Space for dirty clothes bag

Image: Back Hatch

Back Hatch

Mission accomplished: the hatch cover closes to hide contents in the back, items around the passenger seat are easy to pull out, the driver’s sight lines are clear, and we both know where to find things.

Image: Hatch Cover Extended

Hatch Cover Extended

It is helpful for us to have this packing guide documented and we are hopeful it may interest others in some way. A couple of the storage ideas are adapted from ideas floating around the Internet and shared on Pinterest, but I do not believe that any of these can be attributed to a different original source.

Please feel welcome to follow, and comment with your suggestions or questions.

The five part Doze Dine Dawdle Organization Series will continue with three additional posts to give more details: 3) Galley, 4) Cabin, and 5) Exterior Storage Box.


Organization part 1 of 5 – Initial Steps

This is the first of a five part Doze Dine Dawdle Organization Series to share details: 1) Initial Steps 2) Car, 3) Galley, 4) Cabin, and 5) Exterior Storage Box.

Organizing storage between the Teardrop Trailer, tool box and car has been an ongoing experiment for us. This series will cover our thought (and lack of thought) processes, favorite finds, a few resource links, and inventory lists in parts 2 – 5.

Pre-Teardrop, we had organized bug-out gear with whatever was on hand. That meant stacking labeled shoe boxes into a large suitcase that was never used for its intended purpose. It was similar to a cook box, a way to keep all of the small items packed and ready to go.

Bug-Out Suitcase

Bug-Out Suitcase / Cook Box

A medium sized suitcase held set-up gear and tools for erecting a tent and arranging a campsite. Though bulky, the loaded bags were a successful solution. They could easily be shifted in or out of the car.


Suitcases filled with Bug-Out Gear

A lot of those basic cook box supplies were packed during our first long “shake down” trip from Georgia to Minnesota to pick-up Lily, our Vistabule Teardrop Trailer. Those items were quickly transferred from car into Lily’s storage areas during our first afternoon in a campground.

We still did not know the exact dimensions of the Vistabule’s storage spaces, but I guesstimated and made a inventory list for each drawer and shelf. Our loose plan was to place like items together, near their point of use.

Another consideration was that some cabin storage spaces were blocked when the futon was up or down in the cabin. The lower cabinets next to the air conditioner were easiest to reach at night when the bed was in position. When the sofa was up during the day, the front floor wells were more accessible.

For our second outing the focus became short local trips, and staying in place for several days. Until Earl retires, weekend get-aways will be our primary type of travel. We pared down a few of the supplies, like excess silverware and flashlights.

Yet, we also wanted to include new gear and prepped camp meals. That meant packing additional items into the car, including comfortable camp chairs and a cooler.

The food needed to stay cold on the way to the Teardrop’s storage facility. Plus, the plan for this trip was to use the Teardrop’s refrigerator freezer solely as a freezer and continue using the cooler for chilled foods. (Yes, we (I) ended up taking too much food.)

Anyway, the job of loading everything into the car was left to Earl. He was a fabulous moving-day-style packer. He laid down one of the back seats and juggled the shapes like puzzle pieces. Everything was in without blocking the use of the rearview mirror.

Camping Gear

Car Loaded With Camping Gear

At the campsite, we found ourselves repeatedly shuffling around the things left in the car, searching for whatever was needed. Part of the problem was not being able to return each item to a designated storage spot where we could find it again.

After returning from the trip, we spent a week putting our heads together to plan better organization for the car. That included reconsidering what was stored in the trailer’s cabin during transit and how to handle camp meals. We took a lot of measurements for different areas in the back of the car and tried out placing equipment in proposed spaces. Then, we purchased and labeled new storage pieces.

The Vistabule’s galley and cabin shelves and drawers were also measured in order to line them. The liners were cut and all fit, so that chore was completed. It actually went fairly quick and the numerous measurements were entered into my iPhone Notes for future reference.


Interior Shelving and Drawer Measurements Saved To iPhone Notes

As a special mention, from the very beginning, our top online “advisor” has been Cosmo Weems. I watched his videos repeatedly as we considered ordering and outfitting our Teardrop Trailer. We even purchased some products recommended by Cosmo, for example the REI Alcove shelter and collapsible food containers.

Cosmo has a website dedicated to listing the products that are shown on his YouTube channel.  Cosmo Weems: Website Link

His videos showcase his Vistabule Teardrop Trailer, his love of the outdoors and “real” food, campsites visited, plus his thoughts about the camping products he has used.  Cosmo Weems: YouTube Channel Link

The five part Doze Dine Dawdle Organization Series will continue with four additional posts to share more details: 2) Car, 3) Galley, 4) Cabin, and 5) Exterior Storage Box.

If you are not already a follower: To receive a notice as the segments are added, hit the blue “Follow Button” at the bottom of the righthand menu column.