How to make your camping setup more efficient

Camp in a central location
When choosing where to park your truck camp, it’s easy to forget about Plan B. As any seasoned public land hunter knows all too well, Plan A often quickly disappears when the trailhead starts to look like a Bass Pro parking lot. One component of your e-scouting strategy should include locating multiple campsites that are central to each property you intend to hunt. Sometimes the thought of tearing down camp and setting it all up twice in the same number of days can keep us from changing locations and continuing to hunt down a dead program. Choosing a campsite that is close by and has a reasonable commute from Plans A, B, and C can save you time in the long run. A good alternative is to choose a camp setup with fewer amenities and a quicker setup/teardown time, which brings us to the next topic.

Quick settings and organization
A quick and dirty camp rig that is gaining in popularity is the truck bed setup. Gear addict, First Lite ambassador, and host of the Rokcast Podcast, Jordan Budd advocates this highly mobile camping approach. Jordan likes to take advantage of the Decked truck bed system, combined with a truck topper. As she explains, “being able to organize gear in the built-in drawers and then sleeping right on top of the Decked system minimizes the number of bags she needs to pack in and out of every night.”

Jordan emphasizes the importance of staying organized by using individual bags to store different types of gear. The use of separate boxes for kitchen utensils, dry food storage, camping equipment, hunting equipment, tools, etc. makes things easy to find and results in a much faster setup. “Keeping your gear organized and easy to load in the morning is critical so you can hit the ground running quickly in the morning,” Jordan explained.

These days there is no shortage of specially designed camping gear, some of which is well suited to the traveling hunter. Honorable mentions include practical towable RVs, rooftop tents, truck RVs, quick-setup tents, and modern-day cowboy-style canvas sleeping bags. Many of these systems can be implemented in a very short time and packaged with the same amount of effort. Regardless of which system you choose, also keep in mind that a smaller footprint is helpful and allows you to camp just about anywhere you want. Otherwise, you can count on wasting 20-40 minutes while driving around looking for a suitable camping spot.

Efficient Meals
Another easy way to simplify the logistics of a travel quest is to refine your cooking strategy. Strategic planning of your meals will keep you in the field longer with significantly less effort. Ready meals make your life so much easier after a long day in the woods. Anything that can be reheated on a grill is an easy camping dish. Stews, pasta, BBQ ribs, chili or enchiladas – camp meals don’t have to be limited to hot dogs and beans every night. By freezing leftovers in individual portions in a freezer or vacuum bag, the process can be further simplified. Drop the food, bag and all, into some boiling water and forget about it while you get your gear ready for tomorrow’s hunt. A backpacking cooker makes quick work of heating up leftovers and will bring water to a boil in a few minutes.

We can all benefit from creating efficiencies in our daily lives. With a strategic approach, traveling hunts will start to seem like less work and your time away will be more enjoyable. It will also increase your chances of getting a full eight hours at night, the lack of which comes at a serious cost over the course of a prolonged hunt. Whichever setup you prefer, finding some logistical efficiencies can create more time in the field and indirectly increase your odds of filling a label.