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Camping weight with a big family – reader question

A reader watched my video on camping weights and asked this:

Hi Robert. Thanks for such a comprehensive breakdown. Hope you’ve got your thinking cap on and bevvy!

One thing I didn’t see was a clothing weight? What did you allocate each person? Our winter clothes bag weighs about 6kg per person for a 5 day/night trip. Is that on track for regular clothes verses fantastical NASA designed hiking ones? Or do you think we have massive room for improvement there too? We have just bought a scrubba wash bag and are hoping we can now carry 3 changes of clothes verses 5, but I do admit I’m afraid to leave home without a pair of socks and undies for each day.

 BTW by we… I mean, We are a family of 8, one is a baby others are teen/pre-teen boys. Kids are lower end of weight scales for their ages, so we total 300 all up. We take two cars so we tend to be ok there but we want as little in the cabins/on roof, as possible so we take a trailer, but we still have weight issues. We eat real food and gluten/nut/dairy free due to extensive allergies and I know our pantry goods are much greater than 25kg. I just can’t get my head around all the videos we watch how little everyone else eats? Our kids certainly don’t survive on air and cookies!

For a family of 8 camping for 5 days/nights – what’s your math? We use cheaper airbeds or 4wd mats and cheaper sleeping bags. No stretchers. One blow molded and one aluminium table, an rv5 and two rv3’s. We did buy a gas hot water system as we free or national park camp verses facilities and we actually leave those things behind when staying in a place with showers/loos etc. Would you say it is feasible for us to be able to get under 450kg of stuff? (our trailer is unbraked and weighs just under 300).

We carry one fridge/2nd battery set up and 3 kids/one adult in each car. I feel like I’m standing scratching my head and the answers just arn’t adding up… I don’t feel like I ‘glamp’ it feels lean yet? And it sure is a long way away from my days of motorbike camping but at this stage with a baby, let alone the 5 boys and hubby depending on me, I really don’t feel up to roughing it, like I did as a youngster. I also don’t want for them to stay glued to their xbox for the next 10 years either… I really don’t want a van, and I loathed our pop top camper, and switched to the oztents… I’m really happy to trailer camp. Upgrading our cars isn’t an option atm.

Do you think I can gleen it down? Or should I be saving for a braked heavy duty off road trailer? Thanks so much for your content. You finally explained ute towing in a clear way verses what the manufacturers and car salesmen have been trying to sell me. I look forward to seeing your next content and TIA for any response.

Wow..a lot to ‘unpack’ there 🙂

I haven’t done the maths for a family of 8, sorry.But first thing I’d fix is the “5 boys and hubby depending on me” – why aren’t they doing their bit????

It does sound like you do camp pretty lean. The RV tents aren’t the lightest, 24kg for the RV5 for example so that’s one area. Weight saving is hard work whether that’s with a car, on a bike, hiking. One way to save quite a bit of weight is to decant items into smaller quantities and lighter containers, for example instead of a big coffee glass jar pour some into a smaller plastic tub.

Anyway, here’s the process for camping lighter, not easy but worthwhile:

  1. Put everything you take in a big pile in a garage or shed.
  2. Weigh each item, and enter it into a spreadsheet – first column Item, then Description, and Weight.
  3. Add another column – Needed (yes/no)
  4. And another – Lighter weight (could it be replaced with a lighter item)

Go through the pile, and see what you end up with, but fundamentally, 8 people is a lot to take camping so it won’t be light.

Here’s a sample spreadsheet:


And here’s the video which will help you figure out how to save weight!

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