Keeping It Together: How to Organize Your Tent and Keep It That Way

In the blink of an eye, your tent is filled with piles of clothing, wet towels, half-inflated air mattresses, unrolled sleeping bags, dirty diapers, and your child’s new rock collection. Keeping the family tent neat and clean is a priority for camping parents. Consider these tips on your next trip to help keep your tent organized:

  1. Heed your tent’s occupancy suggestion.
  2. Purchase a tent with designated areas for storage space.
  3. Always use a ground layer under your tent. This will reduce the chance of damp sleeping bags.
  4. Air out the tent during the day to keep the inside smelling fresh.
  5. Arrange mattresses, cots, and sleeping bags as soon as the tent is set-up. Waiting until bedtime will result in everyone lying haphazardly and misplaced favorite pillows. Inflate or unroll mattresses and place the appropriate sleeping bag and pillow on top to make room for foot traffic.
  6. Place a small box or basket next to top of each sleeping bag. Kids and parents can keep headlights, water bottles, cameras, phones, pocket knives, new treasures, and other personal belongings in a safe place while they sleep.
  7. Consider storing clothing outside the tent. This will create much more space and cut down on clutter tremendously. Rubbermaid containers will keep clothing dry even if it’s stored outside on the picnic table.
  8. If camping with small children, limit the amount of toys you bring with you and keep them in a container with a lid.
  9. Some parents find that infants and toddlers sleep better in a playpen when camping. Make sure that you use a tent that is large enough to accommodate a make-shift crib.
  10. If camping with a baby in diapers, create a sort of changing station in one corner of your tent. Changing a diaper on your sleeping bag is a risk you just don’t want to take. Lay out a thick towel or blanket and keep a supply of diapers, wipes, and old grocery bags for quick and clean changes.
  11. Store the entire family’s dirty clothes in one garbage bag or container, preferably outside the tent if animals aren’t an issue.
  12. Don’t allow kids to go in and out of the tent all day. This ushers in bugs and scatters neatly laid out sleeping bags.


The most effective way to keep your family’s tent organized? Make your kids responsible for their own space. Everyone needs to tidy up their sleeping area before they exit the tent each morning.