How to Fit your Camping Trip into a VW Bug

I love my blue 1998 bug. She even has a name: Bonquiqui. Don’t ask. Her name is just one of those things that happens. She plows through snowy roads and endures washboard on the dirt roads that I probably shouldn’t be driving on but do anyways. She’s broken down less times than I have popped her tires on curbs – learning to drive is not a smooth process. She is a manual which gives me street cred, and the speakers bump. The heat even almost works now, and don’t get me started on that acceleration. Bonquiqui can fly. Just ask the wonderful New Mexico state troopers.

But when it comes to packing for a camping trip, bugs don’t exactly offer a lot of room. Here are a few ways to make it work with another passenger and a dog.

WARNING: Does not apply to humans over six foot or any dogs over 50 pounds.

I left the table, chair, and blue water jug at home.

Step 1: Pack as light as possible. Think of the trip as luxurious back packing. Bring light and small gear. I brought a backpacking stove and pots as well as a small fry bake. You do not need a 3 burner stove or a microwave.

Step 2: Organization is key. I used 3 small boxes. One for dry food, one for camp necessities, and one for kitchen gear. This system prevents the loss of important items and makes them easily accessible at any time.

Step 3: Unpack. After most space is taken up by big boxes, it is time to fill up all the small spaces left behind which bugs are are full of. Fill nooks and crannies with coats, shoes, books, and anything else that will fit. Under and behind the seats is a good place to put anything else. I even fit 3 gallons of water behind mine.

A few more tips:

  • Repurpose things. Boxes work perfectly well as seats and tables.
  • If taking firewood, unpack the firewood instead of leaving it in bundles. This clears more space.
  • Apply the backpacking principle to food as well. Minimizing perishable food eliminates the need for a huge cooler.
  • Bring chips and crackers in a small plastic box and stick them behind a seat. This will keep them from getting crushed.
  • Make a small and easily accessible snack box for quick food on the drives.

The chairs may not fit and neither will the blowup mattresses, but who needs those anyways. Think of this like light weight car camping. It will not disappoint when packing in the morning only takes 15 minutes instead of an hour.

All packed and ready to go.

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