The Camping Notebook

As we started keeping track of our camping trips through Camping Reviews, I realized that there was a lot of other paper stuff we were carrying around to each camping trip. Paperwork and camping don’t really get along that well (unless it’s a fire starter). To solve this problem, I put together a little binder to keep everything protected and together. Isn’t it cute?

Camping Notebook 2

I love binders and organizing, but a standard size binder seemed like it would take up too much space. Luckily, when I went to Staples to poke around for ideas I found the perfect thing, a half-sheet size binder with a built in pocket. I also was able to find dividers, lined paper, and pockets to fit the smaller size.

Notebooks on Shelf

Nice and small… easy to tuck away on a shelf or in the trailer! (Yes, I realize “Finances” is misspelled – it’s been fixed!)

Notebook Inserts

Look at all the fun stuff they make for half-sheet binders! I had no idea!










First up is to make up the dividers. To label them, I added some washi tape and then printed a label on clear tape with my label maker (I totally learned this fun trick from IHeart Organizing!). You could also easily label these with a sharpie by directly onto the plastic tab. I chose these five divider topics: Contacts, Reservations, Reviews, Pack List, and Maps, Etc.

Divider Labels

Let’s take a look inside!

Front Pockets
I keep a black & red pen, plus a small spiral notebook (good for taking on a hike or keeping score during games). On the other side is a pocket insert. Right now I keep our lantern mantel label there because I can never remember which one we need (and we’re really good at destroying them!)
Binder Front Pockets

Since cell phone often don’t work (or will be dead) while we’re camping, having some important numbers written down is helpful especially in an emergency. I used a couple address pages from my old franklin covey planner. There are many free printable options online too.
Contact Pages

On our first trip of the year, we like to sit down with a calendar and plan out the rest of our camping season. I made calendar in excel, print two-pages per sheet, and then cut each page in half. For this calednar, I started the week with Monday since most of our trips happen on the weekend. This allows for the entire weekend to be together on one line. If we make online reservations, I also print out the confirmation and place them in this section.
Camping Calendar

We review each camping trip, so next time we’ll be able to reference it and improve our experience. I keep a printable for the current trip and usually a the last few past ones are still in there. I scan the reviews and keep them in Evernote, which is searchable. Here’s the half-page size – Campground Review Half Page
Completed Review Pack List
A copy of the printable packing list stays in this section. If we have any recipes that we would like to make while we’re camping, i also place them in this section so we remember to pack the ingredients. I’ve also made the checklist half-page size to fit in the notebook – Camping Checklist Half Page.
Packing List Copy

Maps, Etc
Any maps we already have of the camping area will get put into the pocket in this section. I also inserted some lined paper. We primarily use the paper to keep track of things to add, refill or take out of the trailer before our next trip. As you can see from the list we’re constantly tweaking what we bring!

Maps Pocket Camping Notes

Once I put all the sections together, I printed up a quick cover and slid it into the front pocket. I used my Silhouette printer (best craft tool EVER!) to print a vinyl sticky-back “camping” label and stuck it directly to the spine. If you’re interested, here’s a link to the trailer logo I used for the cover: Trailer Sign. That’s it… now time to get ready for our next trip!

Camping Notebook Top

This little camping notebook has been a huge help to keeping us organized both before and after trips. What do you do to keep your trips organized?

32 thoughts on “The Camping Notebook

  1. Great tips. I too use a binder, larger than yours, to keep our camping info all in one place. I also add favorite and easy recipes and copy of the reservation confirmation. After reading your list I will have to add a contacts section, I forgot about cell phone not working in some areas. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your article.

  2. This is great! I’ve been brainstorming a camping reference book for us. One thing I am going to add is copies or print outs, laminated, of user’s manuals (stove, lantern, etc).

  3. This is a fantastic idea! Where did you find the camping graphic? I’d love to find a printable version to make my own binder.

    • Hi Jennifer!

      I just updated my post to include a link to the trailer graphic I used for the cover of my notebook. Like a bad blogger, I’m having trouble finding the original source! (Although I did tweak it quite a bit in photoshop) As soon as I find the original, I’ll link to that as well.

      • Thanks. Would be great if you have a printable one the proper size for the binder to save me from trying to figure it out.

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  5. Is there a trick to printing the PDF Campground Review in a size to fit the smaller binder sizes? I’m not very savvy at this and when I print muliple on the page, it shrinks it far too small for the size of the binder. Any handy tips would be appreciated or even a PDF with 2 per page with propert sizing that can be printed on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. Very excited about starting the season with this binder.

    • Hi Jennifer!

      I just updated the campground review section of this post with a link to a half-page size campground review, which should solve your problem. The file is already formatted with two smaller review “pages” on one page, so you should be able to just print normally. If you still have problems let me know, and I can see what else I can do!

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  7. Thanks for the ideas. My fiance and I hike a lot, so the camp site reviews (switched to trail reviews) is an awesome idea. We’d actually like to get more camping in too!

  8. I’m glad that we’re not the only one to do assessments during/after each trip. It’s really important to us even though sometimes it feels like we’re taking all the fun out of it. There are many things that are important to know for next time, and it’s not like we can trust our memories.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing!! I’ve been needing to do this, but haven’t quite been organized enough or had the time to think about all I need. This is awesome!

  10. Oh my! I am in love with this! I had the idea already, but I couldn’t pull it together like this. Amazing! Thank you so much!

  11. Ive been looking for something like this. Thank you. We are fairly new to RVing and have already met so many wonderful experienced RVers that have great suggestions, ie: places to see, camp, cook that we want to try. May have to add a suggested section and add their name and number and someday let them know we enjoyed it as much as they did. Thanks again!

  12. I am super excited about this notebook!! We bought a pop up this past fall so this year will be our first full year. Excited about keeping everything organized now! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Love the binder… was wondering if you would mind posting your actual binder cover. I have been looking for something like yours. Thank you for sharing!

  14. This question may very well have already been answered, but can you print these pages in 8 1/2 x11 size also? I like the regular-sized notebook because some of the maps, etc. are just too large/bulky for a smaller notebook. You’ve done an amazing job! Love your ideas!!

  15. Love this idea!! I’ve been camping my entire life…well, kid life 🙂 and now I have my own kids and it’s their turn! I keep track of things with binders and never thought of using one for camping…thank you so much!

  16. I put a map of the camp grounds in mine. I circle the best spots so I’ll know what spot to reserve. Plus once we get set up. I’ll take pictures from all angles and put with each map so we’ll know what the spot looked like. Shade, no shade etc.

  17. we also keep maps of the campgrounds we visit most often and mark the campsites green (great site!), yellow (will work), and red (don’t go there!) so when we make online reservations we are certain it is a site we can fit in.

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