The Two-Duffel Camping Formula

The Two-Duffel Camping Formula

You’ve got an entire truck, why not take the kitchen sink? Less stuff means less weight. Less stuff means less packing. And, often, less stuff means more experience. And isn’t that the entire point? Refining your loadout into its simplest form might just make your next camping trip better. Here’s how.


High speed, low drag. Limiting yourself to two duffel bags worth of stuff will minimize weight, reduce potential points of failure, and drastically lower (if not entirely eliminate) the time it takes to pack.

Streamlining the entire experience will work to eliminate obstacles. Do you have time to get out the door before traffic backs up? That becomes a non-issue. Will your truck get down that trail without getting stuck? Carrying less crap makes any type of driving easier. Will something break? The odds decrease drastically if big, heavy objects aren’t bouncing around inside your bed, and carrying less weight is kinder to everything from your truck’s cooling system, to its suspension, to its brakes.

Those are the practicalities. What about less tangible benefits? Saying “learn how to do more with less,” is basically synonymous with “learn how to enjoy camping more.” Why leave home if you’re planning to try and entirely protect yourself from the elements? Problem solving will keep your mind occupied with challenges of the moment and of the environment, not the mundane realities of life back in civilization.


Let’s break out these two bags by personal effects, and camp gear. Although some crossover in loads by bag is allowed.

Personal Effects Bag

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Spare socks
  • Base layers (top and bottom)
  • Fleece or sweater
  • Cozy hat
  • Puffy jacket
  • Rain shell
  • Pants
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Headlamp

Camp Gear Bag

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Compact lantern w/batteries
  • Baby Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Compact folding shovel
  • Trash bags
  • Compact canister stove with fuel
  • Backpacking meals
  • Spork
  • Stuff you need to make coffee
  • Booze and/or weed
  • Compact camp chair
  • Lighter
  • A good book
  • Multitool
  • First aid kit

You should also carry water. One gallon per-person, per-day, is a good rule of thumb.

Inside The Tent

There’s room inside your GFC’s tent for a couple of compressible sleeping bags or quilts, inflatable pillows, and some other small odds and ends you may want when it’s bedtime. Carrying a sleeping bag that has a comfort rating at least 10 degrees below any conditions you plan to face is a great way to ensure you’ll stay warm at night.

Some Notes On Hygiene

The easiest way to spoil a camping trip is to get diarrhea. There’s two main ways to get the runs: touching poop, and eating spoiled, contaminated or undercooked food. The two are not unrelated.

To successfully execute a poo while camping, first find a spot that’s at least 200 feet from any water source, trail, or campsite. Dig or kick a hole that’s four to eight inches deep (the bacteria that breaks down waste is present in the top soil layer), pop a squat, then bury your turds with the displaced soil. Pack out anything that isn’t human waste. Baby wipes will make clean up easier, quicker and more complete. Use hand sanitizer afterwards. Or, just stop at a gas station or pit toilet.

Eating probably sounds simpler, but there’s a few tricky vectors by which toxins or bacteria can enter your body. The first is obviously through dirty hands. Use hand sanitizer before doing any meal prep. The next is through undercooked food. Both elevation, and unfamiliar heat sources can alter cooking times. Carrying a meat thermometer is a great way to ensure you’re cooking stuff adequately. The last vector is dirty dishes, which is where stuff gets tricky. Fail to completely sanitize a dish, pot, or your spork, and bacteria will begin to grow on that surface almost immediately. Heating up that surface by cooking your next mealwill kill that bacteria, but cooking cannot eliminate the toxins those bacteria were excreting. And those toxins will upset your stomach. Leftover soap, from failing to fully rinse dishes after cleaning them can also irritate your bowls.

It’s these reasons why you may find eating dehydrated backing meals out of their bags, then licking your spork clean before wiping it with hand sanitizer to be a much simpler solution.


What if you want to eat a gourmet meal, made from scratch, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? What if you want to take a hot shower every night? What if you can’t miss the big game? Leaving all that behind can make you feel incredibly free. Or, it can be really nice to bring some of it camping with you. If you choose to do that stuff, make it a real choice based on experience. Go camping with just the above. Learn what you do and don’t like, and make changes from there. Don’t jump into the whole thing assuming you need certain luxuries just to spend a fun night outdoors.

How do you pack for your adventures, and what camping hacks have you come up with to lighten the load? Let us know in the comments!


I have my gear separated by situations. If I’m going by myself, super easy. If my wife is coming, there’s more stuff.

*I keep my sleeping gear in the truck all the time.
*I keep basic emergency supplies in the truck all the time. If ever stranded, I’d have enough stuff to sustain myself for 2 days or so.
*I keep recovery gear in the truck all the time.

I use totes for other stuff. All my totes are small and relatively light.

Here are mine…
Kitchen tote 18x14x12 (everyone needed to cook)
Coffee tote 16x9x4
Stove/propane not in tote
Standard blue WM H2O container

I have dry food boxes built in. These are removable if not warranted.

I have 2 different size coolers. I choose size depending.

I wear one set of weather appropriate clothing and use my VRNCLR bags for sleeping clothes and one extra set of outdoor clothes. And any specific clothing needs like swim trunks, etc.

Thats pretty much it for camp stuff. I can get my camper ready to go (for me) in less than an hour.

Depending on the situation, I do end up spending more time with wife gear, dog gear, and activity related gear, though.

I probably forgot some stuff, but I feel like I have my packing pretty dialed in.



You had me at booze/and or weed. Love you guys :call_me_hand:t3:


I have 4 and I’m packed in 10 minutes booze/extra(dry) clothes/bed roll/fire starter stuff in that order of importance. everything fits in a back seat


Why, yes it would!

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Spot on! Always hard finding that fine line between bringing too much and not enough.

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True, true… just a typo, nothin to see here.

Feel free to nuke my joke-y post.Really appreciate this post as well as the one about finding places to camp.

I met one of the GFC guys in Santa Monica late last year. He said something that stuck with me, it was “You know, I just keep all my camping shit in a big tub and throw that in when I want to go”. That really stuck with me and helped me make the decision to buy.


Another benefit to packing light. If someone steals your sh**, you aren’t out much.


Although camping for our family of 4 (two in GFC, two in ground tent) doesn’t quite fit two bags… the inspiration is similar. We generally walk a line between weightier (yet small/simple) backpacking gear versus light car camping gear. Whereas a lot of the overland/exped RV-style built-ins really violate the go-light spirit of GFC.

Regarding cooking sanitation, our approach isn’t low-carbon but it works well. A 2-burner 1950s era Coleman liquid fuel stove (suitcase style) with extra bottles of white gas. After every cooked breakfast/dinner, we rinse/break the cookwear and such with a small pot of boiling water, then soap/wipe, then rinse in another small batch of boiling/steaming water. This takes longer, but it’s a family camping treat to cook real food and have fairly clean kitchen kit each day. YMMV

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Going light is an art and I appreciate this post. When we use the Go Fast Camper on our pickup we generally go with 4 small bins and one larger case that houses everything we need for a night or 2 week run. We keep this in the garage, ready to go so we can pack for a trip in just minutes by throwing these cases in the back of the pickup and one bag with clothes and personal effects and we are off.
Overpacking is an enemy to be avoided and I think that the best GFC “build” is just an empty truck box below a GFC.
My personal opinion, worth at least 2 cents.
Nice post GFC.


Agreed! One of the main reasons for me going with a GFC was to get my truck bed back. The only things I have hard mounted are a fridge on a slide, 13 gallon water tank and an awning. All my camping/recovery gear and any extra goodies go in a 108qt Plano trunk and a smaller tote for all the kitchen stuff when I wanna get fancy with my meals. Pillows and blankets up in the tent. Then a small duffle each for my GF and I. That leaves plenty of room for firewood, gas can and gear bag for the dirt scooter, surfboards, gun case, etc. depending on the trip and where were going. Damn!.. That’s still a lot of Sh!t lol


Solo camping is a light pack for me but when the family comes out I bring the kitchen sink. Keeping the wife and little ones comfortable means we get to do this more often as a family. Fortunately the sink and most of the extra stuff for the family lives in the trailer.


Sounds like you need to let the wife do the packing for you still.


We’re pretty true to this with the addition of the fridge/solar. Everything camping related is in one Rubbermaid tote that’s probably older than I am, and our clothes and toiletries go in a backpack or bag in the cab. The fridge changed the game as far as what we can pack and feel safe packing. We typically meal prep all our foods so we can either eat them cold or heat them up on the stove (also a Coleman from ages ago like mentioned above…still turns on every time so no need to replace). Packing like this leaves us room for bikes, skateboards, tools and general area to move. We talked about a four wheel camper for a long time but the GFC is the best choice for the way we roll, and much easier to care for.

do you have any more pics of the trailer? too much for me but still curious

In these inflationary times, that’s worth at least a dime. :nerd_face:

Lots of good tips here for where to start being more lightweight, however over time your camping style will change and your skills will adapt to your preferred level of comfort on the road. One of the best tips I’ve found for maintaining your lightweight packing over time is if there’s something you’re packing that you haven’t used in the last 2 trips to take a hard look at whether it’s a “need” or a “want” and if it’s a want, then try going without it. If you don’t miss it, then leave it home. This will keep your baseline gear to just the essentials. Then you can ask yourself if there is anything different about this trip that means you don’t need to take something you normally would, or maybe there’s something special about this trip that means you do need to take something you normally wouldn’t.


I say take whatever you want or need.

But, man, I’d love to know the packed weight of that rig + trailer with the family loaded as well. Have you regeared and added bigger brakes? My tacoma is a slug with even a light load.


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The duffle per person is the only way to get around for multiple days if youre also carrying fun stuff like gear to play at your destination, such as MTBs, skis, paragliding gear, or whatever. I usually travel with a passenger or 2 so it gets kind of tight if you have someone rolling with too much. Add in fridge for frosty beverages and cold food and you have a winning set up.


@blackhearse there are more trailer pics in my build thread

@GFC706, the trailer weighs 2,500 dry. With water (30gallons), food, and gear we are under the 3,500 max weight. My truck is armored up and on 285/75/16s with stock 3.73 gearing. I haven’t run it over a scale since the GFC and bed build but it is a pig. I have upgraded rotors and pads but stock brakes otherwise. I make sure to stay on top of brake fluid changes every other year.

The trailer tows really well behind the truck and doesn’t feel like it’s pushing the truck around, even off-road. Prior to this trailer I had about 10k miles towing a 23ft 5,500lb trailer. Certainly didn’t win any races with that trailer but I could maintain 55mph over the passes around Tahoe and the eastern Sierra. With the current trailer +65mph isn’t an issue over the passes.

While I’m certainly not winning any races, the 4.0 has decent grunt down low to get things moving. I have a supercharger and supporting mods that I plan to install this spring which should get me around 300hp/300ft tq to the wheels. Next year I may regear and it’ll be time for a suspension refresh so I’ll be weighing the truck to get fresh axle weights.