It was already late April and it was time to check what we needed to bring for the trip. We have already decided to take our 2005 Toyota Sienna. It was still relatively new therefore reliable for the trip. Basically, our van would be our home for 3-4 months and it had to carry everything we needed. We made a quick list of big and essential items that we had to bring:

  • Clothes for everyone (3 to 4 suitcases)
  • Camping gears: 4 sleeping bags, sleeping pad, pillows; a 4-person REI tent, a tarp, 3 camping chairs
  • Two child carriers
  • One Stroller, a front-pouch baby carrier, and a playpen
  • One dining booster seat
  • One child bath tub
  • One bed rail
  • Toys for kids
  • Electronic equipment (cameras, camcorder, laptops, gps, cell phones, dc/ac inverter)
  • Food and drinks
  • Camping stoves and propane canisters
  • Cooking gears, plates, pots, cups, bowls, utensils, refillable water jug, oil & seasonings
  • Three ice chests (one big and two small ones)
  • Supplies: paper towels, tissue papers
  • Books and CD
  • Maps and guidebooks
  • 1st Aid Kit and duct tapes

After debating for a while to see if we had enough room in the van to take all the stuff, we decided that even if we did, everything would be so cramped that we would have difficult time to find things within the van. Our next choice was to use our existing Yakima Basketcase which had be useful for our normal camping trip locally. Again, we decided that it might not be a good idea as other regions may rain in the summer where as California rarely does. Finally we decided to buy a Yakima Platinum Pro 18 rooftop cargo box to store all our camping gears in it; this way, we only had to open it when we camped. We justified the buying as it can be used for skiing later. It was a good choice as we would have a difficult time without it.

In retrospect, we still brought more things than we needed. Some of the items we didn’t use much such as the camcorder (we used movie mode on cameras), the playpen (Bryden hated it) and the bed rail (too much trouble for each night). In another post later, we will go into more details, the usefulness of different items.