Written by Adventure Outings staff member Scott Yoder

In the second part of our series, “Always Be 30 Minutes from Your Next Adventure,” we are going to focus on the “community box, commissary box” or comm box, as it is most commonly referred to.

Action Packer, found discarded c.2011

This box is really central to any car-based trip happening with ease. While the ammo can will make your life easier, the comm box makes your trip happen.

Essentially, this box lives in storage until it is ready to be thrown in the back of a rig and used on a trip. The idea is that instead of running around your house looking for a cook pot, pan, cutting board, some utensils, and all of the other essentials, you can ease your mind and to-do list by having this box ready to go.

The easiest way to decide what you need in this box is to think about what items you would need or want in the kitchen and community area of your camp. Things like trash bags (often overlooked), cutting board, utensils, basic spices, and a bathroom kit are typical finds in a comm box.

My comm box is really just a Rubbermaid action packer, which you can find at most hardware stores, although I happened to find mine in a dumpster. The action packer is durable and has reliable latches, which makes it an ideal choice. Mine is a shallow 12-gallon version, which seems to be more difficult to find but takes up much less space than some bigger boxes. Keeping your box on the smaller size will make it easier to handle and pack and will also prevent you from packing too many nonessentials.

All that to say, the easiest way to demonstrate the utility of this box is just to share the contents of my particular box:

  • Metal stovetop espresso maker
  • Paper towels
  • Cutting board
  • Bathroom kit (mine has toilet paper and some wet wipes)
  • Zip ties
  • Paper bowls (not necessary, but I pick them up at events if they will be thrown away)
  • Cook pan
  • Cook pot
  • Plates
  • Aluminum foil
  • Taco-truck napkins (save them when you get too many!)
  • Emergency 6' x 8' tarp
  • Trash bags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Silverware/utensil bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Solar panel (not necessary, but very handy when charging camera equipment)
  • Stove repair kit
  • Frisbee (doubles as an extra plate or cutting board)
  • Sauce and spice packets from restaurants
  • Back-up coffee
  • Camp broom
  • Camp mugs
  • Sunscreen
  • Dish sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Reusable plastic containers (yogurt, cheese, hummus containers work great!)
  • Corded rope
  • Garlic salt
  • Hot sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Pliers, screwdriver (extra tools are great)
  • Extra cook pan
  • Coffee thermos
  • Incense (great for those days when you don’t want to smell yourself anymore)
  • Lavender oil (see above)
  • Lighter (and maybe some parafin or another fire starter)
  • Duct tape

After reading the contents, it seems more obvious how to use this box. Find your own method and container and start slowly gathering the items you need to make your trip go. Again, this box doesn’t have to take up a lot of space and should always be cleaned right after a trip so that it is ready to go for the next one!

And one last note, I have found it helpful to make a list of things when I am out that I wished were in the box; then I get home and make sure that I reference the list and add them to the box for next time!