Not only is camping a cost effective way to travel, but it's a great way to reconnect with what's important in life — including quality time with family and friends. Here are ten top tips that will ensure your next camping holiday is a great one.
Camping is back in a big way as a holiday option for Aussies.
Getting out of the house and into the great outdoors on a camping trip is an amazing experience, and one that appeals to all age groups. You get to relax, breathe fresh air and disconnect from the pressures of everyday life.
Never pitched a tent before? That’s OK. Our beginner’s guide to camping will get you started.
Here are ten top tips for a successful camping trip.
1. Make a list
A camping trip is as much an exercise in logistics as it is a holiday! You’ll need to be self-sufficient for the duration of your trip, and the best way to avoid forgetting anything is simple — make a list! The basics you’ll need to cover off are shelter, bedding, lighting, clothing and food (provision and preparation). Prepare a checklist of everything you’ll need on the trip and check it off as you pack the car. The obvious items are a tent, sleeping bag, lantern, camp stove and so on, but there’s plenty of other useful camping gear on the market.
2. Choose the right tent
Having appropriate shelter is one of the top requirements on a camping holiday and these days you’ll find a bewildering array of tents on offer. Choose a durable option that’s suitable for the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter. If you plan to do extended camping trips, it’s a good idea to have a double-layered tent, as they can withstand a broad range of weather events, including rain, wind and even snow. There are lots of great options out there depending on your budget, but ensure your choice is durable, and can be set up and taken down with ease.
3. Sleep smarter
There’s an art to sleeping in a sleeping bag and getting a really comfortable night’s sleep under the stars. Many people get inside them with too many clothes on, and then go through a cycle of sweating and freezing throughout the night. Go to bed with some light layers on and allow the sleeping bag to do what it was designed to — maintain a constant body temperature. If the conditions are really cold, you can add some extra cover as needed.
4. Light your way hands-free
There are some pieces of kit for a camping holiday that might not immediately come to mind, and a headlamp is one of them. Think of a miner in a dark space with a lamp on their helmet and their hands free for digging. The principle is the same for a camper. With a headlamp you can see what you’re doing inside your tent or around your food prep area at night, without having to hold a torch in one hand to do it. Have a standard torch for back-up and pack plenty of spare batteries.
5. Guarantee your water source
Access to clean drinking water is another important consideration when planning a camping holiday. If the camping site you plan to visit doesn’t offer a potable water source, you’ll need to bring sufficient water with you. Always overestimate how much you’ll need. It’s better to have too much than too little. Water from a pristine mountain stream may look clean but will almost certainly contain microbes that may be hazardous to human health — and boiling the water may not be enough to purify it. It’s also a good idea to have water purification tablets on stand-by.
6. Pack a toolkit
It’s very important to have a basic camping toolkit with you. Again, it’s something that novice campers often overlook. For example, you’ll need a mallet for hammering in those tent pegs. A small shovel or trowel will also come in handy (tip: dig a small drain around your tent so the rain run-off has somewhere to go). A small hatchet is useful for chopping kindling and small branches for your campfire, while a good quality outdoor knife will be worth its weight in gold in numerous situations. Keep everything clean and well maintained.
7. Organise your toiletries and towel
Unless you’re planning to get completely back to nature, you’ll need a kit of essential toiletries for your camping trip. Pack everything in a good quality, self-contained waterproof bag. That way when you are off for a wash, everything is in one grab-and-go place. Use a waterproof soap container to hold your bar of soap and rinse and dry all items after use before you put them back in your toiletries bag. A quick dry camping towel is a wise investment. Don’t forget to pack some extra toilet paper (and keep it dry!).
8. Play it safe with fire
Sitting around an open campfire, local restrictions permitting, is one of the great joys of camping. But fire should always be treated with care. Use a designated fireplace if one is available. You’ll need a way to start your fire and dry wood to keep it burning. It’s a good idea to bring at least one bag of firewood with you, just in case the weather turns nasty. Set up your campfire an appropriate distance from your tent and don’t leave it burning unattended.
9. Act like a clean and green camper
You should leave your campsite (hopefully) as you found it — free of rubbish. Pack some sturdy rubbish bags so that you can take all your waste with you and dispose of it appropriately. Separate it into general rubbish and recyclables and have separate bags for each. Even food scraps should not be left behind, as they will attract wildlife and could be harmful to an animal. A plastic bucket with a sealable lid makes a great temporary compost bin, which you can empty when you get home.
10. Be prepared
Even on the most carefully planned camping trip, accidents can happen. Invest in a good quality first aid kit and keep it stored in your vehicle unless it’s needed. Also ensure you are able to contact the outside world in the case of an emergency. Have access to a radio and be able to recharge your mobile phone as needed. It’s always a good idea to inform a relative or family friend of your travel plans.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of top tips for a successful camping trip? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.