Trying to work out how to plan for a camping trip? Planning a camping trip isn’t hard. But the truth is, you can plan everything right down to the last detail and still have things go terribly wrong (if you are unlucky).
There’s no way to completely safeguard against a holiday mishap. But there are some common mistakes people make when planning a camping trip, and knowing how to avoid these can put you on the right track to having a happy holiday.
“This largely depends on what kind of camper you are,” says Shell Robshaw-Bryan, who runs the blog Camping with Style. For starters, she recommends a comfortable tent that won’t leak, something comfortable to sleep on and cooking equipment, particularly as many campsite shops and restaurants are closed.
1. Good quality, waterproof tent.
This is one area where you do not want to get it wrong, because being wet or cramped in a tent is not fun. You will need to work out what sort of camping you will be doing.
Work out how many you want to fit in the tent (4 man tent means that 3 adults at the MOST will fit in it), where you want to use the tent, ease of set up and pack up, conditions that it will be expected to perform under.
If you can get one that you can stand up in, that is a great benefit when changing clothes, moving around, or being forced inside due to poor weather.
If you have friends who are willing to lend you their tent then go for it. But draw the line at more intimate items such as sleeping bags.
If you can’t borrow kit and aren’t willing or able to buy it all, you could try a campsite with pre-pitched tents. There are plenty of glamping options out there where you can just rock up and camp without the hassle of the set up or break down.
In the early stages of camping, it’s quite a shock how dark it is in the wilderness! Think carefully about the sort of lighting you want around the campsite, and how it will be powered up.
Don’t rely on campfires for your source of lighting. Whilst campfires are lovely, the light they cast is in immediate surrounds to the fire itself. That light won’t help you when you are off to the toilet, or too far away from it.
There is a huge range of lighting options out there (LED, electric, gas, dual fuel, battery operated) to suit every budget, so homework is imperative on making the right choice for you and your needs (and capabilities).
Include in your list of lighting options to investigate. Check out some options here. I think a headlamp is a must for everyone at the campsite – children included
You will use this for digging holes, fixing up the fire logs/embers, banging in tent pegs, clearing campsite or squashing giant spiders. If you need to go to the toilet in the bush, this will also be very handy to dig your temporary toilet facility.
Always use a good quality one, with sturdy handle.
4. First Aid Kit
Make sure its a well stocked kit, up to date and includes items such as insect repellent, plenty of band aids (with children around, you can never have enough band aids).
If you are camping in snake season, remember a pressure immobilisation bandage is worthwhile having in your kit.
Check out St Johns Ambulance website for further information and purchase of a kit (they make camping specific ones as seen in the above picture).
For a wide range of First Aid kits that could suit your budget and needs, see these via Amazon.
Buy the best bedding you can afford – good self inflating mattresses or stretchers, and sleeping bags rated for the season you are camping in. You may consider camping stretchers if you don’t think lying that close to the ground will appeal.
Don’t skimp on these essentials.
I did underestimate how cold it can get in winter, and I had a sleeping bag that just didn’t work.
Where to start with your shopping for bedding? Check out these options.
6. Good esky (portable cooler) / fridge
Food that is meant to be kept cold, needs to be kept cold unless you all want to get sick.
Buy an esky/portable cooler that has excellent insulation, and realise that party ice (sold at services stations etc) will not last much past 24 hours, so think ahead and freeze ice in large plastic bottles (eg. Old milk cartons, juice containers).
Keep the kids out of the esky unless totally necessary!!
7. 1 reliable cooking device
Whatever method you choose to cook, make sure its reliable.
We have a range of cooking devices/stoves for various camping situations but a good, classic stove we can always depend on during family camping trips is a 2 burner camp stove.
Look for a cooking device that is easy to use and set up and can be versatile.
Don’t rely on a campfire as camp fires are banned in the summer period nearly everywhere in Australia. It’s a lovely way to cook your food, and highly recommended, but it’s advisable to have a back up.
8. Fold up table
We have found this to be a crucial part of our camping. It’s a simple, inexpensive purchase but so handy and that is why it’s made our top 10 list. Possibly a table wouldn’t be on everyone’s must have list but with car camping, we think it’s a definite addition.
Some campsites even come with their own table/chair set up, and that is great, but we still bring a table every time.
We use it for meal prep, holding other camping equipment , place to gather at meal time and can place items off the ground at night on it. It may sound like a bit of a luxury item, but it saves gear being in the dirt as well.
9. Washing up tub.
Sounds basic and not a must-have? Try washing up the evening meal without one!
Unless everything you plan on using is disposable (and environmentally, not recommended), you are going to need wash it all up.
We use a $5 plastic tub with 2 handles from a local supermarket. We use this tub to store items in on the way home. It’s been used to wash dirty hands and faces at the end of day, carry water to extinguish the campfire and hold tadpoles! When not in use it also carries supplies to and from camp locations.
You don’t need to buy anything like a fancy collapsible bucket. Money can be spent better elsewhere in the world of camping!
10. A sense of humour (not available for purchase)
If things go awry, that sense of humour is going to be needed!