Camping Tips: How to Get Started

 

Hear that? The rustle of branches in the wind, the smell of firewood, the feel of grass between your toes? That’s the call of the wild. If you’ve been looking for a great adventure to embark on with family or friends, camping could be the answer.

Camping is a great pastime in Australia, especially given our country’s diverse and unique ecosystem. However, if you’ve never been camping before, it can be difficult to know where to start. But with the following handy camping tips, you’ll feel like a wilderness warrior in no time!

Tip 1: Decide what type of camping you want to do
Camping is a broad term. It covers everything from ‘glamping’, to hardcore back country camping without facilities. Do your research and find out what’s going to work best for you. Perhaps setting up at a campground might be your cup of tea, where you can rough it a little while still having access to the necessities. Or perhaps you’re someone who likes to be on the move, in which case a campervan or motor home might be the way to go, allowing you to see more of the country.

Tip 2: Choose the right location
If you decide to set up a tent, be sure to set it up in a safe place. Generally speaking, it’s wise to pitch a tent on high ground a fair distance away from water to avoid condensation build-up. However, make sure a water source is still within walking distance in case you need it.

You should also set up camp on a flat surface, away from animal trails and nests. Avoid pitching your tent underneath a tree, on a high ridge or near any obvious natural hazards. We also recommend setting up your tent as soon as possible, so you aren’t left doing it in the dark when you just want to sleep.

Tip 3: Do a demo camp the night before
Camping can be a lot to get your head around, so if you’re nervous about doing it for the first time, especially if you’re travelling with kids, why not give it a test run! Pitch a tent in your backyard and act as though you’re out in the wilderness. This will give you a great chance to iron out any creases, practise your tent erecting skills, and identify any equipment you’re missing. Then you can fall asleep under the stars near the safety of your own home and enjoy a night your kids will love.

Tip 4: Bring the essentials
There’s nothing worse than driving for hours (or even days) away from home and arriving at your campsite only to realise your sleeping bag is still in your cupboard! Some absolute must-haves for camping outside are:

  • A tent (or caravan / campervan / motorhome)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Flashlights
  • Outdoor chairs
  • Foldable table
  • Emergency phone
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Toiletries
  • Camping mattresses
  • Bottled water / an insulated water bottle

Tip 5: Check and prepare for the weather
Roughing it can be fun, but there’s a difference between a challenge and having an experience that’s boring, miserable and even dangerous. Look at the weather forecast for the days you’ll be camping and pack accordingly.
Also be aware that weather can change on a dime so bring clothing and equipment for all seasons. Consider fire warnings and bans and make informed decisions based on this information. Also be sure to have an emergency plan in place. Preparing for the worst weather will set you up for the best experience.

Tip 6: Be camp-kitchen savvy
Just because you’re “roughing it” doesn’t mean your taste buds have to. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors as well as tasty food. Batch cook something easy before heading off (such as spaghetti Bolognese), so that you have a meal ready to reheat when dinner time rolls around. (Just make sure to keep it frozen before reheating).

Pack a good quality portable camp stove and stick to simple yet delicious foods that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. Make sure to throw in some camping classics like damper bread and s’mores for a late-night treat.

So, there you have it! With some forward planning, the right gear and a few handy tips up your sleeve, camping can be a great pastime. Don’t forget to be respectful of the environment and always exercise caution. Now get out there and see what this beautiful country has to offer, and enjoy an epic adventure you, your family and your friends will never forget.

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