Camping trips are a great Aussie tradition and a popular way to escape the daily grind.But if you’ve never been camping before, Melissa from All Around Oz has some great tips to make your first camping holiday memorable – for the right reasons!
If you are about to go on your first camping trip, getting organised can be a bit daunting. You certainly won’t want it to turn out like my first camping trip! But with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have a stress-free first camping trip.
1. CHECK YOUR GEAROur number one tip is to always check your gear before you head off on your first camping trip. Whether you have purchased it brand new, picked it up off Gumtree or borrowed it off a mate, you will want to make sure that all the important bits are there. You should also check that nothing is broken or damaged. Always check newly purchased gear too, as even it can sometimes have missing bits.
2. HAVE A PRACTICE RUNNo matter what type of gear you have, it is always a good idea to have a couple of set up test-runs before you go camping. This can save a lot of time (and perhaps some swearing and cursing) when it comes time to make camp. Knowing how to set your tent up also comes in handy if you arrive somewhere late and you are running out of light. Plus the quicker you can get set up, the quicker you can sit down with a beer!
3. BE BUDGET CONSCIOUSCamping can be a great low-cost way to have a family holiday or a weekend away. Take it from us, you don’t need a lot of stuff to have a great time. We have proven that you can easily camp with a basic set-up. Even when we had our camper trailer, we only ever travelled with what we considered to be the essentials. Of course, what we consider essential and what you consider essential could be quite different!
Gumtree and garage sales can be great sources of cheap gear if you don’t have a lot to spend. Don’t discount Aldi supermarket either. That’s where our tent came from and it’s a little ripper!
4. TRY A SHORT TRIP FIRSTA great way to ease into the camping lifestyle is to take a short trip first. Find somewhere that is within an hour or two’s drive and head off for the weekend. This will give you a great opportunity to test out all your gear, before you embark on a longer trip.
5. LET THE KIDS GET DIRTYKids love camping – well ours certainly did. It really gives them a great opportunity to learn new skills and to just be outside. Part of the fun of camping is letting the kids roam around and explore the area. Part and parcel of this is letting them get dirty. Kids and clothes wash up easily so let them get messy. Let them have a go at new things too. Ours learned how to get a campfire going from a fairly young age.
6. BE SOCIABLECamping can be a very social activity. Expect to meet other campers in many of the places that you go. Some camp grounds have communal fire pits where everyone gathers around for ‘happy hour’. Even the camp kitchen is a great spot to meet up of an evening. Camping is a great way to meet other families, and to find out about activities or sights to see in the nearby area. Chatting to other campers can also help you decide where to go to next.
7. ALWAYS TAKE:No matter where you are going camping there are a few things we recommend that you always take with you, even if you are only going for a night or two.
- EXTRA WATER – You never know what water is available in some places or what it tastes like. We always carry a couple of extra bottles just in case we need it. Or you might need it to give to someone else like we did recently when we encountered a couple of backpackers camped in an out of the way spot with no fresh water. We gave them two bottles that we had spare knowing that they would have had to drive for half an hour for more.
- MOZZIE REPELLENT – It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, there are always mosquitoes, midges or flies so a bottle of your favourite mozzie repellent is a must.
- SUNSCREEN – The sun here in Australia can burn you to a crisp within a matter of minutes. Everyone needs to remember to be sun safe all year round.
- WARM CLOTHES – I generally pack a set of warm clothes no matter what time of the year it is or where I am going. Australia seems to know how to flick the weather switch from warm to cold with no warning.