Think OUTside the box!
Winter is OUT, Summer is IN and we have some awesome tips for your next camping trip!
There are lots of different holiday styles. You can hop on a plane to another country, stay in a holiday cabin a few hours from your home, head to a resort or jump in your car and go camping – we are very fortunate in this country to have a plethora of amazing holiday choices. However, the limiting factor for most people is balancing the cost of the holiday and where you go/what you do. Unless you’ve found a tree in your backyard that sprouts dollar bills (please hook me up if you have!), you’ll have to do the finance dance like the rest of us.
OR… you could go camping.
Camping – The poor man’s holiday?
What?? No Way!
Exempting your die-hard, best-of-everything campers with waayyyy too much money to spend on completely ridiculous gear (portable solar-powered oven anyone?), camping is fairly inexpensive on the finance front. However, in terms of actual holiday experiences, camping ranks pretty high on the awesome scale.
So what’s great about camping?
Well: It’s outdoors. It’s a novelty. And it offers perfect family time. As someone who relished the family road trips and even slept out in a homemade tent in the backyard, I’m shocked to hear that some camping is often pushed into too-hard basket when it comes to families.
There’s something amazing about camping – it’s an adventure in itself. You don’t need to pay for entertainment – the world is your entertainment! Setting tents up, sleeping under the stars, sitting around and telling ghost stories, daytime fishing, exploring the surrounding area and appreciating the wildlife is what makes camping such a great experience!
While camping and preparation sounds like lots of work is required, it can be surprisingly easy (assuming you don’t try to go professional on your first time out). Remember: you must learn to walk before you run!
Check out our Top Tips for summer camping trips:
1. Safety First
- Prepare for all climates
Bring wet weather gear no matter what, including raincoats and a weatherproof fly for the tent. A warm jumper is a good idea too.
- Pack a repair kit
Some gaffer/duct tape, extra rope, a sewing kit and even spare poles will seem like dead weight in the boot of your car until you need them. Then, one day, they suddenly become your saviour.
The last thing you want to deal with is that cheap tent you skimped out on (see – 2. Equipment) snapping a tent-pole and the rain you thought you avoided, unloads 2 weeks worth of water onto your campsite while you and the taller of your children take turns holding the tent up as your wife watches sullenly and rather wetly from the family car. Heavy-duty tape would have been a much quicker fix.
- Prioritise First Aid
Check your First Aid kit is fully stocked and replenished before leaving as it will come in handy for emergencies big and small.
- Check all your equipment before you go
Make sure all the bits and pieces are there before you take off to avoid nasty surprises upon arrival. If equipment is new, give it a trial run at home – specially tents and stoves
- Borrow equipment
This is a good one for first-timers. If you’re not sure how much you’ll love your first camping adventure, borrow gear from your friends and family (or rent it). This way you won’t skip on buying a cheap tent and end up sleeping in your car while your tent slowly fills with water, hating the experience.
- Choose the right equipment
When it does come time to buy, think carefully about what your family needs. Choose a tent that is big enough and easy enough to put up and pack away. Buy good quality gear, once. And don’t compromise on quality. Research the products before you buy them, get good value for money and a quality product and you’ll have it for years to come.
- Choose the right spot
First-time campers: If you’ve never camped before, consider opting for a Holiday Park where you have access to electricity, shower blocks, camp kitchens, laundries and convenience stores. Holiday Parks (such as Brisbane Holiday Village) also offer a range of facilities and activities for the whole family and are a great way to ease kids into the idea of ‘roughing it’.
Camping should be simple and straightforward, and the cost of camping reflects this. Take the time to find economical campgrounds or plan to travel outside of school holidays and public holidays, as this will save you a substantial amount of money in caravan park fees as many campsites will have a peak and off-peak season with different pricing.
- Arrive at your campsite in daylight
This makes setting up much easier and allows you to get your bearings. Locate the toilets if there are any and set out bedding before dark.
- Pack extra food and plenty of water
A spare day’s food and drinking water is important in an emergency, especially on overnight hikes or in remote areas.
- Keep meals simple but yummy
Pre-made meals are easy to heat up on a stove, and sausages and veggies or bacon and eggs are easily cooked on a barbie. Aim for few ingredients and short preparation time. Don’t forget tea and coffee and definitely don’t forget the chocolate.
- Keep your campsite tidy
Store your food in a dry bag or sealed container, and keep rubbish away from where you sleep. Avoid attracting unwanted insect or animal guests.
- Pack some creature comforts
After a few weekend trips, you will build up your list of essentials. Some of them may seem like luxuries but they will make the experience ten times easier.
- a hammer or small mallet to push tent pegs in and a doormat for the tent entrance;
- a dustpan and broom to sweep away sand and dirt;
- a ground sheet to lay under your tent;
- a pump for airbeds;
- individual torches for everyone including kids (we recommend head torches to keep your hands free for board games)