When it comes to camping there are many items that can further enhance your experience or save your skin when things inevitably go sideways due to weather, kids or divine intervention.
We wrote a check list in our first Tips for Trips covering a variety of things to pack and check before you go out on your next adventure.
In this post we look more closely into the bare essentials any camper would need in order to make their next adventure a positive and memorable experience.
1. A Tent
We know what you’re thinking… ‘Well isn’t that obvious’? However, there are many things to consider when it comes to your tent – The most important being whether it’s the right tent for the job.
You might have a large, family sized 6 person tent all ready to go, but when it’s just you and your mate Jeff going off the beaten track, an oversized tent might be more effort and space in the car than you bargained for.
Depending on your destination, it might be better to pack light. Or, if you have a bit of hiking to do before you get to your campsite, you may even want to skip the tent all together and consider a Bivvy. We recommend doing your research first to ensure the tent you take with you is up for the challenge.
For a cost effective family all-rounder, we recently tried the Coleman Instant Up 6 Person Tent during our work with the Ivory’s Rock Foundation and found it very easy to assemble and works perfectly for quick assembly with the Ezy Anchor. If you want to take the family out or go on a weekend away with some mates this tent is the perfect addition.
2. Sleeping Bag
‘C’mon, tell us something we don’t know!‘ Just like selecting your tent, it’s very important you select the right sleeping bag for your trip. No two sleeping bags are made the same and you’ll wish you’d have taken the right one when your teeth are chattering through the frosty winter nights.
Sleeping bags come in all shapes and sizes, but more importantly they are all regulated for different temperatures and even conversions.
You wouldn’t climb Everest in thongs and you certainly wouldn’t want your $10 bargain bin sleeping bag your only defence on colder winter nights.
We recently tried the Mudgee Tall Hooded Sleeping Bag from Coleman and have been very impressed with its performance in the cold winter weather.
3. High Visibility Rope
Whether you’re securing your tent or awning or simply tying everything down for the long trip, it never hurts to have a good quality rope on hand. But be warned: However versatile rope can be, it can also pose a serious trip hazard around camp.
To overcome this, we recommend having some high visibility rope on hand that can easily be spotted in low light conditions. This will save many ankles, and if you’re camping with your family, might event save you having to explain to your kids what the word you just yelled means in your moment of lost composure.
We recommend the High Visibility Rope Range from Handle. The orange colouring is easily identifiable and blends in well with the Ezy Anchor, providing you with a safe and secure camp site.
4. First Aid Kit
Another must have on the list (even if it seems obvious). If you have your first aid kit in the car we recommend updating and reviewing your kit before embarking on any adventure. You might always have it ready for the worst-case scenario, but when was the last time you stocked it up or checked expiry dates?
If you’re looking to purchase a new first aid kit or just restock what’s missing check out St Johns Ambulance kits to find everything you could need.
5. Wet weather gear
Depending on the season this item may or may not be as relevant. However, it never hurts to have a spare rain poncho tucked under your seat or even your trusty umbrella for when you’re out and about.
Always check the weather before you head off camping or caravanning and see what you’re in for when you reach your destination. The space you save not packing for this event probably doesn’t weigh up to the cold you’ll be fighting from wearing soaked through clothes for the next few days.
Even packing an extra spare set of clothes and a towel goes a long way when dealing with unexpected showers!
When it’s not pouring from the sky and making your off-road driving feel like a Hilux advertisement, having sufficient water supplies on hand is an absolute necessity.
If your camping or caravanning trips take you multiple hours of travel to reach your destination it’s very important that you have extra water not just for you and your passengers, but for your vehicle. Overheating can be a serious problem and waiting for RACQ to come to the rescue is better as the last resort not the first.
Importantly, when you finally reach your camping or caravanning destination don’t forget to carry water and take some with you when hiking or leaving camp for periods of time. As important as it is to have water on journey there, make sure you’re being safe and staying hydrated so you can fully enjoy what you spent hours traveling for.
We suggest the Icon Plastics 20L Fuel Can. This tank is UV Stabilised, heavy duty, Food and drug approved, BPA free material, fitted with bung to allow fitment of tap, Strong carry handle and proudly Aussie made. Whatever the trip, you’ll be thanking yourself for having a few of these on board.
7. Light Source
When it comes to beauty in nature, nothing quite measures up to the feeling of looking up at the night sky and seeing the black expanse covered with stars, gleaming and twinkling back at you.
Light pollution often prevents us from seeing the cosmos in all its glory, so we always try to appreciate the night sky as much as we can whenever we go camping or caravanning. With that said, sometimes you need light to see what you’re doing and having a small torch on hand can be very useful especially for visibility and safety at night, you never know when you’ll need to shine a torch on something coming into your camp or taking an unscheduled trip to the bathroom.
To keep our impact on the environment low and to ensure we only use light when we absolutely need to we use the F1R – LED LENSER Measuring just only 155 mm and weighing 120 g, the battery-powered brother of the F1 produces up to 1000 lm1 and lasts an unbelievable 60 hours. Compact in size and extremely bright, when you need you’ll always have light.
8. Sun Protection
The Aussie sun is harsh and unrelenting, especially in summer. It’s the perfect weather to hit the beach and work on your tan. However as we all well know, too much sun can ruin your fun. Always have your sun safety gear packed and ready to be deployed when necessary.
Sunscreen, zink, and a wide brimmed/bucket hat all go a long way in keeping your skin safe and prevent any long-term damage. It may be small but the effort you put in will be well worth it in the long run.
At the very least we suggest having sunscreen on hand and would recommend Banana Boat Ultra Pump SPF 50+ so that you can confidently stay out in the sun knowing you’re covered. It’s also Aussie made and we just love that.
9. Non Slip Shoes
One of the best bits of camping and caravanning is stretching your legs and going off on a walk to see the surrounding landscapes and natural formations in all their glory. The last thing you want is to get 5 minutes into your trek to have your feet start hurting from uncomfortable shoes, or worse, slip and injure yourself from stepping on something awkwardly in your inappropriate footwear.
This becomes especially important if part of your journey involves climbing, wet/slippery surfaces and/or loose rocks. A comfortable pair of reliable non-slip shoes will keep you moving and keep you with your feet on the ground.
Look no further than the Hi Tec Men’s Bryce II Waterproof Hiking Shoe. This shoe is suitable for camping, hiking and everyday use with the added benefit of being waterproof meaning they’re perfect for all weather conditions and terrains.
10. Multi tool
Whether it’s your grandfathers pocket knife that’s been passed down from generation to generation, or the gift from your mum when she couldn’t think of anything else to get you for Christmas, a multi tool or pocket knife is one of the most essential tools to have in your arsenal.
At the very least, having a foldable blade gives you a greater versatility. You could be preparing food, building a fire, altering clothing or rope. The list is endless, and depending on what other features your multi tool has you’ll be able to do many other things that a knife can’t or might not be suited for.
Knowing you have one in your back pocket will give you a greater sense of security and ensure you’re prepared for any situation
The Leatherman’s multi tool offers 17 unique extensions for a very complete toolbox. If you don’t already have a multi tool, this is definitely a great all rounder that you’ll have with you for many years to come.
These are our top picks for the 10 must have camping and caravanning items. We want to hear what you bring on your adventures. Is there anything on our list you already use? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!