A weekend camping trip can be a lot of fun if you’ve done your homework; or two days of discomfort and insomnia if you fail to prepare. Planning your trip isn’t rocket science, but it is a little more involved than grabbing your sleeping bag, a can of baked beans, and heading off to the nearest cow paddock to pitch your tent. If you’re an experienced camper, then good for you; class dismissed. However; if you are keen to spend time in the outdoors, but don’t know where to begin, this month’s blog is for you.
When you pack for your camping trip, there is a grey area between “You’ve brought nothing with you! You’ll have to sleep in a ditch to keep warm”, and “You’re being ridiculous. We’ll need a semi-trailer to haul all of this crap”. This month, I’ll share my own camping list with you. When writing your own list, feel free to remove or replace any items not relevant to you. My list is broken up into four categories: clothing, equipment, food, and toiletries.
Clothing (always choose natural fibre where possible. Synthetic materials are highly flammable):
• Thick socks (1 pair per day, + 1 spare pair).
• Underpants (1 pair per day, + 1 spare pair).
• Good quality boots,
• 1 pair of sneakers (if you wade through water you’ll still need to wear shoes of some description while your boots dry).
• Long pants (jeans are highly recommended).
• Long sleeved shirt (t-shirts are ok, but long sleeves can be rolled up or down as weather dictates).
• Jumper, or zip-up jacket (yes, even in summer. You’ll be grateful you did if the weather turns cold).
• Hat with a wide brim.
• Gloves and balaclava (only in winter, or in cooler climates).
• Torch & Batteries (for goodness sake, turn it on before you pack it. Actually turn it on and make sure it works. Don’t just assume it works). Take the batteries out to transport. Many a torch has arrived at the campsite with dead batteries, because it was accidentally turned on during transit.
• Spar batteries for torch.
• Camera & batteries (most smart phones have a camera, but you might not have anywhere to recharge your phone, so it is probably wise to conserve your battery).
• Backpack. It needs to be big enough to carry your gear, but not so big that you can’t pick it up and put it on your back without help.
• First Aid kit. A basic kit will cover any minor accident (notice I said minor, not loss of limb).
• Sleeping bag. Don’t buy the cheapest one you can find. Make sure you can comfortably fit inside (if it is skin tight, you aren’t going to get much sleep).
• Pillow (you can try using your backpack, or a rolled-up jumper, but they aren’t very comfortable).
• Swag, foam roll, or airbed.
• Spare plug for airbed.
• Wet weather gear (yes, really. Think of it as insurance).
• Towel (you’ll need it if it rains – and for drying your hands after you wash them).
• Good quality, sharp knife with a full tang (don’t waste your money on any of those hollow-handled “survival knives”). Buy quality, if you find yourself in a genuine survival situation, your life may be dependent on your knife.
• Pocket knife (as a back-up, in case you lose your primary knife).
• Compass (Lensatic or Orienteering).
• Fire steel.
• Storm matches (in a waterproof container).
• Insect repellent (squeeze bottle).
• Small shovel/folding shovel (you don’t want to use your hands to dig your latrine).
• Newspaper (in case kindling is scarce).
• Binoculars (not strictly essential, but always handy to have).
• Roll of duct tape (not the cheap stuff; it isn’t waterproof, and it doesn’t work).
• Tent (do your research to find one to suit your needs. The less it weighs, the easier it is to transport).
• Camp chair (sitting on the cold, hard ground isn’t as fun as it sounds).
• Folding table (not essential, but more civilised than eating on the ground).
• Plastic washing tub (for washing the dishes).
• Billy/pot/saucepan (for boiling water).
• Book (if it rains, you’ll need some way to kill time while you’re stuck in your tent).
• Deck of cards (something else to do if you chose the wrong book).
• Drink bottle. Stainless steel is preferable, plastic is acceptable, but leave the fancy glass drink bottles at home.
• Esky. If you’re taking meat with you, this will keep it cold until dinner time on your first night.
• Canned food with pull rings. (No cooking required).
• Long-life milk.
• Instant soup powder (just add boiling water).
• Two minute noodles.
• Bottled water. (2 litres per person, per day). Allow an extra 5 litres per day for cooking and washing up. Also include an extra 2 litres per person in case your return home is unexpectedly delayed.
• Dishwashing liquid.
• Toilet paper (besides the obvious, it can also be used as tissues, and tinder for your fire).
• Dental floss (can also be used as cordage).
• Toothbrush. (yes, really. Camping isn’t an excuse to neglect your dental hygiene).
• Moist towelettes.
This list is a basic starting point, and by no means complete. I’m sure you will have specific items or gear that you deem necessary for your camping trip. As always, please share this blog with your friends and family on your social media page. Knowledge is only useful if it is shared.