Basics of Camping

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I have had many people email asking for information for "First-Time Camping" tips.
So, I've compiled all my thoughts together to write this guide.

Firstly, and most importantly, each time I get one of these emails, people don't seem to comprehend or understand that the kind of equipment you will need first time out depends on many variables; Such as location, time of year, enviroment, weather, duration of stay. It can be very hard to provide any 100% accurate estimate of what you will need without this information, I've always asked those who email me,
to email me direct with such information, but for reasons only known to themselves, very few do.
Thus the reason for this guide been written.

Some initial things to consider:

  • How many people will be camping?
  • Are there children camping to?
  • Duration of stay?
  • Does any person require specialist medicines or treatment?
  • The environment in which your camping?
  • What facilities are available?
  • How far you will be from the nearest town/city?
  • The season of year?

This is important to know before any camping trip, as you will base what food/liquids you take upon this number. And also for some areas you may be required to let relevant authourites know where your intending to camp, and how many people are in your group.

Kids (most of them!) love camping. But children also have different requirements to that of us adults.
Some, especially teenagers, may not be so keen on the bush dunny method of toileting, little things like this need to be taken into consideration. Also kids can become bored very easily, so you will need to plan for rainy days when you will be confined to the tent. Card/board games which can be brought very cheaply
on eBay are great for this, and something the whole family can be involved in.

Are you planning a weekender? A school holiday camp which may be a week or more?
Knowing how long you intend to stay is important in knowing what supplies to take. As a rule of thumb you should allow 1 litre of drinking water per person, per day. This is not taking into account water used for cooking, making coffees, washing etc.

If someone in the group requires specialist medications you should consider a few things here, there medical condition first of all, will the environment they are in increase the symptoms of their condition? Also if they need medical equipment such as Ashtma  ventilators etc, you will need to ensure you can run it from 12v unless the area your in has 240v supply, check this out first. Failing this, do a search on eBay for a
240v Inverter, which converts your cars 12v source into 240v. Needless to say you won't be able to sit back and watch telly for most of the day or you will find yourself with a flat battery very quickly!

Also make sure you have ample supplies of the medication, not just enough for the time you are intending to be camping, take enough to cover an extra week just in case you do run into problems and get stuck, better to be safe then sorry.

By this I mean the surrounds you intend camping in, bush, desert etc. This won't be so applicable if you intend staying at established camping parks. But if your intending to hit nature and go it rough, you will need to consider what you need to take with you, what facilities (if any) are at the place you wish to stay.
Most of the government parks websites have excellent information on the various parks and the facilities provided at each.

This depends on where you intend to camp, some camping areas provide quite substantial facilities, whilst others provide only the basics; Toilets & Picnic tables with predominately hard water (non-drinkable) supply on-site.

This is important to know in case of emergency. And if your heading into remote areas it is always a good idea to visit the local police station and provide them with details (which you can print up before leaving) of your name(s), car make & rego, your intended duration of stay, number of persons, amount of water you are carrying and so forth. And of course your expected time of departure and a contact number (mobile) and contact numbers for next of kin. By the way don't expect blistering mobile service in most of the parks.
Most times there will be very patchy coverage to none.

It goes without saying, that different times of year will require different equipment and different food types, and water supplies.

You're going to need a tent!
There are a myriad of tents available on eBay, but which do you choose?
I will let you in on a secret here, most tents capacity ratings (Number of persons) are very conservative, as most tents are made in Asian countries, people there are quite smaller then us lot, so a tent with a 3/4 person rating will sleep 2 persons comfortably. If you are a family of four, look for a tent that caters for 6/8 persons.
Not only will this make your sleeping more comfortable but give you some leg room.

There are some great little portable fridges to be had on eBay, I have even brought some of these myself. As well as eskies, such as those from seller unbelivablycool. The techi-ice paks this seller has are excellent items!

When buying an esky, get one or more of suitable size, but rather then sloshing ice into them, a great way of keeping things well frozen I have found is to get old 1.25Lt soft drink bottles, wash them out and fill them with fresh drinking water, and place them in the freezer for up to (at least) a week before you go camping.
Then placing these in the bottom of the esky, and covering them over with a techi-ice pak. Not only will they keep the ice pak frozen along with all your food, but you have an extra supply of fresh water as well.

Torches are a much needed item, and you can again pick these up off eBay. The LED variety are very good these days (20+ LEDS), and are economical to run lasting a good time on batteries. Gas laterns are also a good source of lighting as well. Don't discount the old kero laterns either, they are easy to cart and cheap to run. Probably best buying kero lanterns new from the likes of camping stores or K-Mart  when you factor in postage costs. You can pick these up from camping stores etc for around $9-12 a piece.
Or even get the cheapies from the likes of the Reject Shop.

Obviously you will want to cook over the fire, and there are many grill tops, tosters and jaffle makers available on eBay. But you also need to cover yourself for the wet days when you cannot get a fire going, or days of total fire ban. A gas cooker in this case is a handy item to carry along. Twin burners are a nice little
cooker for such times, or when you just haven't the time/energy to get a fire going. Probably best to buy a gas cylinder new & local. NOTE: Some sellers may not like this,
Regardless of what the auction listing may state.
These things have the potential to cause serious injury & death.
- New gas cylinders only please -  
You can get swap over cylinders from most servos these days. So there is no excuse.

Sleeping Bags:
If the area your going into experiences cold nights, get a bag with at least a -5 rating, or even better a -10 rating.

The rubber camp matts that roll up, whilst better then nothing, they don't really serve well as a mattress, but they will stop cold air and damp rising, so keep that in mind. For a mattress if you want to go fancy, get a blow up air bed, or for economy go to the likes of Clark Rubber and buy some foam (Not foam rubber). Most times they will even cut it to size for you, so you just measure the inside of your tent or sleeping
area(s) and take those measurments along with you. Failing this grab a jigsaw and cut it out yourself.

I am happy to answer any further questions, but please at least give me some basic info to go on, as I said earlier: location, time of year, enviroment, weather, duration of stay, number of persons, ages, are there children if so how many/ages. The more info you give me, the better I can advise you!


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