So here is the first of our features and we cant wait to get started on this one.
Although relatively new to the camping travel adventures, we have thrown ourselves deeply in and within only one year, we have gone from a $10 dollar tent in the back of our car, to an Oztrail 30 second tent with all the trappings of creature comforts and a 4WD Toyota fully spect up to get us anywhere and everywhere Australia can throw at us and cant wait to Getoutgotravel in style.
As fairly novice campers we have a lot to learn and hopefully many of you happy campers out there can give us a heap of tips, advice and useful information on our forum or Facebook page.
Already from our very limited experience, we can share some of the initial tips and mistakes we have made and look to this website for added help.
Luckily we live in a “Drive” where all our neighbours are camping freaks and have many stories to tell. We also take great advice from our close neighbours Matt and Lisa, who we are sure you know already, as they have the “Live2camp.com.au” website that everyone is raving about. A website that has all the videos and pictures of bush and beach camping areas around Australia, as well as camp grounds to show what’s available at each camping area. Check out the link.
Well without rambling on too much to start with here is our first tip. Season your tents!
Tip 0204 Season your tents
Yes, many of you know this already and it does clearly say on your tent instructions but who reads these? Lol. It’s a bit like your flat pack from Ikea, just start assembling and your away “NOT” forget this tip at your peril.
Now we really must commence this feature at the beginning and the how at least we started camping.
Story 2 Start small and work up
Having done a little camping as a child many moons ago and really not knowing anything about the nuts and bolts of what it really is all about. On arrival to Australia I thought it prudent to acquire a tent to go outback, like you do. I set out on a mission to buy my first tent and found a sale bargain of $10 for a two person tent. There you have it and some six years later I had the chance to try out my new tent on a kayaking adventure with my good ole mate Phil and one other.
I have to say the kayaking part was full on and ended up being a story in itself but out came the $10 dollar tent on the trip and I was really expecting to find a small tarp and a couple of poles to keep the tarp off.
Well I was more than pleasantly surprised that the tent in fact was excellent and even had a porch front.
So I guess what I am saying and the moral of this story being, it is easily affordable for almost anyone to getoutgotravelling with even the smallest and cheapest equipment out there.
We have since taken this tent out two or three more times in the lead up to really getting into the camping travel life and this is where our next tip is, start small and find out what works for you.
Tip 0205 Start small find what works for you.
As a couple Julie and I experimented with this tent and found out a lot about camping and our first main trip recommended by Live2camp.com.au was the perfect start. The Condamine Gorge in South Queensland. A beautiful area of countryside with 14 river crossings, a wonderful mountainous backdrop and fabulous camping ground close by.
Out came the $10 tent again and we purchased an $8 weekender bbq set from Bunnings which trebled up an extra light and a fire to keep the cold from the rain away. We had an old worn out tarp that we tied up to the car, tent and tree and we was in heaven.
Having now experienced camping with the basics we had already learnt a bundle. We hadn’t thought about airing the tent and fortunately we had tested the tent in the garden pre travel and managed to air and freshen it for our next use.
Tip 0206 Air your equipment.
You always learn from your last travel and we already have come to the conclusion that we are going to need a bigger tent!
So our next tip is, condensation from your breath. In a small tent even with your air vent open, you will experience condensation inside your tent. This leads to damp conditions within and if you are storing anything inside with you, it is all likely to get a little wet.
Tip 0207 Condensation from your breath
Now we are not saying that small tents/swags and the like are not suitable but for longer periods of time camping we found that especially if there is more than one inside, think about up sizing.
We also learnt on our first trip of the vast amount of differing tents, caravans, trailer tents, "T" vans, rooftop tents, Winnebago’s that people have and we set about trying to find what we need and what will suit our set of immediate circumstances.
Not trying to recommend to anyone the way to go, as there are some many options and circumstances to even begin to try. We talk about our reasoning for why we when the 30 second tent.
Tip 0208 Everyone’s circumstances are different.
Having experiences probably the cheapest camping out there apart from sleeping under the stars. We took a mental note of several groups within the campsite we was at and observed happenings throughout the evening and morning.
Tip 0209 See what’s out there
One thing we noticed was that the sites toilets where not the best and was full of mosquito’s, ants and smelled pretty awful. Our next purchase was to be a toilet and true to form, we found a $20 bucket with toilet seat/lid and added it to our growing collection. Best thing we have bought to date!
A couple from South Africa had a rooftop tent which started us thinking. Seems great, off the ground away from snakes, creepy crawlies and most of all Crocodiles lol. So on return we went out window shopping.
We finally came to the conclusion that the rooftop tent was not for us. Mainly because of the getting in and getting out and of course doing this in the middle of the night too. Also noticing that when the couple had to go down the shop to get provisions, they had to pack up the tent to drive off of course.
So we decided this is going to take a lot more research than we thought.
Tip 0210 Ask friends and fellow campers.
Welcoming your input on our forum page, we would like to add a “pros and cons” page of all the differing types of camping and will add this to the website at a later date.
We ended up going for the 30 second tent OzTrail RV5. Mainly because of its roominess and ease of erection with a light weight package, making it easy to put inside or on top of our roof rack. This was also a recommendation from Live2camp.com.au guys and we are loving it, watching everyone else rock up and taking so long to set up camp.
Obviously there are downsides to every set up and we are yet to find one with this set up so far but early days, we will see. Our main thoughts would be for an older couple being able to lift it easily up onto a roof rack but we have seen extension parallel roof out bars you can use with ease, for getting most things up on the roof rack.
Setting up our tent maybe 5 or six times now, we have added to our growing collection of camping gear and have many additions which we think are great ideas for camping. Of course you need the space both at home and to be able to cart everything with you whilst traveling and another tip here is, only take what you need.
Tip 0211 Only take what you need.
Many will have most anyway but we have compiled another list of must haves. Please follow the link to our Lists, Inventory and Itineraries section. (Coming soon) Lists, Inventory and Itineraries
Having space at home is a big plus and we recommend a separate storage space if possible for all your camping gear, so you can regularly maintain, find and itinerate for your pending camping travel.
There are many things to do pre camping and it is a great idea to have a checklist for pre travel which will get all your batteries charged, gas bottles topped up and many more tasks done before you set off.
Tip 0212 Have a checklist
Things like getting your portable fridge/freezer down to temperatures the day before, so you don’t use your cars batteries up on a short trip.
For packing, if you are a couple, team or family, try and work together pre travel. Set out specific areas for everyone like, one in charge of loading, another making sure clothes are freshly laundered, someone charges all battery packs and electronics with one person charged with servicing and fueling the vehicle.
We quickly talk about your vehicle for travel here and we have many tips to think about.
It is essential of course for anyone going on a camping trip, to have a vehicle that you can rely on. Having your car regularly serviced will save you $$ every time.
Tip 0213 Get your car serviced
Think about your journey as a whole and what your vehicle needs to get you there and back in one piece.
Make sure you have adequate vehicle insurance and maybe even additional cover like roadside assistance
Compile a spares kit for your vehicle. Even if you know nothing about mechanics, fellow travelers or passing campers may be able to assist you. Having a few spares in the trunk will save you a lot of waiting time and unnecessary stress.
A great idea for security whilst travelling and none more so than whilst camping is to keep on your person your vehicle keys.
Tip 0214 Car keys for security
With many new vehicle keys it is easy to set off your alarm bringing attention if your are concerned at all.
Try to get in the habit of taking your vehicle keys with you when you fill up at the service station. Sadly there are many opportunists out there that are preying on the unsuspecting.
Whether travelling with family and friends or on your own, orientation is a big one here.
Tip 0215 Orientation
Unless you have a great travelling relationship with all, getting "lost" is one of the greatest mood changes in travelling and can lead to an altogether different camping trip when tempers flare.
Two things to combat this is, preplanning and resignment. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to get lost. Invariably at some point you will take a wrong turn and blame passing is not the route to take excusing the pun!
You are in holiday mode so take the downs as all part of the fun.
Story 0022 Three lefts make a right
A dear distant family member once quoted the most bizarre but interesting quirk of reality.
In the UK having accepted a lift by a nervous driver, (who won't be named) we came to a main intersection where we was meant to be turning right. We sat there for a while as the traffic diminished and they promptly set off and turned left, where upon I offered my back seat driving opinion of "Where the dickens are you going?"
Their response was, I hate turning right so I am going three lefts!
A very logical and lucid answer me thinks but leads to a very long journey and many litres of fuel later we got to our destination.
I had to laugh but there are many shall we say less than confident motorists out there that actually plan their routes according to their driving abilities. I know many people who drive a certain route to avoid hill starts or busy intersections.
Moral of the story here is, when you come across a chauffeur that is shall we say a little challenged, offer your initial advice and then keep quiet lol. If they happen to be a taxi, find a red traffic light and get out and run (Jokes).
Arriving at your destination. We mention this here as planning is all about success.
Tip 0216 Setting up
Unless you are travelling through the night most people plan to set up midday/afternoon and preferably before dusk.
This is because either your plot is not available till after 10am or you would prefer to set up camp before it gets too dark.
There does seem to be a first come, lets spread out sort of thing going on and this must be inherited from the "German towel around the pool" idiosyncrasy's (Jokes.) This is purely our primeval instinct of marking out our territory and we suggest to avoid confrontation, social skills or just get there as early as you can.
Seriously though, what will assist you is to do a little research in where you would like your plot to be, assessing the weather and knowing your compass orientations.
Try not to sit and watch others struggling whilst your enjoying your beer, join in and offer assistance but don't be too pushy, there are some that just want to do it themselves.
Without being too nosey, learn from the experts!
Tip 0217 Learn from the experts.
Being social within the camping fraternity is not hard at all and many will have stories of do's and don'ts. You will pick up a lot from just observing, especially as groups set up or pack up.
For those budding 4WD enthusiasts, there are many clubs and courses you can attend and we highly recommend travelling with other groups or tagging along when it comes to learning all about what your rig can really do and where it can get you, or not as the case may be.
Tip 0218 4WD tips
As we are relatively new to the 4WD scene, we can hardly tell our grandmother how to suck eggs, so we look forward to some great tips from our followers and hope you will share some of your experiences through our Forum.
We expect to expand "Just 4WD" to our features section.
Just to throw in a random tip once and a while we look at camp fires.
Tip 0219 Fire starters
There are many ways of getting a good fire going whilst you camp and none more better than using Pumice stone and diesel.
It is always best to have some basic kit as backup when your lighters run out of fuel.
Tip 0220 Hot water bottles
Once you have a warm fire blazing away you are set for the evening and it is worth investing in some hot water bottles for those chilling nights as a bed warmer, to keep your body temperature from dropping as you settle in for the night.
We have only just started on this section and already have loads more to add. Watch this space and Getoutgotravel!